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Updated October 4, 2018

American Express Gold Card Review

Read more about American Express® Gold Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser
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If you spend a lot, the American Express® Gold Card may be worth considering. Read on for the pros and cons of the AMEX Gold Card.

American Express Gold Card
Apply Now

Overall Score

3.8

Rewards

4.5

Fees

2.5

Benefits

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Welcome bonus
  • Airline fee credit
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines
  • $250 annual fee

Bottom Line

Good rewards card for cardholders who fly frequently or eat out

Overview

Here's why you may consider American Express Gold:

  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

To take advantage of this promotion, visit American Express' secure website to apply now.

Yes, it has a hefty annual fee, but it might be worth it for certain kinds of spenders and travelers.

Let us explain.

The AMEX Gold Card offers a nice balance between earning rewards and travel perks. The annual fee may seem a bit high, but it offers benefits that help justify the fee such as a $100 airline fee credit. You'll find more perks than what you'd get with many cards in the $95 annual fee range.

We'll cover all the reasons to consider the card and why to skip it. But before we do, let's do some quick math to give you an idea if this card is right for you.

Editors' Highlights

This card competes against other popular travel rewards cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (which offers 2X the points on travel and dining) and Capital One Venture (which gives you 2X the points on all purchases).

Cardholders get a $100 airline fee credit to cover up to $100 per calendar year in incidental air travel fees with one selected qualifying airline (like baggage fees for example). Neither Chase Sapphire Preferred nor Capital One Venture offer this feature.

Are you a big traveler but torn over whether this is the right card for you? Think of it this way: If you are more interested in travel benefits than travel rewards, consider the Platinum Card from American Express instead. The Platinum Card comes with travel-friendly perks such as airport club access and concierge service.

Current American Express Promotions: November 2018

ForCard
Airline PurchasesAmerican Express Gold
Premium TravelThe Platinum Card
Cash BackBlue Cash Preferred

Why It's Not for Everyone

First, let's go over the reasons you may want to skip the AMEX Gold.

  • There is that $250 annual fee. This is on the high end for cards in general, but you may be able to justify it based on how often you'll use the card and where you'll use it (especially if you're a frequent traveler).

    If you prefer a credit card with no annual fee instead, check out this list.

  • You need excellent credit: Are you wondering how to qualify for an American Express Gold Card?

    Generally speaking, you need excellent credit to qualify for most American Express cards.

  • This is a charge card: In other words, you pay off your balance in full each month. If you prefer a credit card instead, check out these credit cards for people with excellent credit.

  • It's not accepted everywhere: Not all merchants take American Express. No matter how good the benefits and rewards are, it doesn't matter if the merchant won't accept your card. If you only have room in your wallet for one credit card, consider a Visa or MasterCard instead. Otherwise, think about having an American Express credit card with a backup Visa or MasterCard.

AMEX Gold Card Offer

Now here are reasons why we think the American Express Gold is worth the annual fee:

  • You fly frequently. If you're often in the air and tend to book your trip directly with airlines, consider this card. Instead of earning just one mile per dollar on airfare as you would with some other travel cards, you can use this card to earn 3X the points on flights booked directly with airlines.

    On top of that, you also get up to $100 in statement credits each calendar year to cover incidental fees with your selected qualifying airline (it's called an airline fee credit). This can help cover costs like checked bags, in-flight food and entertainment, and lounge passes.

  • You want a deal. It can be tough waiting for rewards to accumulate when you have a brand new account. With this card, you will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. That's in addition to whatever other rewards you earn during that time period.

  • You are a big grocery shopper. This card earns you 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

    If you spend $200 a week at U.S. supermarkets, you will earn 41,600 Membership Rewards points in a year. Are 41,600 Membership Rewards points worth the annual fee? You decide.

  • You eat out at least twice a week. Not everyone cooks, but we've all got to eat. This card earns 4x points at U.S. restaurants.

    Let's say you spend $150 a week at U.S. restaurants - that would earn you 31,200 Membership Rewards in a year.

    Maybe you spend $100 a week at U.S. supermarkets and $90 a week at U.S. restaurants. Combined, that's $190/week - enough for 39,520 Membership Rewards points a year.

    Plus, you earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House (enrollment required).

  • Flexible points redemption. In addition to the above rewards, you will earn 1X the points on other purchases.

    But points are only as good as what you can redeem them for. And with Membership Reward points, you have flexibility.

    If you're more of a vanilla ice cream fan, you can redeem points for a statement credit or gift cards.

    But if you prefer some more rocky road-style variety, you can transfer the Membership Rewards points to frequent flyer programs such as Delta SkyMiles or frequent hotel programs such as Choice. In our opinion, you can make your rewards go further when you go that route.

    Read this in-depth Beginner's Guide to Airline Miles and Points.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee. Do you want to use your card overseas?

    When you take this card with you outside the U.S., you do not have to worry about foreign transaction fees (some other credit cards charge 2.7% to 3% on purchases made outside the U.S.).

    Thinking of traveling overseas? Here is what you need to know about foreign transaction fees before you go abroad.

  • No annual fee for additional cards (up to 5). You can get up to 5 additional cards for no annual fee. After that, the annual fee for 6 or more additional cards is $35 for each card. For instance, you can add your spouse as an Additional Card Member to your card account with no additional annual fee.

  • Hotel Collection. In our opinion, this perk can be quite valuable if you book at least two consecutive nights through American Express Travel. You can get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. See terms for exclusions.

