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The American Express® Gold Card is a great choice for anyone who loves to dine out or spends a lot at U.S. supermarkets. It’s also an excellent option for frequent travelers. That’s why the Amex Gold makes our list of the best American Express cards. Those generous bonus categories can add up fast and although there’s a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees), the card’s perks can certainly help offset that cost.
Here’s a look at the Amex Gold Card benefits and perks. You can find our full review of the Amex Gold Card here.
60,000-point welcome offer
When you open the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll earn 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. Although there’s a $250 annual fee, this bonus alone makes the Amex Gold worth keeping at least for a year.
For example, with 60,000 Amex points, you can:
- Fly to Europe in business class on American Airlines by transferring 50,000 points to Etihad (normally $2,600+)
- Fly round-trip to Japan in coach from the West Coast on ANA by transferring 60,000 points to Virgin Atlantic (normally $800+)
- Fly to Spain in lie-flat business class from select U.S. cities by transferring 34,000 points to Iberia (normally $2,400+)
And lots more! Read our post on the best ways to use Amex points for all the details.
Earn 4x at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants
With little argument, the Amex Gold Card is the single best card for regular spending at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year (then you’ll earn 1 point per dollar).
Remember, we estimate Amex points value to be 1.8 cents each on average. Earning 4 points per dollar is an effective 7.2% return on your spending!
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Earn 3x on flights (and 1x on everything else)
You’ll earn 3 Amex points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or via Amextravel.com. Since we value Amex points at 1.8 cents each, this is like 6.4% return on your spending.
Up to $120 annual dining statement credits
With the Amex Gold, you can get up to $120 in dining credits each calendar year, making it one of the best credit cards for restaurants. And who doesn’t love free food? Here’s how it works — you’ll receive up to $10 per month in dining credit for purchases at(enrollment required):
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Milk Bar
- Select Shake Shack locations
So if you use the credit each month, that’s $120 for chow. Just note, the credit can’t be used for merchandise or gift card purchases. Of course, it would be great if the list of eligible eateries was longer, but GrubHub and Goldbelly are delivery services, so you can choose healthier restaurants if you have dietary restrictions or want to order in with fewer calories.
Of course, who spends only $10 at a restaurant? I consider this more of a rebate on your bill. And it’s only useful if you like the restaurants on the list.
Up to $100 hotel credit with a two-night stay at Amex Hotel Collection
You’ll receive an up to $100 credit when you book a minimum of two consecutive nights through the American Express Travel portal. The credit can be used on qualifying activities at the hotel itself, such as dining, spa treatments, or resort activities. Better yet, you can even use it on a room upgrade if one is available once you arrive.
No foreign transaction fees
Some banks insist on charging a fee for swiping your card internationally, usually 3% of your total purchases. In other words, if you were to spend $1,500 during your trip overseas, you’d be charged an extra $45 in fees. That’s ridiculous.
The Amex Gold does not incur these fees (see rates and fees), so it’s a great companion when traveling to other countries.
Rental car insurance
You can get primary rental car insurance with the card when you enroll in the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program for up to 42 days. You must decline the rental agency’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental to your card to use the benefit.
If you rent vehicles often, this can be a tremendous money saver and give you peace of mind. But you must opt-in to get coverage. If you don’t, coverage is secondary and covers up to a maximum of $50,000 per rental agreement.
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Baggage insurance plan
If you or your family’s baggage is lost, damaged, or stolen, Amex provides an extra layer of protection to your trip as long as it’s been booked with your Amex Gold card. They’ll provide $1,250 replacement coverage for carry-on bags and $500 for checked luggage. This perk extends beyond airlines and includes transit on trains, ships and buses. You’ll need to file a claim within 30 days to receive the benefit.
ShopRunner complimentary two-day shipping
You’ll get a free ShopRunner membership with the card, which gets you free two-day shipping at 100+ stores once you enroll. That’s worth $79 a year. (enrollment required).
Presale and preferred event tickets
If you’re a concert or sports buff, Amex has a perk for you with American Express Experiences and American Express Preferred Seating. Both of these give you exclusive first-chance access to ticket presales for sporting events, Broadway shows, and concert tours. There are also card holder only events in a nearby city.
Access to Amex Offers
Amex Offers are a fantastic way to save money on everyday purchases. They’re targeted statement credits or bonus points that only people with American Express cards receive, for things like shopping, delivery, Amazon, and streaming services.
I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the years on expenses like dog sitters, household essentials, hotels stays and more. All you have to do is add Amex Offers to your card and make an eligible purchase to trigger the credit.
Access to Amex transfer partners
Amex issues some of the best travel credit cards and one of the biggest reasons why is the ability to transfer Amex points to 22 airline and hotel partners. Partners include the three major airline alliances oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance while hotel partners include the Choice Hotel, Hilton, and Marriott chains. Read our complete guide on Amex transfer partners here.
Access to the Hotel Collection
The Hotel Collection is a program that gives cardholders of certain Amex cards, like the Amex Gold, VIP benefits at select hotels. You’ll often get lower rates while earning double bonus points, as well as the opportunity to pay with points. You’ll even get a room upgrade if one’s available.
Check out the Hotel Collection here.
Auto purchasing program
Amex’s auto-purchasing program enables cardholders to find dealerships that allow you to use your Amex card when buying a car, allowing amounts from anywhere from $2,000 to the full amount of the car. Once you find the car of your dreams through the search engine, the dealership will contact you and provide a Guaranteed Savings Certificate which you’ll take with you to the dealership. You may need to haggle with the dealership on the amount that they’ll allow you to charge to your card, but the greater the dollar amount, the greater the number of points.
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If you do buy a car through one of the dealerships listed in your search, report your purchase on the Amex website and save even more post-sale. Amex reports that the average saved in 2019 by buyers using this benefit was $3,598.
Amex will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on U.S. warranties of five years or less, when you purchase an item with your card. This benefit is eligible on purchases up to $10,000 and is capped at $50,000 in purchases in a calendar year.
Global Assist Hotline
- Providing information to help plan your trip, including customs requirements, general country information like currency and travel warnings, foreign exchange rates, passport and visa information, possible vaccination requirements, and even a 10 day forecast!
- Translation assistance if you are in a travel emergency
- Lost item or missing luggage search
- Embassy or consulate locator if your passport is lost or stolen
- Card cancellation
- Relay urgent messages to your family if you are unable to do so in an emergency
- Wire a small amount of funds to help you until other alternatives can be established
- Assist in checking you in or out of your hotel if your card is lost or stolen
- Provide legal help such as referring lawyers in the area or bail bond agencies
- Medical liaison for you or a family member with emergency medical transportation, replacements for lost or stolen medications, or referral to a nearby medical provider
Those who will get the most value from this card are those who spend a lot on dining and want to earn travel rewards. Besides the benefits of the statement credits, the Amex Gold card’s $250 annual fee is quickly offset when you earn bonus points for eating out and shopping for groceries at U.S. supermarkets.
And don’t forget, the Amex Gold card comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 Amex points after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s an abnormally huge bonus. You can apply for the American Express Gold card here.
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For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here