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In a sea of card options it can be a challenge to determine the optimal course. In this article, we will focus on the American Express® Gold Card (Terms apply. See rates & fees). This card offers sizable rewards on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants and air travel, so may be a good fit for someone looking for a mix of travel and everyday spending. But, the $250 annual fee and lack of additional bonus categories may not make it a fit for some. Read on to see if the Amex Gold Card might be worth it for you.
Amex Gold Card Benefits and Perks
The Amex Gold Card offers a competitive rewards structure of 4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar), 3 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express travel and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases, as well as a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of card membership. The points potential in both of these areas rivals that of some premium cards with much higher ownership costs.
In addition, the card comes with some of the standard American Express travel protections and benefits, including secondary car rental loss and damage insurance¹, baggage insurance², an up to $100 experience credit to use when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel and no foreign transaction fees.
The Amex Gold Card also gives cardholders some lucrative shopping perks, such as a $10 monthly Uber Cash credit (worth up to $120 annually) and a $10 monthly dining credit at participating restaurants, worth up to $120 annually. While these perks are not necessarily a reason to get the card, they are certainly a welcome addition as they can nearly meet the cost of owning the card if fully utilized. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Additionally, the Amex Gold Card offers a number of helpful features like the Global Assist Hotline³, which offers 24/7 emergency assistance, as well as access to Amex Offers, which can help save you money.
However be aware that the Amex Gold Card does not come with the full suite of benefits accessible to premium card holders. More on that below.
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American Express® Gold Card
Rates & Fees/ Terms Apply
Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.
Up to 4X Reward Rate
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points atRead More
Earn 60,000 points
See Pay Over Time APR
Excellent/Good(700 - 749)
Foodies and travelers can leverage the American Express® Gold Card to the hilt, earning up to 4x points. The annual fee may seem intimidating, but by using the included benefits and doing some spending, it's easy to come out ahead.
Pros & Cons
- High rewards earnings possibilities
- Points transfer option to many partners
- Add up to 5 authorized users for no additional annual fee
- Can choose from regular or rose gold versions
- No lounge benefits
- Limited options to carry a balance
- High APR for pay over time feature
- High pay over time penalty APR
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
- $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
- Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
- Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.
Is the Amex Gold Card Worth It?
Whether the card is worth it or not depends largely on your individual circumstances. Evaluate your specific needs and financial situation, in order to make that determination. That said, there are some considerations that might help you decide whether or not the Amex Gold card is a good fit for you.
When the Amex Gold Card Is Worth It
If you determine that the majority of your spending is done on restaurants, groceries, and travel, this card might be a good fit for you. The bonus this card offers for these categories is substantial and will net you significant rewards. Assuming, of course, that you spend enough to outweigh the $250 annual fee.
Similarly, if using your points for travel is your main goal, this card is a solid choice. Not only does it earn 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly with the airline, the rewards come as American Express Membership Rewards, a flexible currency that can be redeemed for travel or transferred to many partners. These points can be more valuable than a cash-back redemption when redeemed for travel due to the bevy of transfer partners available with Amex. There are other travel rewards cards that may offer better travel-related earnings, however, so weigh that against the other perks the Amex Gold Card offers.
When the Amex Gold Card Is Not Worth It
As mentioned above, the card earns Membership Rewards. This can be valuable if you are looking to maximize travel, but if you’re the type of person that doesn’t have specific rewards goals, or doesn’t want to deal with any extra steps in your redemptions, you may be better served with a general cash-back card. These cards earn cash back at competitive rates, often without categories or spending caps to worry about.
Additionally, if you find that your spending habits do not line up with the Gold Card’s bonus categories—groceries, restaurants, and flights—or you do not spend enough to justify the $250 annual fee, you may be better off with a card that rewards general spending, or spending in more varied categories. These cards often have low or no annual fees, and give rewards for a wider range of spending.
How To Apply for the Amex Gold Card
The easiest way to apply for this or any card is through the card’s landing page. Go to the page, and press the blue “apply now” button. This will direct you to a secondary application page where you will enter your personal information, such as your income, and Social Security number. Amex has a feature to let you know if you are approved before formally applying, without impacting your credit score. This is known as a soft credit check, and is a good, low risk way to know where you stand. After this, you will be able to formally apply, and be given a decision. With this method you could be approved instantly, although wait times vary.
Alternatively, you may be able to apply for the card by mail or over the phone. If you are already an Amex card holder, there will be a contact number on the back of your card. Call this number, and ask the representative to help you process your application. Otherwise, you can search online for the Amex contact number. However, for almost all people, this will be an inefficient way to get your new card. Not only will it take significantly longer than applying online, you also add the extra hurdles of dealing with robo-phone menus and long hold times.
How Much Does the Amex Gold Card Cost?
