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American Express Gold Card review: Built for foodies

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American Express Gold Card review: Built for foodies

Million Mile SecretsAmerican Express Gold Card review: Built for foodiesMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: The American Express® Gold Card comes with up to $120 in dining credits each year. We’ll show you how to use this perk.

If the way to your heart is through your stomach, you’ll love the newly refreshed American Express® Gold Card because it’s a foodie’s dream come true.

You’ll earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide and another 4x points per dollar at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in spending per year (then 1 point per dollar). Other perks, like up to $120 dining credit at certain restaurants each year and a $100 airline credit, only seal the deal.

You’ll also earn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. And that gets you closer to your next free trip.

You can apply for the Amex Gold card here. But first, take a look at our American Express Gold Card review.

If you enjoy good food, you’ll love the updated Amex Gold Card with 4 points per dollar at restaurants and a $120 dining credit each year. Here’s our AMEX Gold Card review. (Photo by rocharibeiro/Shutterstock)

Amex Gold Card review

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.

The points you’ll earn are enough for a round-trip coach award flight within the U.S. when you transfer them to Amex travel partners like Air Canada, Delta, or Singapore Airlines or for a round-trip coach award trip to Hawaii. If you love to dine out or buy lots of groceries, those 4X categories add up fast.

There’s a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the credits you’ll earn cover most of it. You’ll get up to $120 in dining credit, broken into $10 monthly over the course of a year to spend at certain restaurants.

You’ll also get a $100 airline incidental credit on your selected airline to use for things like seat selection, upgrades, checked bags and much more.

Both credits combined are worth up to $220.  If you make the most of them, that makes the annual fee a lot more palatable (pardon the pun).

How to earn points with the Amex Gold Card

With this card, you’ll get:

  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants
  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1X)
  • 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar 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 and fees)
  • Terms Apply

How to Use Amex Membership Rewards Points Earned With the Amex Gold Card

Link: The Big Travel Guide to Amex Membership Rewards Points

The best way to use your Amex Membership Rewards points is to transfer them to travel partners like ANA, Delta, Hilton and Singapore Airlines. I’ve personally transferred my points to British Airways and Air France for flights around the US and to Hawaii.

Amex Membership Rewards points are valuable because they’re so flexible. And considering you’ll earn three or four times the points in popular bonus categories, your points stash will build up in a hurry.

How Would You Like to Earn 4X Amex Membership Rewards Points at U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in Purchases per Year? (Photo by marilyn barbone/Shutterstock)

Amex Gold Card benefits

The Amex Gold card has some delicious perks – and not just for foodies.

Up to $120 dining credit each year

You’ll get $10 per month in dining credit when you spend at:

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

It’s not valid for merchandise or gift card purchases. But if you use the credits each month, that’s $120 in free food.

Of course, who can spend $10 at a restaurant?  You’ll likely spend $25+ each time you go out, so I consider this more of a rebate than anything else. And it’s only useful for dining out if you like the restaurants on the list. That said, 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.

$100 toward airline incidentals

Each calendar year, you’ll get $100 to use toward incidentals on an airline you choose. That includes like seat upgrades and selection, checked bags and much more.

If you travel a lot, chances are you’ll encounter fees at some point. The Amex Gold card helps you offset them.

Free ShopRunner shipping

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

Access to Amex Offers

Amex Offers are an easy way to save on purchases you might make anyway. I’m always adding and redeeming these offers for bonus points and statement credits.  All you have to do is add them to your card and spend like normal.

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 often rent vehicles for business, 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

When you purchase an item with your card, Amex will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty up to two additional years, on U.S. warranties of five years or less. And they’ll match the warranty if it’s under two years.

Purchase protection

Your purchases are protected from accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days, up to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year. And the coverage is secondary. This is fantastic for folks who need to make big purchases. Coverage starts on the day you purchase an item and lasts for 90 days.

Is the Amex Gold card worth the annual fee?

If you’ll make the most of the $120 dining credit and $100 airline incidental credit, that’s $220 toward the $250 annual fee right there. But even if you don’t, the sheer number of points you’ll earn might be worth it.

At the very least, Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent each toward travel or a statement credit (but please use them for award travel instead).

To cover the $250 with points at the 1 cent rate, you’d need to spend ~$521 per month in the 4X categories each year. That’s because you’d need 25,000 points to cover a $250 charge at 1 cent per point. Spending~$521 per month in a 4X bonus category would be more than enough ($521 X 4 points X 12 = ~25,000 points).

This is an easy spending threshold for many families, especially if you like to dine out or buy lots of groceries.  Between the credits and 4X earning, the annual fee is totally worth it. Just note that there are some no annual fee cards that offer a flat 2% cash back, so you could have pocketed $125 before you even begin to make a profit with the Amex Gold Card.

