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American Express Gold Card Review: 60,000 Point Welcome Bonus Plus Perks for Foodies

Go for gold with more points and rewards on the Amex Gold Card.

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Thanks to its generous rewards and attractive benefits, the American Express® Gold Card is one of the most popular rewards credit cards on the market. While most credit cards these days are targeted towards frequent travelers, this card offers practical benefits that come in handy in your everyday life as well as your travels. 

With a $250 annual fee and premium perks, the Gold Card doesn’t have many competitors. The card achieves a nice balance of providing luxury travel perks while helping you maximize everyday spending. The current welcome bonus is one of the highest to date, making this an opportune time to apply for the card if you want to give your Membership Rewards balance a boost. 

Of course, the card also has a few features that make it less than ideal for others. If you’re curious about whether the American Express Gold Card is a good fit for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a full review of everything the card has to offer, from its welcome bonus to recurring benefits.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $250
Welcome Bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards Points
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1-4X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $250

APR: The card charges a variable APR on balances, depending on your credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card awards 4X points per dollar at U.S. grocery stores, up to $25,000 each calendar year (1X point afterwards), and 4X points at restaurants worldwide, including eligible takeout and delivery services in the U.S. . Also earn 3X points on flights booked directly through airlines or with amextravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases.

Welcome Bonus: New cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases during their first six months of card membership.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Households that spend a large portion of their budget on food, either at grocery stores or restaurants, will find a lot of value with this credit card.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the American Express® Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card is a foodie’s dream. Not only will you earn outsized rewards at U.S. grocery stores and restaurants worldwide, you’ll also enjoy perks like $120 in dining credits each year with select merchants including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

Yet, benefits like no foreign transaction fees for international purchases and $120 in annual Uber Cash credits make this card ideal for travelers as well. While the hefty annual fee may look daunting, households that are able to take advantage of the $240 worth of annual statement credits will easily offset that recurring cost.

All things considered, the American Express Gold Card is among the most appealing rewards credit cards currently on the market.

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Overview

  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • Earning rate: 4X Membership Rewards at restaurants worldwide (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4X at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year), 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, 1x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Benefits: $120 in Uber cash, $120 dining credit, no foreign transaction fees, access to The Hotel Collection, baggage insurance plan, trip delay insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance.

Pros

  • Solid bonus
  • Generous bonus categories
  • Earns valuable Membership Rewards points

Cons

  • $250 annual fee is relatively high
  • Annual dining and Uber Cash may not be useful for everyone
  • Requires excellent credit 

Features and Benefits

couple at airport with suitcases after travel
Credit: iStock

This isn’t your average rewards card and the $250 annual fee is evidence of that. This card rewards your most common purchases and provides premium travel benefits. It offers a generous earn rate, welcome bonus and recurring benefits that can come in handy when you’re traveling abroad or going about your everyday life.

Annual Fee

The American Express Gold Card’s $250 annual fee sounds high when you compare it against cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. However, it feels more reasonable when compared to premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which carries a whopping $695 annual fee. 

While a $250 annual fee can feel pretty hefty, the card has several benefits that can help offset it.

Welcome Offer

The American Express Gold Card currently offers a welcome offer of 60,000 points after $4,000 spent on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. If you want to score some Membership Rewards points and get a credit card with generous benefits, this offer could be worth your while.

While this welcome offer is reasonably strong, it’s worth noting that the American Express Gold Card has offered targeted bonuses over 60,000 points in the past.

Remember that American Express has a once-per-lifetime rule, limiting you to earning each card’s welcome bonus just once. So if you’re going to apply for an American Express Card, you’ll want to make sure it’s the highest bonus possible. There are some exceptions to this rule and sometimes targeted offers exclude the once-per-lifetime language. However, in case you don’t get targeted for one of these offers, it’s best to play it safe.

Rewards Rates

A credit card isn’t very useful if you can’t earn points beyond a sizeable welcome bonus. Luckily, the American Express Gold Card’s earn rate of up 4X Membership Rewards is one of its most attractive features.  

The American Express Gold Card earns 4X Membership Rewards points on dining, 4X Membership Rewards at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year) and 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel. All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. 

With the average American household spending about $5,000 per year on groceries and $2,400 on dining, that adds up to about 29,600 average bonus points per year. That’s enough for at least one round-trip economy class ticket within the U.S. Not a bad deal for merely charging essential purchases to the American Express Gold Card instead of a card that earns 1 point per $1 spent.

$120 Annual Dining Credit

The annual $120 dining credit is issued in $10 monthly installments. This credit is valid at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

$120 Annual Uber Cash

The Gold Card’s $120 Uber Cash is issued in $10 monthly increments every calendar year, similar to the dining credit. The credit is valid on both Uber rides and Uber Eats purchases.

Hotel Collection 

These benefits are similar to elite status perks, except you get them just for booking your hotel through Amex. Perks include a $100 on-site credit and a space-available room upgrade at check-in. This can be especially valuable during short hotel stays, where the $100 credit can cover daily expenses like breakfast, spa treatments and other on-site activities. Hotel Collection benefits apply to two-night stays or longer.

