20 Amex Gold Card Benefits That Might Make Up for Its Annual Fee

Ready to earn some serious rewards on everyone’s favorite thing: food?

Then the American Express® Gold Card (Review) might be right for you. It sits squarely in between entry-level rewards cards, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, and the big guns, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

The card is chic and metal, with contactless technology. It has an annual fee of $250 and is aimed at users with good credit scores.

The bottom line: If you want to go beyond the basic rewards credit cards, but aren’t yet ready to shell out $550 in annual fees, the Gold Card is worth a look.

Here are 20 Amex Gold Card benefits you should know about.

Redeeming & Earning Points

Welcome Bonus

One of the most exciting perks of applying for any credit card is its welcome offer, and the Amex Gold Card is no exception. It’s currently offering 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months.

If you used those bonus points to book a flight on Amex Travel, they’d be worth 1 cent per point. So, a bonus of 40,000 points would be worth $400, and a bonus of 60,000 points would be worth $600.

If you transferred them to an airline partner, and got closer to a value of 1.5 cents per point, that latter bonus could be worth $900 or more!

4X Points at U.S. Supermarkets and Restaurants

For most people, the highlight of the Amex Gold Card is its high earning rate in two popular bonus categories: U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.

You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year. (Since that works out to more than $2,000 per month, most cardholders won’t go above that threshold — though, if you do, you’ll earn the base rate of 1X point/dollar.)

You’ll also earn 4X points per dollar at restaurants, both at home and abroad. In these coronavirus times, it’s worth noting that — like most credit card issuers — American Express counts takeout and delivery in its definition of restaurant spend.

If you value Membership Rewards points at 1 cent each, you’d need to spend $6,250 per year, or $520 per month, in these 4X categories to offset the $250 annual fee. (Rates & Fees) And that’s without counting the hundreds of dollars of dining credits, or the fact that Membership Rewards points can be worth much more when transferred to air and hotel partners.

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3X Points on Travel

When the world is ready to start traveling again, you’ll earn a pretty penny for putting flights on your Amex Gold Card: 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar for flights booked on or directly through airlines.

19 Transfer Partners

Once you’ve earned your Membership Rewards points, you’ll have an abundance of choice when it comes to where to redeem them. American Express says it has more partners than any other “major U.S. credit card rewards program.”

In most cases, your points will transfer instantly, and at a 1:1 ratio, allowing you to book high-value flights and hotel stays directly with the partner.

Transfer Partner Miles/Points per 1,000 Membership Rewards Points Transfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub 1,000 Instant
Aeromexico Club Premier 1,600 Up to 4 days
Air Canada Aeroplan 1,000 Instant
Air France-KLM Flying Blue 1,000 Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1,000 Instant
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club 1,000 Up to 72 hours
Avianca LifeMiles 1,000 Instant
British Airways Executive Club 1,000 Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 1,000 Instant
Delta SkyMiles 1,000 Instant
El Al Matmid 20 Instant
Emirates Skywards 1,000 Instant
Etihad Guest 1,000 Instant
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 1,000 Instant
Iberia Plus 1,000 Up to 48 hours
JetBlue TrueBlue 800 Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1,000 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer 1,000 Up to 48 hours
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1,000 Instant
Choice Privileges 1,000 Instant
Hilton Honors 2,000 Instant
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 Instant

While you can also redeem your rewards for gift cards or charitable donations, your points will usually go furthest when transferred to a travel partner. Depending on how much your flight or hotel booking is worth, you could get a value of 2 cents per point or more!

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$120 Dining Credit

Too tired to cook? No problem!

When you use your Gold Card to order, you’ll get up to $10 per month in statement credits, for an annual savings of up to $120, from the following vendors:

  • Grubhub
  • Seamless
  • Boxed
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Participating Shake Shack locations

Head’s up: The transactions must occur in the U.S., and unlike many of the other Amex Gold Card benefits, enrollment is required.

Uber Eats Pass & Credits

Those aren’t the only foodie credits you’ll receive, however, as one of the newest benefits of Amex Gold card use is a partnership with Uber.

As long as you sign up before December 31, 2021, you’ll get up to 12 months of a complimentary Uber Eats Pass subscription (normally $9.99 per month), which comes with $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders over $15 at participating restaurants.

Starting in “early 2021,” you’ll also receive up to $10 per month in statement credits toward Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.

Even if you normally wouldn’t subscribe to Uber Eats Pass, and thus don’t count it as a tangible benefit, this partnership has a value of $120 per year if you frequently order delivery or ride shares. When combined with the $120 in other dining credits, you’ll basically negate the Gold Card’s entire annual fee. (Rates & Fees)

Insider tip

Before getting too excited about the credits, ask yourself if you normally spend $10 on Grubhub/Seamless/etc. and $10 on Uber rides or deliveries each month. If the answer is no — and you might be tempted to order more delivery, and therefore spend more money, simply to “get the most out of your credits” — this card might not be right for you. (That’s why I haven’t applied yet!)

$100 Annual Airline Fee Credit

This annual credit covers incidental fees (like baggage fees) on an airline of your choice. Unfortunately, though, it is only available until December 31, 2021.

Access to The Hotel Collection

With a Gold Card in your hand, you’ll be eligible for other American Express perks, such as access to The Hotel Collection.

This will get you a $100 hotel credit to spend on activities — think: dining, spa, golf — plus a room upgrade, if available, when you book a stay of two nights or more at 600+ properties with American Express Travel.

