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By: Caroline Lupini
Credit cards that offer transferable point currencies are a great choice for many people who like to travel, and Amex just relaunched one of our long-time favorites!
Previously called the Gold Premier Card from American Express, the American Express Gold Card has great benefits — including some fun new ones!
Here’s what you need to know about this refreshed credit card.
American Express Gold Card Quick Stats
The American Express Gold Card currently offers a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending at least $2,000 within the first three months of account opening. As with most Amex products, the welcome bonus and minimum spend requirement often varies. With this card, we’ve seen offers as high as 50,000 points.
If you apply by January 9, 2019, you’ll also receive 20% back on dining purchases at US restaurants in the form of a statement credit, up to $100, for the first three months of card membership.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Amex Gold’s benefits:
- 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US restaurants
- 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year), then 1x
- 3X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from the airline
- 1X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on all other purchases
- $120 Annual Dining Credit
- $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit
- $250 Annual Fee
American Express Gold Card Perks
One of the major ways the American Express Gold Card has changed is the complete refresh of the bonus categories, and it’s a pretty positive change!
Many Americans spend quite a bit of money on food; at both restaurants and supermarkets, so 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar can really help rack up some points quickly! Additionally, earning 3X Membership Rewards per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines can make buying air tickets a little less painful.
The only negative change to the earning rates is that US gas stations used to earn 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar but now fall into the unbonused category and only earn 1X.
Overall, the changes to the earning rates are quite positive!
Airline Transfer Partners
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to 17 different partners. Of course, some are better than others. In particular, the hotel transfer partners are generally not a great choice, so we’re not going to mention those below.
Here are the airline transfer partners, transfer rates, and transfer times.
The dining credit is a new addition to the American Express Gold Card. Each month, cardholders can receive up to a $10 statement when using the Amex Gold Card for purchases with dining partners such as GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and participating Shake Shack locations.
You’ll have to enroll on Amex’s website prior to making a purchase with one of these partners if you want to take advantage of this benefit.
Airline Fee Credit
The airline fee credit remains the same. Each calendar year, card holders will receive up to $100 in statement credits for airline fees such as seat selection and checked bag fees with a specific airline.
At the beginning of each year, you’ll want to select your preferred airline. This selection needs to be made before you can take advantage of the benefit. If you don’t choose an airline prior to making an eligible purchase, you won’t receive the credit.
The only other negative change to the card is that the annual fee has increased from $195 to $250 per year. This still keeps the Amex Gold Card out of the ultra-premium $450-550 annual fee range, but it’s something to consider.
If you can make use of the dining credit every month, you’ll easily be coming out ahead. Additionally earning 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets can really add up; if you spend $750 per month that will net you 36,000 Membership Rewards points per year! That’s worth at least $360 toward travel via Amex Travel.
Without these bonus categories, you may find it difficult to earn enough additional points each month to justify the higher annual fee (especially if you already have a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that offers a high dining bonus).
Should I Sign Up for This Card?
For people who dine out frequently, this card is pretty much a no-brainer. Earning 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants, it’s nearly impossible to do better and is the main reason that I’m considering picking up this card (eating out is second only to my travel hobby!).
The offer is even more enticing when you can find a link offering 50,000 points.
If you’re new to points and miles, you might not want to jump on this card right away. That’s mainly because of Chase’s notorious 5/24 rule. If you have been approved for more than 5 cards in the last 24 months, Chase won’t approve you for most of their credit cards. For this reason, we recommend focusing on Chase cards if you haven’t gotten more than 5 cards in the last two years.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that American Express generally only allows people to have five credit cards. Luckily, the American Express Gold card is NOT a credit card – it’s a charge card, so it does not count toward this limit!
American Express Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has been and continues to be our favorite card for beginners. It offers 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1X point on all other purchases. Like Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards are transferable to a number airline partners, some of which overlap, but it also has the most useful hotel partner of any transferable points program — Hyatt.
Even though the American Express Gold card has a higher annual fee of $250, it really ups the ante on the Chase Sapphire Preferred when you consider the bonus categories — not to mention, the annual airline fee and dining credits.
That means that with the Amex Gold Card, you’re getting an additional 2X points per dollar at US restaurants, 3X points per dollar at US supermarkets (on the first $25,000 spent per year), and 1X point on airline purchases directly from the airline.
Now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes out ahead on other travel purchases. The other area where the American Express Gold Card falls short is travel insurance. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers trip delay, trip interruption and cancellation, and baggage delay insurance while the Amex Gold Card only offers baggage delay coverage.
In addition to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, we also love to recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve, especially to more serious travelers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a higher annual fee compared to the Amex Gold but the amazing perks make it well worth it for just about any travel enthusiast.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit and a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement every four years. The annual travel credit benefit alone effectively brings the annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve down to $150, making it even lower than the Amex Gold.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining and 1X point on all other purchases. That means you’ll still earn more points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and on airfare purchased directly from the airline with the Amex Gold card, but you’ll earn more on other travel purchases with the Sapphire Reserve.
Like the Sapphire Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve comes with great travel insurance.
After this refresh, the American Express Gold Card has gone from a somewhat standard travel credit card to a fantastic card for people who dine out in the U.S.. I had this card years ago, but as other banks have upped their game I canceled my Amex Gold in favor of other cards. Now, I’m thinking about getting it again!
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.