Thanks to its generous rewards and attractive benefits, the American Express® Gold Card is one of the most popular rewards credit cards on the market. While most credit cards these days are targeted towards frequent travelers, this card offers practical benefits that come in handy in your everyday life as well as your travels.
With a $250 annual fee and premium perks, the Gold Card doesn’t have many competitors. The card achieves a nice balance of providing luxury travel perks while helping you maximize everyday spending.
The current welcome bonus is one of the highest to date, making this an opportune time to apply for the card if you want to give your Membership Rewards® balance a boost.
Of course, the card also has a few features that make it less than ideal for others. If you’re curious about whether the American Express Gold Card is a good fit for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a full review of everything the card has to offer, from its welcome bonus to recurring benefits.
Why We Like It
Annual Fee: $250
Welcome Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards® points ⓘ
APR: 19.74% to 26.74% variable APR on eligible charges
Rewards Rate: 1-4X Points ⓘ
Terms and restrictions apply
- Annual Fee
- Welcome Offer
- Rewards Rates
- Redemption Options
- Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 within the first six months of card membership.
- Earning rate: 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4X at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year), 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, 1x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Annual fee: $250
- Benefits: $120 in Uber cash, $120 dining credit, no foreign transaction fees, access to The Hotel Collection, baggage insurance plan, trip delay insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance.
- Solid bonus
- Generous bonus categories
- Earns valuable Membership Rewards® points
- $250 annual fee is relatively high
- Annual dining and Uber Cash may not be useful for everyone
- Requires excellent credit
Features and Benefits
The American Express Gold Card’s $250 annual fee sounds high when you compare it against cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. However, it feels more reasonable when compared to premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which carries a whopping $695 annual fee.
While a $250 annual fee can feel pretty hefty, the card has several benefits that can help offset it.
The American Express Gold Card currently offers a welcome offer of 60,000 points after $4,000 spent on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. If you want to score some Membership Rewards® points and get a credit card with generous benefits, this offer could be worth your while.
While this welcome offer is reasonably strong, it’s worth noting that the American Express Gold Card has offered targeted bonuses over 60,000 points in the past.
Remember that American Express has a once-per-lifetime rule, limiting you to earning each card’s welcome bonus just once.
So if you’re going to apply for an American Express Card, you’ll want to make sure it’s the highest bonus possible. There are some exceptions to this rule and sometimes targeted offers exclude the once-per-lifetime language. However, in case you don’t get targeted for one of these offers, it’s best to play it safe.
A credit card isn’t very useful if you can’t earn points beyond a sizeable welcome bonus. Luckily, the American Express Gold Card’s earn rate of up 4X Membership Rewards® is one of its most attractive features.
The American Express Gold Card earns 4X Membership Rewards® points on dining, 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year) and 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel. All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
With the average American household spending about $5,000 per year on groceries and $2,400 on dining, that adds up to about 29,600 average bonus points per year. That’s enough for at least one round-trip economy class ticket within the U.S. Not a bad deal for merely charging essential purchases to the American Express Gold Card instead of a card that earns 1 point per $1 spent.
$120 Annual Dining Credit
The annual $120 dining credit is issued in $10 monthly installments. This credit is valid at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.
$120 Annual Uber Cash
The Gold Card’s $120 Uber Cash is issued in $10 monthly increments every calendar year, similar to the dining credit. The credit is valid on both Uber rides and Uber Eats purchases.
These benefits are similar to elite status perks, except you get them just for booking your hotel through Amex. Perks include a $100 on-site credit and a space-available room upgrade at check-in. This can be especially valuable during short hotel stays, where the $100 credit can cover daily expenses like breakfast, spa treatments and other on-site activities. Hotel Collection benefits apply to two-night stays or longer.
ShopRunner can save you hundreds of dollars on expedited shipping at popular retailers if you’re a frequent online shopper. Membership usually costs $79 per year and offers free 2-day shipping at over 100 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Cole Haan, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Under Armour, and more.
Amex Offers is a lowkey card benefit that can save you hundreds of dollars on everyday purchases. Offers include cash back deals and bonus points on hundreds of popular retailers. Occasionally, you’ll even get a cash back offer on your monthly cell phone bill, utilities, or any spending you put on the card.
