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HomepageFinanceCredit CardsAmerican Express Gold Card Review
Last updated on Jan 17, 2020

American Express Gold Card Review

Increased spending power and enticing bonuses ​
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4 cards compared

5 features evaluated

20 hours of research

Kathryn Pomroy

By Kathryn Pomroy Contributing Writer

American Express Gold Card Review

The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card got a face-lift and was renamed the American Express Gold Card. Part of the makeover raised the annual fee to $250, which is no longer waived for the first year. However, the American Express Gold Card now offers a $120 annual dining credit and some enticing 4X bonus categories.

The American Express Gold Card is a solid option for people with good to excellent credit who want to earn bonus rewards on travel and dining. The card has attractive terms, generous welcome bonus, and rewards points. If you dine out, shop for groceries, travel, and stay at hotels frequently, you can quickly rack up points.

American Express Gold Card Overview

Pros Cons
$120 dining credit and $100 airline fee credit
Points can be transferred to many airline and hotel loyalty programs
No expiration date on rewards points
No foreign transaction fee
High annual fee
Not everyone accepts American Express, especially globally
New cardmembers no longer get the 2X points for gas available with the old premier card
  • Card Type: Points
  • Rewards Rate: 4X, 3X
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 35,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • APR: 17.49%-24.49%
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent, 690-850
  • Additional Rates and Fees: N/A

Perks

  • 4X Membership Rewards points when you dine out at restaurants around the world
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year.
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked on amextravel.com or with partner airlines
  • $120 dining credit at certain restaurants
  • $100 airline fee credit

Best for

Serious foodies who cook and like to dine out

Not for

People who travel often

The Competition

American Express Gold Card Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa credit card Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Rewards rate
3-4 points / $1 1%-4% cash back 1.5-2 points / $1 1.25 miles / $1
Sign-up bonus
Earn 35,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in first three months; 35,000 membership points = $350 Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months Receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days for a $500 value Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in first three months; 50,000 miles = $500 in travel rewards
Annual fee
$250 $0 for first year, $95 after $95 $0
APR
Variable 17.49%-24.49% Variable 15.99%-24.99% Variable 17.49%-24.49% Variable 13.74%-23.74%
Other
High annual fee Lots earning power Travel protection benefits Must have excellent credit Unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment Must have an excellent credit score Excellent credit score needed Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on everyday purchases
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All information accurate as of January 15, 2020.

Main Benefits

Food and dining points

The American Express Gold Card gives food-lovers the chance to earn 4X points for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, and 4X points per every dollar you spend at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X). Love food? This is your card.

Travel perks

Earn a generous 3X points per every dollar spent on flights booked directly through qualifying airlines or on AmexTravel.com. The fact that points can also be transferred to several qualifying airline and hotel loyalty programs makes this a first-class card for travel. As a bonus, purchases of flights at the 3X rate could yield as much as 6% cash back or more.

Bonus credits

If you dine out and travel often, it’s easy to offset the $250 annual fee. Plus, each year you’ll get a $120 dining credit and a $100 airline fee credit, further reducing the drawback of a $250 annual fee.

Possible Drawbacks

High annual fee

Although foodies should be able to offset the $250 annual fee, it’s still a hefty fee that’s hard to ignore. For example, if you choose not to redeem the annual points on the card, you’d have to spend at least $6,250 a year to earn enough points after the first year to make up for the annual fee.

Limited global reach

Although the travel awards that come with the American Express Gold card are quite good, American Express is still not as well known as Visa and Mastercard worldwide. That may be a problem for people who frequently travel internationally.

American Express Gold Card Compared to Capital One Savor Cash Rewards

Both the American Express Gold card and the Capital One Savor credit card dish up some pretty impressive rewards for food-lovers. The Capital One Savor card gives you unlimited 4% cashback on dining and entertainment and 2% cashback at grocery stores, plus 1% back on all other purchases. The American Express Gold card does offer 4X points for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and 4X points per every dollar you spend at U.S. supermarkets, but that offer has a yearly cap of $2,500 (after which you earn one point).

Although not uncommon for cards in the same class, the American Express Gold card charges a $250 annual fee. The Capital One Savor card has an annual fee of $95 after the first year, so it may be a better option if you’d like to lower your annual commitment. If you spend a lot of money at the supermarket, however, the American Express Gold card is the preferred option; the Capital One Savor card offers lesser rewards on groceries.

How to Earn Points

The American Express Gold card offers a decent introductory sign-up bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. You can also earn 4X membership points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. When you shop at supermarkets, you can also earn 4X points, up to $2,500 per year, then 1X points.

If you love to fly and book directly with the airline or through amextravel.com, you can earn an impressive 3X Membership Reward points. When you eat at The Cheesecake Factory, Boxed, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Grubhub, Seamless, and participating Shake Shack locations, you get $10 in statement credits each month (annual savings of up to $120) when you pay with your Gold card. American Express also offers a $100 credit for incidental fees at one qualifying airline. Terms apply.

How to Redeem Points

American Express Gold Membership Reward points can be redeemed for gift cards, to cover charges on your statement, to upgrade your flight, to pay for a ride on Uber, to shop for thousands of items on Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed.com, Dell, and Expedia, and more. You can also redeem points by booking airfare directly through amextravel.com or buying event tickets through Ticketmaster. When you book a stay at the Hilton, Marriott, or Choice hotels, you can redeem points to cover the cost.

You can also transfer your points to a loyalty program with partners like Marriott Bonvoy — 1,000 points equals 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points — or to eligible purchases on Expedia. All you have to do is link your account to a loyalty member, select the amount you want to transfer, confirm that your points have carried over, and redeem your points directly with the program.

The Bottom Line

To decide if the American Express Gold credit card is the best choice for you, consider how often you dine out, shop for groceries, or travel. If you seldom take a trip, aren’t a chef, shop just for the essentials at the supermarket, or don’t fancy yourself a foodie, then other points cards are probably better suited to your lifestyle. And many don’t charge a $250 annual fee.

All things considered, though, the American Express Gold card is generous with awards and welcome bonuses, along with plenty of cost-saving features to offset the annual fee. Plus, the added perk of transferring points to partner sites makes the card worthwhile for many people.