American Express Membership Rewards is one of the most popular transferable points currencies, and there’s arguably one best personal card for earning Amex points — the American Express® Gold Card (review). In this post I wanted to take a closer look at why this card should be in most points collectors’ wallets.
8 reasons to get the Amex Gold Card
While the Amex Gold Card has an annual fee of $250 (Rates & Fees), the card offers an excellent welcome bonus, spending bonus categories that will prove valuable for many consumers, and benefits and credits that could in and of themselves justify the annual fee.
In particular, this card is a points earning powerhouse for those who spend a lot on food, whether it’s at restaurants or at supermarkets. In this post I wanted to take a look at eight reasons you should consider picking up the Amex Gold Card, beyond the excellent welcome offer.
4x points at restaurants worldwide
It’s amazing how much credit card bonus categories have evolved over the years, and this card is the perfect example of that. The Amex Gold Card offers 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants:
- There’s no cap on how much you can spend and earn 4x points on
- This applies both within the United States and abroad (and the card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s great for international purchases)
- This also applies for takeout and delivery, so you can even earn 4x points with platforms like Uber Eats
If you ask me, among cards open to new applicants, the Amex Gold Card is the single best card for dining. Personally I value Amex points at 1.7 cents each, meaning by my math the card offers a 6.8% return on dining spending, which is incredible.
4x points at U.S. supermarkets
Admittedly everyone eats differently — some people spend a lot dining out, while others prefer to cook. that’s the beauty of the Amex Gold Card, as it’s great no matter how you like to eat. The Amex Gold Card offers 4x Membership Rewards points at supermarkets:
- This is valid exclusively at supermarkets in the United States, and not abroad
- This is valid for up to $25,000 in supermarket purchases per calendar year, and after that, you earn 1x points
If you ask me, the Amex Gold Card is the single best card for supermarkets. Personally I value Amex points at 1.7 cents each, meaning by my math the card offers a 6.8% return on supermarket spending.
Access to the Amex Membership Rewards program
The Amex Gold Card gives you full access to the value of the Amex Membership Rewards program, and this is a great “hub” card for pooling all of your Amex points:
- There are so many amazing uses of Amex Membership Rewards points
- You can easily transfer them to roughly 20 travel partners, including major airline and hotel loyalty programs
- This can be an amazing way to get outsized value for first & business class travel; just make sure you know what you’re doing, as I wouldn’t recommend this card if you’re looking to earn cash back
$120 Uber Cash benefit
The Amex Gold Card offers up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. How does this work?
- You receive $10 in Uber Cash each calendar month directly to your Uber account
- This can be used toward U.S. Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders, and you can use it across one or multiple transactions
- To take advantage of this, you’ll have to add your Amex Gold Card to your Uber account, and then you can easily apply the credit through the app each month
If you spend at least $10 per month with Uber (which I think many people who would consider this card do), then that credit should more or less be worth face value.
$120 dining credit benefit
The Amex Gold Card offers up to a $120 annual benefit toward dining (Enrollment required). How does this work?
- You receive up to $10 in statement credits each calendar month
- This benefit is valid for purchases made with the Gold Card in the U.S. with Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations
While this is pretty niche, many cardmembers should be able to get at least some value out of this.
Money saving with the Amex Offers program
One of the reasons to hold onto Amex cards long term is because of the amazing value of Amex Offers. With this program, you can receive statement credits or earn bonus points with all kinds of retailers.
The more Amex cards you have, the more offers you’ll potentially be eligible for. In many cases, Amex Offers alone more than justifies the annual fees on some of my cards.
A cool rose gold design
Personally I’d never pick a credit card based on the design, but the general public seems to disagree with me on that. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of cards switch to a metal design. While that used to be special, it’s not really unique anymore.
What is unique about the Amex Gold Card is that you can choose to have it in a rose gold metal design. Let me tell you, that design really stands out, and this is easily one of the most attractive cards out there. Again, it’s not a reason I’d get this card, but I know it gets many people excited.
Anecdotally easy card approval
Many people are hesitant to apply for credit cards because they’re worried if they’ll be approved. While I can’t make any guarantees, anecdotally the Amex Gold Card is one of the easier premium travel rewards cards to be approved for:
- In general I find more people have luck getting approved for Amex cards than Chase or Citi cards
- This is considered a “hybrid” card rather than an outright credit card, and I find those cards are often easier to be approved for
- Since this is a hybrid card, it wouldn’t count toward Amex’s typical five card limit, meaning you could get this card even if you’re maxed out on how many Amex credit cards you can have
Why the Amex Gold Card is worth it
It goes without saying that there’s no “one size fits all” card strategy out there. However, among premium rewards cards, I think the Amex Gold Card is as close to that as it gets. Everyone has to eat, and the Amex Gold Card rewards that generously, whether you like to dine at restaurants, shop at supermarkets, or both.
Amex Membership Rewards points are extremely valuable, and earning 4x points on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year and then 1x) is a return that’s not offered by any other card.
Admittedly the card does have a $250 annual fee, which might be a deterrent to some. However, that fee is potentially almost entirely offset by the up to $240 in annual benefits you can get, between the $10 monthly dining benefit and the $10 monthly Uber Cash benefit:
- The monthly Uber Cash benefit is useful whether you’re booking a rideshare or ordering food via Uber Eats
- The $10 dining benefit can be used in a variety of ways; I think it’s easiest to max out with Grubhub, but there are other options as well
This is a card where I think the perks more or less offset the annual fee, and then the 4x points in two popular categories is the icing on the cake. For anyone who spends a decent amount on food, this really supercharges your points earning potential.
The Amex Gold Card is an incredibly well-rounded card for those who spend a fair amount on food, whether at restaurants or supermarkets. There’s not a single other card offering such a generous return in both of those categories.
On top of that the card offers up to $120 in annual Uber Cash, and up to $120 in annual dining credits. For many consumers, those should go a long way to offsetting the annual fee. Add in the value of Amex Offers, and many people will come out ahead with this fantastic card.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees).