American Express Gold Card benefits: Get credits for food and airline incidentals

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When you open the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll earn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn (terms apply):

  • 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at restaurants
  • 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases – then 1x)
  • 3x Amex Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on

The American Express Gold card is a great choice for anyone who loves to dine out or buys lots of groceries at U.S. supermarkets. It’s also an excellent option for frequent travelers. That’s why the Amex Gold makes our list of the best American Express cards. Those 4x bonus categories can add up fast and although there’s a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees), the card’s perks can certainly help offset that cost.

Here’s a detailed look at the Amex Gold Card benefits and perks.

The Amex Gold Card’s benefits and perks can save you money on your next meal with its monthly dining credit. (Photo by bernardbodo/iStock)

Amex Gold Card benefits and perks

The American Express® Gold Card comes with a welcome bonus of 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Although there’s a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees), the card’s benefits and perks can make the Amex Gold worth keeping.

You can find our full review of the Amex Gold Card here.

Up to $120 dining credit each year

With the Amex Gold Card, you can get up to $120 in dining credits every year, making it one of the best credit cards for restaurants. And who doesn’t love free food? Here’s how it works.

You’ll get $10 per month in dining credit for purchases at:

  • GrubHub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
  • Boxed
  • Participating Shake Shack locations

So if you use the credit each month, that’s $120 for chow. Just note, the credit can’t be used for merchandise or gift card purchases. Of course, it would be great if the list of eligible eateries was longer, but GrubHub and Seamless are delivery services, so you can choose healthier restaurants if you have dietary restrictions or want to order in with fewer calories.

Of course, who spends only $10 at a restaurant? I consider this more of a rebate on your bill. And it’s only useful if you like the restaurants on the list.

Up to $100 in airline incidental credit

The Amex Gold Card offers cardholders up to $100 credit to use toward incidentals on their selected airline. Eligible purchases include things like seat upgrades and selection, checked bags and much more. So this card is a good option if you don’t have a cobranded airline credit card with a free checked bag benefit.

If you’re a frequent traveler, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find something to spend your yearly credit on. Why not treat yourself to an upgrade, when the Amex Gold card can help you offset the cost?

Access to Amex Offers

Amex Offers are a fantastic way to save money on everyday purchases. They’re targeted statement credits or bonus points that only people with American Express cards receive, for things like shopping, delivery, Amazon and streaming services.

I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the years on expenses like dog sitters, household essentials, hotels stays and more. All you have to do is add Amex Offers to your card and make an eligible purchase to trigger the credit.

Rental car insurance

You can get primary rental car insurance with the card when you enroll in the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program for up to 42 days. You must decline the rental agency’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental to your Amex Gold Card to use the benefit.

If you rent vehicles often, this can be a tremendous money saver and give you peace of mind. But you must opt in to get coverage. If you don’t, coverage is secondary and covers up to a maximum of $50,000 per rental agreement.

Extended warranty and purchase protection

Amex will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional years on U.S. warranties of five years or less, when you purchase an item with your Amex Gold Card.

As for the purchase protection, any purchases made with the card are protected from accidental damage, theft or loss for up to 90 days, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.

Free ShopRunner shipping

You’ll get a free ShopRunner membership with the card, which gets you free two-day shipping at 100+stores. That’s worth $79 a year.

Overall value

Those who will get the most value from this card are those who spend a lot on dining and want to earn travel rewards. Besides the benefits of the statement credits, the card’s $250 annual fee is quickly outset when you earn bonus points for eating out and shopping for groceries in the U.S.

Bottom line

The Amex Gold Card comes with a welcome bonus of 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. And you’ll also get access to these benefits (terms apply):

  • 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at restaurants
  • 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1X)
  • 3x Amex Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on
  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required)
  • Up to $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)

You’ll also get benefits like free ShopRunner membership for two-day shipping at 100+ stores and return and purchase protections. These perks can certainly help offset the card’s $250 annual fee (see rates & fees), especially if you spend a lot in the bonus categories. Be sure to read our full review of the Amex Gold Card.

You can apply for the American Express Gold Card here.

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

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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7 months ago

Thanks for the great article! How does this Gold card differ from the free one you can get if you have the AMEX Platinum card?

7 months ago

Is there a detailed list of what are considered airline “incidentals”? Does purchasing inflight internet count as an incidental? Inflight food purchase?

9 months ago

I have stopped liking Amex not because of the services and the benefits, but because of the fact that it is available to anyone and everyone. I have been proud to pay an annual fee because it has the prestige. I use my Amex for everything and I am very much happy with the annual fee because I know the worth and the rewards structure. I now know a lot of people who has an Amex card with not fee and would call Amex for the perks that I have but is not willing to pay the fee. Amex being an absolute nice organisation have accommodated them. Now with more restrictions, I see a lot of negative reviews about Amex not being competitive or being accommodative. The least annual fee with Amex now is $95 which give a cash back of 6% for groceries till 6k annually, 6% for streaming subscriptions, 3% for gas, I have one of them for groceries. A friend of mine decided to cancel the card because he did not get a waiver on the annual fee, which was after he got more than a 1k as a reward dollar, showed me the review he wrote which wasn’t at all nice. I have never showed off my card since college, when I was first added as an additional on my dad’s card 20 years ago. It isn’t about class or status, it is more about the appreciating the services and benefits which is not on other cards. Amex need to start filtering their consumers.

Reply to  Sean
8 months ago

you are a fool sir.

Reply to  dan
5 months ago

Oh god !maybe you should build some self-esteem by improving your personality or generosity. Having a credit card, even it’s a rare one, should not be a reason of classification.

Andrew Wan
Reply to  Sean
9 months ago

Hey Sean, thanks for commenting! I’ll add to this and just say “to each their own”. Hopefully, you still see value from the cards even if they’re perceived to be less prestigious than in the past.

If someone else wasn’t paying an annual fee and they were getting the same perks as someone who shelled out a few hundred dollars for an annual fee, I’d agree I might be a bit peeved. What perks have you seen or heard of Amex giving out on cards with no annual fees?

David Grover
10 months ago

After 1/2020 these are no longer benefits:

– Roadside Assistance
– Travel Accident Insurance
– Reduced Purchase Protection
– Reduced Extended Warranty
– Return Protection

Very disappointed. Will probably revert to the greencard. Doesn’t make sense to continue with the gold.

Reply to  David Grover
7 months ago

Yeah the removal of premium roadside assistance really bothered me. We did use it twice in the past and it saved a AAA call.

Reply to  David Grover
10 months ago

I am on the phone with AMEX right now. Poor guy has been listening to me bitch about them stripping the benefits and last year raised the price of the card to $250 (it was $195). Do they think we are just going to keep the card because it pumps up our egos that we have a metal, gold card? They are out of their minds. FYI – the Green card WAS $95/year (too much) but 2020 it is going up to $149 (WTF???). I will probably just cancel my AMEX all together. I am royally pissed.

Andrew Wan
Reply to  WTF
10 months ago

🙁 sorry to hear. I’ve heard stories in the past of Amex offering reduced/waived fees for another year, or possibly bonus points or some sort of retention bonus if you ask nicely. It might be worth another call to see if they’re willing/able to offer something like that.

1 year ago

They will not give points for Meijer Supermarket, or Speedway gas station.

Walmart is OK

Beware called them out for missing points

1 year ago

Anyone have a 50K referral link?

Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

They no longer offer 50k referral, it’s now 40k

1 year ago

Does anyone know if you can still use the airline credit for a Southwest gift card? It worked last year.

1 year ago

But who wants to eat take-out or fast food? Does Amex think this is how their clients eat? To me, this perk is valueless.

Andrew W
Reply to  ssss
1 year ago

Hi ssss,

The dining category for 4x points covers US restaurants as well. It’s a pretty broad category that also includes sit down places and other fine dining. So you’re not limited to just fast food places.

Reply to  Andrew W
1 year ago

I was speaking about spending the credit. 🙂

Andrew W
Reply to  ssss
1 year ago

Oh! Haha, I gotcha = )