American Express – Here’s Why the Amex Gold Card is My Favorite Annual Fee Card
The American Express® Gold Card holds a special place in my wallet. It was the first Amex card I opened and my first time paying an annual fee for a card.
Despite a relatively high $250 annual fee, I was excited about having a metal card (in rose gold!), and more importantly, a card that provides generous dining perks. Since the design of a card isn’t a valid reason to spend $250, I did the math and found that I could offset the annual fee through the card’s robust perks, such as the annual $120 dining credit. (See rates and fees.)
Beyond monetary benefits, I always take into consideration a card issuer’s digital features and consumer reviews. After all, most of the transactions I complete are on my smartphone, so it’s important that I can easily pay bills, chat with customer service and redeem rewards all from the palm of my hand.
The Amex mobile app is a top-rated mobile app and Amex ranks highest in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power studies. Compared to other issuer apps I use, the Amex app allows me to more easily find recent transactions, check autopay and understand my membership benefits (like the dining credit).
Every account anniversary year, I reevaluate whether all of the 10 cards I have are still worthwhile, paying close attention to those with annual fees. During the recent account anniversaries for my Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Amex Gold card, I decided to downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve due to the steep $550 annual fee — but I chose to keep the more affordable Amex Gold card.
Here are all of the reasons why the Amex Gold card maintains its spot in my wallet.
American Express® Gold Card
On the American Express secure site
4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases
60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
Amex Gold card benefits
The Amex Gold card comes with a variety of perks that make using the card worthwhile. While benefits like trip delay and baggage insurance are helpful, I’ve never used them and prefer to focus on perks that have a clear value. Here’s a breakdown of all the major benefits with their estimated values.
Dining credit: Up to $120 value per year
I order takeout from Grubhub or Seamless once per month, so I’m always looking for promotions that can offset the cost.
That’s why one of my favorite perks is the yearly $120 dining credit ($10 a month) that can offset purchases made with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations (after a one-time enrollment). If I’m especially savvy, I can get my monthly order for only a couple of dollars.
This perk is automatic, and you can expect the credit to automatically appear on your account two to four weeks after an eligible purchase. From my past experience, it’s often within a week.
Complimentary year of Uber Eats Pass: $119 value
Last October, Amex introduced new Uber benefits that allow Gold card members (as well as Green and Platinum) to enroll in a complimentary one-year Uber Eats Pass membership.
Uber Eats Pass is a monthly subscription service from Uber Eats that provides unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants (taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward order minimum). Those who enroll can also benefit from no delivery fees on grocery deliveries over $30 in select markets.
This perk is worth $119, since Eats Pass normally costs $9.99 per month. Enroll by December 31, 2021 if you want to benefit. After the complimentary year, you’ll be auto-billed at the then-current monthly rate. (Learn more about the Uber Eats Pass benefit.)
I haven’t activated this offer yet, since I’m most excited about the upcoming Uber Cash credit perk, which I explain next.
Uber Cash credit (coming soon): Up to $120 value per year
In addition to the Uber Eats Pass membership, Gold card members will soon be able to take advantage of $10 in Uber Cash each month for up to $120 in annual savings. This pairs nicely with the complementary year of Eats Pass, allowing cardmembers to maximize savings on U.S. Uber Eats orders. The Uber Cash credit also counts towards Uber rides in the U.S.
There’s currently no release date for this perk, but last year Amex said the benefit is expected to start early this year.
My Gold card is already listed as a payment method in my Uber app, so I’m ready to take advantage of this perk when it launches. If you’re interested, add your Gold card as a payment method in your Uber app to benefit.
Hotel credit at eligible properties: Up to $100 per stay
Another perk that I’ve used in the past is the hotel credit at eligible properties. When you stay at a property that’s part of The Hotel Collection, you can receive a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities.
To qualify, guests must book a stay of at least two consecutive nights through American Express Travel at over 600 Hotel Collection properties. Cardholders may also receive a complimentary room upgrade, early check-in and late check-out, when available. This perk can be used on multiple trips, providing you with the ability to maximize savings.
When I visited Arizona in 2019, I chose to use my $100 hotel credit on food at the resort’s restaurant. During my entire stay, I was able to get all of my meals for free!
Amex Offers: Value varies by card member
I’m always looking for a way to save money, and I really appreciate the ability to activate an offer and shop without needing to enter a promo code at checkout. I’ve found it hard to find verified discounts online, so I was excited to learn that Amex provides shopping offers at a variety of retailers, like restaurants and department stores.
Gold card members can take advantage of potentially lucrative Amex Offers that allow shoppers to receive a statement credit or points on eligible spending. Simply activate an offer and shop at the participating merchant with your Gold card to benefit.
You can find Amex Offers for local merchants, as well as name brands. Offers vary based on your location and are only available for a limited time. There may be minimum spending requirements, such as spending $50 to earn a $10 statement credit.
I’ve saved $98 since I opened my card, and overall Amex card members have saved over $931 million since January 2010. Some of my favorite offers have been at restaurants and online merchants.
The Amex Gold card has a wide range of benefits that are the reason why I keep it year after year. I find that many of the Amex Offers and the $120 annual dining credit help me save money on everyday purchases, as well as offset the $250 annual fee. These perks also earn it the top spot on CNBC Select’s best cards for rewards and travel, plus runner-up for restaurants.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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