The American Express Gold Card offers exceptional rewards for foodies and up to $240 in credits per year. Find out who should get it and who might be better off with a different card.
The American Express® Gold Card is popular among consumers who want to rack up rewards in the Amex Membership Rewards program. After all, this program lets you redeem rewards for gift cards, merchandise or travel through AmexTravel.com, yet you can also transfer your points to an array of airline and hotel partners.
The main downside of the Amex Gold Card is its $250 annual fee, yet this fee can be a good investment considering the generous welcome bonus this card offers, as well as the fact you can get up to $240 in annual credits for specific dining and food delivery purchases or ride-sharing.
In this guide, we’ll explain the main benefits of the Amex Gold, who should apply and who might be better off with a different rewards credit card altogether.
A quick refresher: Details of the Amex Gold
The Amex Gold gives new cardholders the chance to earn a generous welcome bonus as well as exceptional rewards on restaurant purchases, U.S. supermarket purchases and flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com. Here are some of the major details to know about this card:
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on your card within the first six months of account opening
- 4X points at restaurants, 4X points on up to $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets per calendar year (then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and 1X points on other purchases
- $250 annual fee
- Major cardholder benefits include up to $120 in Uber Cash per year, up to $120 in dining credits per year (enrollment required) and no foreign transaction fees
Who should get the Amex Gold?
When you look at the benefits of the Amex Gold, it’s easy to see why people apply. You get to earn rewards in the valuable Amex Membership Rewards program, and many people spend a lot on groceries and dining out anyway.
With that being said, the Amex Gold may be perfect for you if you fit any of the descriptions below:
Foodies who spend a lot on groceries and dining out
This card’s categories are perfect if you’re a foodie who frequently spends a lot on specialty ingredients or dining out. After all, big food spending can help you rack up a ton of points in these categories, which could help to offset this card’s annual fee and earn even more points for free travel.
How much can you earn? Let’s say for a moment you spend $800 per month on dining out ($200 per week on average) and that you also spend $1,500 per month at U.S. supermarkets. In that case, one year of spending would earn you 110,400 American Express Membership Rewards points, which gives you a value of roughly $1,104 when redeemed through the Membership Rewards portal for airfare or around $662 when redeemed as cash back on your statement.
Also, keep in mind that the Amex Gold comes with up to $120 per year in dining credits at select eateries (enrollment required). This credit is given out in increments of $10 per month, and it’s good for food purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
That’s pretty specific, but those who take advantage can get even more value out of this card.
Uber and Uber Eats enthusiasts
This card also comes with up to $120 in Uber Cash each year, but keep in mind that this also applies to Uber Eats purchases (applicable to U.S. Eats orders and rides).
If you take Uber rides or you love to order food for delivery or takeout, then you should know these credits are doled out in increments of $10 each month throughout the year. The Gold card must be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit.
Anyone who wants to complete the Amex trifecta
Finally, the Amex Gold is very popular among those who want to maximize Amex Membership Rewards points with more than one Amex credit card.
The Amex trifecta, as it is called, also includes The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
The Amex Platinum offers bonus rewards in different categories as well as some luxury travel perks, whereas the Blue Business Plus lets cardholders earn 2X points on up to $50,000 in spending each year, then 1X points. (Terms apply.) By using the Amex trifecta, you can maximize rewards on almost all your purchases and get access to complimentary benefits in the process.
Who shouldn’t get the Amex Gold?
While the Amex Gold makes sense for many rewards enthusiasts, there are scenarios where another rewards credit card could be a better fit. Here are some types of users who should pick a different travel credit card over the Amex Gold.
Anyone who hates credits that are hard to use
American Express tends to offer account credits that are hard to use and don’t roll over from month to month. This is true for this card’s up to $120 in annual dining credits, which are only good for select dining options and expire each month when you don’t spend $10 on eligible purchases.
The Uber Cash you get with the Amex Gold works the same. You get $120 in credits each year, but they’re given out in increments of $10 per month.
A lot of people hate dealing with specific credits that constantly expire and only work for some types of purchases. That’s also why a lot of people opt for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card among competing travel credit cards.
Instead of credits that are difficult to use, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit that automatically applies to most travel purchases made with your card.
See related: A millennial’s take on the Chase Sapphire Reserve
People who want to earn Amex Membership Rewards points without paying an annual fee
If you hate card annual fees but you want to earn Amex points, then the Amex Gold is probably too pricey for your tastes. Consider the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express* instead since this card lets you earn Amex Membership Rewards points without an annual fee. Specifically, you can start by earning 10,000 points when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening. (Terms apply.)
You’ll also earn 2X points on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1X points), as well as 1X points on all other purchases. As a bonus, the Amex EveryDay even gives you 20% in bonus points when you use your card for 20 or more purchases within a billing period.
Amex enthusiasts who want more travel perks
If you want more luxury travel perks, you’ll probably want to pick the Amex Platinum instead of the Amex Gold. A higher annual fee of $550 applies, but you’ll get benefits like airport lounge membership, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, up to $200 in airline fee credits, up to $200 in Uber Cash each year, automatic Gold elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors and a handful of travel insurance benefits.
By contrast, the Amex Gold only offers a few travel benefits – secondary auto rental coverage and a $100 credit for qualifying activities with The Hotel Collection when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
See related: 8 ways I maximize the Amex Gold card
How to get the most out of the Amex Gold
While the Amex Gold does cost $250 per year to carry, there are plenty of reasons to consider applying. Some of them have to do with the value you can get out of the card, yet some people have applied just to get their hands on the Rose Gold version of the card, which Amex recently made available on a permanent basis.
Either way, here are some tips to get the most out of your card:
- Try out our CardMatch tool to see if you qualify for a more generous welcome offer than what is being offered to the public.
- Add your Amex Gold Card as the preferred method of payment on your Uber account so you can take full advantage of each month’s Uber credits.
- Keep an eye on Amex Offers that apply to your card, which can help you earn more Amex points or bonus cash on eligible purchases.
- Look for opportunities each month to use your $10 in monthly dining credits. If you don’t live near a restaurant that qualifies for this credit, check out Grubhub food delivery options in your area.
- Use your card for airfare purchases made through AmexTravel.com or for airfare purchases made directly with airlines to maximize the 3X points category.
- Avoid using Amex’s Pay Over Time feature, which will leave you forking over interest at a 16.74% to 23.74% variable APR.
The Amex Gold isn’t right for everyone, but it could easily be right for you. Our advice is to compare all the top rewards credit cards on the market today to see which ones align with your spending style and the rewards you want to earn. If the Amex gold isn’t the best option out there, your research will lead you to the right card for your wallet.
See related: Things to do when you get the Amex Gold
*All information about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.