American Express Gold Card Review: Worth It

American Express Gold Card Review: Worth It

American Express® Gold Card Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points | Annual Fee: $250
American Express® Gold Card Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points | $250
4x points at restaurants
4x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases annually
3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
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Link: Apply now for the American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is one of the most rewarding cards out there if you’re looking to earn Amex Membership Rewards points. In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at this card, as it’s a product that many people should consider picking up, especially if you spend a significant amount on food (whether with restaurants or supermarkets).

Amex Gold Card Basics For June 2024

For someone looking to earn Membership Rewards points, the Amex Gold Card is one of the most rewarding cards out there. The card offers up to 4x points in useful categories, plus up to $240 in annual credits to offset the annual fee. So let’s look at what you should know about this card.

Welcome Bonus Of 60K Amex Points

The Amex Gold Card has a welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within six months. Personally, I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me those 60,000 points are worth $1,020.

This is quite a large bonus, and on top of that you have a full six months to complete the minimum spending requirement, which should be easy enough for most to accomplish, as that translates to under $700 per month in spending required.

Redeem Amex points for travel in Emirates first class

Card Eligibility

The welcome bonus on the Amex Gold Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have had the Premier Rewards Gold Card in the past.

However, if you have had this card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card before, you’re still eligible for the card, but you’re just not eligible for the welcome bonus (which is “once in a lifetime”). In some circumstances, it could still be worth getting the card in those situations if you’d benefit from it on an ongoing basis.

See this post for all the rules on applying for Amex cards.

Amex Gold Annual Fee

The Amex Gold Card has a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and it isn’t waived for the first year. You can add additional cardmembers to the Amex Gold at no extra cost (Rates & Fees), and you’d accrue points for their spending at the same rate you accrue points for your own spending.

Earning Points With The Amex Gold

What makes the Amex Gold Card so valuable is the bonus categories it offers, including:

  • 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases annually
  • 3x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com

This is an outstanding return on spending. Based on my valuations, that’s like a 6.8% return at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.

Now let’s take a closer look at just how those bonus categories are defined.

Amex Gold 4x Points At Restaurants

With the Amex Gold Card you’ll earn 4x points at restaurants with no limit to how many bonus points you can earn.

Generally speaking, restaurants are defined pretty broadly, and the category includes everything from fast food to cafes to fine dining. This even includes delivery and takeout, which are increasingly popular ways to get food from restaurants in this era.

Just note that convenience stores, nightclubs, and restaurants located within other establishments won’t typically qualify for bonus points.

Furthermore, eligibility for bonus points is determined based on how the merchant chooses to be categorized. There’s a chance that some merchants may not be categorized as a restaurant, even though you might consider them a restaurant.

For dining, this card even beats the 3x points that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review) offers — this is one of the best credit cards for dining purchases.

Earn 4x points on dining with the Amex Gold

Amex Gold 4x Points At U.S. Supermarkets

The Amex Gold Card offers 4x points on the first $25,000 spent every calendar year at U.S. supermarkets, and after that you’ll earn a single point per dollar. This excludes superstores and warehouse clubs, so don’t expect you’ll be able to earn those bonus points at Sam’s Club, for example.

This is one of the best credit cards for grocery store purchases.

Earn 4x points on supermarkets with the Amex Gold

Amex Gold 3x Points On Flights

The Amex Gold Card offers 3x points on airfare with no limits on how many bonus points you can earn. This only applies when booking directly with an airline or through amextravel.com. Furthermore, charter flights and private jet flights are excluded.

Officially booking through online travel agencies (except amextravel.com) wouldn’t earn you bonus points, though in practice it may still sometimes code for 3x points. That’s because often online travel agencies still have the airline bill you directly when you book flights through them.

This is one of the best credit cards for airfare purchases.

Earn 3x points on flights with the Amex Gold

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Amex Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), so you can use it for purchases globally. That’s especially useful when you consider that you can earn 4x points on dining abroad, all with no foreign transaction fees.

The Amex Gold is great for purchases abroad

Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards Points

The Amex Gold Card earns Membership Rewards points. This is one of the four major transferable points currencies and is a favorite points currency for many. While I love Membership Rewards, I’d say that not everyone should be earning these points. Let me explain who should and shouldn’t earn Membership Rewards points.

Transfer Amex Points To Airline & Hotel Partners 

The best way to redeem your points is to transfer them to one of the Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the below 20 partners, including 17 airline partners and three hotel partners.

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aeromexico Club Premier
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

The reason this represents such a good deal is that you can get outsized value toward first and business class travel. These tickets are often disproportionately expensive if paying cash, while they can be a good deal on points. On top of that, Amex often has transfer bonuses, which can stretch your points even further.

Redeem Amex points for Lufthansa first class

How Not To Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points

While you can redeem Membership Rewards points toward the cost of merchandise or gift cards, or to pay off your statement, these aren’t good uses of your points. You’ll typically get less than one cent of value per point, so that’s not how I’d redeem them.

Furthermore, while you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points toward the cost of a paid travel purchase at a good rate (up to 1.5 cents per point), you won’t typically get the same value with Amex’s “Pay With Points” function, unless you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review).

In general, I’d recommend earning Membership Rewards points if your primary interest is transferring points to partner programs.

Amex Gold Card Benefits

The Amex Gold Card offers a variety of benefits that can help offset the annual fee of the card. In particular, the Amex Gold offers statement credits for eligible purchases, which could save you up to $240 per year. Let’s take a closer look at how these work.

Amex Gold Card $120 Dining Credit

The first perk is that the Amex Gold Card offers a dining credit of up to $120 per year. There are some restrictions to be aware of with this credit:

  • This credit is valid for purchases with Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Purchases by both the primary card member and authorized users are eligible, but you’re limited to a single credit no matter how many authorized users you have
  • The credit comes in the form of a $10 monthly credit, for a total of up to a $120 credit each year
  • Shake Shack locations in ballparks, stadiums, airports, and racetracks, aren’t eligible
  • The terms state that this isn’t valid for gift card or merchandise purchases, though it’s anyone’s guess if that is enforced
  • Only purchases in the United States qualify
  • The terms state that the credit should post within two to four weeks, though in my experience it posts much faster than that
  • (Enrollment required)
Get up to $120 per year in value with the Amex Gold dining credit

Amex Gold Card $120 Uber Cash

The Amex Gold Card offers up to $120 in Uber Cash annually:

  • Cardmembers receive a $10 credit every calendar month
  • The credit is valid toward Uber and Uber Eats purchases in the United States
  • You don’t actually have to pay for your Uber ride with the Amex Gold, but rather just have to have the card linked to your Uber account as a payment method

This is a fantastic benefit and should be worth face value for anyone who uses Uber at least once a month. Even if you don’t use Uber, this can be useful for getting food delivery through Uber Eats.

Get up to $120 in annual Uber Cash with the Amex Gold

Save Money Or Earn Bonus Points With Amex Offers

One of the great features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings or bonus points on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards. Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year.

ShopRunner Membership

For having the American Express Gold Card you get a ShopRunner membership, which gets you free two-day shipping on eligible items at a network of 100+ online stores. You just have to enroll in your complimentary membership and can then start taking advantage of it.

The Hotel Collection

For staying two or more nights at select luxury hotels you can receive extra benefits through The Hotel Collection. Benefits include a $100 hotel credit and a room upgrade if available.

This is different than Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which requires having a Platinum Card.

Get extra perks with The Hotel Collection

Is The Amex Gold Card Worth It?

The Amex Gold Card is a great card for anyone who spends a lot of money on food (whether at restaurants or supermarkets), and who is looking to earn Membership Rewards points. Furthermore, the card offers up to $240 in annual credits, between dining and Uber Cash.

For a long time, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® was the undisputed champ when it came to dining, but nowadays the Amex Gold is even more rewarding for dining.

Just to give a bit of context, let me share some good complements to the Amex Gold, as well as other cards to consider.

Best Amex Gold Card Complements

The Amex Gold Card could be a fantastic complement to some other Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points, including:

While the $250 annual fee on the Amex Gold is steep, hopefully many people can recover most of that fee using the annual credits and benefits.

Showdown: Amex Gold Vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

In many ways, I’d say the most direct substitute to the Amex Gold Card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review), which offers 3x points on dining and travel, a Priority Pass membership, the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel, and more.

The card has a $550 annual fee, though that’s offset by a $300 annual travel credit, which will automatically be applied toward any travel purchase. The way I view it, this card really costs you $250 per year.

Which of the cards makes more sense? I’d say the Sapphire Reserve could be worth considering if you spend more on travel than grocery stores, if you want to redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel purchases, and if you value a Priority Pass membership, along with plenty of other perks.

Meanwhile, if you spend a lot at supermarkets as well, the Amex Gold Card is probably a better option.

Bottom Line

The Amex Gold Card is one of American Express’ best credit cards for earning points. With 4x points on dining and supermarkets, earning Membership Rewards points is easy.

The card also offers some credits that are potentially useful, which for many will help offset the annual fee. The card offers up to $120 dining credits and up to $120 in Uber Cash annually, which could largely help with recovering the annual fee. If you don’t yet have the card, it’s seriously worth considering.

If you want to learn more about the Amex Gold Card or want to apply, follow this link.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (16)
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  1. MikeB Guest

    I have made Amex Gold my primary card for the past two years and have racked up a substantial amount of points including a comparable sign on bonus.

    I recently redeemed for NH in F from ORD to NAR and then continued on from HND to FRA in NH J - all using an instant transfer to Virgin Atlantic during a 30% bonus promo.

    For 82k points and $375 in fees/taxes, I secured $10k+ in airfares.

  2. Pam Guest

    I prefer 4x Dining with the C1 Savor Rewards. I grandfathered (so don’t ever pay the $95 AF) but even if I didn’t I would get it anyway.

    Only 3x Grocery BUT 4x Entertainment which includes most wineries I purchase from along with movies & most attractions. 10x on Uber whenever I want + a free Uber One membership ($120 value + ride discounts) is worth more to me than the AMEX credit.

