American Express Gold Card — Full Review [2021]

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American Express Gold Card — Full Review [2021]

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"Earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets."

This is the go-to card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants worldwide and those who want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Apply Now (at Amex's secure site)
5

Is the Amex Gold Card Worth It?

The American Express® Gold Card is definitely a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide — but the earnings don’t stop there!

You’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x. There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this!

Of course, there are a number of other benefits as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more!

Hot Tip: If you’re a business owner, see our review on the American Express® Business Gold Card.

Pros

  • 4x points per $1 at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per $1 on flights purchased directly with airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to the American Express Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • $250 annual fee
  • No lounge access

Amex Gold Card — Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
    • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees
  • Card Categories:
  • Rewards Center
  • Customer Service Number
    1-800-528-4800
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  • Related Articles

The Ideal Cardholder

Woman walking in airport
Image Credit: VisionPic .net via Pexels

The Amex Gold card is an ideal option for semi-frequent or frequent travelers who also regularly spend money on dining and supermarket purchases.

With 4x points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year) and restaurants worldwide, and 3x points per $1 airfare booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, you can earn more value for the money you’re already spending — each purchase getting you closer to your next vacation.

Uber Eats Plus Subscription

Amex Gold cardmembers can now receive a 12-month complimentary Uber Eats Pass subscription featuring discounts and free delivery on eligible restaurant purchases (enroll by December 31, 2021). Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from the initial enrollment in this offer at the then-current monthly rate.

$120 Dining Credit

Earn up to $10 in statement credits each month when you use your Amex Gold card to make purchases at the following restaurants and food delivery services:

  • Boxed
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Grubhub
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Seamless
  • Shake Shack (participating locations)

The Hotel Collection

The Amex Gold card gets you access to The Hotel Collection. This group of exclusive hotels offers special benefits to Amex Gold card members when booking a stay of at least 2 nights at select properties in the collection. You can enjoy the following benefits with The Hotel Collection:

  • $100 hotel credit to spend on dining, spa, or resort charges
  • Room upgrade when available

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Use your card to reserve and pay for your car rental, decline the rental agency’s coverage, and you’ll be covered (up to $50,000) if the car is damaged or stolen. This coverage is secondary to other insurance.

Baggage Insurance Plan

If you pay for your entire ticket with your Amex Gold card, and the carrier damages your bag or the items inside, you can receive coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage.

Purchase Protection

When you make a purchase with your card and the item is accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, you’ll receive coverage for up to 90 days from the purchase date and $10,000 per occurrence.

Extended Warranty Protection

If you purchase an item that has a manufacturer’s warranty of fewer than 5 years then your Amex Gold card extends that warranty coverage by 1 additional year.

Great Card If

  • You want a card with flexible redemption options
  • You spend a lot on supermarkets, dining out, and airfare
  • You can make use of the annual dining credit
  • You want a card with no foreign transaction fees

Don't Get If

Amex Gold Card — Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $250
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Late fees
    • Up to $40
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Additional Info

How To Earn More Amex Points

Woman shopping in grocery store
Bonus spending at U.S. supermarkets. Image Credit: Artem Beliaikin via Pexels

Dining Purchases

With the Amex Gold card, you earn 4x Membership Reward points per $1 at restaurants worldwide. These points can certainly add up quite quickly if you’re someone who dines out semi-regularly.

Let’s assume you eat out twice a week and spend $30 each time — that’s $60 spent at restaurants each week, for a total of $3,120 each year. Since you will earn 4 points per dollar, you will end up with 12,480 Membership Rewards points. Conservatively, those points are worth at least $124.80.

You can even take that dining a step further. If you ordered from Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, or Shake Shack once a month, you would also earn $120 in statement credits (up to $10 per month).

That’s a total of $244.80 just from dining out at restaurants — it almost covers the entire annual fee without taking into account any of the other benefits the Amex Gold card offers.

Supermarket Purchases

The Amex Gold card also earns 4x Membership Reward points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases. This could be very lucrative if you have a significant level of spending at supermarkets each month. In fact, if you were able to hit the $25,000 cap, you would earn 100,000 Membership Reward points each year!

