After an overhaul in October 2018, the American Express® Gold Card changed from being an average travel card to becoming a dining rewards powerhouse. The revamped earning structure boasts generous rewards rates and many competitive travel benefits.
With a slew of perks and a sleek metal design, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement about the Amex Gold. But before you decide if this particular travel rewards card is right for you, you should take a closer look at how the card works and which benefits it includes.
Keep reading this Amex Gold review for all the info you need to make a smart decision.
Big Rewards at Restaurants
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
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
Who should get the American Express® Gold Card?
We’ve all got to eat, and if you love to dine out — or dine in — this card can offer excellent returns. With 4X points earned at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., as well as a $120 dining credit (enrollment required), you can find great value in this card if you spend regularly in these areas.
Along with the many perks for self-professed foodies, you also earn rewards on travel. With 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com and a $100 experience credit when you book a two-night minimum stay through The Hotel Collection, the Amex Gold can keep you rightfully satisfied if you enjoy traveling.
Cards like the American Express® Gold Card are typically geared toward people with good to excellent credit. Unlike typical credit cards, the Amex Gold allows you to carry a balance for certain charges but not all, so you may need to be able to pay off your balance in full each month.
If you rarely travel or dine out and can’t put the annual credits to good use, a cashback credit card like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express might make more sense for you instead of paying the Amex Gold's $250 annual fee.
|Card issuer||American Express|
|Annual fee||$250 (Terms apply)|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership|
|Reward 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|
|Recommended credit score||Excellent, Good|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
American Express® Gold Card benefits and perks
- Generous welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership after account opening.
- $120 dining credit: After enrolling, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits each month at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations for an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $120 in Uber Cash: Cardmembers can also enjoy up to $120 per year in Uber Cash by adding the Amex Gold to their Uber account. Each month, you'll receive $10 in Uber Cash good toward Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. You must add your Amex Gold to the Uber app to benefit from this offer.
- No foreign transaction fee: The Amex Gold ranks high among cards with no foreign transaction fee. You can travel abroad without having to worry about racking up unnecessary charges every time you swipe your card.
- Travel insurance: If you pay for a car rental with your Amex Gold, you can also be covered by rental car insurance. Your luggage will also be covered by Amex's baggage insurance plan.
- Shopping benefits: Purchases made with this card could also be eligible for purchase protection and extended warranty protection. This could make this card a great fit if you plan to make a large purchase and would like extra protection.
- Payment flexibility: It’s a good rule of thumb to pay off your balance each month. But if you need some flexibility, this card's Pay Over Time benefit allows you to carry over a balance on eligible charges of $100 or more. Just be aware that this will cause you to be charged interest.
- Choose your gold: If you prefer rose gold to regular gold, then you're in luck. Amex has brought back the option to choose which color gold you'd like your card to be.
Drawbacks to this card
- Annual fee: The perks and bonus points of this card don't come without a cost. You'll pay an annual fee of $250.
- No lounge benefits: While this card has great earning potential when it comes to travel purchases, it does not feature some of the luxury perks of other travel credit cards. If that's important to you, then you might want to look into The Platinum Card® from American Express. You can start by exploring the differences between the Amex Gold vs. Platinum cards.
Earning & redeeming Amex Membership Rewards
Potential earnings in years one and two
Here's a look at how your points can add up with the American Express® Gold Card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per point.
Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.
Year one earnings: $1,244
Year two earnings: $644
These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.
In our calculations, we also assigned all travel spending to the 3X for flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com. So if some of your travel budget is allocated to hotels and other travel purchases, as opposed to airfare, then you will see lower earnings. That said, the value of this card is potentially boosted by hundreds of dollars each over what is indicated here if you take advantage of the annual dining credit.
