The American Express® Gold Card is a charge card for those with good to excellent credit that rewards you for “everyday and extraordinary experiences.” Cardholders get 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 a calendar year in purchases (then 1X) and 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, making this a card with solid rewards for foodies, professionals who charge lots of business meals and families who make frequent trips to grocery stores.
American Express® Gold Card members also get 3x points for flights booked through amextravel.com or booked directly through airlines. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, statement credits, shopping and charity donations. There is a $250 See Rates & Fees annual fee, but with the rewards like bonus points and a dining credit, you may be able to easily offset the fee with the rewards you rack up.
|Card||Annual Fee||Welcome Bonus||Credit Needed||Key features|
|American Express® Gold Card||$250 See Rates & Fees||Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.||Good to excellent||Dining and Travel|
What we like about the American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card comes with some travel perks, such as no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). Cardholders also receive up to $100 per calendar year at one selected qualifying airline in statement credits when an airline charges incidental fees. Members can also access discounts and amenities when booking eligible airfare, lodging, car rentals, cruises and tours through thetravelcollection.com.
Another travel benefit for American Express® Gold Card members: through The Hotel Collection, they can get a $100 hotel credit on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities, plus a possible room upgrade when they arrive and have booked a stay of at least two consecutive nights. Cardholders also get car rental loss and damage insurance. When you use your card to rent a car, pay for the entire eligible rental and opt out of the collision damage waiver, the card provides coverage if the car is damaged or stolen.
American Express offers other perks to cardholders like American Express Preferred Seating, which provides access to premium seats for select cultural and sports events. You can also get exclusive access to ticket presales and Card Member-only events, for events like Broadway shows, concert tours, family and sporting events.
Things to consider
Since this is a charge card, your usage of the American Express® Gold Card will not affect your credit utilization or credit score. However, other factors of the card will impact your credit score, such as if you have late payments.
Also different from a credit card, you will have to pay off the entire balance at the end of each billing cycle. American Express does offer a Pay Over Time feature for eligible charge card members, who may be able to pay certain charges over time with the variable APR (See Rates & Fees). You’ll have to decide if the charge card model is one that works for you, or if you’d rather use a credit card.
The $250 See Rates & Fees annual fee can seem steep for some. To offset it and get the most rewards possible, you’ll want to use this card for food purchases and use most of your points towards travel.
American Express® Gold Card dining and travel details
If you want to make the most out of your American Express® Gold Card, you’ll want to first take advantage of that intro offer. Spend at least $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of getting your card to earn the 35,000 bonus membership rewards points. Terms Apply.
You’ll also want to use the card for all dining and U.S. supermarkets purchases to get 4x points (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). You can also earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits each month when you use the card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required.
Your points never expire. The point value is most valuable when points are used for travel. Points can be transferred directly to American Express transfer partners’ loyalty programs. Be sure to book travel using your American Express® Gold Card, as well, to earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
American Express® Gold Card fees
In addition to the annual fee of $250 See Rates & Fees, there is a cash advance fee (See Rates & Fees), either $10 or 5 percent of the amount of each cash advance, whatever is greater. To offset the annual fee, take advantage of the up to $120 yearly dining credit and the travel discounts mentioned. Using the card for travel purchases can also make the annual fee negligible.
Penalty fees are up to $39 for a late payment and up to $39 for a returned payment (See Rates & Fees). These are fairly standard for charge cards.
How does it compare to other dining and travel cards?
Foodies and travel lovers have other card options, including credit cards for dining the travel. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a bonus offer of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, which is much higher than the American Express® Gold Card. You get 2x points on travel and dining worldwide and earn 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There is a lower annual fee of $95 and no foreign transaction fees. But if you’re looking for higher points on dining and travel all the time, the American Express® Gold Card may be a better fit.
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a dining rewards credit card with unlimited 4 percent cash back on entertainment and dining out. You also get 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. The new cardmember offer provides a one-time $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of the account opening. There are also no foreign transaction fees. If you eat out more than shop at grocery stores and go to entertainment events more than travel, this may be a more rewarding card.
The bottom line
For a card that rewards you for all the food you purchase, whether it’s at a restaurant or from an American grocery store, the American Express® Gold Card is highly rewarding. It’s even more so when you use points for travel, which can quickly offset the annual fee. If you’re looking to get more cash value out of your dining card, you may be better off with a credit card like the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
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