4x on everyday purchases and a bonus worth $1,200 in travel: American Express Gold review

Nov 25, 2021

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American Express® Gold Card Overview

The American Express® Gold Card wants a seat at your table, whether you’re dining out at restaurants or buying groceries at U.S. supermarkets to cook at home. You might also benefit from its various statement credits to save money throughout the year. With an attractively high welcome offer, the Amex Gold card is looking better than ever.
Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the current card information.

Although its annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees) might seem pricey to some, the American Express Gold Card regularly ranks as one of our top rewards cards thanks to a few key features.

First are its exemplary earning rates, which include bonuses of 4 points per dollar at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1 point per dollar). The card also offers various statement credits (which can be especially great for foodies) that help offset the annual fee.

Throw in its current elevated welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on the card in the first six months of card membership, and now might be the moment you’ve been waiting for to apply.

Here’s what else makes the Amex Gold card worth it and who it might be suitable for.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you’re a foodie and eat out (or order in) frequently, this card is a no-brainer. That’s because it earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants, including takeout and delivery with services like Grubhub or Seamless. If you’re a home cook, this card also earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar). That’s potentially a lot of bonus Amex Membership Rewards points that you can maximize for travel and other redemptions.

Cardholders also receive up to $120 in annual statement credits ($10 per month) toward dining and up to another $120 per year ($10 per month) in Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber rides and Uber Eats orders after enrolling their card. Together, those bring the out-of-pocket cost of the card’s $250 annual fee closer to a mere $10.

In short, the Amex Gold is great for anyone looking to leverage their everyday spending for excellent rewards while also enjoying useful statement credits for things like dining and ride-hailing services.

Current welcome offer

The Amex Gold card is currently offering a generous intro bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, that bonus is worth $1,200.

However, getting an even higher welcome offer may be possible via the CardMatch Tool, so it’s always a good idea to double check.

Related: Why the Amex Gold is the perfect “in-between” card

Perks

The Amex Gold offers several excellent benefits, but here are the main ones to be aware of and to maximize:

  • Up to $120 annual dining statement credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Amex Gold Card at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed. Enrollment through the Amex website is required.
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: Earn up to $10 in Uber Cash monthly for Uber Eats and Uber rides in the U.S. You must add the card to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit. This perk is a monthly statement credit similar to the Uber Cash on The Platinum Card® from American Express. Enrollment is required.
  • Up to $100 in hotel credits: Cardmembers who use their card to book a stay of two nights or more through Amex’s The Hotel Collection receive a $100 on-site credit for qualifying activities. Depending on the property, this could include dining, spa treatments or other activities.
  • No foreign transaction fees: (see rates and fees). Avoiding foreign transaction fees makes this card a great choice to carry abroad and use for purchases when traveling internationally.
  • Baggage insurance: If your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged when you’re traveling with a common carrier and you purchased your ticket with the Amex Gold, you’ll be eligible for up to $1,250 in coverage for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If you purchase your trip with the card and your travel is delayed more than 12 hours because of a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement of up to $300 for eligible expenses such as meals, lodging and toiletries. You are allowed up to two claims per account every 12 months.
  • Rental car insurance: Use your card to pay for an entire car rental and decline the agency’s collision damage waiver and you will receive secondary coverage for damage or theft. There are exclusions to what types of rentals are covered, which regions or territories coverage is available in and other conditions to be aware of, so be sure to read your benefits guide.

And now, all U.S. consumer and business Amex cardholders – including those with the Amex Gold – will enjoy a complimentary subscription to MyPanera+ Coffee for six months. The perk is good for hot or iced coffee and hot tea.

Added together, these perks amount to a good deal of value year in and year out and make the Amex Gold Card an excellent choice in general for travelers.

Related: Maximizing the American Express Gold Card

Earning

Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash
Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners. (Photo by Matheus Frade/Unsplash)

The Amex Gold card impresses when it comes to its bonus categories and long-term earning potential. It accrues points at the following rates (terms apply):

  • 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants.
  • 4 points per dollar on up to $25,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar).
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly from the airline or through the Amex Travel Portal.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

These are some of the most generous earning rates of any rewards card out there. Earning four points per dollar on dining and groceries (up to that $25,000 annual cap) is equivalent to getting an 8% return on spending based on TPG valuations.

