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One of my favorite travel rewards cards is the one you see above: the American Express Gold Card. You, too, will probably like it if you eat food and need to fly on airlines. I’ll explain why.
Let’s get the housekeeping out of the way.
The American Express® Gold Card‘s annual fee is $250. But it’s pretty easy to recoup that — if you travel and eat. You’ll see how below.
Now, on to the fun! (Oh, you also have your choice of card colors: gold or rose gold. Oooh, ahhh!)
Points, Points, and Points!
The American Express® Gold Card earns Membership Rewards points. We value these at around 1.8 cents each. Some people value them higher, others lower. So, I think that’s a happy middle ground.
It earns 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide — plus takeout and delivery in the United States. (Though, I’m guessing if you’re at a restaurant somewhere outside of the U.S., you could for your order to go. Ergo, it’s takeout for you, but the charge still codes as a restaurant.)
Interesting aside: we once got takeout from a restaurant called Soup Kitchen. (Can you guess what their specialty is?) That purchase didn’t code as a restaurant — Amex thought I was being a do-gooder and donating to a soup kitchen.
You can earn 4X points on the first $25,000 you spend each calendar year at U.S. supermarkets. (When/if you meet the $25k threshold, your supermarket purchases will earn 1X per buck until the following year.)
Travel-wise, the American Express® Gold Card earns 3X on flights purchased directly with airlines and at amextravel.com.
In my experience, the 3X isn’t limited to buying an actual flight reservation. It’s worked for me on in-flight food and beverage beverages, too. You should earn the 3X on most purchases when an airline is the stated vendor.
You can also earn 2X on prepaid hotel bookings made at amextravel.com
The potential downside to this is that because Amex Travel is an online travel agency, the hotel might not recognize any elite status benefits you have with that particular property.
All other eligible purchases earn 1X.
Statement Credits and Travel Features
I blow through these statement credits every month. Be aware that they are if-used and do not roll over to the next month.
$120 Dining Credit
Cardholders can earn up to $10 in monthly statement credit when using their card to pay for purchases at these select restaurants and delivery services:
(My kiddo loves Daddy-and-Daughter lunch dates at The Cheesecake Factory; that’s usually where my $10 goes every month.)
$120 Uber Cash
American Express® Gold Card members receive $10 in Uber Cash each month when their card is enrolled as a payment method for Uber or Uber Eats. The Uber Cash is valid for Uber Rides or Uber Eats deliveries in the U.S.
I use the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card to pay any cash balances because it earns 10X on Uber Rides and Uber Eats orders.
The Hotel Collection Benefit
There are about 700 hotel properties that participate in Amex’s “The Hotel Collection” program.
If you’re an Amex Gold (or Platinum or Business Platinum) cardholder, you can receive a $100 experience credit for eligible dining, spa, and resort activities. You may also receive a room upgrade, if available. However, you must book a stay of at least two nights in order to receive these benefits.
Add It Up
I use the dining and Uber credits each month — that’s $240 in value right there. And with all the points I earn from dining and supermarket shopping, I easily earn back the $250 annual fee — and then some.
The points are worth even more because I can use them with the Business Platinum Card‘s 35% Pay with Points rebate.
The American Express® Gold Card is great points-earning product for people who love Membership Rewards points, travel, and dining. I’ve held the card for years — and will as long as it continues to give me excellent value.
Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
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