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Is the American Express Gold Card Worth It? Foodies and Travelers Sure Think So!

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Is the American Express Gold Card Worth It?  Foodies and Travelers Sure Think So!

Brett HolzhauerIs the American Express Gold Card Worth It?  Foodies and Travelers Sure Think So!Million Mile Secrets Team

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When the American Express® Gold Card was introduced, I was extremely excited for it.  I’ve been earning and burning credit card miles and points for almost 8 years, and this is now my all-time favorite credit card. 

It’s incredibly rewarding for foodies or if you book paid airfare.  It also comes with a healthy 35,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, which is more than enough for a round-trip domestic flight when you transfer points to airline partners.  

But the AMEX Gold Card also comes with a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).  That’s no small amount, so is the American Express Gold Card worth it?

Is The American Express Gold Card Worth It Despite the Annual Fee?  Absolutely If You Make the Most of the Benefits and Spending Categories Like Restaurants

Is the American Express Gold Card Worth It?

Apply Here:   American Express Gold Card

Read our review of the American Express Gold Card

With the American Express Gold Card card, you’ll earn 35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  

You’ll also get:

  • 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at restaurants
  • 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1X)
  • 3X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required)
  • $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline
  • No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms apply

There’s a $250 annual fee, but the perks of the AMEX Gold can far outweigh the cost of keeping the card, especially in the first year.

Let’s look at how the American Express Gold Card benefits add up.

Excellent Earning at Restaurants, US Supermarkets, and Airfare

The American Express Gold Card earns 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at restaurants, and 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

This offers a huge earning potential for many of us who spend a decent amount of money on groceries and dining out.  An average family can easily spend $500 a month on groceries and restaurants, which adds up to 2,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points per month on purchases you’d make anyway.  In the course of a year you’d earn ~24,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, which is nearly enough for a round-trip flight to Ireland from the East Coast when you transfer points to British Airways.

Earning 4X AMEX Membership Rewards per $1 on Healthy Groceries Is an Awesome Return!

The card also comes a bonus spending category on flights, earning 3X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 when you book directly with airlines or through AMEX Travel.  This is a great deal, especially if you don’t have other cards that offer a bonus for travel.

With these spending categories alone, you could easily earn your way back to make up the annual fee and then some.

Up to $120 Annual Dining Credit

Each year, the American Express Gold Card comes with up to a $120 annual dining credit, which is broken up into $10 monthly increments.

You can use these credits toward merchants like GrubHub and Seamless.  These services offer a wide variety of food choices and they’ll deliver right to your door.

Purchases at The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations are also eligible for the credit.  Gift cards and merchandise don’t qualify.

Each Month You Can Get $10 Towards GrubHub, Which Can Include Your Local Pizza Place!

Unused credit doesn’t carry over to the next month, so use them or lose them!

Up to $100 Airline Fee Credit

The American Express Gold Card also comes with up to $100 in annual airline fee credit.  You can redeem this credit for a variety of different airline fees including checked bags, seat selection, and in-flight food and drink.

Even though it’s not technically included in the terms, many folks have had success redeeming the credit for gift card purchases with Delta (desktop site only) and Southwest.  I used my $100 credit to buy two $50 Delta gift cards, and it worked perfectly!

With the American Express Gold Card $100 Airline Fee Credit, I’m Now $100 Closer to My Next Adventure!

Other Ways to Save Money With the American Express Gold Card

Aside from the perks listed above, the American Express Gold Card gives you other ways to save money, including:

  • AMEX Offers
  • Complimentary Shoprunner membership (free 2-day shipping from dozens of online merchants)
  • Rental car insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
The AMEX Gold Card Can Put Cash Back in Your Pocket With Perks Like AMEX Offers

These benefits can potentially save you hundreds of dollars if you make the most of them.

Bottom Line

The American Express Gold Card comes with a nice welcome bonus of 35,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting minimum spending requirements.

The $250 annual fee isn’t waived the first year.  But it’s still worth it for many!

You can easily offset the annual fee with perks you’ll get from the card, including:

  • Outstanding earning at restaurants, US supermarkets, and airfare
  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 per month) each calendar year at restaurants and services like Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and GrubHub
  • Up to $100 statement credit for airline incidental fees like in-flight purchases, bag fees, and seat selection
  • Money-saving benefits like AMEX Offers, purchase protection, and rental car insurance

If you spend a lot on food and airfare, you’ll do very well with the AMEX Gold.  It’s my go-to card for lots of everyday purchases.

You can apply for the American Express Gold Card here.

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

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • 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.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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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Correction: foodies and travelers like CSR. I’m in Vancouver right now and my AmEx Gold doesnt do much here.

The lack of international restaurants is a strange omission with this card.

Hi Andrew,

You make a good point. For frequent international travelers, I’d see the CSR as being more useful than the AMEX Gold, at least for dining.

That said, I still have to give props to AMEX for revamping the card. The old AMEX Gold wasn’t even on my radar, but after they revamped it with the new dining rewards I applied within the first week I think.

But even though it doesn’t give more bonus points for international dining, I can see it becoming the new go-to card for those who eat out frequently & just travel domestically.

Thanks for the Shake Shack reminder. One just opened across the street from me. I gave GrubHub a few tries. But delivery is always late and the food is always cold, so I deleted their app. Their email spam is out of control too

I’ve found Grubhub/Seamless to have a lot of restaurants near my workplace. So the strategy I’ll use is I’ll usually place an order for pickup so that I avoid the delivery charge. And also so that my food is still warm and fresh.

A small correction: You can use your monthly $10 dining credit for gift cards at Cheesecake Factory if you buy them in-store. I do it each month. Not sure if Shake Shack is the same, there are none around me.