Keep in mind that supermarkets sell more than food. Here are some of the items supermarkets may carry in addition to food:

  • Gift cards for restaurants, retail, transportation, entertainment, and more
  • Bakery, deli, and catering for office functions/parties
  • Pharmacy, medicine, wellness
  • Baby gear
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools
  • Patio furniture
  • Home décor
  • Bedding
  • Lawn maintenance supplies
  • Clothing
  • Automotive items

You’ll be earning 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 for every purchase you make at the U.S. supermarket — not just food items!

Airline Purchases

With the Amex Gold card, you will earn 3x Membership Reward points per $1 spent directly with airlines and Amex Travel, so the Amex Gold card is a fantastic option to use for all of your airfare purchases. If you’re someone who travels often, this will allow you to earn a ton of points.

Amex Offers

By virtue of being an American Express cardholder, each month you’ll receive dozens of Amex offers that you can attach to your Amex Gold card, which helps you earn more Membership Reward points.

These offers can provide you with some excellent value by allowing you to earn additional points or cash-back for shopping with select merchants. Simply add your offers of choice from the bottom of your card’s home screen and you’re ready to start earning.

Refer-a-Friend

American Express allows you to earn points for referring your friends to its credit cards. Just send your friend your unique link — if they are approved, you’ll receive a point bonus added to your account.

Hot Tip: You can receive a bonus even if your friend doesn’t apply for the card you hold. For example, if you have the Amex Gold card and you refer a friend who decides to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll still receive the point bonus.
Adding More Membership Rewards Cards

If you’re a fan of the American Express Membership Rewards ecosystem, adding more Membership Rewards cards to your wallet is a no-brainer.

Take the Amex Platinum card for example, which earns 5x Membership Reward points per $1 on airfare purchased directly with airlines, and travel purchases at Amex Travel. With this 2-card combo, you’ll be earning tons of points for all your airfare, dining, and U.S. supermarket purchases.

There are plenty of American Express credit cards with varying bonus categories, including Amex business credit cards, as well.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for even more ways to earn more Membership Rewards points for your next redemption, check out our comprehensive guide on the best ways to earn Membership Rewards points!

How To Use Amex Points for Max Value

When it comes to using your Membership Rewards points, there are quite a few different redemption options that all vary in value.

Travel Partners

American Express Membership Rewards points are easily one of the most valuable travel point currencies due to their ability to be transferred to one of Amex’s many travel transfer partners.

This is easily the best option to get the maximum value out of your hard-earned points, as you could use them to purchase business and first class flights that would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars!

Hot Tip: If you’re under the impression that using transfer partners is way too complicated, check out our detailed guide to Amex transfer partners and how to use them

Amex Travel

Cardholders also have the option of using points to offset airfare and hotel purchases made through the Amex Travel portal (though the value is not great).

When using your points toward an airline ticket you’ll receive just 1 cent per point — and an abysmal 0.7 cents per point when redeeming toward a hotel stay.

Statement Credit

American Express gives you the option to use your points to cover eligible charges you’ve made with your card. However, when doing so your points will only be valued at 0.6 cents each — which is terrible for points as valuable as Membership Rewards!

Gift Cards

American Express offers plenty of retailers where you can cash in your points and get a gift card in return. But in doing so, you’ll receive anywhere from 0.7 cents to 1 cent per point toward the gift card.

Again, this is not a method we advise as you’ll be losing huge value in the form of travel rewards.

Shop With Points

Lastly, you can use your Membership Rewards points to offset the cost of your purchases with retailers like Apple, Best Buy, or Nike.

There are dozens of merchants to choose from, but we don’t recommend it as using this method will only earn you 1 cent or less per point in value.

Bottom Line: We highly recommend using your points with American Express transfer partners — that is where the big value is found. Due to this, we do not advise anyone to use their points for gift cards, statement credits, or any option that only earns 1 cent per point or less. 

Amex Airline Transfer Partners

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico1,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus1,0001:1Almost Instant
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles1,0001:1Almost instant
British Airways
1,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines1,0001:1Almost Instant
Emirates1,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue Air France/KLM1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian1,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia1,0001:11-3 days
JetBlue2501:0.8Almost Instant
Qantas5001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines1,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic1,0001:11-2 days

Amex Hotel Transfer Partners

Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Marriott Bonvoy1,0001:1Almost Instant

Alternatives to the Amex Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel rewards cards on the market, and with benefits like 2x points per $1 spend on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options (including transfer partners), it’s easy to see why the card is so popular.