Previously, cardmembers also received complimentary access to The Travel Collection, but that benefit is phasing out on December 31, 2020.

The Hotel Collection Amex Gold benefit

Image credit: American Express

Travel Benefits

Trip Delay Reimbursement

Another newish benefit of the Gold Card is coverage when your flight inevitably gets delayed.

If you are traveling on a common carrier and your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, you’ll be eligible for up to $300 to cover essentials like food, lodging, and toiletries. You can make up to two claims every 12 months.

This is a little worse than the coverage offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review), which has a per-trip maximum of $500 and no limit on the number of claims you can make.

Car Rental Insurance

Rental car insurance can be an unexpected — and hefty! — fee.

When you pay with the Gold Card, however, you can decline the rental company’s damage waiver and know that American Express has your back. (Unless you’re in Australia, New Zealand, or Italy, where its coverage does not apply.)

Just note Amex’s car rental insurance is secondary, so it’ll only pay out after you’ve made a claim with your normal car insurance. You can upgrade to primary insurance by paying a flat fee of $12.25 to $24.95 per rental.

Similar to other credit card insurance policies, Amex doesn’t offer liability coverage.

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Baggage Insurance

If your bags get lost, damaged, or stolen on a trip that you paid for entirely with your Gold Card, American Express will reimburse you for up to $1,250 of carry-on baggage and up to $500 of checked baggage. That coverage is per person, and applies to the cardholder as well as your partner and dependent children.

It’s important to note you must pay for the entire fare with your Gold Card (or with a combination of your Gold Card and Amex rewards).

You won’t be eligible, for instance, if you book your flight with American Airlines miles and pay for the fees with your Gold Card. That’s in contrast to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, which offer baggage coverage as long as you pay for some element of the trip with your card.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

When you take the Amex Gold Card overseas, you won’t have to pay any pesky foreign transaction fees. Whereas many other cards charge you for paying for items in another currency — at a rate of around 3% — this Amex card does not. (Rates & Fees) See other great cards without foreign transaction fees here.

In other words, if you were to spend $3,000 on your Amex Gold Card on a trip to Rome (rather than, say, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review)) you’d save around $90. Che bello!

Travel Assistance Hotlines

Don’t feel like booking your flight? Or finding a taxi once you land?

Amex’s Personalized Travel Service can help you book flights (for a fee), hotels, and ground transport. All you have to do is call.

If you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home, you’ll also have access to the Global Assist Hotline, which offers 24/7 help during medical, legal, or financial emergencies. Just note you’ll have to pay for any third-party services to which you’re referred.

Amex Offers

When you become an American Express cardholder, you’ll gain entry into the world of Amex Offers. With this rewards program, you can snag statement credits or Membership Rewards points for shopping at Amex partners.

Sample Amex Offers might include “Spend $50 at Cabela’s and get a $10 statement credit” or “Earn 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar when making an eligible purchase at Best Buy.”

Read more
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Amex ShopRunner

Paying for shipping is the pits. Luckily, with your Amex Gold Card, you’ll get a complimentary membership to ShopRunner, which offers free two-day shipping at 140 high-end retailers — a value of $79 per year.

Amex Experiences & Preferred Seating

When the world goes back to normal — and we can once again go see events and concerts and exhibits — these Gold Card benefits may come in handy. American Express Experiences offer a range of curated events just for cardmembers, and Preferred Seating sometimes allows you to get access to early or better tickets for select events.

Amex experiences Gold Card benefits

Amex’s current offering of virtual experiences. Image credit: American Express

Return Protection

Don’t want an item, but can’t return it to the merchant? If you bought it on your Gold Card in the previous 90 days, American Express’ return protection will reimburse you for the purchase price, up to a maximum of $300.

Purchase Protection

Let’s say you buy an iPad, and it gets lost, stolen, or damaged within the first 90 days. If you purchased the item on your Gold Card it may be eligible for purchase protection, and Amex will reimburse you for up to $10,000 per purchase and $50,000 per year.

Extended Warranty

When shopping with your Gold Card, you’ll get up to one additional year of warranty coverage on items that have a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. Coverage maxes out at $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year.

What Are the Best Alternatives to the Amex Gold Card?

While the Gold Card has many benefits, it’s not the only rewards credit card out there. Here are five others with comparable features.

First up: the Green Card, which will get you 3X points on dining, transit, and travel — all at a reasonable annual fee.

Next, this Capital One credit card, which offers foodie rewards without an annual fee: 3% cash back on dining and entertainment and 2% back at grocery stores.

This option, also from Amex, has a much lower annual fee than the Gold Card, and earns a very respectable 3X points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1X).

Though this card has a lower earning rate — 2X on dining and travel, 1X at grocery stores — its annual fee is much lower than the Gold Card and it offers superior travel insuranceAmerican Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

Since this card earns 3X points on travel (after it’s travel credit is used up) and travel, it allows for easy accrual of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. It also comes with a Global Entry fee credit, airport lounge access, and a broadly defined $300 annual travel credit to offset the high annual fee.

Is the Amex Gold Card Worth It?

If you’d rather get rewarded for eating over traveling — which has certainly been valuable during the past year — then the American Express® Gold Card (Review) might be for you.

With its ability to earn 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and worldwide restaurants, and its $240 in annual credits at restaurants and delivery services, it is one of the best credit cards for food lovers, period.

If you’re already spending $10 on Grubhub or Seamless and $10 on Uber each month, it’s close to a no-brainer. Just make sure you won’t be tempted to stretch your budget simply to maximize those credits!

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

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