American Express® Gold Card Review: A Dream Credit Card for Foodies and Travelers
American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is sure to impress frequent travelers and foodies alike with the high rates it earns rewards on travel and dining. It also comes with valuable purchase and travel protections. The card also offers annual statement credits for airlines and restaurants, which help make up for its $250 annual fee.
Amex Gold Card Quick Review
Here’s an overview of the key things you should know before applying for the American Express® Gold Card:
APR: See Rates & Fees
Welcome Bonus: 35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
- Earn valuable Membership Rewards points:
- 4 points per dollar on dining
- 4 points per dollar on U.S Supermarkets (up to first $25,000 per year)
- 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
- $10 monthly dining credit
- $100 annual airline credit
- No foreign transaction fees
- Rental car and baggage insurance
- Purchase protection and extended warranty on qualifying items
- Exclusive access to thousands of live events
- Up to $38 for late payments
- Up to $38 for returned payments
Why Apply for the Amex Gold Card
Consider adding the American Express® Gold Card to your wallet for these reasons:
Earn massive rewards on dining and U.S. Supermarkets
The American Express® Gold Card offers an impressive 4X points on dining with no cap on how many points you can earn. It also offers 4X points on U.S. Supermarkets. While this only applies to the first $25,000 you spend on U.S. Supermarkets each year, this cap is significantly higher than caps on comparable rewards credit cards. And if all that wasn’t enough, you’re eligible for a $10 statement credit on dining every month when you use your American Express® Gold Card to purchase food at participating restaurants. If you take full advantage, this credit is $120 per year.
Save hundreds and earn rewards on travel
The American Express® Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees and offers travel-related perks, including rental car and baggage insurance. Each year, you’ll also receive a $100 credit for the airline of your choice to help you save on checked bags, lounge access and other incidentals. You’re also eligible for a $100 hotel credit or free room upgrade if you book with American Express Travel. Plus, you’ll earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.
Protect your purchases
Your American Express® Gold Card includes purchase protection on all items bought with your card in the last 120 days. If they’re damaged, lost or stolen, American Express will refund you up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per calendar year. The card also offers return protection for 90 days to ensure you get your money refunded even if the merchant refuses to take the product back. It even adds up to two years to your original manufacturer’s warranty with extended warranty protection.
Amex Gold Card: Drawbacks and Downsides
The American Express® Gold Card has undeniable appeal to foodies and world travelers, but here are a few reasons to stay away:
It has a high annual fee
Given the lucrative rewards the American Express® Gold Card offers, an annual fee isn’t surprising. But at $250 per year, this may be too expensive for some. If you’re not confident you’ll earn enough rewards to offset the annual fee, you might be better off choosing a card with a lower fee, even if it means accepting a lower rewards-earning rate. Aside from rewards, though, you should also factor in the $10 monthly dining credit and the $100 annual airline credit—if you use them in full, you’re essentially paying $30 a year for the card.
You won’t get free access to airport lounges
Many premium travel rewards credit cards offer free airport lounge access to cardholders. The American Express® Gold Card doesn’t. If lounge access is important to you, plenty of other travel rewards cards offer this perk.
Amex Gold Card Alternatives
If the American Express® Gold Card isn’t a good fit for your spending habits, consider one of these cards instead:
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers similar travel perks to the American Express® Gold Card, including no foreign transaction fees and baggage and rental car insurance. It also comes with perks you won’t find with the American Express® Gold Card, like free airport lounge access and a free credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. As a tradeoff, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns only 3X points per dollar on dining, but it also earns 3x points on all travel—not just on flights. That’s handy if you take trains, taxis or use rideshare services.
The card does have a $450 annual fee, which may seem steep. However, the card’s $300 annual travel credit helps offset that cost. If you travel at least once per year, that credit will recoup two-thirds of the card’s annual fee.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase. It’s a great choice if you don’t dine out often but want to earn travel rewards quickly. If you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, you’ll receive a bonus of 25,000 points. That’s enough for a $250 travel statement credit. Bank of America customers will also automatically receive a 10% points bonus on every purchase for having $20,000 or more in combined checking or savings, and that bonus could rise to as much as 75% with a balance of $100,000 or more.
The card charges no annual fee, and in turn, doesn’t offer travel perks common to premium travel rewards cards, like rental car insurance or a travel credit. Even so, with no foreign transaction fees and solid flat-rate rewards, this card is an inexpensive way to cushion the cost of travel.
Amex Gold Card FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the American Express® Gold Card:
How much are 50,000 American Express points worth?
American Express Membership points are worth approximately $0.01 each when redeemed for travel expenses. That means 50,000 points are worth approximately $500 toward travel-related expenses like airfare, hotels and rental cars. But you can redeem for higher values if you transfer Membership Rewards points to airline partners, like British Airways and United Airlines.
Can you carry a balance on the Amex Gold Card?
The American Express® Gold Card is a charge card. Most charge cards require that you pay the balance in full each month or incur hefty penalties, but the American Express® Gold Card allows you to carry a balance from month to month. Only eligible purchases of $100 or more can be carried over, and you’ll have to pay this amount back with interest.
Do American Express points expire?
No, your American Express Membership points will never expire as long as your account remains active and in good standing.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Amex Gold Card?
Frequent travelers and foodies should give the American Express® Gold Card a hard look. Its high rewards rates, travel and purchase protections, and travel and dining credits make this card valuable on a number of levels. Other premium travel rewards cards might come with better perks or rewards rates, but the American Express® Gold Card hits a sweet spot for people who love to dine out or spend plenty on U.S. Supermarkets. On second thought—maybe that’s a savory spot.