  3. Jill Guest

    @Ben Schlappig
    Do you have the Amex gold card?

    Will you apply for it
    If you don’t have it?

  4. Greg Guest

    Can you expand on the $10 monthly Uber credit? I have my Amex Gold set up as the primary payment method but never receive a credit. I just looked at my Uber Cash balance and it is at $0 for the month, not $10.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      You don't even need to do that much. The AMEX card just needs to be one of the payment methods, making it the primary one isn't mandatory.

      Could the card be on a family member's Uber account and that's where the credit is going? That's all I can think of.

    2. Tortuga Diamond

      I had this issue for a few months, Greg. If you call Amex, they will credit your account for the missing Uber dollars.

  5. manbuckets New Member

    I organically use both credits every month so this is probably my favorite card in my wallet!

  6. NK3 Gold

    I would not value the Uber credits at face value, even though I use it often. Essentially you are buying a series of $10 gift cards that expire after a month. Every holiday season places sell Uber gift cards at a discount. The past couple years I have gotten them at 20% off, and those gift cards are much more flexible. At a minimum, I would discount the $120 Uber credit by 25%, probably more.

    1. DiogenesTheCynic Member

      Discounted Uber cards aren't *that* easy to come by -- I buy them when I can, but that comes with a time/inconvenience cost too. And the discounts are never deeper than 15-20% so I don't see why you'd suggest a discount of more than that. Amex's integration of the Uber cash you get is seamless. If you don't use $10 worth of Uber or Uber Eats each month, then sure, yes, it's not worth close...

      Discounted Uber cards aren't *that* easy to come by -- I buy them when I can, but that comes with a time/inconvenience cost too. And the discounts are never deeper than 15-20% so I don't see why you'd suggest a discount of more than that. Amex's integration of the Uber cash you get is seamless. If you don't use $10 worth of Uber or Uber Eats each month, then sure, yes, it's not worth close to face value. Given the cost and inconvenience of hunting down discounted Uber cards, I think it should have just a very modest discount for not earning points on the Uber purchase.

    2. NK3 Gold

      @Diogenes To put it another way, how much would you prepay for a subscription of $10 monthly Uber gift cards that expired after 30 days? Each holiday season I pick up a couple Uber gift cards at 20% off. Those Uber gift cards don't expire, I can use $5 or $50 and still get the discount, I can skip a month, etc. So I definitely would discount the Gold benefit more than 20%. And the...

      @Diogenes To put it another way, how much would you prepay for a subscription of $10 monthly Uber gift cards that expired after 30 days? Each holiday season I pick up a couple Uber gift cards at 20% off. Those Uber gift cards don't expire, I can use $5 or $50 and still get the discount, I can skip a month, etc. So I definitely would discount the Gold benefit more than 20%. And the discounted gift cards are plentiful around the holidays. Looking at the Gift Card Galore website, there were 14 posts on discounted Uber gift cards in December alone.

  7. D3kingg Guest

    AMEX gold was the best credit card I ever had. Everyday spending card for sure with many perks. The LH F reward was an amazing experience .

    An American Airlines branded credit card is pretty much mandatory now with their new loyalty program but citi and Barclays are inferior to AMEX.

  8. mdande7 Diamond

    Given that I have the Citi Prestige with 5x dining and the Premier with 3x groceries, this one is a cancel for me unless there is a good bonus offer. I don't use the dining credit and the Uber is nice, but I don't use it monthly.

    1. DiogenesTheCynic Member

      For what it's worth, for my first year with the card (annual fee came due in Nov '22), I got a retention offer of 30k points for $3k spend in three months. I was also able to get it just by chatting in the Amex website; didn't even have to pick up the phone and call.

      I've heard that these kinds of offers are sort of a one-time thing with Amex and you can't expect them every year, but I don't yet have experience with that.

  9. Beachfan Guest

    CSP also gives 3x on restaurants with a fee of only $95. Don’t need the reserve for that

    Also gold has always been 4x on dining since CSR came out. Why did you say CSR was better- you value MR and UR points the same.

  10. Ashley Guest

    On a side note, bakeries don't qualify for the 4x at restaurants, so if you're addicted to croissants you can't use the extra points you'd be getting as an excuse. I learned the hard way...

    1. shza Gold

      It depends on how any individual bakery is coded. Some definitely qualify.

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Never In Doubt Guest

You don't even need to do that much. The AMEX card just needs to be one of the payment methods, making it the primary one isn't mandatory. Could the card be on a family member's Uber account and that's where the credit is going? That's all I can think of.

1
shza Gold

It depends on how any individual bakery is coded. Some definitely qualify.

1
NK3 Gold

I would not value the Uber credits at face value, even though I use it often. Essentially you are buying a series of $10 gift cards that expire after a month. Every holiday season places sell Uber gift cards at a discount. The past couple years I have gotten them at 20% off, and those gift cards are much more flexible. At a minimum, I would discount the $120 Uber credit by 25%, probably more.

1
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