Review of the American Express® Gold Card

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina | Reviews

Oct 19, 2018 | Updated Oct 30, 2018

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If you are looking for a new card that has impressive rewards and makes an impact, the American Express Gold Card might be for you.

This is a charge card, rather than a normal credit card, and replaces the former Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (Review), charging a higher annual fee and providing different rewards.

Offering 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets, you can also earn 3X points per $1 spent on flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel. Those points can be worth up to 2 cents each, or even more in some cases, so you can typically earn a cash back equivalent of about 8%. If you’re a frequent traveler or consider yourself a foodie, that’s a great reward rate.

You’ll earn 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account, which can have a redemption value of $500 or more.

Cardholders get access to a nice suite of added benefits, particularly the $120 dining credit and $100 airline credit. 

You also get the prestige of a metal card in gold. Or, you can opt for a limited edition rose gold card if you apply before 1/9/2019. The Gold Card offers contactless technology, allowing you to pay for purchases simply by tapping it on compatible checkout terminals.

American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now

American Express® Gold Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S supermarkets, up to $25,000 in spending per year
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly through airlines and through amextravel.com
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 20% back at U.S. restaurants for the first 3 months, up to $100 back (for cardmembers who apply by 1/9/19)
  • $120 annual Dining Credit at select restaurants ($10 per month)
  • $100 annual Airline Fee Credit, good for incidental fees at the airline of your choice
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

We give the American Express Gold Card 5 out of 5 Stars for offering exceptional rewards and value. It’s one of the best travel rewards cards available right now.

Why We Like It

  • 4X points at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets
  • 3X points on flights booked through airlines or AmexTravel.com
  • 20% back at restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 (only for new cardmembers who apply by 1/9/19)
  • $120 dining credit
  • $100 airline credit
  • Points can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • No expiration date on rewards points
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why It Could Be Better

  • Somewhat high annual fee of $250
  • Relatively low signup bonus
  • Not everyone accepts American Express, especially internationally
  • New cardmembers won’t get 2X points for gas, although anyone who had the old Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (Review) will get to keep that category until 10/4/19

Despite its drawbacks, the Amex Gold Card offers significant value for those who love food and travel. However, if you’re looking for a new rewards credit card that delivers higher returns on other spending categories, check out some alternatives below.

Insider Advice: Using This Card As Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Pay for select purchases: Use the card for dining out and at grocery stores to earn 4X points per $1 spent, and for flights to earn 3X points. Use a different card for other purchases to earn more rewards in other categories.
  • Use the $120 dining credit: Use the card at participating partners, like GrubHub and The Cheesecake Factory, to get up to $10 in statement credits per month. Each year you can get up to $120 back this way, but take note that you’ll need to enroll before you get the credits.
  • Take advantage of the $100 airline credit: Select a qualifying airline and receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits, when incidental fees like checked bags and in-flight refreshments are charged by the airline to your Gold card.
  • Claim the signup bonus: Spend at least $2,000 within the first 3 months to claim the 25,000-point signup bonus.
  • Check your benefits: The American Express Gold Card offers some valuable benefits that can help make your vacations go more smoothly, such as a Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee, Personalized Travel Service, and the Global Assist Hotline.
  • Redeem with point transfers: Transfer your points to travel loyalty programs, at airlines and hotels, to get the best value.

What If I Had the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card?

The Amex Gold Card replaces the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (Review). If you had the old version of the card, there are some changes you need to be aware of.

  • It’s a metal card: The new version is a metal card, available in gold and, for a limited time, in rose gold (rose gold is available until 1/9/19).
  • There’s a higher annual fee: The annual fee will increase from $195 to $250 on your cardmember anniversary date, or after 4/1/19.
  • There are new features: You’ll retain many of the same rewards, and get some new benefits. You’ll receive 4X points at restaurants and supermarkets. And you can enroll in the new $120 Dining Credit.
  • The gas rewards will end: You’ll continue to earn 2X points on gas, but that will end on 10/4/19.
The rose gold version of the Amex Gold Card. Available until 1/9/19.

