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Amex recently unveiled the latest addition to its lineup of Membership Rewards earning credit cards, the American Express® Gold Card. Replacing the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, the Amex Gold features compelling bonus categories focused on food and travel, a new dining credit to add to the existing airline credit, a fancy new metal card design, and an updated annual fee of $250 (Rates & Fees).
- 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 at U.S. restaurants. 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 $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is 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.
- Rates & Fees
Amex Gold Welcome Offer
New Amex Gold cardholders can earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
While the Amex Gold is set to be a points-earning machine on dining and supermarket spend, when you compare the welcome offer to rewards cards competing in similar categories, even those with low or no annual fee, the offer leaves a bit to be desired.
Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses
The revised bonus categories are where the new Amex Gold truly shines. The card features a monster 4x Membership Rewards points on domestic dining and supermarket purchases, making it the go-to card for dining purchases within the U.S.
The American Express® Gold Card earns:
- 4X points at US restaurants
- 4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
- 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1x on all other purchases
The caveat to the high return on dining and supermarket spending is that only purchases within the U.S. qualify. If you travel internationally, you will get a better return swiping any card earning better than one point per dollar on dining or at supermarkets, provided the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. For domestic dining and supermarket purchases, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better return than on the Amex Gold.
Although the Amex Gold earns 3x on airfare if purchased directly from the airline, we still recommend swiping one of our top cards for travel purchases over the Amex Gold when purchasing airfare for a few reasons:
- We rate Ultimate Rewards as slightly more valuable than Membership Rewards, so 3x on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card provides a better return
- There is no need to purchase directly from the airline; you’ll receive bonus points on all airfare whether you purchase from the airline or through an OTA
- Amex cards don’t make the list of cards providing comprehensive travel insurance, lacking key cover such as Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance
Amex Gold Feature Benefits
$100 Annual Airline Fee Credit
Most folks will be familiar with Amex's airline incidentals credit. Cardholders select a qualifying airline from Amex's list. The $100 Amex airline credit covers incidental fees including airline change fees, lounge day passes & memberships, booking fees, and baggage fees.
$120 Annual Dining Credit
The Amex Gold provides a $10 monthly statement credit for purchases at select U.S. restaurants. The credit is limited to purchases from GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. If you don't typically purchase food from these outlets, the $10 monthly credit will hold $0 value; however, if you can make use of them, you can add the additional $120 to the annual value the card returns.
Premium Roadside Assistance
Unlike the roadside assistance typically offered with rewards cards, the Amex Gold provides Premium Roadside Assistance which covers items like jump starts, winching, flat tires, lockout services, and towing up to 10 miles at no additional cost up to 4 times per calendar year. This is a valuable service that features on only a handful of cards.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
In addition to typical application restrictions, American Express has begun cracking down on folks it feels are ‘gaming ‘ the system. In addition to the standard ‘one bonus per product per lifetime’ language we know so well, Amex has added language to its card application T&Cs stating that they will also take into account the number of American Express cards you’ve opened and closed, plus other factors before determining your eligibility to receive the welcome offer.
“Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.”
New applicants for the Amex Gold won’t qualify for the welcome bonus if they currently hold the Premier Rewards Gold Card, or have held it in the past.
If you currently hold a Premier Rewards Gold Card, you should already see the upgraded bonus categories and benefits when logging into your account, and you’ll be automatically converted to the new Amex Gold with the updated annual fee kicking in from April 1, 2019, on your account renewal date.
Keep in mind that the Amex Gold is a charge card, not a credit card, so it is not subject to the five card cap placed on the number of Amex credit cards you can hold.
The redesigned category bonuses on the American Express® Gold Card place the card squarely in the ’daily use’ set of cards you pull out for both essential purchases like groceries, and when out and about dining with friends and family. Folks that previously held the Premier Rewards Gold Card won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus, but with the welcome offer being a bit ordinary, it’s not a huge loss when you factor in the value of the points you could accumulate on the card through regular spending.
If you can swallow the increased annual fee, we don’t see this as a card you acquire for the welcome bonus; rather, it’s a card you’ll keep for the long term.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
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