Does the Amex Gold Card charge foreign transaction fees?

No. (See rates and fees)

Do you qualify for the Amex Gold Card bonus?

The Amex Gold Card used to be called the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card.  That’s important to know because Amex only awards intro bonuses once per person per card.  So if you’ve ever had that card, you can NOT earn this welcome bonus.

Customer support for the Amex Cold Card

Amex makes it easy to reach out via 24/7 phone support, secure messaging or chat through their website.

They’re known for fast and responsive service to most issues, so you should feel cared for when you call with an issue.

Credit Cards similar to the Amex Gold Card

The dining rewards cards are competing. There’s the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, that earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. And there’s also the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns 3% cash back on dining.

More often these days, card issuers are going after customers who spend at restaurants. But while the Capital One cards earn cash back, the Amex Gold card earns flexible rewards, which are more valuable if you like to travel.

If you do want cash back, check out our full review of the Capital One Savor card to help you decide if it’s the better card for your wallet.

Bottom Line

The American Express® Gold Card has 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.

You’ll earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar when you dine at restaurants worldwide, and on up to $25,000 in spending per year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1 point per dollar). This card also comes with up to $120 in dining credits ($10 monthly) at participating restaurants and $100 toward airline incidentals on your selected airline each year.

Put simply, this is now the best card out there for foodies. And the $250 annual fee is quickly covered when you eat out and shop for groceries in the U.S., in addition to the statement credits.

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

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 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
  • 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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If Amex wanted to attract foodies, they wouldn’t have the food credit limited to fast-food restaurants. It feels like they mixed up their target audiences.

I would get the card, but I don’t use take-out food or eat fast food. Many large companies now have take-out tied to a corporate account when you work late. I wish Amex would make their credits more generic like Chase and Citi.

The small hotel I usually stay at is coded as a restaurant every time I’ve used my platinum card. I wonder if the transactions would produce 4x rewards on the gold card? I’m seriously thinking about getting a gold card, not just for that but for the restaurant points in general.

My understanding is that it will depend on how that restaurant codes it purchases. If it’s a large retail chain restaurant, there should be some information online you can find to see how they code their transactions.

Use a referral link, and possibly in incognito mode for a 50k sign up bonus. better than the 35K offer.

“Of course, who can spend $10 at a restaurant? You’ll likely spend $25+ each time you go out”

Not sure I understand. Seamless and Grub hub have many take out places where the entrees are $10.

And in most cases, the menu prices are higher if you use those sites or apps.

Good point Mike! For a lazy person such as myself, I usually opt for delivery and pay the extra fee. I think the least I’ve ever spent on a delivery order has been around $15 or so.

I use my cards alot for dining out. I have been using the Chase Sapphire Reserve mainly because of the 3x points… I also have the Amex Platinum but find it alot harder to get lots of points . Do you think its worth losing my Platinum card when its time to pay the annual fee and get the Amex gold instead and, if so, should I then be stocking up on the Amex points for dining instead of the CSR?

Hi Martine,

Excellent question and thanks for posting. These are the same questions I asked myself too…(1) should I switch my restaurant spending to the AMEX Gold, and (2) should I keep the AMEX Platinum and its hefty $550 annual fee? I ultimately decided YES in both cases. And if you spend a lot eating out and traveling, the same might be true for you too! But ultimately it varies from person to person.

Here was my train of thought.

(1) I’ll be able to earn more – 4x points per dollar instead of 3x points per dollar for spending at restaurants in the US. I also ran through some sample travel scenarios to see if I could value AMEX Membership Rewards points the same as Chase Ultimate Rewards points. They came out to be roughly the same value (for me), and they’re both flexible currencies with a number of good travel partners.

So when I laid everything out like this, I realized that it was an easy decision for me to start using the AMEX Gold for all of my restaurant and eating out purchases in the US.

For (2) I’m planning on keeping the AMEX Platinum card. With the number of perks it offers, it’s immediately a $50 annual fee ($550 annual fee – $200 airline incidental credit – $200 uber/uber eats credit – $100 saks fifth credit)…and with the number of other perks it offers like the ability to earn 5x membership rewards points for travel (, flights booked directly with airlines)…airport lounge access, automatic hotel elite status, and more…I was able to justify keeping the card.

A few other misc. thoughts…I know I’ll be able to use the credit on the AMEX Gold ($100 airline incidental and $120 annual dining credit), so right off the bat it’s only a $30 annual fee for me ($250 – $100 – $120). And I do plan on keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve because if I travel outside the US, I’ll need it to earn more points on dining (the AMEX Gold only offers 4x points on dining at restaurants WITHIN the US).

Here’s our detailed post on the AMEX Platinum if you’re trying to justify keeping it with perks, benefits, etc.:

Andrew… Just wanted to say thanks for your insights. Martine

Happy to help!

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