The rose gold version of the Amex Gold Card. Available until 1/9/19. Image credit: American Express

The Rewards

With this card, you can earn the equivalent of 0.5 to 8% cash back on your purchases, depending on what you buy.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on:
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at gas stations (former Premier Rewards Gold Card users only, until 10/4/19)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $125–$500 (assuming 0.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 6.25–25%

If you frequently eat out, cook at home, or travel, you can rack up points quickly.

However, the loss of the ability to earn 2X points per $1 spent at gas stations is a drawback, as that was a decent perk of the old Premier Rewards Gold Card (although it wasn’t an amazing feature by any means). If you’re looking to earn rewards at the pump, it will probably be worth looking for another rewards card in addition to this one.

Former Premier Rewards Gold Card users will still get 2X points per $1 spent at gas stations, but only until October 4, 2019.

When spending at the 4X rates, you could earn a cash back equivalent up to 8%, or potentially more, depending on how you redeem. Purchases of flights at the 3X rate could yield as much as 6% cash back or more.

Your points never expire as long as your account is open, so you can build up points without worrying about losing them.

Redeeming

Depending on how you redeem your points, they can be worth anywhere from 0.5 to 2 cents each, and in some cases even more.

Point transfers will offer the best value, allowing you to earn up to 2 cents per point or more, depending on the deal you get.

We recommend holding onto your points until you can find a point transfer for about 2 cents or more. But you can redeem your points in other ways, too.

  • Flights, hotels, or car rentals
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Shop through partner retailers
  • Charitable donations

For travel redemptions, flights will offer the best value at 1 cent per point. Statement credits offer a very poor value at just 0.6 cents per point. Gift cards and certain travel redemptions are slightly better at a maximum of 1 cent per point, but point transfers can offer double that value.

Redemption Method Point Value (In Cents)
Point Transfers 0.8–2
Air travel or hotels 0.5–1
Gift Cards 0.7–1
Donations 0.7
Statement credits 0.6
Shop Through Retailers 0.5–1

Here we break down a few different redemption methods and their values, showing how much your points are worth for each. For all of these examples, we assume that you’re trading in 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

Transferring to Loyalty Programs

You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to a number of frequent traveler programs, which cover several popular airlines and hotel chains.

There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to U.S. airlines, but there’s no charge for any other transfers. The typical conversion rate is 1:1, although there are some offers that provide higher rates.

There are also some loyalty programs that offer less favorable transfer rates. One example is JetBlue, where 1 Membership Rewards point is only equal to 0.8 JetBlue points.

Take note that the transfer rates are subject to change, with occasional promotional offers of better-than-usual rates.

Below are just a few of the most popular frequent traveler programs, including their current transfer rates and some point conversion examples.

Loyalty Program Type Transfer Rate You Give You Get
AerClub Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
AeroMexico Airline 1:1.6 1,000 1,600
AirCanada Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
British Airlines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hawaiian Airlines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
JetBlue Airline 1:.8 250 200
Hilton Honors Hotel 1:2 1,000 2,000
Choice Privileges Airline 1:8 1000 1000
Starwood Preferred Guest Airline 1:1 1000 1000

Travel

There are several different ways to redeem your points for travel expenses, with the most valuable being for airline flights. The primary way to book your travel is through American Express Travel, but you can also use Expedia. You’ll be able to redeem 10,000 points in the following ways.

Redemption Method Travel Service Redemption Value Point Value (In Cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Find Flights American Express Travel $100 1.0 1–4%
Reserve Prepaid Hotels American Express Travel $70 0.7 0.7–2.8%
Plan Vacations American Express Travel $70 0.7 0.7–2.8%
Take Cruises American Express Travel $70 0.7 0.7–2.8%
Flights and Hotels on Expedia.com Expedia.com $70 0.7 0.7–2.8%

Gift Cards

For 10,000 points, you can get a gift card of up to $100 for a variety of merchants. Depending on the gift card you choose, your points will be worth 0.7–1 cent each.

Point of Sale, Entertainment, and Donations

You can also redeem your points at checkout with select merchants or by donating them through JustGiving. Depending on which merchant you choose, your points are worth 0.5–1 cent each.

