American Express Gold Card Review

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American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Rewards rate:

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

  • Intro bonus: 60,000 points
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Regular APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

If you’re the type to daydream about all those trips you’ll take after the pandemic lets up, the American Express Gold Card offers a great rewards structure that lets you rack up points for future travel.

At a Glance

  • Tiered points system including 4x points at restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year), 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1x points on other eligible purchases
  • Introductory offer of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within six months of opening your card
  • 15.99% to 22.99% variable APR for Pay Over Time
  • $120 dining credit, a $100 airline fee credit (through 12/31/21), and $100 back on hotel reservations made through the American Express Hotel Collection 
  • $250 annual fee

Pros

  • Tiered points system

  • Welcome bonus offer

  • Travel, shopping, and entertainment benefits

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Value of points dependent on how you redeem

Additional Card Details

American Express cards are known for their luxe benefits, and the Gold card lives up to the reputation. You’ll have access to travel benefits, shopping perks, and entertainment extras.

Here are some extra perks that come with the Gold card:

TravelShoppingDining and Entertainment
• No foreign transaction fees

• Personalized travel service to help plan trips

• Hotel credit on qualifying charges

• Car rental insurance

• Global travel assistance hotline

• Baggage insurance 
• Extended warranty on covered purchases

• Purchase protection

• Dispute resolution 
• American Express Experiences 

• Preferred seating for select events

• Dining credit 

In addition to the dining and airline credits, you’ll get access to The Hotel Collection through Amex. When you book a hotel stay through Amex, you’ll get up to a $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges and a room upgrade when you arrive, if available (for stays of at least two nights). American Express Experiences offers discounted or first-choice tickets to public events like concerts and sporting events.

Should You Get This Card?

The American Express Gold Card is great for a frequent flier, dining-outer, and about-towner.  The perks and points are valuable if you use them, but if not, the $250 annual fee may be steep with limited benefit. 

It might take a little extra thought to maximize the value of your points, and it’s less straightforward than cash rewards, but it’s possible to get more value than even top cash back cards if you do it right. 

You’ll be able to redeem your points in a number of ways, like through gift cards, merchandise, and travel or entertainment options via the American Express site. Or you could transfer the points to one of American Express’s travel partners to get optimum travel savings. These  frequent flier or hotel rewards programs can double the value of your points. 

You can also redeem points for a statement credit, but you may lose some value in the process. You won’t be able to redeem for a check or cash as with some other existing rewards cards.

How to Use American Express Gold Card

This card offers an excellent intro bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months after opening the card, so you should have a plan to hit that with your normal spending in the months after opening the card. After that, here’s how the American Express Gold Card earns you tiered points back:

  • 4x points at restaurants
  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x)
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 1x points on other eligible purchases

Getting 4x points is no small reward, so you should use this card every time you dine, get takeout, or run to Trader Joes. You’ll get the best value for these points by booking travel with Amex partners. With just those 60,000 intro points, for example, you could get $600 toward eligible flights, $420 on Amazon.com, up to $600 in gift cards, or a $360 statement credit, according to Amex’s rewards calculator.

Also make sure you use the dining and hotel credits, up to a $220 value that almost cancels out the $250 annual fee on its own, though there are stipulations to both of these rewards. The hotel credit only applies when you book through The Hotel Collection, and the dining credit is good for up to $10 a month at a handful of restaurants, and includes Grubhub. 

You can also get a $100 airline fee credit, though this perk will expire after 2021.

You can redeem your points for the most value by booking travel through American Express travel partners. You can transfer your points to a frequent flier program, like Aeroplan or Delta SkyMiles, to unlock more savings, but once points are transferred they cannot be reversed.

American Express also often offers members additional deals throughout the year for further saving.

American Express Gold Card Compared to Other Cards

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Intro bonus:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $250
  • Regular APR:
    See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
American Express Cash Magnet® Card

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • Intro bonus:
    $150
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site

Bottom Line

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

You’ll get the most value from your American Express Gold if you use your points advantageously to save on things like travel — especially if you transfer your points to airline or hotel partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. There is a $250 annual fee for the American Express Gold Card.

Yes, for now. The American Express Gold Card airline fee credit will no longer be available starting January 2022. Both new and existing customers will be able to use their $100 credit through the end of 2021.