American Express Gold Card Review
If you want a luxury rewards card that offers a lot of value, you might want to consider the American Express Gold Card. There are plenty of perks for frequent travelers and foodies since you’ll get high ongoing rewards such as an annual dining credit. You’ll also get this metal card in gold.
Wondering if this card is the right one for you? Keep reading for our take.
American Express® Gold Card 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Bonus
The signup bonus for the American Express® Gold Card is currently at 60,000 Membership Rewards ® points. You’ll need to spend at least $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening. It’s not a huge bonus compared to other cards out there, but it’s enough to fund a flight or a hotel room on your next trip.
Other Key Features
Here’s what you can earn with this card and why it’s a contender with other rewards cards:
- Earn 4 Membership Rewards points for each dollar you spend at restaurants, including ones through third party processors like Square
- Earn 4 points for each dollar you spend at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 each year
- Earn 3 points for each dollar you spend on flights booked on AmexTravel.com or directly with airlines
- Earn 1 point for each dollar you spend on all other eligible purchases
Aside from earning rewards points, cardholders will also get the following annual credits:
- $100 airline fee credit – You can use this credit towards incidental fees which can include baggage fees on one qualifying airline of choice. If you want to change your airline choice, you can only during January of each year. Once you make your purchase, credits should be applied within four weeks.
- $120 dining credit – Once you enroll, you’ll get this total amount spread out as $10 each month. You can apply this credit towards certain partners when you dine with them. These places include Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, Grubhub, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Seamless and certain Shake Shack locations. You’ll get your credit within 2 to 4 weeks after your purchase is posted to your account. Keep in mind that these credits don’t rollover. So if you don’t use it that month, they’re gone.
When thinking about this card, consider how you’ll maximize these credits to get as much value out of your card. For example, if you’re not someone who likes to dine out a lot (at least with Amex’s partners) then those credits probably aren’t as valuable. However, if you like to check your bags and are a frequent flier with one airline, then those credits could be really valuable.
American Express® Gold Card APR and Fees
If you’re looking for an introductory rate with this card, you’re out of luck. The regular purchase APR is 20.24% – 27.24% variable. If you need to get a cash advance, the variable APR is 29.49%, plus a cash advance fee of 5% of the total amount or $10, whichever one is higher.
Here are a few more fees to watch out for:
- Late payment fee: up to $40
- Annual fee: $250
The good news for international travelers is that there are no transaction fees for the American Express® Gold Card. Foreign transaction fees are an additional cost to use a card to make purchases internationally. That’s because the issuer needs to convert U.S. dollars to the local currency to pay the merchant.
You Can Transfer Points
In addition to being able to earn lots of rewards points, you can transfer them to travel partners. There are a bunch of loyalty programs you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to. Some of these include British Airways, Emirates, and Virgin Atlantic. However, you’ll need to pay $0.0006 per point, up to a maximum of $99 if you’re transferring to U.S. airlines so be mindful if you want to avoid the fees.
Of course, there are other ways you can use your Membership Rewards points, like redeeming them for gift cards and paying for items with participating merchants, but these methods aren’t usually a good way to maximize your points.
Why the American Express Gold Card May Not Be a Good Fit
Sure, there are some great benefits to this card, but the annual fee is pretty high at $250. Meaning, it’s best for those who are able to take advantage of all its perks to squeeze as much value out of it. We’re talking about people who travel and dine out often so you can use up all the travel and dining credits, plus earn enough Membership Rewards points to offset the annual fee and then some.
If you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets, you may be able to make up for the annual fee, but there are also other credit cards that can do the same with a lower annual fee. Some of these cards have more flexible redemption options like cashback rewards.
Even if you travel and dine out often, the rewards and benefits aren’t exactly as simple to navigate. If you think about it, there are a bunch of rules you need to follow in order to get your credits. For example, it sounds great that you can get a $120 annual dining credit, but it needs to be at participating restaurants and in $10 monthly increments.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed thinking about all the rules you need to follow, then it might be better for you to opt for a simpler rewards card. Think cashback rewards cards that don’t have different earnings categories or a card that has benefits where you don’t have to follow so many different rules.
Should You Get This Card?
The American Express® Gold Card isn’t going to be the right fit for everyone. It’s more targeted to frequent travelers and people who like dining out. If you can take advantage of all the travel and dining credits, this card is certainly worth a second look.