We recommend avoiding using your rewards to pay for purchases, because you won’t earn any points when you do. It would be more profitable to just pay with your card as normal, collect the points, and then use them elsewhere.

How to Offset the Annual Fee

If you travel often or like to eat out, it’s pretty easy to offset the $250 annual fee. The cost shouldn’t hold you back from applying for the card if it’s otherwise a good fit.

Each year, you’ll get a $100 airline credit and a $120 dining credit. If you’re able to use both credits fully, that exceptional value brings the effective annual fee down.

If you were to spend within the 4X categories and redeem using point transfers, earning 2 cents per point, that means you’d only have to spend $375 to offset the annual fee. If you charged at the 1X rate you’d need to spend $1,500.

For most people, if you use this card for just your regular grocery and dining expenses you could easily spend $375 per year, recouping the annual fee. And that doesn’t even take the 3X categories into account, which will provide even more points per year.

The Benefits

Although the American Express Gold Card allows you to earn rewards quickly, the card offers a lot of value through its benefits, too. Depending on which benefits you use, you could easily get at least $250 in value from the card per year (enough to offset the annual fee).

For more information, check out the benefit terms of the American Express Gold Card.

$100 Airline Credit

Get up $100 to use on airline meals or checked baggage fees when you fly.

To get this credit, you must select one qualifying airline here. After selecting an airline, you can only change it once a year, in January. You will only earn the credit when you make purchases with that specific airline.

The airline credit will only cover incidental fees, like meals on the plane or baggage fees, and cannot be used for flight tickets. This makes it less useful than the travel credits you’ll get with other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (Review). That card’s $300 travel credit can be used for a wide variety of travel expenses, like flights and hotel bookings.

$120 Dining Credit

Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express Gold Card at participating restaurants. This can result in an annual savings of up to $120.

Purchases must be made with the Gold Card to qualify for the credit, and it’s not valid for gift cards or merchandise purchases. While this benefit sounds great, the number of eligible restaurants is quite small. However, delivery services like GrubHub and Seamless make it more valuable, so they’ll probably be the most useful for the credit.

Eligible Restaurants for the Dining Credit
GrubHub Seamless
The Cheesecake Factory Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Participating Shake Shack locations

The Hotel Collection

Get a $75 hotel credit for qualifying charges, and room upgrades when available. To qualify, you must book a hotel stay of at least two nights through American Express Travel or other eligible American Express travel services. This perk is available for every eligible stay you book.

The credit can only be used for incidental charges, like room service, and not the cost of the room, gratuities, taxes, or fees. You’ll find this perk on several Amex cards, including the Platinum Card.

Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee

If you find your room being advertised for a lesser price you can be reimbursed for the difference, as long as you file a claim before check-in. All stays must be booked through American Express Travel to qualify.

Gold Card Destinations

Get a $100 credit on eligible new bookings of vacation packages and cruises that cost at least $3,000. To be eligible, you must book through American Express Travel or certain other American Express travel services.

Entertainment Access

You’ll be eligible for exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events, such as the Marc Antony or George Straight concerts. You can find eligible events near you on the American Express Experiences website.

American Express Preferred Seating

With Preferred Seating, you can get premium seats for concerts, sporting events, and more. Tickets must be purchased with your American Express Gold Card.

Pay Over Time

While the Gold Card is a charge card, eligible charges over $100 can be carried over month to month if you sign up for Pay Over Time, but you will pay interest fees. We don’t recommend using this feature unless you absolutely have to wait to pay.

Other Benefits

  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: Enroll in ShopRunner to get free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers.
  • The Travel Collection: Join the Travel Collection at no additional cost and access discounts and perks at select hotels, airlines, and car rental companies.
  • Personalized Travel Service: Call to get personalized assistance with booking hotels, flights, or ground transportation.

Shopping Protections

  • Extended Warranty: Eligible manufacturer’s warranties can be extended by up to two years.
  • Purchase Protection: Eligible purchases made with the card are protected against accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days. Residents of New York, Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands only have up to 90 days.
  • Return Protection: If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and are refused, American Express may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year.