  • You want to feel confident when you buy things or travel. Here are just a few of the benefits:

    • You get baggage insurance for eligible lost, damaged or stolen baggage, for up to $1,250 for carry-on luggage and $500 for checked baggage.
    • Renting a car? You get car rental loss and damage insurance on eligible car rentals (but note that it does not include liability coverage and is secondary coverage).
    • Taking a road trip? You get premium roadside assistance, which covers emergency services like towing (up to 10 miles), changing a flat tire or jumpstarting your car battery -- up to 4 times a year. Some exclusions apply.
    • Need to return an item? This card offers return protection. If a vendor will not accept your return within 90 days of purchase, American Express will refund the price to you for eligible purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Plus, this card offers extended warranty protection for eligible purchases. And there's no enrollment required.

Want more reasons to get the card? Here is a link to American Express' website, which includes information on additional travel benefits and the online secure application.

3X FOR FLIGHTS BOOKED WITH AIRLINES

© Dave Herholz (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Keep in mind, you need to book directly with an airline or on amextravel.com to qualify. Third-parties, like online travel discount websites, don't count.

Note: This deal is for passenger flights only, not charters or private jets.

U.S. SUPERMARKETS

Qualifying supermarkets include Whole Foods, Meijer, Shoprite, Winn-Dixie, Stop and Shop, Vons, Pathmark, and online supermarket FreshDirect, among others.

So-called "big-box stores" like Wal-Mart and Target, online superstores like Amazon, and warehouses like Costco are NOT considered supermarkets. Your mom-and-pop corner grocery store or specialty shop that only sells cheese or meat are also NOT considered to be supermarkets. Chances are, if a store sells groceries in addition to clothes and electronics, it is not - in Amex's view - a supermarket.

4X AT U.S. RESTAURANTS

© CreditDonkey

Purchases made within the United States at restaurants will get 4X points. Keep in mind that U.S. owned companies outside the U.S. do not count, i.e. the Hard Rock Café in Paris - even though the Hard Rock is owned by a U.S. company - would not be eligible for 4x points.

What qualifies as a restaurant depends on how it registers on your card. A restaurant that's within a hotel may not be described as restaurant on your card and therefore wouldn't get you 4x points.

HOW IT COMPARES

Chase Sapphire Preferred: You earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

This is a competitive card in terms of rewards. It has a higher spending threshold to get the bonus than Gold, but it has a lower annual fee. The annual fee ($0 intro for the first year, then $95) is easy to recoup if you use the Sapphire Preferred often to earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Still can't decide? Take a look at Amex's Membership Rewards vs. Chase's Ultimate Rewards to see which one seems easier to navigate and better for your needs.

 

American Express Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APRSee Rates & Fees17.99% to 24.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APRSee Rates & Fees17.99% to 24.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$250 annual fee$0 Intro Annual Fee for the First Year, then $95
Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees 
 

Benefits and Features

Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Travel Travel Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
AirlineAirline Rewards: Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
PointsPoint Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.Point Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline StatusAirline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline. 
GroceryGrocery Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). 
RestaurantDining Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants.
Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline Transfer PartnersAirline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Emirates, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways and more.Airline Transfer Partners: Chase airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.
 Apply NowApply Now

Platinum Card from American Express: If the Gold Card's annual fee doesn't scare you, then see how you feel about its sister card's $550 annual fee. With the Platinum card, you have the potential to earn 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 within the first three months (vs. the Gold Card's 25,000 bonus points on $2,000 in spending).

Because of its high price tag, the Platinum Card is best for frequent travelers who make good use of the platinum treatment they can get when using this card, including up to $200 for Uber rides annually and a $200 Airline Fee Credit each calendar year plus access to five airport lounge networks.

 

American Express Gold Card

American Express Platinum

Annual Fee$250 annual fee$550 annual fee
Terms Apply. See Rates & FeesTerms Apply. See Rates & Fees
Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Travel 
AirlineAirline Rewards: Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.Airline Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
PointsPoint Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.Point Rewards: Earn 1 point for virtually every dollar spent.
Airline StatusAirline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.Airline Status: $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline. Terms Apply.
Access to 5 airport lounge networks including The Centurion® lounge network, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® lounges, Priority Pass(TM) Select, and Airspace Lounge. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select.
Hotel Status Hotel Status: Enroll for complimentary SPG Gold Status (Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Preferred Guest).
Enroll for complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status.

Fine Hotels & Resorts - book your stay through American Express FHR at one of 600 luxury hotels and you may get a room upgrade upon arrival, daily continental breakfast for 2, guaranteed 4pm late checkout and a special amenity unique to each property. Terms Apply.
GroceryGrocery Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). 
RestaurantDining Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants.
Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
 
 Apply NowApply Now

For more information, read our in-depth AMEX Gold vs Platinum comparison.

BOTTOM LINE

In our opinion, the perks and rewards of the American Express Gold Card are extensive; in fact, we haven't even listed all the benefits of the card here. To learn more about what this card has to offer, visit American Express' online secure application.

Whether this card is right for you all comes down to the math. Will you be likely to use it at the supermarket and at restaurants? If so, the $250 annual fee may be just a blip in on your radar with the rewards far outweighing the expense.

In our opinion, the people who will really benefit from this card are frequent travelers. The 3X points on airfare when booked directly with airlines is tough to beat and redeeming them through the Amex's Membership Rewards can help take you far - literally.

Terms and limitations apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on June 1, 2012. This content may have been updated on October 4, 2018. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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American Express Gold Card
Apply for American Express Gold Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsPoint RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitDining RewardsEventsCar Rental InsuranceExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityRoadside Assistance
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$250

Compare American Express Gold Card to:

Compare AMEX Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Compare AMEX Gold vs American Express Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Compare AMEX Gold vs American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card


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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.