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The American Express® Gold Card is an exclusive card with a $250 annual fee and no preset spending limit. It features a generous rewards program built around travel and everyday expenses.
The catch, of course, is that this card is reserved for people with truly excellent credit, and thus isn’t appropriate for first-timers or those with any serious fiscal blemishes. It’s comparable to other American Express rewards cards, including The Platinum Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred Card. It’s also comparable to cards issued by other companies, including the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase.
After you spend at least $4,000 within 6 months of opening your account, you get 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. That’s worth $600 or more, depending on how you redeem.
This card earns 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and 4 points per $1 spent on the first $25,000 in annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets. Plus, earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible Uber Eats purchases too. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases of airfare purchased directly through airlines or amextravel.com, but not third-party booking websites such as Kayak and Expedia. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
Keep in mind that American Express doesn’t consider warehouse clubs such as Costco or big-box discounters such as Walmart to be supermarkets, and restaurants contained within hotels may not be considered restaurants for categorization purposes.
You can redeem your accumulated rewards, starting at a minimum of 1,000 points, for a variety of purchases and cash equivalents available at American Express’s Membership Rewards portal: travel, general merchandise, Uber and taxi rides, gift cards, restaurant meals, statement credits, and more.
Points are worth $0.005 to $0.01 apiece, depending on how they’re redeemed. Gift cards and travel (both $0.01 per point) tend to offer the best value, particularly compared with statement credits ($0.006 per point) and general merchandise (as low as ($0.005 per point).
Uber Credit (Uber Cash)
You’re entitled to up to $120 per year ($10 per month) in statement credits to offset purchases made in the Uber app, including Uber Eats and Uber rides. To qualify, you must add your Gold card as a payment method in the app.
Restaurant Spending Credit
Earn up to $10 in statement credits each month on spending with Amex dining partners, up to a total potential savings of $120 per calendar year. Partners include Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Enrollment is required.
Complimentary Hotel Room Upgrades and Credits
When you book a hotel stay of at least 2 nights with your Gold Card, you get a complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability) and $75 hotel credit. You can use the hotel credit at any time during your stay for dining and incidentals, such as spa treatments and resort services.
Additional Travel Benefits
The Gold Card comes with a host of other travel benefits, including:
- Baggage insurance up to $1,250 per bag and $10,000 per trip
- 24/7 global assistance for cardmembers traveling more than 100 miles from home
- 24/7 concierge service for help with reservations or itinerary planning
Car rental insurance covering loss and damage
The Gold Card’s shopping benefits include extended warranty protection (12 months) on items with original warranties of 5 years or less, purchase protection for stolen or damaged items for 90 days from purchase date, and return protection for rejected returns (up to $300 per item) for 90 days after purchase.
The Gold Card offers a slew of entertainment benefits, including pre-sale ticketing, exclusive (cardholder-only) events such as Broadway shows and concerts, and complimentary preferred seating (front row, orchestra level, lounge section, and so on) for select sporting events and musical performances.
The annual fee is $250, and there is no foreign transaction fee. Returned payments cost up to $39 each, and late payments, defined as any unpaid balance older than 2 months, cost the greater of $39 or 2.99% of the late amount. Balance transfers and cash advances aren’t allowed.
This card requires excellent credit. Any significant credit blemishes are likely to disqualify your application.
- Flexible Redemption Options. The Gold Card accrues Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed for virtually anything: travel, general merchandise, local transportation, gift cards, statement credits, and more. Plus, redemptions start at just 1,000 points, a $5 to $10 value. These are big selling points relative to many hotel and airline rewards cards, which generally require at least 5,000 (and sometimes 10,000 or more) points for redemption, and typically permit redemptions only with specific hotel or airline brands.
- Solid Welcome Offer. The Gold Card has a great welcome offer that requires a moderate amount of spending over the first 6 months of cardmembership.
- Up to $120 Annual Credit for Frequent Diners and Up to $120 Annual Credit for Uber App users. This card’s $10-per-month dining credit is worth up to $120 per year when fully utilized. That’s great news for cardholders who don’t always feel like cooking. And the $10-per-month Uber Cash deal is great for cardholders who regularly use Uber’s rideshare or food delivery services.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. This card has no foreign transaction fees, which is a nice perk for frequent overseas travelers. By comparison, Citi ThankYou Preferred has a 3% foreign transaction fee. U.S. Bank FlexPerks Visa Signature has a 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee, depending on denomination, while AmEx EveryDay Preferred‘s foreign transaction fee is always 2.7%.
- No Preset Spending Limits. The Gold Card never comes with preset spending limits, although American Express reserves the right to limit future spending based on purchasing and payment patterns. Many competing rewards cards, including otherwise generous options like Citi ThankYou Premier, do impose spending limits (generally $5,000 and up).
- Great Travel Benefits. This card has a great travel benefits lineup: free hotel room upgrades when available, 24/7 global assist, and baggage insurance worth more than $1,000 per bag. Many other cards aren’t so generous: Citi ThankYou Premier offers baggage insurance and 24/7 assistance, but no room upgrades.
- High Annual Fee. The Gold Card comes with a $250 annual fee. That’s significantly higher than many other rewards cards, including Citi ThankYou Preferred ($0) and Citi ThankYou Premier ($95). If you don’t take full advantage of the Gold Card’s value-added benefits, such as hotel room upgrades and airline credits, you’re better off with a less expensive card.
- Requires Near-Flawless Credit. Although American Express doesn’t divulge the precise credit score minimum needed for approval, nor does it discuss other screening criteria in detail, it makes no secret of the fact that the Gold Card is for people with excellent credit. If you have any noteworthy blemishes on your credit report, you should not expect to be approved for this card. Rewards cards geared toward less-experienced card users, such as Capital One VentureOne, are better fits for applicants with average to good credit, while mid-tier rewards cards such as Citi ThankYou Preferred are better for applicants with very good credit.
- Low Redemption Value for Statement Credits. The Gold Card’s statement credit redemption option values earned points at $0.006 apiece. If you redeem 10,000 points for a statement credit, you get $60. That’s a low redemption rate for this category. By comparison, Capital One Venture, a general-purpose travel rewards card with a $59 annual fee, values points at $0.01 apiece.
The American Express® Gold Card isn’t totally free of drawbacks. But with an excellent rewards program and no preset spending limit, it could earn you quite a few Membership Rewards points with regular use. Perhaps it’s time to start imagining what you’ll do with the Gold Card’s impressive spending power.