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The American Express® Gold Card is a standout among premium travel cards. It offers great rewards across useful categories, like U.S. supermarkets and restaurants. It even features some unique benefits, like a dining credit of up to $120 each year (up to $10 monthly, enrollment required). However, one area where the card could be more competitive with peers is in its current welcome offer, especially given the card's $250 annual fee.
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
- Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
- $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
Earn 60,000 bonus points
The current welcome offer on the American Express® Gold Card is one of the higher offers we've seen:
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
This generous offer will get you at least $600 in value when redeemed for flights through the Amex Membership Rewards portal. Plus, there's potential for even more value if you transfer your points to one of Amex's transfer partners.
This is a solid offer, but you can find credit cards offering even more valuable offers with a lower annual fee. American Express also has a "once-per-lifetime" rule, meaning you can't receive this welcome offer if you've ever had this card (or the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express) before.
What it's worth: $600 in Membership Rewards travel, possibly more if you transfer to an Amex loyalty program partner
Who's eligible to earn this offer? You won't be eligible to earn this welcome offer if you have or have ever had this card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, even if you didn't previously earn the welcome offer. American Express also reserves the right to revoke this offer if they find evidence of abuse or misuse, which includes canceling or downgrading the card within the first 12 months.
Earn 4X points on food purchases
When it comes to earning and redeeming Membership Rewards points, the American Express® Gold Card makes it easy.
You'll Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.
This makes it pretty easy to earn Membership Rewards points. It's the highest rate you'll find on dining and one of the highest for groceries, plus a decent rate on travel. While the card's travel category is a little more narrow than most, as it only applies to flights, the combination of high-powered rewards earned on both dining and groceries makes it easy to accumulate points quickly.
Amex Membership Rewards is also one of the best credit card rewards programs. The ability to transfer the points you earn to a long list of airline and hotel loyalty programs makes them particularly valuable, even when compared to some of the best rewards cards. When you take the earning rate for the average cardholder and multiply it by our estimated point value of 2 cents per point, the American Express® Gold Card blows most others out of the water in terms of average rewards earned per $1 spent.
Average rewards earned per $1 spent
What are American Express® Gold Card points worth?
Membership Rewards points are some of the best rewards currencies available, excelling in both flexibility and value. However, not all redemption options are worth the same — we found a range between 0.5 cent to 2.2 cents.
Value: Above average
Ease of redeeming: Above average
Redeem points for valuable travel rewards
Redeeming points earned with the American Express® Gold Card is easy. When you log on to your Membership Rewards account, you can select any of the redemption options mentioned in the table below.
But not all redemption options yield the same value. Ultimately, the best ways to use Membership Rewards points are for flights, whether through the Amex portal or by transferring your points.
You'll get 1 cent per point for flights booked through the Amex Travel portal, and potentially more than double that if you transfer them to an Amex transfer partner, making those the two best redemption options.
These transfer partners include more than a dozen frequent flyer programs, and in most cases, you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio. You'll want to have a specific flight in mind and know how many miles you need before you transfer your points though, as transfers are non-reversible.
Other travel redemptions are less lucrative. Redeeming your points for a hotel, rental car, cruise or vacation package will only get you 0.7 cents per point. This is still better than non-travel redemptions like gift cards, statement credits and shopping with points, which will get you as little as 0.5 cents per point. If you want to redeem rewards for something other than travel, understanding the difference between cash back, miles and points will help you pick a card that better suits your preferences.
|Transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs||Depends on program (around 2.2 cents on average)|
|Book flights through the Amex Travel portal||1 cent|
|Book hotels through the Amex Travel portal||0.7 cents|
|Redeem for gift cards||0.5 to 1.1 cents|
|Shop with points||0.5 cents|
|Pay with your points at checkout||0.7 to 1 cents|
|Cover your card charges and receive a statement credit||0.6 cents|
Up to $120 in Uber Cash
American Express® Gold Card members also get up to $10 per month in Uber Cash that can be used to pay for U.S. Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats purchases. Your Uber Cash will automatically show up in your Uber account each month once you add your American Express® Gold Card to the app. If you don't use the full credit by the end of the month, you'll lose it. However, if you're able to maximize the American Express Gold Uber benefit, that's up to another $120 in savings.
Other American Express® Gold Card benefits
While the American Express® Gold Card's rewards are its biggest selling point, this card also comes with a long list of other benefits that can help you save money on dining and travel.
When you enroll in the dining credit benefit, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits per month on charges made by the following restaurants and delivery apps:
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth's Chris Steak House
- Shake Shack (participating locations)
- Terms apply
If you maximize this reward each month, you'll get a total of up to $120 on these dining purchases.
Cardholders also get up to a $100 onsite credit to use at hotels booked within The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. You must stay at least two nights, and the credit can only be applied to qualifying activities, which include dining and spa treatments. However, it might be difficult to take advantage of this benefit if you don't typically book hotel stays with The Hotel Collection.
- Baggage insurance: If you've ever had an airline lose or damage your luggage, you know how expensive it can be to replace your bags and the items within them. The American Express® Gold Card comes with baggage insurance that will cover up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage. The trip must be purchased with your American Express® Gold Card to qualify for coverage.
