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If it is time to apply for your very first premium-ish rewards card, the American Express® Gold Card should not be discounted. In reality, TPG senior contributor Ethan Steinberg states he’s more faithful to his Amex Gold now throughout the pandemic.
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The Gold Card has a yearly fee of $250, which can be essentially $30 if you factor in its own yearly invoice credits in select restaurants as well as its own airline charge credit.
It’s relevant bonus classes like international dining and U.S. supermarkets, also it earns precious American Express Membership Rewards points. Let us dive into why else the Amex Gold is a superb card to think about, and that should and who should not receive the Amex Gold Card.
Photo from Isabelle Raphael
The yearly commission on the Gold Card is $250 — and it is not waived for the initial year. To compensate, the card provides up to $220 in yearly statement credits.
This breaks down into a up to $100 yearly credit for airline incidentals (not legal on airfare, just on fees like seat mission, luggage charges along with lounge access) and also a up to $10 per month (up to $120 annually ) dining at participating locations like Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed, and engaging Shake Shack places. Registration required.
The bonus classes can also be striking, making:
4x points in restaurants globally
4x points in U.S. supermarkets (on around $25,000 in paying a calendar year; afterward 1x point)
3x points on flights booked directly using the airline or with Amex Travel
1x anyplace else
The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $700 predicated on TPG’s newest valuations) after spending $4,000 from the first few months. However, you might be targeted for a greater 50,000-point bonus (after spending $2,000 at the initial few weeks ) via CardMatch or a referral link (offer subject to change anytime ).
You may even earn double points along with a property charge of around $100 if you reserve a prepaid resort stay of 2 nights or more through the Amex Hotel Collection.
Connected: Complete review of the Amex Gold
Who should find the Amex Gold card?
Individuals who spend a great deal on dining and U.S. supermarkets
Statement credits are a excellent way to cancel a high yearly fee on a credit card, however you do not submit an application for a new card to break . You do it to get forward.
The 4x bonus classes on global dining and on U.S. supermarket purchases (around $25,000 per calendar year; afterward 1x to get U.S. supermarket buys ) sum to an 8% yield, dependent on TPG’s evaluation of Membership Rewards points in two cents each. It goes without saying that individuals who invest heavily in those classes will find the maximum value from the particular card.
The Amex Gold isn’t the very first credit card to provide bonus classes on dining globally and in U.S. supermarkets, but it may be the most valuable one. Four Membership Rewards points per dollar beats from the 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining Provided by this Chase Sapphire Reserve.
It is possible to end up with a slightly higher yield on purchases at U.S. supermarkets using the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, however the bonus classes on the Gold Card do not ask that you jump through any hoops, like a minimal number of trades per month to earn the greatest rates. This card does not have any overseas transaction fees in the event you opt to travel with this.
The data for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card was collected individually by The Points Guy. The card information on this page haven’t been assessed or supplied from the card issuer.
Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy
People Seeking to finish the Amex trifecta
The two largest weak places in the Amex Gold Card’s bonus classes (traveling and regular spending) could be readily fixed by matching it with 2 other powerful Amex cards: The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
However much money spent on dining and markets per year, you will probably wish to combine many cards in the Amex trifecta to make the most of your bonus-category earning.
If you mix these 3 cards and use each one for the own bonus classes, you’re going to wind up earning anywhere in 2-5x points4-10% back on almost all your purchases. And these cards actually fit together like puzzle pieces, together with the Amex Platinum supplying luxury perks, like lounge access and resort elite standing, the Gold Card does not, and also the Blue Business Plus bettering your foundation earning speed on non-bonus spending from 1x to 2x (on the initial $50,000 in qualified purchases every calendar year; afterward 1x) without costing you a cent in yearly fees.
Individuals who can max out the $220 in yearly statement credits
Among the hardest things for lots of new points fans to wrap their minds around is your value of a credit card. However much private value you escape from a few of the perks, you still wind up paying well over $100 annually out of pocket to get the best to use them — often paying $450 or much more up front until you start to get reimbursed by invoice credits.
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The Amex Gold makes this mathematics considerably simpler if you’re able to max out either of its yearly announcement credits.
Though the around $100 yearly airline incidental credit can not be directly applied to the price of a ticket, you may use it for items like change/cancellation fees, lounge day moves, chair assignment fees or assessed luggage fees.
The around $120 dining credit is broken down to $10 per month, very similar to the Uber charge which is included with the Amex Platinum, but additionally it is rather simple to maximize. I can not think of one purchase at any of the spouse dining retailers (Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed and engaging Shake Shack places ) that could cost significantly less than $10 per month, so in the event that you eat out or order in after each 30 times this ought to be simple to benefit from.
Related reading: Your guide to meals Shipping voucher codes
If using the airline up charge credits and also the dining table credit sounds like some thing that you can do, you will effectively wind up paying $30 annually to maintain the Amex Gold, which makes it among the least expensive cards relative to the rewards it gives. And it ought to be simple to get back that last $30 by benefiting from one or more Amex Offers, where you could earn discounts on purchases you probably would have produced already.
