If you’re new to the world of travel rewards credit cards, holding a card with a $250 annual fee might seem a little mind-boggling to you.
And make no doubt about it: That’s certainly a lot of money for a small piece of metal.
Such is the case with the American Express® Gold Card, a premium travel rewards credit card that can help you rack up points for travel.
That said, the card does come with a handful of perks that can offset the cost of the $250 fee. It’s important to note, though, that you should consider whether these perks match your lifestyle and spending habits before you apply. If they do, this card could prove to be worth its price tag and then some.
Let’s take a closer look.
The card is currently offering a welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first six months of membership. If you hit the minimum spending threshold, you can use those 60,000 points to redeem for flights and hotels via the Amex Travel portal or by transferring to partners such as Delta Air Lines, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Marriott. According to Amex’s rewards calculator, these points are worth up to $600 when redeeming for travel. You can typically get even more value by transferring to airline and hotel partners, though.
In addition, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar at restaurants and U.S. grocery stores (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), as well as 3 points per dollar on travel booked on amextravel.com or directly with airlines.
All of this is to say if you spend a good chunk of your budget on dining, groceries, airfare, and even rideshares, those rewards points can add up fairly quickly.
Of course, the points earning structure is only half of the equation when considering a travel rewards credit card.
Here’s where it really gets interesting: The Amex Gold comes with a $120 annual dining statement credit spread out over the course of a calendar year. This credit applies to purchases from popular restaurants and services such as The Cheesecake Factory, participating Shake Shack locations, and GrubHub/Seamless. If you dine at any of these restaurants or use the third-party delivery platform frequently, it’s easy to get value out of this perk.
Use your Amex Gold when dining at restaurants to earn 4 points per dollar on your purchase. These points can add up quickly, and you can later redeem them for travel.
The card also announced a new benefit in the wake of the pandemic: a $100 yearly Uber credit and an Uber Eats Pass membership. Cardholders now receive up to $10 in Uber Cash every month. You can use this on both Uber Eats purchases or Uber rides within the U.S. (Gold Card must be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit).
As far as the complimentary Eats Pass (for up to 12 months), you’ll receive perks like $0 delivery fees and 5% off on eligible orders of $15 or more. Otherwise, this service would cost you $9.99 per month.
Uber and Marriott recently announced a new partnership as well, paving the way for Gold cardholders to earn even more bonus Marriott points on Uber rides. You’ll earn 6 points per dollar on Uber Eats orders delivered to Marriott properties (minimum $25 order), as well as 3 points per dollar on Uber XL, Uber Comfort, Uber Black, and Premium rides, and 2 points per dollar on all other Uber Eats orders (minimum $25 order). Just link your accounts and you’ll be good to go.
Between the $120 dining statement credit, $100 in Uber Cash credit, and Uber Eats Pass, valued at almost another $120 dollars, you’re looking at $340 worth of benefits alone in the first year — negating the cost of the $250 annual fee. When you factor in all the points you can earn on dining, groceries, Uber rides, and airfare, it’s easy to see how those points can translate into at least hundreds of dollars on free travel.
Again, it’s important to consider if the associated perks fit your lifestyle habits. If you don’t go out to eat much or use services such as Uber and/or GrubHub, you probably won’t get much value out of this card. You’ll also want to be sure to pay your bill in full and on time any month to avoid any interest charges that can overshadow both the value of points you earn and the associated perks.
But if you find yourself frequently ordering or dining out, and even looking forward to purchasing some airfare in the coming months, you’ll get plenty of value out of the Amex Gold, and then some.
American Express® Gold Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Intro bonus:60,000 points
- Annual fee:$95
- Regular APR:15.99% – 22.99% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Apply Now At Chase’s secure site