6 American Express® Gold Card Benefits That Far Outweigh Its Annual Fee

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
The perks will more than make up for the card’s steep annual fee.
Updated April 9, 2024
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The American Express® Gold Card is packed with valuable rewards and benefits that make it an easy choice for everyday spenders and frequent travelers. Even with a steep annual fee, you’ll get excellent dining and travel perks that can help make up for the cost.

Here’s what you need to know about the American Express® Gold Card benefits — and why it might be a good fit for you.

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American Express® Gold Card at a glance

If you’re considering a card that offers excellent value on dining and travel, as well as at U.S. supermarkets, the American Express Gold Card could be a good match for you. You’ll earn up to 4X points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., which can go a long way with the card’s flexible rewards program.

American Express Membership Rewards are worth between 0.5 cents and one cent apiece when you redeem them directly through the credit card issuer — a value that’s nothing to write home about. But if you transfer points to a loyalty program that is one of American Express’ travel partners, you could potentially squeeze a lot more value out of them. This includes loyalty programs like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

These airline and hotel partners have dynamic rewards programs, which means the redemption rate can vary based on when and how you redeem. With the right redemption, you could get far more value than just one cent per point.

The card is also appealing because of its metal design. It does not, however, have an intro APR offer on purchases or any special balance transfer intro offer.

While it does charge a $250 annual fee, that can easily be made up for with the American Express Gold Card’s benefits. So let's take a look at these perks, which include travel benefits and much more.

Top 6 American Express Gold Card benefits

It’s natural to feel apprehensive about such a high annual fee, but depending on how you use the card, the American Express Gold Card’s benefits could easily outweigh the card’s $250 yearly cost. Here’s what you’d have to look forward to.

1. Generous welcome offer

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership after account opening.

As a new cardholder, you’ll earn a welcome bonus when you apply and are approved for the card and meet its minimum spending requirement. While the number of bonus points you can earn with a new card may sound low compared with other top travel credit cards, the minimum spend requirement is manageable for even the smallest budget. Do plan your spending responsibly, as unlike typical credit cards, the Amex Gold allows you to carry a balance for certain charges but not all.

You can redeem the points through American Express Travel, but if you redeem the points strategically through transfer partners, they could be worth far more than what you might get from a bigger bonus that provides less flexibility.

2. High-earning bonus categories

A welcome bonus is nice, but if you’re going to hold onto a card for a long time, having solid ongoing rewards rates is crucial. With the American Express Gold Card, you can earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases.

All other purchases will net you just one point per dollar, but if you spend a lot in the card’s bonus categories, you could easily make up for the lower base rewards rate. The high-earning bonus rates could make this one of the best credit cards for groceries.

Plus, you can always pair the card with another one that offers a high rewards rate on every purchase — for example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Citi Double Cash® Card — to avoid leaving money on the table.

3. Dining credits

Cardholders get up to $120 in dining credits each year — that’s $10 per month — when using the card at select restaurants and food delivery services. This includes Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required for this benefit.

If you regularly dine out or order in, it could be easy to take advantage of this benefit.

4. Premium hotel credit

If you enroll in this benefit and book at least two consecutive nights with a property in The Hotel Collection, you’ll get a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities. You’ll also get a room upgrade if there’s one available.

5. Amex Offers

American Express provides access to the Amex Offers platform on all of its charge and credit cards. You can sift through and activate offers through your online account or mobile app and earn cash back or extra bonus points when you redeem them.

6. Flexible payment option

With the American Express Gold, you may have the option to carry a balance on eligible purchases of $100 or more. This is made possible with the card's Pay Over Time option. While it’s generally best to pay your bill on time and in full each month to avoid interest charges, having this flexibility can be helpful in the right situation.

Additional Amex Gold Card benefits

As you can see, you might have an easy time getting enough value out of the Amex Gold benefits to make up for its annual fee. If that isn’t enough, though, here are some ancillary benefits that could help make the card even more worth your while.

American Express Gold Card benefits Benefit details
No foreign transaction fee You’ll save up to 3% on every purchase you make abroad
Rental car insurance Offers up to $50,000 in secondary coverage; primary coverage is available at a low cost
Baggage insurance plan Provides coverage of up to $1,250 on carry-on baggage and up to $500 on checked baggage if lost, damaged, or stolen
ShopRunner membership Get free two-day shipping on select items with more than 100 online retailers. Enrollment required.
Amex Preferred Seating Gain access to premium seats for select cultural and sporting events
Exclusive access to ticket presales Get tickets before the general public for Broadway shows, concert tours, family and sporting events, and more
Trip accident insurance Offers up to $250,000 in coverage if you sustain accidental death or dismemberment when traveling on a common carrier
Purchase protection Get up to $10,000 per claim in coverage if a recently-purchased item is accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost
Return protection Offers up to $300 per claim if you try to return an eligible item you purchased with the card within 90 days and the merchant won’t take it back
Extended warranty protection You’ll get up to two extra years added to the original manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items with warranties of five years or less

Note: Enrollment required for select benefits. 

Is the Amex Gold Card worth it?

The American Express Gold Card benefits make the card an appealing choice for all kinds of consumers. The travel benefits are appealing in particular. If you're a frequent traveler and you think you’ll get a lot of value out of the perks the card provides and spend a lot on dining and at U.S. supermarkets, it could be a no-brainer. The annual savings this card will earn you will far outweigh the annual fee.

If, however, you’re turned off by any mention of an annual fee (regardless of the value a card offers), or you’re not confident you’ll break even each year, it may be worth considering a different rewards card from American Express credit cards or another bank.

The bottom line on Amex Gold Card vs. Amex Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best travel credit cards out there, offering premium travel perks that are tough to beat for a $695 annual fee. If you travel often and want complimentary airport lounge access, Uber credits (terms apply), elite hotel and car-rental status, a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and more, the American Express Platinum may be worth considering. Enrollment is required for select benefits. Similar to the Amex Gold Card, the Amex Platinum allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.

But if the idea of a $695 annual fee sounds too daunting, or you don’t travel enough to take advantage of the perks, the American Express Gold Card can give you benefits that are easier to use, plus much better rewards rates on everyday spending.

Big Rewards at Restaurants

4.8

American Express® Gold Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee

$250

Rewards Rate

4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases

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Author Details

Ben Luthi Ben is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people achieve their money goals. Along with FinanceBuzz, his writing has also been featured on U.S. News, NerdWallet, Experian, Credit Karma, and more.

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