Individuals That Are more than 5/24 with Chase
Whether you have years of established credit or are new to the points world entirely, we at TPG almost universally recommend that you start by applying for Chase credit cards because of the pesky 5/24 rule. Simply put, this rule means that you will be automatically rejected for most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months.
Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy
The question of what you should do after you’ve maxed out your five slots with Chase gets a little trickier, but the Amex Gold could be a great answer. Not only will you immediately begin earning a valuable transferable points currency, but the 4x bonus categories will help you earn your free vacation even faster.
I also believe that having access to multiple types of points makes all of your points more valuable, as it gives you more options to pick from for any specific trip you want to take. For certain Star Alliance redemptions, being able to pick between Aeroplan (transferring Amex points) or United (transferring Chase points) could end up saving you hundreds of dollars or thousands of miles.
People targeted for a 50,000-point bonus
The public welcome offer on the Amex Gold is currently 35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, but some readers have reported being targeted for a higher bonus of 50,000 points on the Amex website through referral links (offer subject to change at anytime) and through CardMatch.
Since Amex has a “once per lifetime” policy with welcome offers, it always makes sense to see if you can get a higher offer. Those extra 15,000 points would add $300 in value to your bonus, making your total haul worth $1,000.
Who shouldn’t get the Amex Gold card?
The Amex Gold has the potential to be a very lucrative card, but there are several groups of people who might struggle to get good value from it.
People who are under 5/24
As mentioned above, Chase’s 5/24 rule is one of the most important considerations in building a starter strategy for credit cards. Five cards can seem like a lot to someone who has never even had one before, but those slots go by quickly and once you’ve used them up, you might never get them back.
Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy
The Amex Gold is going to be around for a while, so there’s no reason to fire off an application for it right now, especially if it means compromising your strategy with Chase.
There are at least three Chase credit cards currently offering bonuses worth $1,000 or more based on TPG valuations or the cost of redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards — the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The value of the Amex Gold welcome bonus is $700. If you want to get this card at some point, make a mental note but don’t get impatient and throw away your whole strategy.
The information for the Ink Business Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
People who live outside the U.S.
If you’re outside the U.S., that means the 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 each calendar year; then 1x) and the up to $120 dining credit do you no good. In fact, if you live outside the U.S., this card is much less valuable. The other perks, such as 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel, and an up to $100 credit when booking through the Amex Hotel Collection, can easily be overshadowed by other premium rewards cards.
People who won’t max out the statement credits
The up to $100 airline incidental credit can be easy for some people to use, but it’s not as easy as it has been in the past because airline gift cards are no longer triggering the credit and the up to $120 dining credit might be tougher to use if you enjoy cooking at home or don’t eat at any of the partner restaurants. Ordering delivery just to use the up to $10 credit might end up costing more than it saves.
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If that’s the case, you’re left with a card that might cost you more out of pocket than the ultra-premium cards such as the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You’re left footing a larger bill and getting fewer perks in return, as the Amex Gold doesn’t offer any form of lounge access, elite status or even a Global EntryTSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100).
People who’ve previously had an Amex Gold card
I personally appreciate Amex’s rule on bonus eligibility. It’s easy to understand that if you have previously earned the bonus on a credit card, you will not be eligible to earn it again.
Although the Amex Gold underwent a heavy makeover, it is still technically the same product that was known as the Premier Rewards Gold Card. This means that people who previously have had the old version will not be eligible for a bonus on the brand new product even if the old card has been closed.
People who want travel coverages and primary rental car insurance
The Amex Gold card isn’t one of the best credit cards with travel protections. For example, the rental car insurance you get with the card is secondary, which means it only applies to expenses not covered by other insurances you have. On top of that, the card also doesn’t have any trip delay or trip interruption coverage.
Photo by alexfan32/Shutterstock
Now, compare that to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which provides primary rental car insurance when you pay for the entire rental with your card (or with Chase Ultimate Rewards things) and decline the rental company’s collision coverage.
The Sapphire Reserve also has amazing trip-delay protection: When you pay for in least part of your fare with the card you can have eligible expenses (up to $500 per ticket) reimbursed if your travel is delayed for six hours or more or requires an overnight stay. Eligible purchases that can be reimbursed with this coverage include lodging, transportation, toiletries, clothing or food expenses you incurred as a result of the delay.
The Amex Gold is a valuable option for U.S.-based customers who spend heavily on dining and groceries at U.S. supermarkets and are looking for an in-between, “premium-lite” card that offers good returns without an obscene price tag.
If you can max out all the benefits this card has to offer, it might become a cornerstone of your wallet. But if you live or frequently travel outside of the U.S. or can’t max out both of the annual statement credits, stop and think about whether this is the best card for you.
Even if you decide against applying for the Amex Gold, make sure to check out TPG’s list of the best travel credit cards to find the right card to meet your travel goals.
Check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for any special offers. These offers are subject to change at any time.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed with any of these entities.
Additional reporting from Chris Dong along with Jason Stauffer