Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
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?
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 $1 spent at restaurants
- 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)
- 3 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 and fees)
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 $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 offset 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 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.
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.
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 do very well with the Amex Gold. 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.