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Is the American Express Gold card worth it?

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Is the American Express Gold card worth it?

Joseph HostetlerIs the American Express Gold card worth it?Million Mile Secrets Team

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I’ve been earning and burning credit card miles and points for almost eight years, and the American Express® Gold Card is now my all-time favorite credit card. There’s a reason it makes our lists of the best Amex cards and the best travel cards.

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 you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, which is more than enough for a round-trip domestic flight when you transfer points to airline partners. 

The Amex Gold Card also comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). That’s no small amount, so you may be wondering if the American Express Gold Card is worth it for you. Here’s what you need to know.

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. (Photo by Melissa Walker Horn/Unsplash)

Is the Amex Gold Card worth it?

With the American Express Gold Card card, you’ll earn 35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.  

You’ll also get:

  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants
  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar)
  • 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar 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 and 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.

You can read our in-depth review of the Amex Gold Card here.

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

Excellent earning at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and on airfare

The American Express Gold Card earns 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at restaurants, and 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1 point per $1). This offers a huge earning potential for many of us who spend a decent amount of money on groceries at U.S. supermarkets and dining out. An average family can easily spend $500 a month on groceries at U.S. supermarkets 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.

The card also comes with a bonus spending category on flights, earning 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar 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 offset the annual fee and then some.

Transferring the Amex Membership Rewards points you earn with the Amex Gold to Virgin Atlantic is a great way to fly Delta One Suites to Europe for less. (Photo courtesy of Delta)

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 into $10 monthly increments. You can use these credits toward merchants like GrubHub and Seamless, which 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.

Unused credits don’t carry over, so use them each month — 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.

The airline fee credit you’ll get with the American Express Gold Card is great for those pesky checked bag fees. (Photo by fizkes/Shutterstock)

Other ways to save money with the Amex 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 two-day shipping from dozens of online merchants)
  • Rental car insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection

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 you meet minimum spending requirements.

While the $250 annual fee isn’t waived the first year, you can easily offset the annual fee with perks you’ll get from the card, including:

  • Outstanding earning at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and airfare
  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 per month) each calendar year at participating restaurants and services like Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and GrubHub
  • Up to $100 statement credit for airline incidental fees like inflight 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 find the Amex Gold worth it. It’s my go-to card for lots of everyday purchases.

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 $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 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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Favorite card in my wallet. I spend a lot on groceries and dining, even during this pandemic. And it’s made my life so convenient with my teenager who (prepandemic) would go out for food or coffee/snacks with her friends and I always had to make sure I had cash for her. With her AU card, I don’t have to worry about it. Where we live, Amex is accepted everywhere. Even the small coffee shops and eateries. With the fee credits and offers, I’ve actually come out ahead. This one is a keeper for me.

I have the gold card and paid the $250 annual fee and please tell me what restaurants are you able to eat at because I can’t find any that are open, so how are you supposed to earn four times points there what doing take out? Yeah right

I have moved this out of my wallet due to all the new expanded earning options that Amex released this week on every other card except Gold. Probably going to cancel it.

Except Amex hasn’t provided any compensation for the unusable Airline Credit, which is $100. Amex has added perks to the other cards but omitted the Gold card.

Arligton Traveler

That’s because the card already offers 4x dining and 4x grocery earnings. Those are the two categories that spending has gone up or stayed the same during the lockdown!