The Amex Gold will need to offer some temporary perks to convince me to renew

Feb 22, 2021

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

Last spring, Amex announced several temporary perks for several cards in an effort to convince cardholders to keep their accounts open as travel has halted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express have been collecting dust in my wallet in recent months as I am not traveling. Many of the best perks such as lounge access or 5x Membership Rewards earning on travel have been rendered practically useless during the pandemic, but also added sweet statement credits on streaming services.

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Another card in my wallet, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, added statement credits for wireless telephone services and shipping to offset a nearly $600 annual fee (see rates and fees). Other cards, including the American Express® Green Card and several cobranded Marriott, Delta and Hilton cards also added several temporary perks.

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

But one card that was notably missing from last year’s announcement: the much-loved American Express® Gold Card. It was a massive disappointment, as I consider the Amex Gold to be one of the best mid-tier cards on the market. Plus Amex has brought back the wildly popular Rose Gold version of the card, along with an annual Uber Cash benefit.

As I find myself using my Amex Gold a lot more in recent months while other premium cards collect dust in my wallet or may get canceled altogether, it got me wondering if I can justify the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Bonus Category Increase

The 4x bonus already on the card for dining at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x) is great, but amid the pandemic when the Amex Gold card seems like the best for everyday purchases, I would love to see Amex up those bonus category to 5x (or more!) It would — unquestionably — become my go-to card for dining during the pandemic, even over the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which currently offers 3x points (up to $1,500) in grocery purchases per month through April 30, 2021 (offer no longer available).

After all, the Amex Gold is best known for its high earnings on dining at restaurants around the world, even though it also earns 3x points on flights booked directly from the airline or amextravel.com.

Before the pandemic, the Amex Gold was already one of my favorites for day-to-day purchases. Living in New York means lots of eating out, so earning 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) meant I’d earn thousands of points a month.

Related: A complete guide to credit card benefit changes

Now, many restaurants in Brooklyn are open for takeout, so I’ve been using my Amex Gold card a lot to support small businesses. I’m also earning a healthy 4x Amex Membership Rewards points on restaurants.

In recent weeks, I’ve been racking up a ton of Amex Membership Rewards points through either to-go purchases or through apps such as Doordash. I’ve also been earning points through quick supermarket runs and grocery deliveries, though I haven’t had much luck earning 4x points at bodegas.

(Photo by Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

More dining credits

One reason I got the Amex Gold was for the excellent monthly dining credit.

If you’re like me and to dine out often (or order in using delivery services such as Seamless) then you should be able to put the dining credit to good use. If you’re not familiar, Amex Gold cardholders get a to $120 annual dining credit, spread out over 12 months. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: How I get free lunch twice a month with this one card

You’ll receive up to $10 in statement credits monthly (up to $120 annually) when you pay with the Amex Gold at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed.

Amid the pandemic, with restaurants closing early, I find that I’m using delivery apps more often and earlier in the month. Before the coronavirus crisis, I could go a week without using the credit. Now I’m using up the dining credit in the first four days of the month. I would love to see Amex up the dining credit from $10 to $15 per month, and potentially add other partners. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Amex Rose Gold card

(Photo by The Points Guy)

One cool thing the Amex Gold card has going for it is a funky color. Originally available in late 2018 (and briefly by referral only in 2019), the Amex Rose Gold color is now back by popular demand for new cardholders.

The Amex Gold Card — with Rose Gold and Gold color option — offers 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or amextravel.com and an up to $120 dining credit (up to $10 per month in statement credits with participating partners, enrollment required).

You can also reap the rewards of a brand-new benefit: up to $120 annually ($10 per month) in Uber Cash, which can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. Just make sure to add your Gold Card to your Uber account first.

Should you fully maximize the annual Uber perk (up to $120) and dining credit perk (up to $120), you’ll be able to offset most of the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) on the card. And that doesn’t include the other benefits the card offers. Enrollment required for select benefits.

New applicants who are approved for the Gold card and revived Rose Gold option can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first six months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, that bonus is worth $1,200.

Related: Back by popular demand: Amex Gold Card in sleek Rose Gold metal

Bottom line

The Amex Gold is easily one of my favorite premium cards, and the first card I pull out of my wallet for everyday purchases like groceries and dining. But I was pretty disappointed to see it didn’t get any temporary perks like other premium cards.

While $250 isn’t the highest annual fee (see rates and fees), I’m now weighing whether I want to keep it over my Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee and better temporary earnings. The Amex Gold is one of my favorite rewards cards, but right now, I’m not sure I can justify the annual fee.

Featured photo courtesy of American Express

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

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