The Amex Gold Card comes with a $250 annual fee. While this is not exactly cheap, the card does come with a number of perks valued at more than $250. You should evaluate whether or not these benefits outweigh the cost of the annual fee.
How To Maximize Rewards With the Amex Gold Card
The Gold Card earns 4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar), 3 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express travel and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. Therefore, to maximize rewards, this card should be used primarily for restaurants, groceries at U.S. supermarkets, and travel. For some, this might require no change at all; if you primarily spend on food and travel, your rewards rate lines up with the cards highest earn categories. Even if you don’t plan to travel much, it may be helpful to keep this card specifically for your food related purchases. This will ensure that you are receiving maximum benefit without altering your spending habits too much. Also, keep in mind, the card only earns its top rate of 4 points per dollar spent on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on the first $25,000 in annual spending.
Plus, the Amex Gold card offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of card membership. If you can do your normal spending primarily with the Gold Card you will net a hefty chunk of points simply for spending the way you normally would.
Other Cards You Can Consider
American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card from Chase is one of the best all-around cards on the market for those looking to travel. Not only does it offer many of the same benefits and a similar welcome bonus as the Amex Gold, it has a significantly lower annual fee of $95. The card earns 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. While this is a lower rewards rate on groceries and restaurants, the card earns elevated rewards on a wider array of categories not offered by the Gold Card. Like the Gold card, rewards come as a flexible currency—Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Unlike the Gold Card, you can get 25% more value when your rewards are redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards. This makes the Preferred Card just as strong, if not stronger than the Gold Card. In the end, it comes down to preference. If you are brand loyal to Amex, the Gold Card will serve you well. But you may get more value out of the Preferred Card, depending on your spending habits.
American Express® Gold Card vs. Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier® Card is another card with a lower annual fee of $95. Like the Sapphire Preferred Card, the Citi Premier card offers lesser, but still respectable, rewards over a wider variety of categories. The card earns 3 ThankYou points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases and a total of 10 points per dollar on hotels, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. The Premier card’s ThankYou points, like Membership Points, can be transferred to a number of travel transfer partners making it a good option for those looking to maximize their rewards. And, the card gets bonus points for flights AND hotels, while the Amex Gold Card only bonuses flights.
The Citi Premier card also is offering the following welcome bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The Premier card, however, does not offer as many travel protections and perks as the Gold Card. So while the rewards may be comparable, if you value extra protections, the Gold Card gets the edge.
American Express® Gold Card vs. Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card
If travel rewards are your top priority, Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card may merit a look. The card has a number of benefits you’ll find on a travel credit card, such as a free checked bag, 20% back on all inflight purchases, and access to all Alaska Airlines partners through the One World Alliance. But what makes the Alaska Airlines Visa special is its Companion Fare. The companion fare, which is gained each year on your account anniversary, entitles the cardholder to purchase one round-trip coach companion fare on Alaska Airlines from $121 ($99 base fare plus applicable taxes and fees from $22 depending on your flight itinerary) when traveling with another guest on a paid published coach airfare on the same itinerary, booked at the same time.
This alone makes the card worth owning, as it can be worth hundreds of dollars in airfare. The card also earns an unlimited 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, cable, streaming services and local transit including ride share purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases, with no blackout dates or expiration on miles. Of course, these rewards are tailored to travel, and thus won’t necessarily net the average consumer as much benefit. But, if travel is your top priority, this card will give excellent value, especially considering it has a low annual fee of $95.
To view rates and fees for the American Express® Gold Card please visit this page.
To view rates and fees for the The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.
¹Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
²Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
³Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What credit score is required for the Amex Gold Card?
While there is no concrete rule for credit applications—issuers consider a number of factors when viewing an application—a good rule of thumb is that you’ll want good to excellent credit, defined by Experian as a score of 670 or above.
How do I apply for the Amex Gold Card?
Applying for the card is easy. Simply go to the Gold Card’s website, and push the blue “apply now” button. American Express has added a pre approval feature, so you can view the status of your application before officially applying, without affecting your credit score.
How much does the Amex Gold card cost?
The Gold card comes with a $250 annual fee. However, there are no additional charges for card ownership.
What can I use my Amex Gold Card Rewards points for?
Membership Rewards points can be used for a number of things, including statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise. However, you will get the best value when transferring your points to one of Amex’s travel partners, which include over 15 airline and hotel operators.
Is the Amex Gold Card a premium card?
The Amex Gold Card is a mid-tier card with price point to match which places it a notch below a true premium card, like The Platinum Card® from American Express which carries a $695 annual fee to match its long list of perks (terms apply, see rates & fees). The Amex Gold Card does offer some of the benefits found on premium cards and that may be enough to make the card’s $250 annual fee worth it to you.