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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, charging a higher annual fee (Rates & Fees)and providing different rewards.
Offering 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide and 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X), you can also earn 3X points per $1 spent on flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel.
You’ll earn 35,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account, which can have a redemption value of $700 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. If you applied before 1/9/2019 you also had a chance at the limited edition rose gold style, which is no longer available for new applicants (but, for a limited time, you can choose rose gold if you apply through a friend’s Refer a Friend link).
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.
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.
With this card, you can earn the equivalent of 0.5 to 8% cash back on your purchases, depending on what you buy.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
If you frequently eat out, cook at home, or travel, you can rack up points quickly.
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.
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.
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.
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)|
|Air travel or hotels||0.5–1|
|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.
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|
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%|
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.
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.
If you travel often or like to eat out, it’s pretty easy to offset the $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees). 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.
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) (Rates & Fees).
For more information, check out the benefit terms of the American Express Gold Card.
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.
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 Dining Credit Merchants|
|Boxed||The Cheesecake Factory|
|Ruth’s Chris Steak House||Participating Shake Shack locations|
Get a $100 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.
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.
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.
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.
With Preferred Seating, you can get premium seats for concerts, sporting events, and more. Tickets must be purchased with your American Express Gold Card.
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.
|Annual Fee||Purchase and Balance Transfer APR||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|See Rates & Fees||Up to $39||Up to $39|
The terms and fees are very simple. The Gold Card has an annual fee of $250 (Rates & Fees).
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 (Rates & 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.
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.
|American Express Customer Support|
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.
|American Express Twitter Support|
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.
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 welcome bonus, along with the airline and dining credits, there are plenty of cost-saving features to help offset the $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees).
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.
You can apply for the Gold Card securely on the American Express website. Many 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.
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 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.
|INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER|
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.
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.
You’ll have to pay $550 each year to use the Platinum Card. There are no foreign transaction fees (Rates & 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 60,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card, with a cash value equal to $750 when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
|INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER|
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 60,000-point signup bonus through Ultimate Rewards, it would be worth $750.
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.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with some nice benefits, including the ability to earn referral bonuses.
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 bonus than the Gold Card and better travel perks, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). Boasting valuable travel credits along with that nice bonus, this card’s features can quickly offset its high annual fee.
|INTRODUCTORY BONUS OFFER|
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.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers great benefits for travelers, including travel credits that add to the card’s value.
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 U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year (then 1%).
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
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.
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.
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 (Rates & Fees).
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 14.74–25.74% Variable (Rates & Fees).
Read more in our Review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express
Do you use the American Express Gold Card? Let us know how you like it by leaving your own review!
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