TravelWho should (and who shouldn't) get the Amex Gold?

Who should (and who shouldn’t) get the Amex Gold?


When it comes time to apply for your first (or fifth) premium-adjacent rewards card, don’t ignore the American Express® Gold Card.

The Amex Gold has an annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees), which effectively drops to $10 in true out-of-pocket cost when you fully use the monthly statement credits at select restaurants and the Uber Cash benefit. Enrollment is required.

It has relevant bonus point categories such as dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and earns valuable American Express Membership Rewards points. Plus, it’s available in the fancy Rose Gold color option.

Let’s explore the reasons why the Amex Gold is a great card to consider, along with who should — and shouldn’t — apply for it.

Key Amex Gold benefits

The Amex Gold‘s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) might seem steep at first, but it’s mostly offset if you can take advantage of the up to $240 in annual credits the card offers.

As a cardholder, you’ll get up to $10 monthly (for a total of up to $120 annually) in dining credits at participating locations such as Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required.

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Additionally, you’ll receive 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. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

The Amex Gold also has impressive earning categories:

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else

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Currently, the Amex Gold is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $1,200 based on TPG’s latest valuations) after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of card membership.

However, you could be targeted for a higher welcome offer through CardMatch or a referral link (offers subject to change at any time).

Related: Full review of the Amex Gold

Who should get the Amex Gold?

People who spend a lot on dining and at US supermarkets

Statement credits are a great way to offset a high annual fee on a credit card, but you don’t apply for a new rewards card to break even. You do it to get ahead.

NICK ELLIS/THE POINTS GUY

The 4 points per dollar earned on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar for U.S. supermarket purchases) amounts to an impressive 8% return based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.

The 8% return potential makes this card a no-brainer for those who spend heavily on dining out and at supermarkets.

Related: Best credit cards for dining and restaurants

People looking to complete the Amex trifecta

While the Amex Gold is strong on its own, it’s even better as a part of the Amex trifecta, alongside The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.

Since the Amex Platinum earns 5 points per dollar on flights (booked directly with the airline or through Amex Trave, on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year) and the Blue Business Plus earns 2 points per dollar on all other purchases (on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each calendar year; then 1 point per dollar), combining these cards allows you to earn anywhere from 2-5 points per dollar on nearly all of your purchases.

Related: The best Amex card combo

People who can maximize the up to $240 in annual statement credits

One of the greatest ways the Amex Gold adds value is through its dining and Uber credits. If you’re able to max them out, you’ll bring the card’s effective annual fee down to just $10.

OSCAR WONG/GETTY IMAGES

The up to $120 per year dining credit is broken down into up to $10 monthly. If you eat out or order in from one of the partner dining merchants (Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations), you should maximize this $10 monthly benefit easily. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Additionally, you’ll get $10 deposited to your Uber account monthly to use on U.S. rides and U.S. Uber Eats orders. Enrollment is required.

As a road warrior, I travel frequently, hopping in and out of many Ubers, so this perk is especially valuable to me. Most Uber rides I take on average are $10 so this effectively gets me a free ride every month.

If you can maximize these credits, you’ll easily justify the Amex Gold’s annual fee.

Related: How to make the most of the Amex Gold Card benefits

People who are over 5/24 with Chase

At TPG, we almost universally recommend that you prioritize applying for Chase credit cards because of the pesky 5/24 rule. Simply put, this rule means you will be automatically rejected for most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months.

The question of what you should do after you’ve maxed out your five slots with Chase gets a little trickier, but the Amex Gold could be a great answer. Not only will you immediately begin earning valuable transferable points currency, but the bonus categories will also help you earn your next award flight or hotel stay much faster.

Related: What you can lose by ignoring Chase’s 5/24 rule

People targeted for a great welcome offer

The public welcome offer on the Amex Gold is currently 60,000 points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of account opening, but you may be targeted for a higher offer through CardMatch. (Note: The targeted offer is subject to change at any time.)

Since Amex has a once-per-lifetime policy with welcome offers, it always makes sense to see if you can get a higher offer.

Related: How to use the CardMatch tool

Who shouldn’t get the Amex Gold?

The Amex Gold has the potential to be a very lucrative card, but there are several groups of people who might struggle to get good value from it.

People who are under 5/24 and want more Chase cards

As mentioned above, Chase’s 5/24 rule is one of the most important considerations in building a starter strategy for credit cards. Five cards can seem like a lot to someone who has never had one before, but those slots fill quickly, and once you’ve used them up, it takes a while to get them back.

THE POINTS GUY

The Amex Gold is probably going to be around for a while, so there’s no reason to fire off an application for it right now if it means compromising your strategy with Chase.

If you want a card such as the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in the near future, you should consider locking those in first.

Related: The best ways to use your Chase 5/24 slots

People who live outside the US

If you’re outside the U.S., this card is far less valuable, as the 4 points per dollar earned on the Amex Gold at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 each calendar year; then 1 point) and the up to $120 dining credit and Uber benefit do you no good. The other perks, such as 3 points per dollar on flights and up to $100 credit when booking through The Hotel Collection, can easily be trumped by other premium rewards cards. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Related: Earning points and miles as an expat

People who won’t max out the statement credits

The up to $120 Uber Cash benefit and dining credits on the Amex Gold can be easy for many people to use, but no card perk is a great fit for everyone. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

KSENIYA OVCHINNIKOVA/GETTY IMAGES

If it sounds like you’ll end up spending money you otherwise wouldn’t in order to take advantage of the Uber and dining benefits, you’re better off getting a card that comes with benefits you’ll more naturally use.

Related: A complete guide to the Amex Gold dining credit

People who’ve previously had an Amex Gold

Amex’s rule on bonus eligibility states that if you have previously earned the bonus on a card, you will not be eligible to earn it again. This includes the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the old version of the Amex Gold, as it is still technically the same product despite undergoing a heavy makeover. If you’ve had the card before, you’ll likely want to get a different card that allows you to earn a welcome bonus.

Related: A complete guide to Amex’s one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions

People who want more comprehensive travel protections

The Amex Gold isn’t among the best credit cards with travel protections. For example, the rental car insurance* you get with the card is secondary, which means it only applies to expenses not covered by other insurance you have. On top of that, the card also doesn’t have any trip delay or trip interruption coverage.

*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

OSCAR WONG/GETTY IMAGES

If travel protections are important to you, you’ll be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, which both feature impressive travel coverage.

Related: Best credit cards with travel insurance

Bottom line

The Amex Gold is a valuable option for U.S.-based customers who spend heavily on dining and groceries at U.S. supermarkets and are looking for an in-between, “premium-lite” card that offers good returns without a hefty price tag.

If you can maximize all the benefits this card offers, it might become a cornerstone of your wallet. But if you live or frequently travel outside of the U.S. or can’t max out both annual benefits, you may prefer one of our other favorite travel credit cards.

If you’re ready to apply for the Amex Gold, be sure to check the CardMatch tool to see if you’re targeted for any special offers. These offers are subject to change at any time.


Apply here: Amex Gold


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



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