ShopRunner Membership

ShopRunner can save you hundreds of dollars on expedited shipping at popular retailers if you’re a frequent online shopper. Membership usually costs $79 per year and offers free 2-day shipping at over 100 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Cole Haan, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Under Armour, and more. 

Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a lowkey card benefit that can save you hundreds of dollars on everyday purchases. Offers include cash back deals and bonus points on hundreds of popular retailers. Occasionally, you’ll even get a cash back offer on your monthly cell phone bill, utilities, or any spending you put on the card. 

Amex Offers is an underrated benefit that’s worth factoring into your decision to apply for an American Express card. The deals are consistently useful and help me offset the annual fees on my Amex cards. Over the past year, I personally saved over $1,000 through Amex Offers. Even my no-annual-fee Amex Blue Business® Plus Credit Card got me $226 in savings.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Amex Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees, meaning you won’t incur additional charges when using it abroad. Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees of up to 3%, which can really add up on vacation expenses like hotels, rental cars, dining and shopping. With the Gold Card, that fee is something you don’t have to worry about.

Trip Delay Insurance

Trip delay insurance comes in handy when your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours due to weather, equipment failure or stolen travel documents. American Express provides up to $300 worth of coverage per trip. You can use these funds to pay for meals, hotel accommodations and personal items needed during the delay. 

Coverage is secondary, meaning if you purchase travel insurance, you’ll need to file a claim through your provider before filing one through American Express. It’s also important to note that the entire cost of your flight must be charged on the Gold Card to qualify for this benefit. Unfortunately, award taxes and fees do not qualify. 

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

The next time you rent a car, you don’t have to pay the daily $15 collision damage waiver fee. If you’re involved in a fender bender in your rental car, American Express will cover the damage without the need to buy insurance. It’s important to note that coverage is secondary, meaning it kicks in after your personal policy.

Coverage is limited to 30 days of rental and excludes certain vehicles (limousines, exotic cars, etc.) and locations (Australia, Italy, New Zealand).

Baggage Insurance

Every year, airlines lose and mishandle thousands of bags. If your luggage is damaged, stolen or lost, American Express baggage insurance will cover up to $1,250 for a carry-on bag or $500 per checked bag. This is a great benefit that can make an unpleasant situation far less stressful if it does ever happen to you. Best of all, it’s included as a credit card perk – no need to pay for insurance.

Purchase Protection

If you ever purchase an expensive item on your Gold Card, you can rest easy knowing that if you damage or lose the item within 90 days, it’s covered under Amex’s purchase protection plan. To qualify for up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 per calendar year), you just need to charge the entire purchase to your Gold Card. 

If the item is lost, stolen or damaged within 90 days, you can file a claim for the purchase price. There are exceptions and Amex requires certain documentation to process your claim. However, it’s a valuable benefit that can protect your valuables and save you thousands of dollars if you need to replace them. 

Redemption Options

woman sitting by hotel pool
Credit: Unsplash

The Gold Card from American Express earns Membership Rewards points, which are worth about 1.9 cents each. Thanks to their versatility, Membership Rewards are some of the most valuable points out there. You can redeem Membership Rewards points for statement credits at a rate of 0.6 cents each or transfer them to 20 airline and hotel partners.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • AeroMexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Choice Privileges Rewards
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • HawaiianMiles
  • Hilton Honors
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue True Blue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Krisflyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

With the welcome bonus from the Amex Gold Card, you’ll have plenty of redemption options. You can transfer your points to Avianca Lifemiles and book a one-way business class award ticket to Europe. 

Want to stretch your miles further? You can transfer 13,000 Membership Rewards to British Airways Executive Club for a one-way economy class ticket between the West Coast and Hawaii. And if you’re looking for a cheap award ticket to Europe, those same 13,000 Avios will cover an off-peak economy class award ticket between the East Coast and Ireland.

As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with 79,000 Membership Rewards. My personal favorite is transferring 88,000 points to ANA Mileage Club for a round-trip business class ticket to Europe. That’s right – while most airlines charge the same number of points for a one-way business class award, ANA gives you a round-trip. With the 4X bonus earning rates on the Gold Card, it shouldn’t take long to rack up enough points for this award. 

Who Qualifies for the American Express Gold Card?

American Express doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score to get approved for the Amex Platinum Card. However, according to CardRatings you can get approved if you have good or excellent credit.

At the same time, American Express might take other factors into account, including your current debt, income, number of accounts you have open and banking relationship with American Express. 

It’s also worth noting that some reports indicate you can’t apply for more than two American Express cards per day. So if you plan on applying for more than two cards, you should consider spacing out your application. You also won’t get approved for more than two cards within a 90-day period. So if you’ve applied for two American Express cards in the last three months, you might want to hold off on applying for the American Express Gold Card until you’re outside this period.

Lastly, American Express limits customers to five credit and charge cards at a time. If you currently have five Amex cards, you may not qualify for the Gold Card from American Express.

