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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

The American Express® Gold Card is one of our favorite cards for dining and supermarket shopping.
Editor's Rating: 5.0/5.0
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

5.0/5.0

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

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) and a $100 airline fee credit. 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

On American Express' Secure Website

American Express® Gold Card

On American Express' Secure Website
  • Earn 35,000 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 when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. 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 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.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn 35,000 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 when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. 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 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.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$250
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good, Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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 restaurants worldwide, 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 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.

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, then you would come pretty close to breaking even.

Where the Card Could Do Better

The American Express® Gold Card packs an unimpressive bonus of 35,000 points, which we value to be worth $350. 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 $2,000 in the first three months. The one positive is that the spending requirement of $2,000 is low compared to other offers we've seen.

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.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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 users a 2.5% rewards rate on all travel purchases (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal). 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 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

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem 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 $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 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 50,000 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®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 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
Regular APR
19.24% - 26.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent Credit
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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 welcome bonus, it's relatively easy to meet its spending requirement of $2,000 in the first three months.

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

On American Express' Secure Website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website
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.
  • 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.
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
N/A
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good, Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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 restaurants worldwide 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 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, 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. The 35,000 point welcome 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 welcome bonus on The Platinum Card® from American Express, which you earn after spending $5,000.

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

Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Comments and Questions

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).