If you book flights frequently, this card should definitely be on your radar since that 3-point-per-dollar earning rate is substantial, too.

Related: The best credit cards for dining out, taking out and ordering in

Redeeming

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
You can book Delta One awards for very low rates by transferring your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

The American Express Membership Rewards points you can earn with the Amex Gold Card are among the most valuable rewards points around.

First, cardmembers can transfer their points to the program’s many airline and hotel partners for any number of excellent travel options.

For instance, points transferred to Etihad Guest can then be used to book business-class flights to Europe on American Airlines for just 50,000 miles each way (one of many great redemption options available through this unsung program).

Virgin Atlantic also provides plenty of value — such as the ability to score round-trip, first-class flights on ANA between the U.S. and Japan for as few as 110,000 points. Another excellent redemption option is transferring points to Avianca LifeMiles for cheap Star Alliance premium cabin awards.

On the hotel side, you can transfer points to Choice Hotels and Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio and Hilton Honors at a 1:2 ratio.

American Express even offers transfer bonuses from time to time, which can be a great way of squeezing even more value from the points.

You’ll generally get the most value from your Amex points by transferring them to a travel partner, although that isn’t your only redemption option. You can use points to buy gift cards, cover charges on your billing statement, shop at Amazon or ride with Uber. You can also use points to book travel directly through Amex. However, except for transfer partners, all of these redemption options fall well short of TPG’s valuation of 2 cents per point.

Related: Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

Which cards compete with the Amex Gold?

The Amex Gold’s $250 annual fee places it between mid-tier and premium-level cards. Although there’s no direct comparison on the annual fee front, several cards offer similar bonus categories and perks.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

One of the most obvious comparisons is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with a $95 annual fee. It is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Those bonus points are worth around $1,200 by TPG valuations. The card has also recently improved its earning rates so that it now accrues:

  • 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.
  • 3 points per dollar on dining (up from 2x).
  • 3 points per dollar on select streaming services.
  • 3 points per dollar on online groceries (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
  • 2 points per dollar on other travel.
  • 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Those are some pretty impressive rates, especially considering cardholders get another 10% annual points bonus on base spending. It has also added a $50 annual statement credit for hotels booked through the Chase Travel Portal. The key consideration will be if you spend a lot more on travel versus dining and groceries. If you do, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be a better pick for you. Otherwise, you might be better off with the Amex Gold’s higher earning rates and more substantial statement credits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve deserves mention on the premium end, as it was once the reigning champ for the highest return on dining spending with a 3x earning rate. Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, this card’s earning rates were recently revamped, though, so now it accumulates:

While this is another strong earner, you might still be better off with the Amex Gold, depending on your typical purchase activity and if that includes more general dining and grocery shopping rather than travel.

The Sapphire Reserve charges a $550 annual fee, but, as you’d expect, it offers considerably more perks than the Amex Gold, such as a $300 annual travel credit, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit of up to $100 every four years and Priority Pass lounge access.

If the Amex Gold Card’s U.S. supermarket earning is a selling point for you, you could also consider the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express. It earns 3 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 spent each calendar year (then 1x), and, if you make at least 30 purchases in a billing cycle, you’ll get a 50% bonus on your points. That means you can earn as many as 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, equivalent to a 9% return on spending based on TPG valuations. This card also has a much lower $95 annual fee, but note the much lower cap on bonus earnings for U.S. supermarket purchases each year.

The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

The Amex Gold Card isn’t just a pretty card. Its bonus earning rates on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets make it a strong pick for pretty much all food purchases. The up to $120 in annual statement credits on dining and up to $120 in Uber cash add even more value and make the $250 annual fee easier to accept. The current welcome bonus is also one of the highest offers we’ve seen for this card. That’s why the American Express Gold Card earns a spot as one of our best rewards cards.

Apply here for the American Express® Gold Card with a 60,000-point welcome bonus.

Check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’ve been selected for an even higher welcome bonus. 

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com.

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More Things to Know
  • Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, 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: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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