Travel Protections

  • Premium Roadside Assistance: Whether you need a jumpstart or a tow, you can get roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The first four service calls per calendar year are complimentary, including towing up to 10 miles, jump starts, and delivery of up to two gallons of fuel.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: When traveling by common carrier, you and your family are covered against accidental damage or dismemberment.
  • Global Assist Hotline: If you lose your passport or need help with customs, you can call the Global Assist Hotline for assistance.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: Get up to $1,250 in coverage for carry-on luggage and up to $500 for checked baggage in case your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Decline the rental company’s own insurance on eligible vehicles, and you’ll get coverage against theft and damage.

The Terms & Fees

Annual Fee Purchase and Balance Transfer APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$250 Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly  None
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.99% Variable Up to $38 Up to $38

The terms and fees are very simple. The Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you were a previous Premier Rewards Gold Card user, you’ll pay the old annual fee of $195 until your cardmember anniversary date, or until April 1, 2019 (whichever comes first).

Because it’s a charge card, you don’t have to worry about paying interest. You’ll just have to pay off your balance in full by the statement due date each month, or you’ll get hit with late fees and penalties.

However, purchases over $100 may be eligible for American Express’ Pay Over Time benefit. This perk allows you to spread your payments over several months, but that balance will be subject to interest charges so we recommend avoiding it.

There are no foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for those who travel regularly. However, American Express isn’t widely accepted internationally, so it makes sense to have a Visa or Mastercard that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, too.

Read the official terms and conditions of the American Express Gold Card for more information.

What Is the Credit Limit of the American Express Gold Card?

As a charge card, the American Express Gold Card does not have a pre-set spending limit. Instead, American Express calculates your purchasing power based on your income and spending habits, and this will be adjusted over time.

Customer Support

Phone Support

American Express Customer Support

1-800-528-4800

American Express is renowned for its excellent customer service. According to the most recent J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, American Express is 2nd out of 11 issuers in 2018.

We’ve reached out to American Express multiple times by phone and online and have usually had positive experiences, so users should feel confident they’ll get the help they need when they need it. If you find yourself speaking with a representative who doesn’t seem to understand your issue, don’t hesitate to ask for someone else or call again to get a different agent.

Web Support

American Express Twitter Support

@AskAmex

Customers with basic questions about the Gold Card can reach customer support by tweeting @AskAmex. However, be careful not to share personal or account information on any social media channel.

The Bottom Line

If you love food and travel, the American Express Gold Card offers exceptional rewards and benefits.

To decide whether or not it’s right for you, consider how often you travel and eat out. If you make several trips a year, or eat out once a week or more, you’ll quickly rack up rewards. Most people spend several hundred dollars at grocery stores per month as well, which will provide quite a few points.

Between its rewards and signup bonus, along with the airline and dining credits, there are plenty of cost-saving features to help offset the $250 annual fee.

However, keep in mind that it is a charge card rather than a typical credit card. You’ll need to pay off your balance in full each month. If you’re looking for a card that offers more flexibility when it comes to payments, or different rewards and benefits, check out the alternatives listed below.

How to Apply for the American Express Gold Card

To apply for the the Gold Card, click on the Apply Now button below and complete the online application. Most people will receive a response within seconds, but in some cases it could take longer.

If approved, you’ll get a notification. If you’re not approved, you’ll receive a letter in the mail explaining why you were denied.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information, including birth date, Social Security number, and phone number
  • Total household income and source of income
  • Monthly mortgage/rent payment
American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now

American Express® Gold Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S supermarkets, up to $25,000 in spending per year
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly through airlines and through amextravel.com
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 20% back at U.S. restaurants for the first 3 months, up to $100 back (for cardmembers who apply by 1/9/19)
  • $120 annual Dining Credit at select restaurants ($10 per month)
  • $100 annual Airline Fee Credit, good for incidental fees at the airline of your choice
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee

Alternatives to the American Express Gold Card

There are lots of different rewards credit cards available, and some of them may fit better with your spending and travel habits. If you have good to excellent credit, it’s a good idea to compare offers from multiple card issuers to find the best one for you.

 

A high-end metal card with a large annual fee, the Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is for regular travelers who want more luxurious benefits. It’s a bit like an upgraded version of the Gold Card.

