American Express Gold Card review — A great pick for purchases at U.S. supermarkets

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If the way to your heart is through your stomach, you’ll love the American Express® Gold Card. You’ll earn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. And in addition, you’ll earn bonus points in categories like groceries at U.S. supermarkets and dining.

While dining out isn’t much of an option right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Amex Gold card’s up to $120 in dining credit ($10 monthly) per year (enrollment required) at food delivery services including Grubhub and Seamless could be incredibly valuable right now. And you’ll certainly be spending on groceries — so why not make the most of your purchases and rack up rewards you can use once things are back to normal?

American Express® Gold Card

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American Express® Gold Card


Who is the Amex Gold Card for?

The Amex Gold Card is for anyone looking to maximize their spending supermarkets and restaurants, whether they’re in the U.S. or overseas.

Current offer

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 at U.S. supermarkets, 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 credits, broken into $10 monthly over the course of a year, to spend at certain restaurants.

You’ll also get an up to $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).

You’ll also earn (terms apply):

  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants
  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. 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

Plus there are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Amex Gold card benefits and perks

The Amex Gold card has some delicious perks – and not just for foodies. Amex Gold card benefits include (terms apply):

  • Up to $120 dining credit each year
  • Up to $100 toward airline incidentals
  • Free ShopRunner shipping
  • Access to Amex Offers

You’ll find an in-depth look into the Amex Gold card’s benefits here.

How to use Amex Membership Rewards points earned with the Amex Gold card

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 U.S. 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.

Earn 4X Amex Membership Rewards Points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases per year (then 1x). (Photo by marilyn barbone/Shutterstock)

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. 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)

Credit cards similar to the Amex Gold Card

The dining rewards cards are competing. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, and the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 3% cash back on dining and entertainment.

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.

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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 up to $100 toward airline incidentals on your selected airline each year.

Put simply, this is the best card out there for foodies.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.

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

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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1 year ago

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.

1 year ago

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.

Andrew Wan
Reply to  Skooby
1 year ago

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.

1 year ago

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

1 year ago

“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.

Reply to  Mike
1 year ago

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

Andrew W
Reply to  Mike
1 year ago

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.

1 year ago

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?

1 year ago

Disappointed that you didn’t mention the 50k referral offer is significantly better. I thought this site used to mention the best offer, even if it didn’t generate the best commission for you.

Reply to  Kacie
1 year ago

That changed after Daraius left the blog, unfortunately.

1 year ago

If you already have the gold card, can you also get 4x on groceries up to 25,000?

Andrew W
Reply to  Sharon
1 year ago

Hi Sharon,

Good question, and the answer is yes! Existing cardmembers should automatically be “upgraded” to these new benefits, including 4x membership rewards points per dollar spent at US supermarkets.

1 year ago

Is there any reason to get the AMEX Gold if you already have the AMEX Platinum?

Reply to  David
1 year ago

Hi David – I had both at one point. It could make sense based on your travel goals and spending habits. For example, having both cards gives you access to multiple bonus spending categories. Plus, you’ll earn 2 welcome bonuses, which can give a nice boost to your points balance.

Reply to  Keith
1 year ago

How do i earn 2 welcome bonuses? I already have the Plat card. Thanks.

Reply to  David
1 year ago

The AMEX Gold and AMEX Platinum are considered different card products, so you’re eligible to earn the welcome bonus on both cards.

1 year ago

One thing I didnt see mentioned is that you can collect a referral bonus even if you don’t own the gold card. I have a platinum and referred a friend, she used the link then chose the gold card instead and I still got the referral.

Reply to  Erin
1 year ago

Thanks for the tip!