By understanding approximately how high your credit score needs to be for approval — and what you can do if your application isn’t initially approved — you can decide if it makes sense for you to apply.
The American Express® Gold Card is one of the most rewarding dining credit cards available, and its generous suite of benefits hint that you likely need a pretty decent credit score to qualify for the card.
It offers 4X points at restaurants, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via AmexTravel.com and 1X points on everything else — plus a host of other benefits and perks.
None of this will matter to you if you don’t have the credit score required to be approved, so read on to learn what credit score is needed, including steps to take if you fall short of approval.
What credit score is needed for the Amex Gold Card?
As with most card issuers, American Express doesn’t specifically disclose what credit score is required to be approved for any of its cards. That leaves experts and potential applicants to speculate what the American Express Gold Card credit score requirements are based on reports of people who have applied.
Most of these reports indicate that people with excellent credit (800 credit score and up) have a very high likelihood of being approved, and there are even some accounts of applicants with good credit (or a score of 670 to 739) being approved for this card.
What if my application is denied?
No matter how high your credit score is, there’s always a chance that your credit card application won’t be approved. However, if your application is denied, you always have the option of contacting the card issuer to discuss your application — a process known as credit card reconsideration. To do so with American Express, contact the reconsideration department at 1-800-567-1083 and ask to have your application reviewed.
Credit card applications are often declined due to inaccurate personal information or even something as innocuous as a typo. For example, American Express may reject your application if the address you listed doesn’t match the one it has on file, which can happen if you’ve recently moved and haven’t updated your online profile. Further, your application can be denied due to an incorrectly entered birthdate or Social Security number.
During your reconsideration call, you can also update your financial information, such as your annual income. Some credit card applicants don’t realize they’re able to list all available sources of income — including alimony, child support, disability and retirement benefits. There’s also a law that says you can include the income of your spouse or domestic partner, so long as you can reasonably expect to access that income for the purpose of repaying a loan. This law was created to offer non-working spouses the ability to access credit in their own name.
Another reason you may be declined for an American Express card is that you already have too many open accounts. American Express doesn’t allow customers to have more than five personal accounts with preset credit limits at one time. If you discover this is why you weren’t approved for the Gold Card, you can offer to close an unused account so your Gold Card application can be approved. If American Express still declines to extend additional credit to you, you can offer to transfer some of your existing line of credit from another Amex card to your Gold Card.
If you’re not successful in getting your application reconsidered, American Express asks that you wait at least 30 days before reapplying.
How can I improve my score to get this card?
Thankfully, there are several ways to improve your credit score and increase your odds of getting approved for the American Express Gold Card. The quickest and easiest way to increase your credit score is to pay down your existing balances as much as possible if you’re currently carrying any credit card debt. That’s because 30 percent of your FICO credit score is based on the amounts you owe.
By paying down or paying off your existing balances, you’ll reduce your debt-to-credit ratio. This term refers to the total amount of debt you have, divided by the total amount of your outstanding balances. Most credit experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30 percent, but having a lower ratio (closer to 10 percent) is even better. Also, having fewer accounts with outstanding balances is better for your credit than having more. If you’re unable to pay off all your existing balances, try paying off the smaller balances first so that you owe money on as few accounts as possible.
Once you’ve paid down as much of your existing balances as possible, you’ll need to wait until each account’s statement period ends. Once each account’s statement period is over, its new statement balance will be reported to the major consumer credit bureaus, and the new balances will then be reflected in your credit score.
Also, note that your statement balances are always reported to the credit bureaus as debt, even if you eventually avoid interest charges by paying it in full. So if you currently have a high account balance, it can make sense to reduce that by making a payment before your account’s statement period ends. If you do this, you can have a smaller statement balance reported — or none at all — which can help your credit score.
Other ways to improve your credit score will take more time. The most important factor in your credit score is your payment history, so you should do everything possible to make your payments on time. The easiest way to do this is to configure your accounts to be paid automatically, which is a feature that nearly every credit card issuer offers.
You should also take the time to review your credit reports and look for any errors or fraudulently opened accounts. By disputing inaccurate negative information on your credit reports, you can also improve your credit.
Finally, you can use free services such as Experian Boost and UltraFICO, both of which provide lenders with additional financial history from other accounts, such as utility payments and banking data.
The American Express Gold Card can be a valuable addition to your wallet, but only if your application is approved. By understanding approximately what credit score is needed for the Amex Gold — and what you can do if your application isn’t initially approved — you can decide if it makes sense for you to apply for this card.