The American Express Gold Card is a popular credit card option, and for good reason. While the welcome bonus offered isn’t always stunningly high, the card does earn valuable Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners and offers additional benefits like monthly dining credits and an annual airline fee credit.
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As with most Amex products, the welcome bonus and minimum spend requirement often varies – we generally see welcome bonuses of 35,000 to 50,000 Membership Rewards points. You can expect the minimum spend to be somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000.
Where the Amex Gold Card really shines is its strong bonus points offerings for popular spending categories. You’ll earn:
- 4X at restaurants anywhere in the world
- 4X at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x)
- 3X on air travel purchased directly from airlines
- 1X on all other purchases
The card has no foreign transaction fee, so you can make purchases anywhere in the world that accepts American Express cards without having to pay extra.
The American Express Membership Rewards program has a lot to offer, with a whopping 18 airline partners as well as 3 hotel partners. Some of our favorite airline partners for redeeming Membership Rewards points include:
- British Airways and Iberia Plus are useful for flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines – especially short nonstop flights.
- Avianca LifeMiles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, which are great for booking flights on Star Alliance airlines like United and Lufthansa.
- Air France–KLM Flying Blue and Delta SkyMiles (which work well for booking flights on Delta)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is great for Delta flights, and also has interesting opportunities with its eclectic group of partners including Air France, KLM, ANA, and Air New Zealand.
The long list of partner airlines that you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to gives you a ton of options and flexibility when planning your travels. American Express has also been known to offer limited-time transfer bonuses for certain airline partners, which can stretch the value of your points even further.
You can also redeem points directly for travel through American Express Travel, but since you’ll get a fixed rate of just 1 cent per point, this usually isn’t the most valuable way to redeem your points.
The Amex Gold offers up to $120 per year in dining credits for select restaurants and delivery services. This is broken up into a $10 credit per month, which is automatically applied to your account as a statement credit when you make a qualifying purchase at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.
It’s difficult to fly anywhere these days without having to pay some kind of extra fee for things like seat selection or checked baggage. With the airline fee credit that comes with the Amex Gold, you can select one airline and be automatically reimbursed for qualifying incidental fees on that airline, up to $100 per year. In addition to seat selection and checked bags, the credit can be used for change or cancellation penalties, airline lounge passes, and most inflight purchases.
When you purchase something with your American Express Gold Card, you’ll automatically receive some serious protection benefits. If the item is stolen or damaged within 90 days of your purchase, Amex will cover the cost of repairing or replacing it, up to $10,000 per incident and $50,000 per year.
If you want to return it and the store won’t take it back, Amex will reimburse you up to $300 per item and $1000 per year. And for anything you buy that has a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less, Amex will add an extra year of warranty coverage under the same terms (or double the manufacturer’s warranty if it’s less than one year).
As with all insurance, there are some important exclusions; while you don’t need to do anything in advance to qualify for coverage, always check the card’s benefits guide before making a major purchase to make sure that it’s eligible.
When you book a trip with your Amex Gold, you’ll automatically qualify for trip delay coverage – reimbursement of up to $300 for out-of-pocket expenses if your trip is delayed for 12 hours or more – as well as baggage insurance of up to $500 for you and certain family members (though “high risk” items like electronics and jewelry have a maximum coverage of $250).
However, if you’re particularly interested in travel protections, there are better options: travel-focused cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the American Express Platinum Card all offer more comprehensive benefits, including trip cancellation coverage.
All American Express cardmembers are eligible for complimentary ShopRunner membership, which gives you free two-day shipping at 90+ online shopping websites.
American Express partners with various companies and brands to offer exclusive targeted deals for Amex cardholders. Typically these will offer either a statement credit or bonus Membership Rewards points for a purchase at a particular store: for example, $10 back or 1,000 Membership Rewards bonus points when you spend $50 or more. You’ll also often see offers for extra points per dollar spent at a particular store. While it’s hard to predict the value of the offers you’ll receive, in some cases, they can be a great deal.
You won’t be able to receive a welcome offer for this card if you have ever had an Amex Gold Card or its predecessor, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. Additionally, some people have been advised they are ineligible for a welcome offer based on their account history with Amex.
This tends to happen to people who have closed an account less than a year after opening it, or who have spent very little on cards after receiving a welcome offer. If this is the case for you, you will receive a pop-up message before your application is processed or your credit report is checked. You can read more about Amex’s eligibility rules here.
The Amex Gold has an annual fee of $250, which is largely offset by its dining and airline fee credits, as well as its significant bonus points earning categories.
The American Express Gold Card offers some of the strongest earning potential for restaurant and grocery store purchases of any credit card on the market, especially given the high value and flexibility of Membership Rewards points, and the card’s dining and airline fee credits go a long way to offset its $250 annual fee.
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Editors 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.