American Express® Gold Card Review

Jacqueline DeMarco

Writer

It’s no secret that life is expensive — for many, it’s more expensive than ever before. This is why having a credit card that rewards your everyday spending can be so helpful. While it’s never a good idea to carry a credit card balance if you can afford to pay off all of your purchases at the end of the month. You stand to earn valuable perks and rewards with the right credit card in your wallet. 

Enter the American Express® Gold Card. If you like to dine out, buy a lot of groceries. Additionally, book flights often and you may find that this credit card helps you get a lot of bang for your buck. However, you do have to be careful here — this card comes with a pricey $250 annual fee (rates and fees). You really need to think critically about whether or not applying for this credit card makes sense or not before you get stuck with that annual fee. 

American Express® Gold Card Quick facts

Before we dive into a detailed review of the American Express® Gold Card, let’s take a look at the quick facts you need to know about the card. 

  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Rewards: Earn 4X points at restaurants and on up to $25,000 per year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets, 3X points for flights, and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Insurance and protections: Baggage insurance and secondary rental car insurance

Pros and cons of the American Express® Gold Card

As tempting as it is to focus on all of the perks and benefits a credit card has to offer, you need to weigh the disadvantages of the American Express® Gold Card against the advantages:

Pros

  • High rewards earning potential
  • Points transfer option to many partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Add up to 5 free authorized users

Cons

  • No lounge benefits
  • Limited options to carry a balance

Overview of American Express® Gold Card

First things first — the most important thing you need to know about the American Express® Gold Card, is that it comes with a high annual fee. Each year, you will need to pay a $250 annual fee to keep this credit card account open. Keeping that in mind, when we break down cardholder perks. And also how you can earn rewards with this credit card. You would need to think, whether or not you will benefit enough from this card to justify the annual fee. 

For example, if you are a total foodie and dine out a lot, you may easily cancel out the annual fee thanks to the card’s high rewards rate for restaurant purchases (4X points). If you prefer to cook at home, you’re in luck, too. You can earn the exact same amount of rewards when you shop at the supermarket as you would dining out.

You can earn up to $120 in dining credits (up to $10 in monthly statement credits when you pay at select restaurants — enrollment required). Also, up to another $120 in Uber Cash each year when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account. 

Welcome offer with the American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card offers the chance to earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $6,000 on your card within the first six months of card membership.

While this spending requirement may sound high compared to other cards, you do have half a year to qualify. That breaks down to spending $1,000 a month. 

Earning rewards

When it comes to earning rewards with the American Express® Gold Card, you can do so any time you make a purchase using this credit card. How many points you earn depends on the type of purchase made.

  • 4X at restaurants and on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets per year
  • 3X on flights booked directly with airlines on amextravel.com
  • 1X on all other purchases

It’s easy to see why this credit card is such a popular choice. It rewards you for everyday spending at home, with supermarket purchases and dining out. As well as rewarding you for flights to your next vacation destination and stepping out to restaurants while you’re there!

Redeeming rewards

One of the main benefits of the American Express® Gold Card is how much flexibility you have when it comes to redeeming your credit card rewards. Once you are ready to redeem your hard-earned rewards, you have a handful of paths you can take.

First off, you can use points to book select hotels and flights. In some cases, you can also use points to upgrade your flight so you can travel in comfort.

You can also transfer your points to Amex's travel partners. They have 20 travel partners you can transfer points to. Transferring points to partners is often touted as the way to get the most value from your points.

If you want, you can use your points to cover charges on your card. You can redeem any of your points for statement credits so you can get some help paying off your monthly balance. You'll typically get less value from this than you would buy redeeming for travel, but great if you are in a pinch.

You can also pay with points at 15 different online retailers. You can even do this with PayPal which then enables you to use your points at millions of online stores worldwide.

American Express also has merchant partners. You can shop through the Membership Rewards portal and make purchases with points.

Lastly, you can exchange earned Membership Rewards points for gift cards from a variety of retail, dining, air, and lodging companies.

Related: How To Maximize Credit Card Rewards

American Express® Gold Card benefits

In addition to earning rewards when you spend money using the American Express® Gold Card, you can qualify for a variety of cardholder perks. 

Send and Split feature allows you to send or request money to Venmo and PayPal users. You can even choose a charge to split with friends and when they pay you back the money will be automatically applied to your credit card account.

This card also comes with Amex's Plan it® feature that allows you to split any charge over $100 into equal monthly installments. You'll pay a fixed fee instead of interest on this charge.

If you add your card to your Uber account you'll automatically get up to $10 per month in Uber Cash to spend on rides or Uber Eats. You can also get up to $10 a month in statement credits if you make purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations (enrollment required)

You can access American Express Preferred Access for booking seats at select sporting events and cultural events. And if you book a minimum two-night stay with The Hotel Collections you can get up to a $100 experience credit (credit varies by property)

This card has no foreign transaction fees and you can choose either Gold or Rose Gold for the color of your card.

Who should get the American Express® Gold Card?

The American Express® Gold Card is a fairly versatile card that rewards a wide variety of purchases. If you tend to make a lot of purchases in the categories that have the highest rewards rates, you can earn enough to cancel out the $250 annual fee even if you don’t lean on the statement credits for dining and Uber. 