Best ways to earn
Amex Gold benefits are an excellent choice for foodies who also enjoy traveling. Whether you eat in or dine out, this card could be a great way for you to earn nearly free travel.
|U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.||4X|
|Flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com||3X|
|All other eligible purchases||1X|
Maximizing your redemptions
The value of your Membership Rewards points will vary depending on how you redeem them but generally ranges between 0.5 cents to one cent each. You can redeem your American Express Membership Rewards by booking through American Express Travel, or you can transfer points to participating hospitality partners.
If you consider getting an equal match on your points as collecting the most value, the clear winner among your redemption options is transferring your Amex points to an eligible frequent traveler program.
|Maximum Value||Value per point|
|Transfer to frequent traveler program||1:1|
|Moderate Value||Value per point|
|Redeem for paid travel||0.7 cents to 1 cent|
|Shop Amazon||0.7 cents|
|Statement credit||0.6 cents|
|Lowest Value||Value per point|
|Gift cards||0.5 cents to 1 cent|
|Shop with merchant partners||0.5 cents|
Amex Gold transfer partners
If you prefer to book through another loyalty program, there are a number of airlines and hotels that are Amex transfer partners. Most Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio with these travel partners, with some exceptions. With the following airlines, you could use your Amex rewards to book nearly free flights.
|Amex Airline Transfer Partner||Airline Alliance||Transfer Ratio|
|Air Canada||Star Alliance||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways||Star Alliance||1:1|
|Avianca LifeMiles||Star Alliance||1:1|
|British Airways||Oneworld Alliance||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines||SkyTeam||1:1|
|Iberia Plus||Oneworld Alliance||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines||Star Alliance||1:1|
|Qantas Airlines||Oneworld Alliance||1:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Airways||N/A||1:1|
If you want to use your Amex Membership Rewards for your lodging, you can also work your way toward staying at a hotel for free.
|Amex Hotel Transfer Partner||Minimum Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
Amex Gold FAQs
What credit score do you need to get an American Express® Gold Card?
Just like other premium rewards cards, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify, so aim for a FICO score above 670 for the best chance of getting approved.
Does the Amex Gold get you access to airport lounges?
Unfortunately, no. While the American Express® Gold Card comes with a variety of travel benefits, you would need The Platinum Card® from American Express in order to gain complimentary access to American Express lounge networks. If you're open to getting a card from a different credit card issuer, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will offer you a ton of luxury travel benefits that more than compensate for the card's annual fee.
The Amex Gold is part of the Amex trifecta and pairs well with the Amex Platinum. You can compare the Amex trifecta vs. Chase trifecta rewards side-by-side to see which card combination gets you your preferred travel benefits.
Is the American Express® Gold Card worth it?
If you can maximize the many benefits and you are a big spender in the card’s bonus categories, the Amex Gold may be worth every penny, even with the $250 annual fee.
Does the Amex Gold pair well with other cards?
Yes, especially when combined with other strong American Express cards within the Membership Rewards program, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
The Amex Gold is also one of the key components of the Amex trifecta, which helps maximize your rewards.
All information about Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.
Other cards to consider
If the benefits of the American Express® Gold Card don’t offset the annual fee in your eyes, a card with comparable rewards and a lower annual fee may be a smarter choice.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a generous welcome offer that can help kickstart your travel plans and is an excellent option if you like to travel and dine out. The Sapphire Preferred offers many similar benefits to the Amex Gold, including travel insurance coverage and DoorDash benefits, but with a much lower annual fee of $95. Seeing how the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Gold rewards stack up next to each other can help you decide which card offers the greater value.
If you're more interested in travel benefits, then The Platinum Card® from American Express would be a better fit. With this card, you'll get lounge access, a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit, elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, and much much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
Big Rewards at Restaurants
See how these cards compare:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 10% anniversary point bonus each year
- $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
- Premium travel protection benefits
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months
- Select your metal card design: classic Platinum Card, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu
- 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com
- Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
- Select benefits require enrollment.
- $695 annual fee
- See rates and fees | Terms Apply