You’re interested in the Amex Gold, but is it a good time to apply – or is it the best time?
When it comes to rewards credit cards, the question isn’t only which card to get, but also when to get it. Being strategic about the timing of your credit card applications can help you earn more rewards – or earn them faster.
The same goes for the American Express® Gold Card, one of the best credit cards on the market today. The card can offer a lot of value to the right cardholder whenever you get it, but if you pick the time to apply wisely, you may be rewarded even more generously.
See related: Who should get the Amex Gold?
Without further ado, here are the best times to get the Amex Gold.
When you’re planning an event
I love the Amex Gold because it rewards you for the most common expense imaginable: food. Whether you cook your own food, eat out or order in, this card offers an opportunity to earn generous rewards on your food expenses – 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases in a calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) and restaurants.For that reason, if you’re planning an event with a lot of food involved, it may be a good time to get the Amex Gold.
Having a party at your house? You can use the Amex Gold when grocery shopping for the party and score plenty of points. Thinking of having your anniversary dinner at a nice restaurant? There are points to be earned.
You can also throw other event-related charges on the card; you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar on general purchases, but these expenses can help you earn your welcome bonus sooner.
When you’re planning a trip
Speaking of the welcome bonus – it offers a wonderful chance to save on plane tickets or even not spend a single dollar, depending on the purchase amount and the amount of the bonus. For instance, I used my bonus to book a trip to Russia to see my family this summer. The airfare was $770, but I covered the entire cost with points.
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As you can see, savings can be rather significant. If you know you’re going to be booking a trip in around six months, it’s the perfect time to apply for the Amex Gold.
However, make sure to consider how much time it’ll take you to hit the required spend. Right now, the card offers 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first six months. Once you meet the spend requirement, you may also need to wait to get your bonus. For instance, I saw my bonus in my Amex account a couple of days after meeting the spend. On the other hand, our editor Emily Sherman has been waiting for hers for over a month and been told by an Amex rep it may take up to 12 weeks to have it added to her rewards balance.
The good thing is, even if you don’t get to earn the bonus before booking your trip, the Amex Gold is still a good card to have to buy airfare. You’ll get 3 points per dollar on flights booked on AmexTravel.com, which will help you earn points for your next vacation. Additionally, you can currently get 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases you make through the portal, such as hotels and car rentals.
See related: 8 ways I maximize the Amex Gold card
When you’re targeted for a special offer
I’ve mentioned that I was able to score $770 worth of airfare for free, thanks to the welcome bonus on my Amex Gold. I used 77,000 points to book on the American Express Travel portal, 75,000 of which came from the bonus and another 2,000 from the points I’d earned on my spending.
I was able to do that because I’d received a special offer from Amex: Instead of the regular 60,000 points, I had an opportunity to get 75,000 with the same spend requirement. That’s a $150 difference when redeemed for airfare on AmexTravel.com.
You can check if you’re eligible for the same offer, too. Currently, it’s available on CardMatch, where you can browse credit card options tailored to your credit profile. The service is free and checking your offers won’t affect your credit score.
Note that special offers are never guaranteed. You may see one today in your available options, and it may be gone tomorrow. For that reason, if you know you want the card, it’s best not to sit on a special offer for too long.
If you’re looking for a travel credit card to reward you for food expenses, the Amex Gold is your perfect candidate. While the card will offer plenty of value to the right cardholder no matter when you apply, you may want to hurry with your application if you expect extra spend in the bonus categories or if you’re planning a trip.
Finally, seeing a special bonus offer is always a cue to apply while it lasts – you never know if you’ll come across it again.