Dining out and supermarket purchases will earn you the most points, so this really is a solid card choice for foodies. If you fly a lot but don’t want to play favorites with a single airline, you will also likely appreciate how you can earn 3X points on flights booked directly with American Express Travel. 

Who shouldn’t get the American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card might not be the right card for you if you don’t travel a lot. Not only is booking flights one of the best ways to earn rewards with this card (as is dining out which you do a lot of while traveling). But you get the most bang for your buck when you choose to redeem your points for airline miles. You also won’t be able to take advantage of valuable benefits like a lack of foreign transaction fees and hotel perks if you don’t travel frequently. 

Alternatives to American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

If you love to travel, the American Express® Gold Card has some great perks you can take advantage of. However, you might want to look for a card that rewards travel more heavily. For example, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you gain access to more travel protections and a $300 annual travel credit. As well as complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge access and application fee credits for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS. 

You stand to earn much more on flight bookings (5X points instead of 3X points) when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the $300 Annual Travel Credit is earned but will earn slightly less on restaurants (3X points on dining). However, you can earn a lot of points with hotels and rental cars —10X points — as long as you book both through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® does come with a significantly higher annual fee ($550) than the American Express® Gold Card ($250), but if you travel often, you may find it easy to earn enough rewards to balance out the cost of that recurring fee. 

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a very high annual fee ($695 – see rates and fees) compared to the American Express® Gold Card ($250). What do you get in exchange for that fee? You can earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines and on flights. Also with hotels booked through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year). Also 2X points on rental cars booked through American Express Travel and plus 1X points on other eligible purchases. 

While the rewards rate isn’t all that impressive, The Platinum Card® from American Express does offer some great perks like premium lounge access. Additionally, airline incidental expense credits, and credits for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck of CLEAR® Plus. There are also various partner credits, including Uber, Saks Fifth AvenueWalmart+, Equinox Fitness, and more. You need to sit down and plot out if and how you plan to take advantage of this card’s perks to make sure it really is worth paying that high of an annual fee. 

American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you don’t want to spend a lot on an annual fee, you may find that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good fit for your budget. This card only charges a $95 annual fee, yet still offers a chance to earn solid rewards on many different purchases. You can earn 5X points on hotels and rental cars booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. Earn an additional 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases. 

You won’t gain access to as many bonus credits as you would with the American Express® Gold Card. However, you also don’t need them as much to help cancel out the cost of the annual fee. You do, however, get an up to $50 annual credit that you can on hotel bookings through the portal.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Woman making a payment using her card in a cafe: American Express® Gold Card Review

American Express® Gold CardChase Sapphire Reserve®The Platinum Card® from American ExpressChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Welcome Bonus60,000 Membership Rewards Points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months60,000 bonus points after $4,000 spent within 3 months80,000 bonus points after $8,000 spend within 6 months60,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend within 3 months
Annual Fee$250$550$695$95
Bonus Rewards4X at restaurants

4X at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in spending per year.

3X on flights booked on amextravel.com or directly with the airlines

1X on all other spending
10X points on hotels and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards

10X on Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards

10X on Lyft rides (until March 2025)

5X on air travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal

3X on general travel

3X on dining

1X on all other spending
5X points on directly-booked flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel (up to $500,000)

2X on car rentals through American Express Travel

1X on all other spending
5X points on travel through Ultimate Rewards

3X on dining

2X on general travel

1X on all other spending
BenefitsUp to $100 experience credit with a two-night stay at a hotel from The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel

Up to $10 per month dining credit when you dine at participating partners (enrollment required)

Up to $10 per month in Uber Cash when you add your card to your Uber account.

Send and Split features

Plan it® features

Baggage insurance (restrictions apply)

Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance

Global Assist® Hotline which gives emergency assistance if you are 100 miles or more from home.


Points worth 1.5 cents when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal

$300 annual travel credit 

Priority Pass Select membership

Sapphire lounge access- Up to $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit (every 4 years)

DoorDash DashPass subscription + $5 in monthly credits

“Reserve by Sapphire” restaurant booking service- 2-year Lyft Pink all-access membership

Instacart+ membership for 12 months and $15 monthly credit

No foreign transaction fees

1:1 point transfer with partners

Travel protection benefits- Extended warranty protection

Purchase protection up to $10,000 per claim (max $50,000 per year)
Up to $189 CLEAR Plus credit- Up to $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit (every 4 years)*

Up to $200 hotel credit for bookings at  The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels + Resorts, given in statement credits

Up to $200 airline credit with qualifying airline, given in statement credits

Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 in total statement credits per month) for Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, ESPN+, SiriusXM, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times (enrollment required)

Travel protection benefits

No foreign transaction fees

Access to the Global Lounge Collection

Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status

Rental car elite status with Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental
Points worth 1.25 cents when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal

$50 annual hotel credit on stays booked through Ultimate Rewards portal

DoorDash DashPass subscription

10% anniversary bonus points based on previous year’s spending

Instacart+ membership for 6 months and $15 monthly credit

No foreign transaction fees

1:1 point transfer with partners

Travel protection benefits

Extended warranty protection

Purchase protection up to $500 per claim (max $50,000 per account)

*Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

You can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers. Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Related: Best Rewards Credit Cards February 2024

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Author picture

I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.