The competition is real! The credit card industry is always trying to one-up itself, and this is good news for you. Welcome bonuses and perks continue to improve on a monthly basis. With new and improved features and a huge limited time welcome offer, the American Express® Gold Card has grabbed our attention. Here’s why you should be paying attention too.
Historically overlooked by most consultants, American Express gave the Gold Card a much needed overhaul in late 2018. Now, here’s 5 reasons the $250 annual fee is worth it and why you should add the Amex Gold Card to your wallet.
Limited Time Offer: The Amex Gold is available in a limited edition Rose Gold until July 17, 2019.
Overview: Top 5 Reasons To Get The American Express Gold Card
- Dining Rewards
- Grocery Rewards
- Travel Rewards
- Sign-up Bonus
- Lower fees
5 Reasons to get the Amex Gold Card
#1 – DINING
If you call yourself a foodie, the Amex Gold Card just became a lot more appetizing. The card’s biggest perk is undoubtedly the 4X bonus on dining rewards. This once wanna-be travel card has joined the club of dining rewards royalty with its updated features. You receive 4X Membership Rewards points at US and international restaurants.
Plus, the Amex Gold now offers $120 in annual dining credit. Cardholders earn $10 monthly credit at selected partners including GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. Forget the 4X dining bonus for a minute – just taking advantage of these credits alone will pay you back half of the annual fee.
#2 – GROCERIES
Dining is not the only 4X earner when you use the Amex Gold – this perk also applies to up to $25,000 in annual spend at U.S. Supermarkets. You earn 4X Membership Rewards points on up to $25,000 per year in grocery purchases, and then 1X after that. The threshold to break-even on the annual fee is just $200 per month on groceries, easily doable for a family of four. For reference, the average U.S. family spends $644 per month on groceries.
So you earn 4 points per dollar on U.S. Dining and Supermarkets, and what really makes earning Membership Rewards Points worthwhile is their ability to transfer to travel partners.
#3 – TRAVEL
The American Express® Gold Card is a great all-around card – earn points on groceries when you are home, and on travel and dining when on the road. You receive 3 points per dollar spent for flights booked through amextravel.com or directly through airlines.
If you are not convinced yet that the $250 annual fee is worth it, you may be interested in the $100 annual airline fee credit. Every calendar year you remain a cardholder you receive $100 towards airline fees on one airline.
By taking advantage of the $120 dining credit and the $100 airline fee credit, the card has already just about paid for itself. And that’s before factoring in the Membership Rewards points you are earning that are redeemable for free flights and hotels. The true cost of being a cardholder has become $30, and we haven’t even talked about the sign-up bonus yet!
#4 – SIGN-UP BONUS
When you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months, you earn a 35,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome bonus. This is a decent welcome bonus, but by no means matches the bonuses of more premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card from American Express®.
According to TPG’s latest evaluation, 35,000 Membership Rewards Points are worth $700, enough to pay for your next plane ticket!
#5 – TRANSFERABLE POINTS
This is where the real magic happens. After earning your 35,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome bonus, 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X), and 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants, its time to put those points to use.
What really makes these points valuable is the ability to transfer them directly to travel partners within the American Express Loyalty Program, including Delta Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and more. However, you do pay a small fee to transfer points. Transfer partners require you to pay a fee of $0.0006 cents per point, with a maximum of $99 when transferring to U.S. airlines. Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve do not charge you a transfer fee.
1. Claim your $100 Airline Fee Credit:
Make sure you designate the specific airline you want to receive credit for. Because this credit is eligible every calendar year, you can use it twice during your first year as a cardholder. Depending on when you become a member you have the potential for a $200 return in the first 12 months.
2. Enroll for your $120 Annual Dining Credit:
This feature does not come without activation. You will need to enroll for this perk. You can do that online in your portal under the “Benefits” tab. We suggest doing this right when you receive the card so it’s not forgotten.
Third Party Processor Inconsistencies
Recently, some things have not been adding up with the Amex Gold Card. Quite literally, cardholders claim their points are not adding up to the money they have spent. There have been reports from cardholders claiming inconsistencies in credits due from bonus rewards earned on restaurant purchases. The main issue seems to take place when merchants use a third-party payment processor such as Toast and Square. While Amex competitors don’t tend to experience this problem, it’s become a major problem for users making purchases at restaurants that use Square to process payments.
American Express discloses: “Purchases made through a third-party payment account or on an online marketplace (with multiple retailers) will not qualify for additional points. A purchase may not qualify for additional points if the merchant submits the purchase using a mobile or wireless card reader or if you use a mobile or digital wallet.”
Although this continues to be an issue, American Express is working to fix it. According to the company, as of February 2019 the system has been updated, now rewarding more of these types of purchases with bonus points. American Express has recommended cardholders contact customer service with issues about missing points on purchases where they should have received bonus Membership Rewards Points.
American Express Gold Card Drawbacks
This card is not for everybody! Some things you should be aware of:
- American Express is not accepted everywhere. If you prefer to only use one credit card, you may want to look elsewhere. Unlike Visa and Mastercard, which are widely accepted, American Express isn’t always accepted by merchants.
- The Gold Card is a charge card, meaning you pay off the card in full each and every month. If you typically carry a balance then this card is not right for you.
- There are limited options when it comes to utilizing the $120 dining credit. You are only able to use this credit through Grubhub, Seamless, or at The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. Unfortunately, if you don’t use them, you lose them. The dining credits do not roll over from month to month. Credits will post to your account two to four weeks after the purchase is made.
American Express Gold Card Benefits
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months
- You earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. and international 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
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- 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
With a strong focus on dining and travel, the American Express Gold Card is for the adventurous foodie (and average family)! This card is a top dining rewards card, with some decent travel rewards to boot. So whether you plan to tour every Michelin-starred restaurant in the world or make consistent trips to the supermarket, you’ll love the 4X bonus.
Rounding out these two hard to beat bonus categories is the ability to earn 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. When you add in the welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months, the perks more than pay for the annual fee.
If a bulk of your monthly budget consists of dining and/or groceries, the American Express Gold Card is a great option for you.