See why transferring Membership Rewards points might get you more out of your intro offer.
Last year, American Express announced several new updates for the Premier Rewards Gold Card, making it a competitive offering for foodies. The card relaunched under a new name as the American Express® Gold Card and came with new four points per dollar reward categories at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually, then 1x).
The updated card now offers some of the best rewards available on food purchases, and it comes with a 35,000 bonus point introductory offer (if you spend $4,000 in the first three months).
What is the American Express Gold Card worth in the first year?
With the update, American Express Gold Card revamped its rewards categories with particular regards to food lovers. This lets cardholders get even more value out of their rewards in the places they spend the most money, like U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.
Unfortunately, the upgraded rewards and welcome offer are accompanied by a slightly higher annual fee. Check out the chart below to see what you can get out of the Gold Card in the first year.
|American Express® Gold Card|
|Why use it?If you spend the majority of your money on travel, restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases, the American Express Gold Card is one of the most rewarding options.Read review||Annual fee|
|Estimated earnings in first year ($4,000 monthly spend)|
Recent changes to the American Express Gold Card
After the initial relaunch and permanent changes to the card name and rewards categories, the American Express Gold Card added a limited time offer to welcome bonus. Unfortunately, the additions expired on Jan. 9, 2019. However, the slight boost in the bonus amount makes the new offer competitive.
Most recently, the bonus recently increased it’s spend requirement.
American Express Gold Card Recent Changes
|Oct. 17, 2019|
|Jan. 9, 2019|
|Oct. 4, 2018|
Who is eligible for the introductory offer?
American Express is pretty strict on who can qualify for a welcome bonus. If you currently or have ever owned an American Express Gold Card or American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, you don’t qualify for the offer.
Best ways to use your American Express Gold Card introductory bonus
One of the great things about American Express points are the wide variety of redemptions options available, from statement credits or gift cards to airline tickets. Your points value can shift depending on what you redeem them for, so we’ve put together a chart to show you just how your 35,000 point bonus stacks up with each option. As you’ll see, you can get the most out of your rewards by booking airfare through the Membership Rewards portal.
Redemption options for American Express Gold Card
|Redemption option||Point value (cents)||Value of 35,000-point bonus|
|Membership Rewards portal airfare||1||$350|
|Other Membership Rewards portal travel rewards (hotels, vacations, cruises)||0.7||$245|
|Gift cards/vouchers||Up to 1 (sometimes lower)||$350|
|Shopping partner (Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Grubhub, Newegg, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples)||0.7||$245|
|AmEx Express Checkout||0.7||$245|
|Transfer to Plenti||1||$350|
|Ticketmaster & AXS tickets||0.5||$175|
|Charity donation||1 (up to 500,000 points, 0.5 after)||$350|
|Excise tax offset fee (for transfer to travel partner)||0.5||$175|
Transfer options with the American Express Gold Card
Along with the redemption options listed above, the American Express Gold Card allows cardholders to transfer their points to one of 19 travel partners.
When you transfer your points to one of these partners, you’ll be charged an excise tax offset fee of 0.06 cents per point. You have the option to pay it either as a charge on your monthly bill or with points. But as you can see from the redemption chart, you’ll lose half your point value if you choose to use Membership Rewards points to cover the fee, so it is in your best interest to pay it outright.
When done strategically, transferring your American Express rewards points allows you to extract even more value out of your 35,000 point introductory bonus. Every American Express point is worth 1 cent, but several of the partner airlines’ points are valued a bit higher. Also, while most of the partner airlines have a 1:1 point transfer ratio, there are a few variations.
As you’ll see on the chart below, you can get an average value up to $780 out of your welcome bonus by transferring your points.
|Transfer ratio||Point value (including transfer ratio & excise fee)||Value of 35,000-point bonus|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1||2.23||$780|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||3:1||0.74||$259|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1||0.74||$259|
|El Al Israel Airlines||20:1||(0.01)||($3.5)|
Should you apply for the American Express Gold Card now?
The American Express Gold Card introductory offer doesn’t change very often, so if you are looking for a card that earns great rewards on food purchases, now is still a good time to sign up. Even though there is not a limited time welcome bonus, flexible redemption options mean the 35,000 point bonus still has great value.