As a credit card enthusiast who has covered credit cards and rewards programs for over 2 years, I receive many inquiries from readers about which card is right for them. One card that often tops wish lists is the American Express Gold Card.
With a $250 annual fee(see terms & rates), 4x points on dining and groceries, and a host of other perks, the Gold Card occupies an appealing middle ground between mainstream cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and premium travel cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express.
In this article, I’ll share my key observations as seven key things you need to know about the Amex Gold Card.
1. Lucrative 4x Points on Dining and Groceries
The Gold Card’s standout feature is its 4x points earning rate on dining and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 per year at supermarkets, then 1x).
Based on my research and conversations with credit card rewards experts, the Gold Card’s 4x bonuses provide immense value for several reasons:
- Dining – This broad bonus category includes restaurants, takeout, delivery services, coffee shops, bakeries, and bars. With many households spending hundreds per month dining out, the 4x points add up quickly.
- Groceries – The 4x bonus at U.S. supermarkets (excluding superstores like Walmart or Target) is extremely valuable for families and individuals who buy groceries routinely. Even a modest $400 monthly grocery spend would earn 19,200 points per year from this bonus.
- Redemption value – Amex Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for an average value of 1-2 cents each based on your redemption strategy. That means the 4x points on dining and groceries are worth around 4-8% back.
As a student now, I crunch a lot of numbers on credit card rewards programs. Furthermore, for a no-annual-fee card, earning rates above 2% back are strong. For a $250 annual fee card like the Gold, earning up to 8% back in very broad categories is exceptional.
2. $120 Annual Dining and Uber Credits
Besides its lucrative 4x bonus categories, the Gold Card also comes with up to $240 in annual dining and Uber statement credits:
- Dining credit – Up to $120 back each year ($10 monthly) on purchases made directly with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.
- Uber credit – Up to $120 back each year ($10 monthly) in Uber Cash that can be used on U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
I am quite certain that these credit benefits can easily help offset the Gold Card’s annual fee, effectively dropping it to $130 for those who can maximize the credits.
Moreover, I frequently use food delivery services and Uber. Therefore, I appreciate having these credits automatically applied each month because they essentially act like 5% cash back on my Grubhub and Uber purchases.
3. Generous 60,000 Point Welcome Offer
The current welcome offer on the Gold Card is 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening. Based on my valuations, those 60,000 points are worth around $900-$1,200 depending on your redemption strategy.
For a premium card with a $250 annual fee, a welcome offer valued over $1,000 is extremely strong. Additionally, it’s comparable to the welcome bonuses on premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum.
One thing I appreciate as an Amex cardholder is that there are often opportunities to earn additional welcome bonus points via referral programs and targeted offers. Thus, it’s possible to earn 70,000+ points or more when signing up if you look for those extra bonuses.
4. Valuable 3x Points on Flights
Beyond its 4x bonus categories, the Gold Card also earns an elevated 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com.
Most travel rewards cards earn 2x points on airfare. As a result, Gold Card members get an extra points boost here. The 3x on flights also includes a class of service upgrades, in-flight amenities, and other incidental flight expenses.
In my opinion, for a card with a primary focus on dining rewards, having a nicely boosted flight bonus is a good complement for travelers. Consequently, the 3x on flights can make the Amex Gold a good option for your travel and dining purchases in one card.
5. Worthwhile Perks and Benefits
Some other perks and benefits of the Gold Card that I appreciate:
- No foreign transaction fees – As someone who travels internationally often, I love cards that don’t charge annoying foreign transaction fees. Additionally, Amex has a great global acceptance network as well.
- Access to Amex Offers – These targeted savings and bonus offers can provide substantial extra point earnings and discounts on brands you use. Offers save me hundreds of dollars per year.
- Rental car insurance – When you book rental cars on the Gold Card, you get access to premium rental car insurance coverage at no extra cost. This provides peace of mind on road trips.
- Extended warranty coverage – Doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty up to 1 extra year on eligible purchases. Has come in handy for me on electronics purchases.
The Gold Card will never compete on luxury travel perks with the Platinum Card. However, the perks it does have offer real value, especially for a $250 annual fee card.
6. Redeem Rewards for Maximum Value
While the Gold Card earns Membership Rewards points, how you redeem them can impact their value:
Redemption Option – Value Per Point
- Direct travel bookings – 1 cent
- Gift cards – 0.8 cents
- Transfer to airline miles – 1-2 cents (average)
- Transfer to hotel points – 1-2 cents
I achieve the best value by transferring my Gold Card points to airline and hotel partners for premium cabin award travel. For Instance, I frequently transfer points to Emirates to book business-class flights to India on their award chart.
For simplicity, some of my points go toward statement credits or Amazon purchases at around 0.8-1 cent per point.
In either case, the 4x and 3x bonus categories make it easy to get way more value than the $250 annual fee with the Gold Card.
7. Reasonable $250 Annual Fee
For a premium travel rewards card with strong bonus categories and up to $240 in annual credits, the $250 annual fee on the Gold Card in my opinion is very reasonable.
The 4x and 3x bonus categories alone can generate hundreds of dollars in rewards value beyond the fee, even for casual spenders. Moreover, when you throw in the dining, Uber, and other cardholder perks, you come out well ahead.
If the $250 fee still gives you pause, remember you can offset $240 of it with the annual credits. Therefore, your net effective annual fee is only $10 if you use all the credits each year.
For a card that earns Membership Rewards points and provides premium benefits, that is a bargain compared to other cards on the market.
The American Express® Gold Card stands apart in the crowded rewards credit card market for its valuable 4x bonus categories on dining and U.S. supermarkets – categories that many households spend heavily in each month.
Furthermore, paired with up to $240 in annual dining and Uber credits, strong travel benefits, and a reasonable $250 annual fee, the Gold Card should deliver value well exceeding its costs for most cardholders.
When it comes to the question of whether or not to recommend this card, I can confidently say that I’m comfortable recommending the Amex Gold as one of the top options for earning rewards on daily spending categories. Additionally, I suggest being thoughtful about redeeming your points by proper strategies for maximizing the value, and the Gold Card will pay dividends for your wallet.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see American Express.
If you have any other questions, let me know! I’m happy to offer my insight as a credit card enthusiast to help you find the right fit.