For just a $95 annual fee, you’ll be able to start earning Chase Ultimate Reward points, one of the most valuable loyalty currencies available. Chase Ultimate Reward points can be redeemed for incredible value through its select transfer partners.

Curious to learn more? Have a look at our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to see what the buzz is about.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

There’s a lot to love about the CapOne Venture card — including airline and hotel transfer partners and 2x on all other purchases.

If the majority of your daily spending comes from purchases outside of dining and travel categories, then the CapOne Venture card might be a great option for you.

Citi Premier℠ Card

The Citi Premier card offers 3x points per $1 on travel purchases, including gas stations, making it one of the few travel credit cards on the market to offer a high return on gas purchases. This makes the card an excellent choice for those who drive often for work or love taking road trips. Citi Premier cardholders will also earn 2x points per $1 on restaurants and entertainment purchases.


We’ve compared the Amex Gold card to some other popular credit cards:


The information presented above regarding the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card and Citi Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not reviewed by the issuer.

For the rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, please click here.


Frequently asked questions

Is the Amex Gold card worth it?

This Amex Gold card offers great earning potential at supermarkets, restaurants, and airfare expenses while offering a variety of high-value redemption options.

Points can be redeemed for a variety of travel partners and can be transferred directly to other loyalty accounts when you need points elsewhere.

Cardholders also benefit from perks like the up to $120 annual dining credit.

While the Amex Gold card does come with a $250 annual fee, if you’re able to maximize the bonus categories and card perks then it may be very worth having.

Does the Amex Gold card earn Membership Reward points?

Yes, the Amex Gold card earns Membership Reward points that you can use for huge value!

Do Membership Reward points expire?

No, as long as your account stays active and in good standing, you will never lose your Membership Reward points.

What is the annual fee on the Amex Gold card?

The annual fee on the Amex Gold card is $250.

Does the Amex Gold card charge foreign transaction fees?

No, there are no foreign transaction fees when using the Amex Gold card.

Is the Amex Gold card metal?

Yes, the Amex Gold card is a metal card with a gold finish. A Rose Gold finish is also available for a limited time.

Does the Amex Gold card have a credit limit?

The Amex Gold card does not have a pre-set spending limit. But that doesn’t mean you have access to unlimited spending. Your purchasing power will adjust based on the use of your card, payment and credit history, and financial resources.

How do Membership Rewards points work?

When you make purchases on your card, you earn rewards in the form of points. On the Amex Gold card, you’ll be earning Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, travel, and more.

The points accumulate in your account until you are ready to redeem them.

To redeem your points, simply log in to your online American Express card account and select the Membership Rewards portal to view your account summaries and the various ways to earn and redeem points.

Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel, used as a charity donation, and even spent on Amazon — but their greatest value is realized when transferring points to airline partners.

How do I get the $120 dining credit?

To receive the dining statement credit (which is limited to $10 each statement period), you must enroll through your American Express portal and use your card at participating restaurants.

Those restaurants include Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations.

The maximum credit is $120 per calendar year.

Does the Amex Gold Card have airport lounge access?

No, the Amex Gold Card does not have lounge access. If you’re looking to access airport lounges, consider a card like Amex Platinum card where you can get into 1,300+ lounges around the world.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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5 comments

  1. Is this a “new” card or precluded from getting if you have previously
    had the Gold Card ?

    Reply

    • Hey Rob, the Gold card and old PRG card are considered the same product, so you can only get the sign-up bonus once.

      Reply

      • I recently used my boyfriend’s Gold Business card to book a trip which included 4 Delta Air Line tickets. The next day there were several charges ranging from 7.50 for trip delay insurance and 9.95 for baggage premium insurance? Is this an automatic charge? I didn’t request or need either. Is this something I can have removed off the card? It was almost 100.00?
        I appreciate your help. Thank you

        Reply

        • Hi Patricia. First, please be advised that we are not American Express or Delta. We are Upgraded Points, a blog specializing in points, miles, credit card, and travel resources. You could call American Express at the number on the back of the card and inquire about the charges in question. Sorry we can’t help you further.

          Reply

  2. Feroz Siddik October 5, 2018

    You may actually get a better offer for 50,000 points if you use a referral code.

    Reply

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