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Worked like a charm: How I discovered a new (favorite) restaurant thanks to the Amex Gold dining credit

Feb. 18, 2021
6 min read
Worked like a charm: How I discovered a new (favorite) restaurant thanks to the Amex Gold dining credit
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Many top travel rewards credit cards come with an array of perks designed to entice new cardholders and retain the business of existing ones. Issuers dangle carrots like bonus categories and travel credits in the hopes that new applicants bring in more than enough revenue — through annual fees, interest charges and interchange fees — to cover the cost of providing those benefits.

In addition, these perks can provide valuable exposure for small businesses or other brands, leading to not just a one-time purchase but creating a long-term customer.

And sometimes, this works to perfection.

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Recently, I discovered a new (favorite) restaurant less than 2 miles from my house — and it was all thanks to the monthly dining credit offered on my American Express® Gold Card. Enrollment required.

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

A couple of Saturdays ago, my wife and I were discussing dinner plans. Neither one of us felt like cooking, and since we've been avoiding indoor dining in our home state of Florida due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, that left takeout and delivery as the remaining two options.

That's when I realized that we were approaching the end of January, and I hadn't yet utilized the monthly dining credit on the Amex Gold card ($10 each month; up to $120 annually toward purchases at select restaurants — including Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.). Living in a small town makes most of these eateries challenging to visit, but thankfully, we do have access to popular food delivery services here.

Including Grubhub, one of the participating dining partners.

When I launched the Grubhub app and selected pickup (to avoid the additional fees of having the food delivered), I found a number of chains nearby that didn't strike our fancy. However, my interest was piqued by a local establishment called Indian-Cafe. My entire family loves Indian food, and I was stunned to see that this particular restaurant was rated 4.9 stars on Google. With a wide-ranging menu of traditional dishes, it seemed like a great option.

Amazingly enough, I had never heard of it, despite it being just 1.8 miles from my house.

I placed the order on Grubhub, and less than 15 minutes later got the notification that it was ready. I hopped in my car, and just four minutes after pulling out of my driveway I was parking at the restaurant.

Upon arrival, I realized why this restaurant was new to me. It's actually inside a Sunoco gas station — hardly the first place I go when looking for high-quality food.

(Photo by Nick Ewen/The Points Guy)

The unassuming exterior was a sign of what awaited me inside. At the back of the small convenience store was a simple counter, behind which was a prep area and small kitchen. The smell was tantalizing — and a hint of the delicious dinner I was about to take home.

There were just a few employees working, but my order was ready and waiting.

(Photo by Nick Ewen/The Points Guy)

Less than 10 minutes after pulling out of the parking lot, my family was digging into our meal — and it did not disappoint. My chicken madras had the perfect level of spice, my wife loved her lamb saag and my daughter said her beef samosa was delicious — but my favorite dish was the chicken tikka roll, which was chicken tikka wrapped in garlic naan to effectively create an Indian-themed burrito.

I paid for the order using my Amex Gold card, and our total came to $45. Just three days after the purchase, the $10 statement credit posted to my online account.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

Less than a week after that initial meal, we again ordered dinner from Indian-Cafe — this time through Uber Eats. We combined the Uber Cash on the Amex Gold ($10 per month; for up to $120 annually) with the existing Uber benefit from my Platinum Card® from American Express ($15 per month, plus a $20 bonus in December; for a total of up to $200 annually) (for services in the U.S. only); enrollment required. We did cut down on the quantity of food this time, spending just 45 cents out of pocket — even with an extra $2 contribution directly to the restaurant. Note: You must add the Amex Gold card to the Uber app to receive Uber Cash benefit.

Related: Your Amex Gold checklist: Here are 4 things to do when you first get the card

This is the textbook case of a win-win-win situation for all parties involved. American Express cements the Amex Gold's spot in my wallet; the restaurant gets not only initial revenue but future business from a new, loyal customer; and I can now get delicious Indian food within 5 minutes of my house.

If you live outside a major U.S. city and are concerned that the perks on the Amex Gold card aren't for you, I'd strongly encourage you to pull up the Grubhub and Uber Eats apps to see which local dining establishments appear. (Just be sure to register for the dining credit before making your purchase.)

And if there's one you've never tried before, give it a whirl the next time you're looking for takeout. You may be surprised at just how easy it is to utilize these benefits — and you may stumble across a terrific restaurant in the process.

Now, if you'll excuse me — talking about this food has made me hungry, and I'm in the mood for a chicken tikka roll from my new favorite dining spot.

Featured image by (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees