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The American Express® Gold Card‘s revamp in 2018 was one of the year’s highlights. Amex updated the old Premier Rewards Gold Card, changing its name and transforming it into one of the most competitive cards on the market for dining purchases. It also added perks like up to $120 in dining credits each year. Yes, the annual fee increased from $195 to $250 (See Rates & Fees), but the update was overwhelmingly positive.

One thing we didn’t love about the Amex Gold revamp was the new welcome bonus that came with it: an uninspired 25,000 Membership Rewards points after new card holders spent $2,000 on the Amex Gold in the first three months. Luckily, higher offers have been available through referral links and targeted welcome offers, but today the public offer is also increasing.

Welcome Bonus

Now, you’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. That’s 10,000 more points than the previous public offer, and gets you an additional $200 in value based on TPG’s valuations. Plus, it has the same spending requirement as the previous 25,000-point offer.

However, you could be able to earn a higher bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months through the CardMatch tool. This gets you an extra $300 worth of points based on TPG’s valuations, so it’s definitely worth checking to see if you’re eligible.

Earning Rates

The Amex Gold offers an uncapped 4x on spending at US restaurants. That equates to a whopping 8% return based on our valuations. It also earns 4x points at US supermarkets, though this is capped at the first $25,000 spent each calendar year (then 1x). You’ll earn 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines and at amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

4x points at US restaurants puts the Amex Gold at the top of the pack for eating out (or in), besting the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s 3x points on dining. The caveat here is that the Amex Gold earns 4x points on US restaurants only, so the CSR is still the card to beat when it comes to dining abroad. (That said, both cards waive foreign transaction fees.)

And it’s another strong option for spending at US supermarkets — Amex Gold is second only to the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card (with a $95 annual fee), which earns 3x points at US supermarkets for the first $6,000 spent per year, plus a 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times in a billing cycle, in which case you’d earn 4.5x points, equal to an 9% return. There’s also the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, also with a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), which earns 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%).

Here’s the link to apply for the American Express® Gold Card.

Annual Fee and Perks

The Amex Gold Card has a $250 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). Here’s a look at its most exciting perks beyond the earning rates:

  • $120 annual dining credit — Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold card at participating dining partners, which include Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Shake Shack locations. This works similarly to the Saks credit on the Amex Platinum, coming in increments rather than all at once. Remember to enroll in this perk, as it isn’t awarded automatically.
  • $100 airline fee credit — Get up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits toward incidental fees like checked baggage when you charge them to your card.
  • Hotel Collection — Earn 2x points and get up to a $100 hotel credit when you book a prepaid stay of at least two consecutive nights through the Hotel Collection.

Here’s the link to apply for the American Express® Gold Card.

Bottom Line

4x points on restaurants in the US is huge if you have a use for Amex points (and you do, if you’ve really looked at all the great airline redemption options). The Amex Gold should be your go-to pick for all dining purchases except those made abroad, where you’ll earn just 1 point per dollar but at least won’t be charged foreign transaction fees. Up to $120 in annual dining credits helps justify the $250 fee — add in the annual $100 airline fee credit, and you’re really looking at just $30 out of pocket per year.

35,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $700 based on TPG’s valuations, and this is higher than the previous publicly available welcome offer. Now could be a good time to sign up if you’ve been eying this card but haven’t yet pulled the trigger.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

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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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