Comparison to Other Cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $695
Welcome Bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards Points
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $695

APR: The card charges a variable APR on balances, depending on your credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card awards 5X points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com up to $500,000 a year and prepaid hotels also booked via amextravel.com. You’ll also earn 1X point on all other eligible purchases.

Welcome Bonus: New cardholders can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 with the card during their first six months of card membership.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who travel frequently will be able to make the most use of this premium credit cards multiple perks and statement credits.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the American Express Platinum Card®
The American Express Platinum Card is a cornucopia of perks and annual credits that reminds one of a fancy coupon book. Each year, cardholders have a variety of credits to look forward to including a $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $155 Walmart+ credit, $200 airline fee credit, $200 in Uber Cash, and more.

Like other premium credit cards, households that are able to use all of these statement credits and benefits will easily offset the cost of hefty annual fees. But people who have no use for Equinox or Saks Fifth Avenue rebates will most likely find the Platinum Card’s annual fee out of reach.

Still, this credit card is extremely popular among rewards credit card enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it offer new cardholders a generous welcome bonus, but the perks alone could add up to eclipse the annual fee — but only if you already use services like Walmart+ and Uber enough to warrant the expense of a luxury card. Otherwise, you may end up spending $150, just to save $10.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is often compared against the American Express Gold Card, thanks to its premium perks. The American Express Platinum Card has a much higher annual fee at $695 but offers a much bigger welcome bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 within the first six months of card membership.

The American Express Platinum Card has long been a symbol of extravagance and affluence. And with its precious annual fee, it’s easy to see why. Yet, this premium credit card is more than just wallet candy — it offers cardholders a diverse lineup of statement credits and benefits that may negate the yearly cost for many people.

Each year, Platinum Card members look forward to a collection of rebates, including:

  • $200 hotel credit: Prepaid bookings with select hotels
  • $200 airline fee credit: Benefit can be applied to one selected airline
  • $240 digital entertainment credit: $20 benefit per month
  • $155 Walmart+ credit: Benefit covers monthly membership cost
  • $200 Uber Cash: Receive $15 monthly benefit for rideshares and meal delivery
  • $300 Equinox credit: $25 benefit each month
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit: $50 benefit between January and June and then again between July through December
  • $179 CLEAR credit: Benefit applies to annual membership

Some of these benefits will more exciting than others, depending on the merchants and services you already use. Still, cardholders who can take full advantage of what the Platinum Card offers will find outsized value for its yearly fee.

Keep in mind, with any credit card benefit, terms and conditions apply. Read our full review of the Platinum Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is similar to the Amex Gold Card in many ways. For starters, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has many of the same transfer partners as Amex Membership Rewards. The two cards are also similar in their earning rates.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. This travel credit card helps users earn points quickly with accelerated rewards in everyday spending categories like travel and dining.

Cardholders enjoy perks like a $50 annual hotel credit, 10% anniversary point boost and access to the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal, powered by Expedia.

New cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their credit card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $750 in travel reservations booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but potentially more when transferred to airline and hotel partners. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Is the American Express Gold Card Worth it?

The American Express Gold Card is undoubtedly worth it if you use the welcome offer, category bonuses and recurring benefits. The annual Uber and dining credits alone can justify the $250 annual fee. Meanwhile, perks like access to The Hotel Collection and Amex Offers can offer an incentive to keep the card in your wallet. 

The card’s 4X Membership Rewards bonus on dining and at U.S. supermarkets is particularly attractive since these are common spending categories for most people. However, if your spending patterns fall outside these categories, there may be better alternatives out there. 

Is the American Express Gold Card worth the annual fee?

The Amex Gold Card is worth the annual fee if you can get at least $250 in value from it. The card offers annual statement credits, including $120 in Uber Cash and $120 towards dining. Access to Amex Offers and a ShopRunner membership can sweeten the deal further.

What credit score do I need for the American Express Gold Card?

You need at least a 700 credit score to qualify for the Gold Card. This is considered a “Good” credit score. There’s no guarantee you’ll get approved and Amex may take other criteria into account when deciding whether to approve your application.

Is the American Express Gold a metal card?

The American Express Gold Card is a metal card and comes in two color choices: Gold and rose gold.

What is the difference between Amex Gold and Amex Rose Gold?

The Amex Gold and Amex Rose Gold are the same card, in different colors. The card benefits, welcome bonus and features are the same. When you apply for an Amex Gold Card, you can choose between the Gold and Rose Gold colored card. The Rose Gold card is usually offered on a limited-time basis, including now.

What is the spending limit on the American Express Gold Card?

The Amex Gold doesn’t have a preset spending limit. Instead, your limit is adjusted depending on your spending habits. If you’re concerned about a large purchase getting declined, you can always use the Spending Power tool to secure advanced approval.

Does the American Express Gold Card get you into airport lounges?

The American Express Gold Card does not offer airport lounge access. For that, you’ll need to upgrade to The Platinum Card from American Express.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewalhttps://www.pointchaser.com/
Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser. She has covered all things points, miles and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.

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