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The American Express® Gold Card features compelling bonus categories at restaurants, grocery stores, and flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com. Cardmembers can also take advantage of annual travel and dining credits. If maximized, these credits can easily offset the card's annual fee each year.
Additionally, the card provides a perfect complement to other cards earning Membership Rewards. It can be a great tool for maximizing your earnings across purchases, but that doesn't mean it's a perfect fit for every traveler.
Here's a look at whether the Amex Gold is the right card for you.
- Amex Gold Pros
- Amex Gold Cons
- Amex Gold Welcome Offer
- Amex Gold Benefits
- Amex Gold Earning Rates
- Redeeming Points With the Amex Gold
- Application Restrictions
- Cards That Compete With the Amex Gold
- Targeted Offers
- Final Thoughts
Amex Gold Pros
- Earn 4X at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com.
- Offers up to $240 in annual travel and dining credits.
- No preset spending limit.
- Earns valuable American Express Membership Rewards points.
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Amex Gold Cons
- $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees).
- Earns only 1 point per $1 spent on non-bonused spending.
- Amex Offers may seem like a coupon book, requiring a lot of attention to extract the most value.
- High APR interest rates on Pay Over Time purchases if you carry a balance.
Amex Gold Welcome Offer
New Amex Gold cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. That's an incredible welcome offer on a card that is already a points-earning machine.
60,000 Membership Rewards points can return a ton of value when transferred to one of Amex's airline transfer partners. For example, when transferred to Iberia Plus, you could book round-trip business class flights to Spain for 68,000 points during off-peak dates. Or, when transferred to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you could book a one-way Delta One business-class award to Europe for just 50,000 points.
For context on how much this bonus is worth, AwardWallet users redeem Amex points at 2.14¢ apiece, on average. Look for transfer bonuses to Amex's airline partners to get even more value from your Membership Rewards.
Amex Gold Benefits
The Amex Gold is packed with benefits. Here are the most valuable perks for new and current cardholders.
$120 in Uber Cash
Cardmembers will receive $10 in monthly Uber Cash credit for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S. — a value of up to $120 per year.
Just how valuable this Uber benefit is will vary by cardmember. Is Uber or Uber Eats available where you live? Can you use this perk easily without the need to pay additional amounts on your ride or food order?
To take advantage of the Uber Cash benefit, add your Amex Gold as a payment method in your Uber account. The monthly Uber Cash will be deposited to your account automatically, though it expires at the end of the each month. You can't roll the credits over to the next month.
$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, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations – enrollment is required.
While the individual restaurants may be hit-or-miss, GrubHub allows you to order from dozens of local eateries and food trucks, so this benefit should be relatively easy to use if you order delivery at least once a month. That said, coverage may be worse in rural areas, so consider the options before determining how valuable this $120 in credits is to you.
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
The Hotel Collection
When you book a stay of two nights or more using The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel, the Amex Gold will award a $100 experience credit to use during your stay. The experience credit may vary by property.
Trip insurance benefits
The Amex Gold is great when it comes to travel insurance. It provides a variety of insurance products for cardmembers, including:
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: Get up to $300 of reimbursement for eligible expenses like food, toiletries, and accommodation if your travel is delayed more than 12 hours due to a covered reason. You'll get up to $300 towards . Cardmembers can make two claims every 12 months.
- Baggage Insurance Plan: You will be eligible for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage coverage when you book travel via plane, train, ship, or bus and pay with your card. Coverage is provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked luggage — in excess of coverage already provided by the carrier.
- Global Assist® Hotline: When you're more than 100 miles from home, have access to 24/7 emergency assistance and coordination services. Note that the aid is free, but the services charged by providers typically are not.
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Use your card to pay for your rental and decline the insurance at the counter to receive secondary coverage for damage or theft — up to $50,000. Note that this insurance isn't applicable in Australia, Italy, or New Zealand.
Shopping protection benefits
The Amex Gold also offers some handy purchase protection and extended warranty perks:
- Purchase Protection: Coverage up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 annually. Protects eligible purchases that are accidentally lost, stolen, or damaged in the first 90 days from the purchase date.
- Extended Warranty: Adds an additional year to the original manufacturer's warranty when the warranty is five years or less. Coverage is up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 annually.
No foreign transaction fees
The absence of foreign transaction fees is an essential card benefit for anyone who ventures abroad. You'll pay no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees) for purchases made overseas on the Amex Gold. Foreign transaction fees can add as much as 3% to every purchase outside the U.S. if you use the wrong card, and those costs can add up fast.
Amex Gold Earning Rates
The long-term earning potential is where the Amex Gold truly shines. The card features a monster 4X Membership Rewards points on dining, making it one of the best cards for dining purchases. You'll also get 4X at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). These ensure a top return on your food spending.
The American Express® Gold Card earns:
- 4X points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 4X points at U.S. 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 other purchases
The caveat to the high return on supermarket spend is that only purchases within the U.S. qualify. If you're overseas or travel internationally, you'll earn just one point per dollar at supermarkets. In this instance, finding another card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and has a better return is worth it. For U.S. supermarket purchases, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better return than what the Amex Gold provides.
