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American Express® Gold Card: A Premier Card for Dining and Grocery Shopping

American Express® Gold Card: A Premier Card for Dining and Grocery Shopping

The American Express® Gold Card is one of our favorite cards for dining and grocery shopping.
Editor's Rating: 5.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

5.0/5.0

The American Express® Gold Card is an excellent credit card that stands out among the premium cards on the market. It offers great rewards across useful categories and even features some unique benefits, like a $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) and a $100 airline fee credit. The one area where the card falls flat is in its current sign-up bonus offer. Below, we'll discuss what makes the American Express® Gold Card a great card to apply for and highlight other alternatives to consider.

American Express® Gold Card Review: A Competitive New Credit Card

On American Express' Secure Website

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
*Rates and Fees
APR
See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Our Thoughts

The American Express® Gold Card is a fantastic card because it allows cardholders to earn a large number of points across several categories, making it an ideal choice for an everyday card. For example, it earns a 4% rewards rate at U.S. restaurants, a feat that not many other cards can match. On top of being a great card for dining, it offers a competitive 3% rewards rate on flights booked directly with airlines or on American Express' travel site.

The most unique feature of this card is the annual $120 dining credit at eligible dining partners, like Grubhub, Seamless and The Cheesecake Factory. The perk effectively functions as a $10 discount every month at participating locales. However, you'll receive the “discount” in the form of a statement credit. This isn't a perk we've seen other cards offer in the past, and when combined with the high number of points you earn on dining, it takes this card over the top.

It's worth noting that the card has a steep $250 annual fee. However, we think it offers enough benefits to warrant this high cost. If you utilize the $120 dining credit and the $100 airline fee credit every year, then you would come pretty close to breaking even. Additionally, if you sign up before Jan. 9, 2019, you'll get 20% back on dining spending as a statement credit, up to $100. If you take advantage of all these perks, you'll come out ahead $70 the first year.

Where the Card Could Do Better

The American Express® Gold Card packs an unimpressive bonus of 25,000 points, which we value to be worth $250. Other cards with an annual fee of $100 and over typically offer sign-up bonuses valued anywhere from $500 to $750. To get the sign-up bonus, you'll have to spend $2,000 in the first three months. The one positive is that the spending requirement of $2,000 is low compared to other sign-up offers we've seen.

Bottom Line

The American Express® Gold Card is one of the better credit cards that's available, especially for people who spend a lot on dining or at grocery stores. While it does have a high annual fee, it offers up enough benefits to make it worth the cost.

How Does the American Express® Gold Card Compare to Other Cards?

While the American Express® Gold Card is an excellent card, that shouldn't stop you from shopping around and comparing options. Below, we provide key comparisons against other popular credit cards.

The American Express® Gold Card vs. the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

50,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Credit Needed
Excellent Credit

Our Thoughts

The better card between these two will depend on your spending habits: if you're a traveler, apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but if you're more of a diner, apply for the American Express® Gold Card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is better for travelers because it earns users a 2.5% rewards rate on all travel purchases. While the American Express® Gold Card has a 3% rewards rate on flights booked directly with airlines or on American Express' travel site, that's much more restrictive than the broad travel category offered up by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

The main reason people who spend a lot of money on dining would be better off with the American Express® Gold Card is the outstanding 4% rewards rate it offers at U.S. restaurants. Despite being a solid all-around card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only offers a 2.5% rewards rate on dining. The argument for the American Express® Gold Card is even stronger once you consider other benefits like the $120 dining credit.

The American Express® Gold Card vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem for travel.
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Annual Fee
$450
APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Credit Needed
Excellent Credit

Our Thoughts

If you want some of the highest rewards available, regardless of cost, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will be the better card. It has a high annual fee of $450, but in return you get outstanding benefits and perks. For example, you'll get a $300 annual travel credit and you'll earn a 4.5% rewards rate on travel and dining. The catch is that you have to use your annual travel credit before the 4.5% rewards rate kicks in for travel purchases. Simply put, you'll have a very difficult time trying to find a card that can replicate this card's earning power.

For people who are uncomfortable forking over $450 for a credit card, the American Express® Gold Card presents an intriguing value proposition. It offers high rewards but with a reduced annual fee. You'll have to jump through some hoops to use benefits, such as the $100 airline fee credit, but it shouldn't take much work for you to earn back the annual fee through rewards. And while the American Express® Gold Card has a smaller sign-up bonus, it's relatively easy to meet its spending requirement of $2,000 in the first three months.

The American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$550
*Rates and Fees
APR
N/A
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Our Thoughts

With a hefty $550 annual fee and a slate of luxury travel benefits, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a good choice for high spenders who frequently fly. Whereas the American Express® Gold Card earns a 4% rewards rate at U.S. restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1%), The Platinum Card® from American Express has a 5% rewards rate bonus category for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. If you spend more on travel accommodations than dining and grocery shopping, then The Platinum Card® from American Express will earn you more rewards.

The decision to get The Platinum Card® from American Express also depends on whether you value luxury travel experiences. Consider that the card's $550 annual fee goes toward a membership to Amex's Global Lounge Collection—this is not a perk available on the American Express® Gold Card. Instead, the American Express® Gold Card's $250 annual fee goes toward the $120 annual dining credit and $100 annual airline fee credit, which can be used for in-flight expenses.

If you value luxury travel and are a high spender, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a better choice than the American Express® Gold Card. For moderate spenders who allocate more to everyday dining and grocery expenses, the American Express® Gold Card is a much more valuable card. The 25,000 point sign-up bonus on the American Express® Gold Card, earned after $2,000 in spending in the first three months, is also easier to qualify for than the 60,000 point sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card® from American Express, which you earn after spending $5,000.

Comments and Questions

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Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.