- Car rental insurance: When you pay for a rental car with your American Express® Gold Card and deny collision coverage from the rental agency, you'll receive secondary rental car insurance through your card benefits. Secondary coverage means you'll have to file a claim with any personal insurance you hold before you can file one with American Express. There are restrictions involved, including some countries where coverage isn't available and some vehicles that aren't covered.
Many credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% on all purchases made overseas, which means that for every $1,000 you spend while traveling abroad, you’d have to pay a $30 fee. However, the American Express® Gold Card doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees, so you won't have to worry about them eating into your travel budget.
How does the American Express® Gold Card compare to other cards?
The American Express® Gold Card is an excellent option for frequent travelers and foodies alike, but it’s not the only one out there. Here are a few of the best cards in this category and how they stack up.
American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express
With a hefty $695 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. The card lets you earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. That's a higher rate on directly booked flights than the American Express® Gold Card, though you won't get the elevated rate on dining and U.S. supermarkets that you get with the American Express® Gold Card. If you spend more on travel than dining and supermarkets, then The Platinum Card® from American Express is worth considering.
The decision to get The Platinum Card® from American Express also depends on whether you value luxury travel experiences. Consider that the card's $695 annual fee goes toward a membership to Amex's Global Lounge Collection — this isn’t a perk that’s available on the American Express® Gold Card. You'll also get elite hotel status and more extensive travel insurance.
American Express® Gold Card vs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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 around 2.5% back on travel (2X Ultimate Rewards points multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal). On the other hand, the American Express® Gold Card only lets you earn points on directly booked flights — 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 4X rewards rate it offers at restaurants; despite being a solid all-around card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only offers 2X points on dining. The argument for the American Express® Gold Card is even stronger once you consider other benefits like its dining credit.
American Express® Gold Card vs. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great option for newbies to the travel credit card world or folks who want one card that earns well on all purchases. Rather than getting a super-powered earn rate on a few select categories, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns a solid 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. It doesn't come with all the bells and whistles you get with the American Express® Gold Card (such as dining credit and Uber cash), but it does come with a hefty welcome bonus and a lower annual fee.
Venture miles are also easier to redeem than Membership Rewards, as they can be applied as a statement credit to any purchase that codes as travel. That being said, while the Capital One Venture program has transfer partners like American Express Membership Rewards does, the transfer rate is worse with Capital One. This means Venture miles are generally worth less than Amex points.
Is the American Express® Gold Card worth it?
The American Express® Gold Card can prove extremely lucrative for anyone who spends a lot on travel and food. It's a great middle-of-the-road card for anyone who wants premium perks and bigger rewards, but isn't ready to pay for the steeper annual fee on a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express.
To get the most value out of this card's rewards system, though, you have to redeem your points for flights through the Amex portal or transfer them to one of Amex's airline partners. This means that the American Express® Gold Card is best for people who want to earn rewards that can be redeemed for flights — otherwise, you're probably better off with a rewards program that's a little more flexible.
Who is eligible for an American Express® Gold Card?
You have to be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident to apply for the American Express® Gold Card. Your application will be reviewed largely on the basis of your credit, so you'll need a good credit score for the best chance at approval. Make sure you understand the Amex application rules before applying.
How do you apply for the American Express® Gold Card?
You can apply for the American Express® Gold Card online at AmericanExpress.com. The application is brief, and you can receive a decision in as little as 30 seconds. It asks for personal information like your address and Social Security number as well as financial information like your income.
Is the American Express® Gold Card metal?
The American Express® Gold Card is a metal card made from a mixture of materials including stainless steel.
Does the American Express® Gold Card cover car rental insurance?
The American Express® Gold Card comes with secondary rental car insurance, meaning it kicks in after your primary coverage. To qualify for coverage, you have to pay for your rental car using your American Express® Gold Card and decline the rental agency's collision coverage.
Is the American Express® Gold Card a charge card or a credit card?
The American Express® Gold Card was formerly a charge card (which meant you’d have to pay off your balance in full at the end of each billing period), but is now a credit card with a couple of unique features: Unlike a typical credit card, it has no preset spending limit (see the next question to find out what that means) — and, through the Pay it Plan it® feature, it allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
How much is the credit limit on the American Express® Gold Card?
The American Express® Gold Card doesn't come with a preset spending limit. And while that doesn't mean you can spend as much as you'd like, it does mean that your limit is flexible and based on a number of factors such as your payment history, spending habits, income and credit history. You can check your spending power at any given time by logging on to your American Express account.
Can you get cash back with the American Express® Gold Card?
The American Express® Gold Card earns Membership Rewards points rather than cash back. However, you can redeem your Membership Rewards points for statement credits at a rate of 0.6 cents each — this is, however, one of the least valuable redemption options.
Does the American Express® Gold Card have foreign transaction fees?
The American Express® Gold Card doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees. Many credit cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made abroad, so this is a nice benefit to have.
Does the American Express® Gold Card help build your credit?
Like any other card issuer, American Express will report your payments and other activity to the credit bureaus. This means that the American Express® Gold Card can help you build credit, but only if you use it responsibly and pay it off on time. Try to keep your balance relatively low and make sure to always make your monthly minimum payment on time.
Does the American Express® Gold Card have lounge access?
You won't get any lounge access with the American Express® Gold Card. The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with a steeper annual fee and additional benefits, comes with complimentary airport lounge access.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Credit Card and American Express® Green Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.