The Amex Gold earns 3X on airfare if purchased directly from the airline or via AmexTravel. However, you shouldn't use this card when purchasing flights (or any other type of travel) from an online travel agency like Expedia or Priceline. For those purchases, use one of our top cards for travel purchases instead.
Redeeming Points With the Amex Gold
Transfer to partners
American Express points are incredibly valuable — even more so if you take advantage of Amex's 21 hotel and airline partners. With 18 different airline partners and three hotel partners from which to choose, it's easy to make high-end redemptions a reality.
However, not all transfer partners are created equal. For example, transfer options like Marriott Bonvoy can represent a poor use of your points and should be avoided unless necessary — such as topping off a balance for a redemption.
Here's a full list of Amex transfer partners, and remember that you can use points in the airline programs to book associated partners, opening the door to booking nearly 100 airlines with your Amex points.
It's also possible to redeem your points within the Amex Travel portal. You can use your points for flights, hotels, rental cars, or cruises. However, you should be wary of redeeming in this way. Amex tends to undervalue its own points within the portal and will usually give you a value of less than one cent per point for your bookings. The only exception to this is for flights, where you'll receive 1¢ per point in value — or even a little more if you're able to find one of Amex's “Insider Fares.”
Amex partners with over 20 different airlines for business class upgrades using your Amex points. These include the likes of Air Tahiti Nui, Fiji Airways, Etihad, and Air Canada. Using points here can be a nice way to bid on a business-class upgrade if you aren't able to find award availability for business-class seats directly.
However, it can be incredibly expensive to use your points for these upgrades, and you'll receive a value of just one cent per point. That said, if the airline isn't available as a transfer partner or lacks award availability, this is an option for using your points. And if the cost difference between your original booking and upgrading to business class is low, then you might not need that many points.
You're able to redeem Amex points for gift cards. However, these tend to represent a pretty poor use of points — often 1¢ apiece or less.
Like with gift cards, Amex also allows you to redeem Amex points against any purchases that you've made but will give you poor value on these redemptions. Your points are worth 0.6¢ apiece for statement credits.
Pay with Points
If you have an Amazon account (or any other site where Pay With Points is enabled), you can opt to redeem your Amex points to pay at checkout. However, this is another bad use of your points. The only time this is a good use of points is when you can redeem a handful of points (or even just one) for big discounts.
Finally, Amex has its own shopping portal where you can redeem your points for a variety of items. These include things like headphones, computers, cellphones, and other gifts. Don't use your points here. A recent example required 139,800 points for a $699 iPhone 13 mini, which means you'll get a dismal 0.5 cents per point in value.
American Express has a standard “one welcome offer per product per lifetime” restriction on each card. You won't be able to earn the welcome offer on the Amex Gold if you have had this card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express in the past.
In addition, Amex has added language to its card application terms, restricting who can get the welcome offer. Amex will take into account the number of American Express cards you’ve opened and closed — plus “other factors” that aren't disclosed — in determining your eligibility to receive the welcome offer:
“Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Amex Gold. 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.”
Remember that the Amex Gold is not a traditional credit card. That means it isn't subject to the unwritten rule that Amex has about the number of Amex credit cards you can hold.
Cards That Compete With the Amex Gold
Because of its $250 annual fee, the Amex Gold sits awkwardly in between mid-tier cards with annual fees around the $100 mark and ultra-premium travel cards with fees north of $450. The Amex Gold isn't for everyone, so let's look at your other options.
- If you want to earn Amex points with a lower annual fee, consider the American Express® Green Card. You'll earn 3X points on travel, transit, and restaurants worldwide (with no earning limits) and pay an annual fee of just $150 . For more details, see our full Amex Green Card review.
- If you want good earnings at foreign supermarkets, the Citi Premier® Card is a good option. For a $95 annual fee, you'll earn 3X Citi ThankYou Points on travel, transit, dining, gas, and supermarkets worldwide. See our full Citi Premier review for details.
- If you want more perks while earning rewards on travel and dining, look into the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You'll earn up to 10X points on travel and dining booked in the Chase portal, 3X on travel booked elsewhere, 3X on dining, and 1X on other purchases. While the card does have a hefty $550 annual fee, the annual $300 travel credit eats a big chunk of that. Full details are in our Sapphire Reserve review.
While the offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points represent the highest publicly available offer for the Amex Gold, it's also worth checking for targeted offers that could result in an even larger welcome bonus.
You can view targeted offers using the CardMatch tool, which will ask for some personal information and run a quick check to see what special credit card offers you may qualify for. You might see an offer for a higher welcome bonus; as these are targeted offers, not everyone will see the same thing — and you might not have any offers for this card.
The Amex Gold is a powerhouse rewards card delivering long-term value for cardmembers, provided you can take advantage of the Uber and dining credits to help offset the annual fee. It features valuable bonus categories that can help you earn a significant balance of Membership Rewards points with your everyday spending. The increased offer can kickstart your rewards-earning efforts over the first few months.
This card is a winner, and it's worth keeping long-term if you have significant food spending purchases or can maximize the credits to justify paying the $250 annual fee.
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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