Like the American Express Gold Card, this is a charge card. That means you must pay off the balance in full every billing period.

Rewards

SPENDING REWARDS
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel
    • Eligible hotels booked with Amex Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on other eligible purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12–24%

Depending on how you earn and redeem your points, you can earn a cash back equivalent up to 10%. That assumes you’re spending in the 5X category and redeeming for 2 cents per point, using point transfers to travel partners.

Other spending and redemption rates, such as gift cards, will provide a lesser value.

Unlike the American Express Gold Card, the Platinum Card does not allow you to earn high rewards for purchases at supermarkets or dining out. It mostly benefits those who travel often, and has many perks that will enhance your travel experience.

Benefits

The Platinum Card by American Express’ real value comes from its substantial benefits. You’ll get the best airport lounge access available on any credit card, annual travel credits, and even Uber credits.

  • Global Lounge Collection: Provides access to a wide variety of lounge brands, such as Centurion, Priority Pass (both lounges and restaurants), and Delta Sky Club. That’s a vast improvement over the Gold Card, which doesn’t offer airport lounge access.
  • Annual Airline Fee Credit: Get a $200 Airline Fee Credit for incidental fees at one airline of your choice every year. This perk is similar to the airline credit offered by the Gold Card, but it’s larger.
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: Receive up to $100 as a statement credit to pay for the application fee for one of these programs, once every four years.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: You’ll get room upgrades when available, daily breakfasts for two, complimentary WiFi, and more.
  • The Hotel Collection: A $75 hotel credit for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Hilton HHonors Gold Status: Stay at hotels within the Hilton portfolio and get benefits like room upgrades, your 5th night free, and an 80% bonus on base points earned.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status: Receive perks like room upgrades, late checkout, and a 25% bonus on base points earned.
  • $200 in Uber credits each year: A statement credit for up to $15 in Uber rides (or Uber Eats) each month, except for December, which has a $35 credit.
  • $100 Annual Saks credit: Get statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue every year: up to $50 from January to June, and up to $50 from July to December.
  • Platinum Dining Program: Snag coveted reservations by calling your concierge service and selecting “Dining” from the menu.
  • Boingo WiFi Access: Get complimentary access to unlimited WiFi at more than a million Boingo hotspots worldwide.
  • Amex Offers: Receive discounts from dozens of participating merchants.

Terms & Fees

You’ll have to pay $550 each year to use the Platinum Card. There are no foreign transaction fees.

You don’t have to worry about interest since it’s a charge card, but failing to pay off the balance in full every billing period can result in a hefty fee.

Read more in our Review of the Platinum Card from American Express

 

If you’re looking for a rewards card with a lower annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review) might be a better choice for you than the Gold Card. You’ll earn a 50,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card, with a cash value equal to $625 when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Rewards

SPENDING REWARDS
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining at restaurants
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5–25%
REDEMPTION BONUS
  • 25% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    Equivalent to:

    • 2.5X points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • 1.25X points everywhere else

Generally, Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are worth 1 cent each. But redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and you’ll get 1.25 cents per point.

That option allows you to earn a 2.5% cash back equivalent for travel and dining, with 1.25% everywhere else. When you redeem the 50,000-point signup bonus through Ultimate Rewards, it would be worth $625.

If you opt for a point transfer, you can potentially get even more value: up to 2 cents per point. At that rate, you could earn up to a 4% cash back equivalent for travel and dining, with 2% back for every other purchase.

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with some nice benefits, including the ability to earn referral bonuses.

  • Point Transfer: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 10,000-point referral bonus: Receive a 10,000-point bonus for every friend you refer who applies and is approved. That’s $125 per person if you redeem those points with Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’s a unique perk other cards, like the Gold Card, just don’t offer.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Book through this program to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in or late check-out, and a unique gift.
  • Shop Through Chase: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop Through Chase marketplace.
  • Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: You can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7
  • Travel and shopping protections: Get access to Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waivers, Purchase Protection, and more.
  • Dedicated customer service specialists: Get 24/7 access to a dedicated customer service line. Just call the number on the back of your card and get connected to a real person right away, rather than an automated system.

