The American Express Gold Card is one of my favorite new credit cards right now. You’re able to earn valuable Membership Rewards points with category bonuses for dining, flights, and groceries. These are three of the biggest budget items for my family, so I’m really excited about the possibilities.
Cardholders also receive $120 per year in dining credits and $100 in airline-fee credits. These perks help offset the Amex Gold Card’s annual fee. While traveling, you are protected with collision rental car insurance, can save money and enjoy perks with the Hotel Collection, and can enjoy no foreign transaction fees.
The welcome bonus for the American Express Gold Card is also very enticing. You’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after making $4,000 in purchases within the first three months. These 35,000 points are worth $350 in travel through Amex Travel or can be transferred to any of the airline or hotel transfer partners for even more value.
There are so many reasons why the Amex Gold Card belongs in your wallet.
If you’re considering the Amex Gold Card, here are a few of its best features.
- Signup Bonus: 35,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months. These points can be used to book up to $350-worth of hotels, flights, and more through Amex Travel. Or you can transfer points to airline and hotel partners.
- Bonus Points on Spending: The American Express Gold Card earns 4x points on dining around the world, 4x on your first $25,000 at U.S. grocery stores, and 3x on flights. To earn the 3x on flights, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel. You’ll earn 1x points on all of your other purchases.
- High-Value Transfer Partners: Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 19 airline or three hotel transfer partners. Most programs transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and seasonal transfer bonuses offer even more value. Airline transfer partners include Air France (Flying Blue), Cathay Pacific, Delta, and Qantas, while the hotel partners are Hilton, Marriott, and Choice.
- Annual Credits: Cardholders receive $120 in dining credits and $100 in airline fee credits each year. When you max out these $220 in potential savings, it reduces your net annual fee to just $30 each year.
- Annual Fee: Annual fee of $250 per year.
With so much value, it’s no wonder that the American Express Gold Card is so popular.
Where It Shines
The American Express Gold Card is a great way to earn extra rewards on your normal dining and grocery expenses. You can then redeem those points for amazing travel experiences.
One of its best features is the ability to earn a lot of Membership Rewards points. For example, if you max out the grocery bonus category, you’ll earn 100,000 Amex points. These points can be used to book hotels, flights, and more through Amex Travel. When transferring to airline and hotel transfer partners, you can find outsized value when booking flights and hotel rooms.
While traveling, you should bring the Amex Gold card with you because it offers several great protections. You’ll avoid the 3% fee that many international vendors charge because there are no foreign transaction fees. Your rental car is covered with secondary rental car insurance for loss and damage. Plus, you can cover airline incidental charges with the $100 in annual airline fee credits.
You’ll also enjoy $120 in dining credits every year. You can use these credits in $10 increments every month at some of your favorite restaurants and meal delivery services. The credits are good at restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and certain Shake Shacks. The delivery services Grubhub and Seamless are also included.
Even if you’re not planning to travel right away, your Membership Rewards points can be very useful. With your points, you can shop at various stores, get gift cards, and cover your credit card charges. Keep in mind that many of these redemptions are for less than one cent per point. This is not the best value for your points.
Getting the Most From Your American Express Gold Card
To get the most out of your Amex Gold Card, you’ll want to earn your welcome bonus, maximize your bonus categories for spending, and use all of your annual fee credits.
You’ll earn the 35,000 welcome bonus by spending $4,000 within three months. Dining and groceries earn 4x points, so it makes sense to use the American Express Gold Card at these locations as much as possible. Grocery stores often sell gift cards for many of your favorite businesses. Buying these gift cards to earn 4x points is a way to earn extra points on purchases at stores like Kohl’s, Target, and Macy’s, which would normally only earn 1x points.
Keep in mind that Membership Rewards points pool with the points you earn from other American Express credit cards. You can have multiple American Express cards, each with different benefits and abilities to earn extra points on purchases.
What You Might Not Like
Even though the Amex Gold Card has many wonderful features, there are some drawbacks. Here are a few that you may not like:
Annual Fee: The annual fee is $250 and is not waived the first year. That is definitely better than the fee on the Amex Platinum Card, but it is still a bit steep. Annual credits of $220 for dining and airline fees reduce the total out-of-pocket cost to $30 if you use them, which is also good.
High Minimum Spending Requirement: To earn the welcome bonus of 50,000 points, you must spend at least $4,000 within three months. Many other credit cards with bonuses in this range, such as the Wells Fargo Propel, require a lower amount of spending.
Annual Credits are Hard to Maximize: Although the dining and airline fee credits can be valuable, they are not as easy to use as credits offered by the best travel rewards credit cards. The $120 in dining credits are broken down into $10 monthly increments. If you don’t use your credit one month, it is lost. Additionally, you must actively enroll in order to receive them.
The airline fee credits require you to pick one airline each year. Credits cannot be used with other airlines or to purchase airfare or upgrades on any airline. Instead, the credits are intended to be used for fees charged by your designated airline, such as fees for checking a bag.
Alternatives to the American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card really shines when it comes to earning extra rewards for dining and grocery purchases. However, some readers may balk at the $250 annual fee.
One alternative credit card that I really like for getting bonuses on dining, groceries, and entertainment is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This credit card earns an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, plus an unlimited 2% cash back on groceries. When you apply, you’ll also receive a $300 welcome bonus after spending $3,000 in your first three months after approval.
The first year’s annual fee is waived, after which it costs $95 per year. There are no foreign transaction fees and your rewards do not expire as long as your account remains open. The major downside, however, is that you cannot transfer your rewards to airline and hotel transfer partners the way you can with the Amex Gold Card.
Amex Gold Card Review: Wrapping Up
If you spend money on groceries, dining, and travel, then the American Express Gold Card is a great way to maximize your rewards. You’ll earn 4x points on dining worldwide, 4x on the first $25,000 at U.S. grocery stores, and 3x on flights. Save money and enjoy great perks thanks to the $100 in airline fee credits, $120 in dining credits, and access to the Hotel Collection.
The Amex Gold Card is perfect for travelers due to its ability to earn rewards, as well as the benefits available while traveling.
What’s your favorite way to use the Amex Gold Card?
American Express Gold Card Review
- Welcome Bonus
- Point Value
- Rewards Flexibility
- Transfer Partners
- Earning on Spending
- Additional Benefits and Credits
- Annual Fee
Amex Gold Card Review
The American Express Gold Card is a good option for people who spend on dining, groceries, and travel.
With the Amex Gold, you’ll earn a 35,000 point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. That is worth $350 in flights, hotels, and more when redeemed through Amex Travel, or you can transfer your rewards to one of Amex’s travel partners for even more possible value.
The $250 annual fee may be a turn off to some. Still, earning 4x points on dining and at U.S. grocery stores (plus 3x points on flights) definitely makes the Amex Gold Card worth considering. Learn how to apply.