How I maximize the dining credit on the Amex Gold card
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Now that I’m covering the COVID-19 card benefits beat at TPG, I’ve noticed one card that has quietly stood out among the rest. In fact, this card has zero temporary bonuses, credits or annual fee reductions.
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The American Express® Gold Card has proven to be a card that is just as useful to me now as it was before the pandemic. The rich 4x bonus points for dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets are extremely valuable, especially at a time when I’m making more of these purchases.
One of the biggest perks of the Amex Gold is up to $120 in annual dining credit, broken down into $10 monthly statement credits. And now with the popular Rose Gold variant of the card returning, and a new benefit of up to $120 in annual Uber Cash (also in $10 per month increments), this card is almost a no-brainer. The Uber Cash can be used for rides or Uber Eats (yes, more food) in the U.S. after adding your Gold card to the Uber app. Enrollment required.
Here is how I maximize the dining credit on the Amex Gold, earning a couple of meals per month. Enrollment required
Amex Gold benefits
As a quick overview, the Amex Gold is a relatively unique card that straddles the line between premium and entry-level. It has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) which is significantly offset by two credits, one of which I’ll explain how I am able to maximize.
- Up to $120 annual dining credit. Once you enroll, you’ll earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners including through Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
- Up to $120 annual in Uber Cash for Uber Eats and Uber rides in the U.S. You must add your Gold card through the Uber app and you'll get $10 in Uber Cash per month. Enrollment required for select benefits.
The card is currently offering a welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $1,200 based on TPG’s latest valuations) after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership.
Related: Full review of the Amex Gold
How I use my Amex Gold dining credit
In order to have two lunches using my Amex Gold (in New York City, where I live), each meal would have to be $5.
Sure, it’s certainly not the norm, but a $5 lunch in an expensive city is actually possible. How do I get two lunches a month from maximizing my card’s dining credit? Well, my (not-so-secret) secret is Grubhub “Perks.” (enrollment required).
Here in New York, food delivery and pickup are heavily utilized, especially during a time when indoor dining has been unavailable during COVID-19. Grubhub is a major player across the country, including where I am. When I’m not maximizing the Amex Gold dining benefit, I try to order from restaurants directly when I can (since delivery services take a significant cut).
Related: Best cards for takeout and delivery
The Grubhub Perks program is essentially couponing and a rewards program for the digital age. Restaurants can opt into discounts based on how many times you’ve previously dined, the time of the day you’re ordering and other criteria.
For instance, many restaurants will offer first-timer promotions or discounts at off-peak hours. Merchants can also include ongoing earned rewards as part of the offering.
The “Perks” tab is easy to find on the Grubhub app -- and yes, it’s only available through their respective apps. “Perks” isn’t accessible on the desktop or mobile website.
First, to preface, lunch is typically not a big affair for me. Give me a solid sandwich or salad and I’ll be set. To use my $10 Amex Gold dining credit, I’ll typically look at the Grubhub “Perks” tab for any local establishments that have a decent lunch option. (enrollment required).
I don’t find it difficult to find two “Perks” options per month that will satisfy a lunch craving for about $5. That’s because many restaurants (at least in my neck of the woods) will offer a $5 first-timer discount with no minimum purchase, whether for pickup or delivery. Going for a walk to pick up is my preferred choice anyway, and saves on delivery fees.
Sometimes, Grubhub offer direct promo codes or have Amex Offers or Chase offers for bonus points. All of this can make your lunch even more lucrative, all while still using your Amex Gold dining credit. (enrollment required)
The dining credit on the Amex Gold is something I easily max out within the first few days of each month. Getting a few “free” lunches per year is a great perk, and I am able to make use of the 4x points at supermarkets and restaurants too.
And now with the Uber Cash benefit (which I can use towards another meal at $10 per month, up to $120 annually), the Amex Gold is cementing its status as the ultimate card for people that like to eat.
Enrollment required for select benefits.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, please click here.