Terms & Fees

The annual fee is waived for the first year. But after that, you’ll have to pay a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

 

If you’re looking for a more significant signup bonus than the Gold Card and better travel perks, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve (Review). Boasting a 50,000-point signup bonus – a $750 value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards – and valuable travel credits, this card’s features can quickly offset its high annual fee.

Rewards

SPENDING REWARDS
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5–25%
REDEMPTION BONUS
  • 50% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    Equivalent to:

    • 4.5X points on travel and dining
    • 1.5X points everywhere else

The Sapphire Reserve provides a 50% point bonus when redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards program for eligible travel expenses, which would give your points a value of 1.5 cents each.

At that rate, you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 4.5% for travel and dining, with 1.5% everywhere else. That’s not too bad.

But, like the Sapphire Preferred above, you can do even better by transferring your points to an airline or hotel loyalty program. If you manage to get 2 cents per point, that would give you a cash back equivalent of 6% for travel and dining, and 2% everywhere else.

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers great benefits for travelers, including travel credits that add to the card’s value.

  • Point Transfer: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card. Unlike the Gold Card’s airline credit, which can only be applied to fees on one pre-selected airline, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit can be used for many different types of travel purchases, including airfare or rental cars.
  • Priority Pass Select Membership: Cardholders get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants. That’s a luxury that the Gold Card just doesn’t offer.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection provides some complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, including room upgrades, daily breakfast for twos, and special gifts.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of signing up for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85).
  • Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show. To reach the Visa Infinite Concierge, call 1-877-660-0905.
  • Special Car Rental Privileges: Get rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at rental companies like Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental.
  • Chase Experiences: Get access to concerts, sports, and dining events.
  • Shopping Protections: You’ll get Purchase Protection and Price Protection when shopping, among other protections.
  • Travel Protections: When traveling you’ll have Travel and Emergency Assistance, Emergency Medical and Dental Protection, Trip Delay Reimbursement, and much more.

Terms & Fees

The Sapphire Reserve has a high annual fee of $450, so make sure you’ll use it enough to warrant the cost. There is no foreign transaction fee, making it a smart choice for anyone traveling abroad.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

 

If you want to earn higher rewards at the grocery store rather than on travel, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express® (Review) might be for you. It allows you to earn 6% cash back at supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year. Plus, you’ll earn 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores, on up to $6,000 in purchases per year
  • 3% cash back at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    • Return on spend: 20%

This card allows you to earn plenty of rewards on your everyday spending. If you’re not big on travel or restaurants, the Blue Cash Preferred is probably a better option for you than the American Express Gold Card.

Benefits

The Blue Cash Preferred offers some of the same benefits as the Gold Card, but you’ll miss out on valuable perks like the $100 airline credit, $120 dining credit, and access to The Hotel Collection.

  • Amex Offers: You can get discounts at a wide range of merchants, both in-store and online.
  • Save 10% on Utilities: Occasionally, you’ll be able to save up to 10% on your cable, satellite, or cell phone bills.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: You can enroll in ShopRunner for free and get access to free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers.
  • Entertainment Access: Get exclusive discounts to concerts, sporting events, and more.
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through American Express Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference.
  • Shopping Protections: You’ll also receive benefits like Extended Warranties, Purchase Protection, and Return Protection.
  • Travel Protections: You’ll get access to additional coverage when traveling, such as Roadside Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, and the Global Assist Hotline.

Terms & Fees

The Blue Cash Preferred has an annual fee of $95. It also has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, making it an expensive choice for those who travel internationally.

There is a special 0% APR introductory offer for new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that promotional period ends, the APR increases to 14.99%–25.99% Variable.

Read more in our Review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express

American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now

American Express® Gold Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S supermarkets, up to $25,000 in spending per year
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly through airlines and through amextravel.com
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 20% back at U.S. restaurants for the first 3 months, up to $100 back (for cardmembers who apply by 1/9/19)
  • $120 annual Dining Credit at select restaurants ($10 per month)
  • $100 annual Airline Fee Credit, good for incidental fees at the airline of your choice
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee
Are you a frequent traveler? See some other great card options in the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2018.

Do you use the American Express Gold Card? Let us know how you like it by leaving your own review!

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