American Express® Gold Card offers 25,000 point bonus and covers your restaurant tips for a limited time

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Last month, American Express announced several new updates for the Premier Rewards Gold Card. The card relaunched under a new name as the American Express® Gold Card and came with new four points per dollar reward categories at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, one point per dollar thereafter).

With foodies in mind, American Express also updated the Gold Card’s introductory offer to include a “pick up the tip” bonus. Until Jan. 9, 2019, cardholders will receive 20 percent back as a statement credit (up to $100) on dining purchases at U.S. restaurants for the first three months after account opening. Plus, cardholders can still receive 25,000 bonus points if they spend $2,000 in the first three months.

What is the American Express Gold Card worth in the first year?

Along with the new introductory offer, the 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 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


Rewards rate

  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases annually)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Introductory bonus

  • 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • For cardholders who apply by Jan. 9, 2019: 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. restaurants within the first 3 months (up to $100 back)

Why use it?

If you spend the majority of your money on travel, restaurant and supermarket purchases, the American Express Gold Card is one of the most rewarding options.

Read review

Annual fee

$250

Estimated earnings in first year ($4,000 monthly spend) 

$1,183

If you apply for the Gold Card directly through the American Express website, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points instead of 25,000, so it is possible to boost your rewards potential even further.

Recent changes to the American Express Gold Card

In addition to permanent changes to the card name and rewards categories, the American Express Gold Card also announced a few limited time offers that build on its typical 25,000 point welcome bonus. Cardholders who apply before Jan. 9, 2019 are eligible for the “pick up the tip” discount as well as a choice between the card’s classic gold or a limited-edition rose gold design.

American Express Gold Card Recent Changes

Oct. 4, 2018

  • 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • For cardholders who apply by Jan. 9, 2019: 20% back as a statement credit on U.S. restaurant purchases for first 3 months (up to $100)

Previous

 

  • 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months

 

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 25,000 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 25,000-point bonus
Membership Rewards portal airfare $250
Other Membership Rewards portal travel rewards (hotels, vacations, cruises) 0.7  $175
Expedia travel 0.7  $175
Uber/NYC taxi $250
Gift cards/vouchers Up to 1 (sometimes lower) $250
Shopping partner (Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Grubhub, Newegg, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples) 0.7  $175
AmEx Express Checkout 0.7  $175
Shopping portal 0.5  $125
Transfer to Plenti $250
Ticketmaster & AXS tickets 0.5  $125
Statement credit 0.6  $150
Charity donation 1 (up to 500,000 points, 0.5 after) $250
Excise tax offset fee (for transfer to travel partner) 0.5  $125

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 25,000 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 $558 out of your welcome bonus by transferring your points.

  Transfer ratio Point value (including transfer ratio & excise fee) Value of 25,000-point bonus
British Airways Executive Club 1:1 2.23  $558
Singapore KrisFlyer 1:1 2.16  $540
Iberia Plus 1:1 1.64  $410
Aeromexico 1:1.6 1.5 $385
Aeroplan 1:1 1.44 $360
ANA 1:1 1.42  $355
Delta SkyMiles 1:1 1.29  $323
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1 1.27  $318
JetBlue 1.25:1 1.12  $280
Emirates Skywards 1:1 1.04  $260
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1 0.94  $235
Asia Miles 1:1 0.94  $235
Choice Privileges 1:1 0.94  $235
Etihad Guest 1:1 0.94  $235
Flying Blue 1:1 0.94  $235
Hilton Honors 1:2
0.82 $205
Starwood Preferred Guest
3:1 0.74 $185
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1 0.74  $185
El Al Israel Airlines 20:1 (0.01)  ($3)

Should you apply for the American Express Gold Card now?

The American Express Gold Card introductory offer doesn’t change very often, so now is a great time to apply to get a little extra value. Not only will you get the 20 percent discount on U.S. restaurant purchases in the first three months (up to $100), but you can also choose the limited-edition rose gold card design. Be sure and apply before Jan. 9, 2019 to take advantage of this offer.

See relatedEnhanced American Express® Gold Card offers a 4-point bonus for foodies, Earn 75K bonus points with The Business Platinum Card from American Express, American Express Gold Card vs. American Express Green card


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Updated: 12-19-2018