American Express® Gold Card Review

The American Express® Gold Card is a charge card that offers great benefits and insurance coverage options. The annual membership may deter some, but if you're in the market for a charge card, the Gold Card is a strong choice.

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The Good

Access to great benefits

The American Express® Gold Card provides access to numerous benefits like purchase security, price protection, and emergency support. In addition, cardholders will have access to 24/7 live service. You can get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts, plus a $75 hotel credit when you book through Gold Hotel Collection. If benefits like these are important to you, the American Express® Gold Card won’t let you down.

Solid insurance coverage options

The best rewards credit cards will provide a variety of insurance coverage options, and this is an area of strength for the Gold Card. For example, cardholders can take advantage of the Baggage Insurance Plan® when you travel, as well as car rental insurance, travel insurance, and flight insurance. For those that appreciate a little added protection at no additional cost, the American Express® Gold Card is a great option.

Ability to transfer points to other programs

The American Express® Gold Card has a solid rewards program that allows cardholders to use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop at over 300 popular merchants. If these options are not appealing to you, the Gold Card will also allow members to transfer points to 17 frequent flier programs and five frequent guest programs. With all of these redemption options, there is sure to be something that catches your eye.

The Bad

Annual membership fee

With the American Express® Gold Card, cardholders can expect an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $125 after that. Many of the top rewards cards charge a membership fee, and $125 is on the higher side. Having the fee waived for the first year will give you plenty of time to figure out if the card is right for your circumstances. However, those wishing to avoid membership fees altogether can definitely find numerous alternative options.

Foreign currency transaction fee

The American Express® Gold charges a foreign currency transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars. The 2.7% may not seem significant, but for those that travel internationally on a regular basis the foreign currency transaction fee can add up to an unexpected charge. Considering that there are numerous rewards credit cards that do not charge a foreign currency transaction fee, those looking to avoid it should be able to find an alternative card.

No sign-up bonus or opportunities for bonus points

Many of the top rewards cards offer impressive sign-up bonuses that enable the cardholder to quickly accumulate a large number of points. In most cases, the sign-up bonus is attached to certain spending criteria which can be difficult to achieve, but even so, getting a big bonus early on is always appreciated. In addition, the American Express® Gold Card does not offer bonus points on any purchases, limiting rewards to one point for every dollar spent. Many of the top rewards cards will provide bonus points on various common purchases, like dining or groceries, that allow you to accumulate points more quickly. If you’re looking for a card that offers a generous sign-up bonus or other bonus earning opportunities, you will probably have better luck with an alternative card.

The Details

Rates and Fees

  • Annual Fee: $125 ($0 first year)
  • Cash Advance Fee: N/A (charge card)
  • Cash Advance Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)
  • Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: 2.7% per transaction
  • Introductory Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)
  • Standard Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)

Penalty Fees

  • Default Penalty Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38 or 2.99% of the past due amount, whichever is greater.
  • Minimum Interest Charge: N/A (charge card)
  • Over-Limit Fee: N/A (charge card)
  • Returned Payment Fee: Up to $38

Balance Transfers

  • Introductory Balance Transfer Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)
  • Standard Balance Transfer Fee: N/A (charge card)
  • Standard Balance Transfer Rate (APR): N/A (charge card)

Rewards

  • Additional Rewards for Dining: None
  • Additional Rewards for Gas: None
  • Additional Rewards for Groceries: None
  • Additional Rewards for Shopping: None
  • Additional Rewards for Travel: None
  • Bonus Points Offered: None
  • Rewards Earnings for All Purchases: 1 point per $1
  • Sign-Up Bonus: None
  • Type of Reward: Points

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