Amex Offers is an underrated benefit that’s worth factoring into your decision to apply for an American Express card. The deals are consistently useful and help me offset the annual fees on my Amex cards. Over the past year, I personally saved over $1,000 through Amex Offers. Even my no-annual-fee Amex Blue Business® Plus Credit Card got me $226 in savings.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Amex Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees, meaning you won’t incur additional charges when using it abroad. Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees of up to 3%, which can really add up on vacation expenses like hotels, rental cars, dining and shopping. With the Gold Card, that fee is something you don’t have to worry about.
Trip Delay Insurance
Trip delay insurance comes in handy when your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours due to weather, equipment failure or stolen travel documents. American Express provides up to $300 worth of coverage per trip. You can use these funds to pay for meals, hotel accommodations and personal items needed during the delay.
Coverage is secondary, meaning if you purchase travel insurance, you’ll need to file a claim through your provider before filing one through American Express. It’s also important to note that the entire cost of your flight must be charged on the Gold Card to qualify for this benefit. Unfortunately, award taxes and fees do not qualify.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
The next time you rent a car, you don’t have to pay the daily $15 collision damage waiver fee. If you’re involved in a fender bender in your rental car, American Express will cover the damage without the need to buy insurance. It’s important to note that coverage is secondary, meaning it kicks in after your personal policy.
Coverage is limited to 30 days of rental and excludes certain vehicles (limousines, exotic cars, etc.) and locations (Australia, Italy, New Zealand).
Every year, airlines lose and mishandle thousands of bags. If your luggage is damaged, stolen or lost, American Express baggage insurance will cover up to $1,250 for a carry-on bag or $500 per checked bag. This is a great benefit that can make an unpleasant situation far less stressful if it does ever happen to you. Best of all, it’s included as a credit card perk – no need to pay for insurance.
If you ever purchase an expensive item on your Gold Card, you can rest easy knowing that if you damage or lose the item within 90 days, it’s covered under Amex’s purchase protection plan. To qualify for up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 per calendar year), you just need to charge the entire purchase to your Gold Card.
If the item is lost, stolen or damaged within 90 days, you can file a claim for the purchase price. There are exceptions and Amex requires certain documentation to process your claim. However, it’s a valuable benefit that can protect your valuables and save you thousands of dollars if you need to replace them.
The Gold Card from American Express earns Membership Rewards® points, which are worth about 1.9 cents each. Thanks to their versatility, Membership Rewards® are some of the most valuable points out there. You can redeem Membership Rewards® points for statement credits at a rate of 0.6 cents each or transfer them to 20 airline and hotel partners.
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- AeroMexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- ANA Mileage Club
- Avianca Lifemiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Choice Privileges Rewards
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Hilton Honors
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue True Blue
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Krisflyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
With the welcome bonus from the Amex Gold Card, you’ll have plenty of redemption options. You can transfer your points to Avianca Lifemiles and book a one-way business class award ticket to Europe.
Want to stretch your miles further? You can transfer 13,000 Membership Rewards® to British Airways Executive Club for a one-way economy class ticket between the West Coast and Hawaii. And if you’re looking for a cheap award ticket to Europe, those same 13,000 Avios will cover an off-peak economy class award ticket between the East Coast and Ireland.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with 79,000 Membership Rewards® points. My personal favorite is transferring 88,000 points to ANA Mileage Club for a round-trip business class ticket to Europe.
That’s right – while most airlines charge the same number of points for a one-way business class award, ANA gives you a round-trip. With the 4X bonus earning rates on the Gold Card, it shouldn’t take long to rack up enough points for this award.
Who Qualifies for the American Express Gold Card?
American Express doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score to get approved for the Amex Platinum Card. However, according to CardRatings you can get approved if you have good or excellent credit.
At the same time, American Express might take other factors into account, including your current debt, income, number of accounts you have open and banking relationship with American Express.
It’s also worth noting that some reports indicate you can’t apply for more than two American Express cards per day. So if you plan on applying for more than two cards, you should consider spacing out your application.
You also won’t get approved for more than two cards within a 90-day period. So if you’ve applied for two American Express cards in the last three months, you might want to hold off on applying for the American Express Gold Card until you’re outside this period.
Lastly, American Express limits customers to five credit cards at a time. If you currently have five Amex cards, you may not qualify for the Gold Card from American Express.