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

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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Editor's Rating

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The card offers a much faster way to earn rewards points on various purchases such as restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets. There's no foreign transaction fee and balances must be paid in full at the end of every month.
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Editor's Rating

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The card offers a much faster way to earn rewards points on various purchases such as restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets. There's no foreign transaction fee and balances must be paid in full at the end of every month.
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Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

The American Express® Gold Card 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). The one area where the card could be more competitive with peers is in its current welcome 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 Card

American Express® Gold Card

$250

See Pay Over Time APR

Excellent/Good

  • 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 on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • 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 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.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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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 lets you Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, 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. On top of being a great card for dining, it offers a competitive 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 which include Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations). 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.

This card also offers a $100 annual airline credit that allows you to cover incidental fees on a select qualifying airline. However, this will no longer be available starting 2022, but current cardholders can use this airline credit through Dec. 31, 2021. While we are disappointed to see this credit go, we anticipate American Express to replace this credit with another offer in the future.

It's worth noting that the card has a steep $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). 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 (expires Dec. 31, 2021), then you would come pretty close to breaking even.

Where the Card Could Do Better

The American Express® Gold Card packs an unimpressive bonus. Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Other cards with an annual fee of $100 and over typically offer welcome bonuses valued anywhere from $500 to $750. To get the welcome bonus, you'll have to spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Bottom Line

The American Express® Gold Card is one of the better cards that's available, especially for people who spend a lot on dining and at supermarkets. While it does have a high annual fee, it offers up enough benefits to make it worth the cost. With American Express discontinuing the $100 airline credit, we expect to see another benefit eventually take its place.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

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.

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

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Our Thoughts

The better card between these two will depend on your spending habits: if you're a traveler, apply for 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 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. (2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal). On the other hand, the American Express® Gold Card has a Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, 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. 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 restaurants worldwide. 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.

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

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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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 $550, 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 $550 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, but it shouldn't take much work for you to earn back the annual fee through rewards.

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

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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 Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, 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. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. If you spend more on travel accommodations than dining and supermarkets, 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 (expiring Dec. 31, 2021), 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 supermarket expenses, the American Express® Gold Card is a much more valuable card.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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