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While the American Express® Gold Card might be the little brother to the benefit-packed, and more expensive The Platinum Card® from American Express — it certainly still holds its own as a top-notch travel rewards card.
The Amex Gold card is a powerful point-earner, especially when it comes to dining and grocery purchases, and it even offers an annual dining credit.
So if you love food and travel (and who doesn’t) then the Amex Gold card might be the perfect card for you. Here is a detailed look at what makes the Amex Gold card so compelling.
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- Earn 4x Membership Rewards points per $1 at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
- Earn 4x Membership Rewards points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, and 1x thereafter
- Earn 3x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights purchased directly with airlines or at Amex Travel
- Access to Amex Offers
- Trip delay insurance
- Baggage insurance
- Access to the American Express Hotel Collection
- Access to American Express transfer partners
- $250 annual fee (see rates and fees)
- Does not offer elite benefits like airport lounge access
Current Welcome Offer
35,000 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months.
Amex Gold Card Details
If you’re someone who spends a significant amount of money on dining, groceries, and/or airfare throughout the year, and you want a card that rewards those purchases, then you will love the Amex Gold card.
With the Amex Gold card, it is easy to rack up points quickly, as the card earns 4x Membership Rewards points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year, and at restaurants worldwide, plus 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel.
But the Amex Gold card isn’t only useful for earning points — it also offers some great benefits that cardholders are sure to find rewarding, like up to $120 annual dining credit, trip delay and baggage insurance, access to the American Express transfer partners, and access to Amex Offers so you can earn additional points or statement credits when shopping with select merchants.
Great Card If
- You spend a lot on groceries, dining out, and airfare
- You want a card that earns flexible rewards
- You’re easily able to make use of the cards annual dining credit and benefits
Don’t Get If
- You don’t spend much money on the cards bonus categories or travel much
- You prefer a more premium card that offers airport lounge access or hotel elite status
- You prefer a card with no annual fee
Amex Gold Card Protections
Benefits that offer credits or the opportunity to earn more points are great, but what about protections for when things go wrong? Here are the details of the protections offered with the Amex Gold card:
- Trip Delay Insurance: If your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours, you’re covered for up to $300 in reasonable expenses like meals, lodging, and personal use items.
- Baggage Insurance: If your baggage is lost or damaged during transit by the carrier, you are covered for up to $1,250 per traveler for carry-on bags and up to $500 per traveler for checked bags.
- Rental Car Insurance: You receive secondary coverage for any damage caused by theft or collision costing up to $50,000 (secondary coverage kicks in after your primary vehicle insurance).
- Purchase Protection: Any purchase made with your Amex Gold card is covered in the event of theft or damage to the item within 90 days of the purchase, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year.
- Extended Warranty Protection: Any item purchased that has a warranty of 5 years or less is extended by 1 additional year.
So whether you’re making everyday purchases with your card or you’re traveling off to a new destination, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re covered should anything go wrong.
Best Ways To Use Membership Rewards Points
One great thing about Amex Membership Rewards points is that you have quite a few options when it comes time to redeem them, though not all of them offer the best value proposition.
Amex Transfer Partners
If you’re a frequent traveler, then using your points with Amex transfer partners is by far the best way to use your Membership Rewards points for maximum value. This method is a bit more difficult than simply redeeming through the travel portal, but once gotten the hang of it you’ll see how rewarding it can be.
For example, through the Amex Travel portal, your points are worth a fixed 1 cent per point towards airfare, so 25,000 points could be redeemed for a $250 ticket. But when you use a transfer partner like Avianca LifeMiles, that same 25,000 points can be used to book a business class flight on United between New York and San Francisco or Los Angeles — a ticket that usually costs $500 to $800. That is 2x to 3x the value for the same number of points!
This is just 1 option of the many ways that you can use transfer partners to get outsized value for your points that far exceeds what you would get when redeeming them through the travel portal, or any other method.
Here is the full list of all of the Amex transfer partners, along with which programs we think are the best for getting the best value possible out of your Membership Rewards points.
|Amex Transfer Partners|
|Our Top Choices||Air Canada Aeroplan||Avianca LifeMiles|
|ANA Mileage Club||British Airways Avios|
|Solid Options||Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Emirates Skywards||Singapore Airlines|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Etihad Guest||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Choice Privileges||Iberia Plus|
|Delta SkyMiles||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Not Recommended||Aer Lingus AerClub||Hawaiian Airlines||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Aero Mexico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Alitalia Millemiglia||JetBlue True Blue|
We’ve divided all of the Amex transfer partner loyalty programs into the above 3 tiers to help serve as a guide for the best programs to focus on. While each program might have a few use cases that can make it worthwhile for your situation, some simply are significantly more useful and lucrative than others.
Any programs in the Top Choice category are our favorites for getting maximum value out of Membership Rewards points. Fancy a trip to Japan, for example? You can transfer 85,000 points to ANA and book a round-trip flight between North America and Japan in business class — this ticket would usually cost upwards of $8,000 to $9,000.
Solid Option programs are pretty much always easy to rely on to offer good value for your points. Some programs even have sweet spots that allow you to get stellar value for your points. The Iberia Plus program, for instance, allows you to fly round-trip between the U.S. East Coast and Spain in business class for just 68,000 points.
Lastly, any program in the Not Recommended category is one that we strongly advise against unless you have a very specific use case that requires you to do so. Some programs even transfer at a worse than 1:1 rate, like the JetBlue program that transfers at a 1:0.8 rate. This means transferring 50,000 Membership Rewards points would leave you with 40,000 True Blue points, which is really terrible from a value perspective unless you have a very specific need for JetBlue True Blue points.
With all of that said, at the end of the day, the very best way to redeem your points is whatever way makes the most sense for you. Just because you can redeem your points for a luxurious first class trip around the world doesn’t mean you need to just for the sake of it. You should use your points and miles to accomplish your own unique travel goals, whatever they may be.
Other Ways To Use Points
Utilizing transfer partners are not your only option when it comes to redeeming your Membership Rewards points. You can also redeem them through the Amex Travel portal for flights at a rate of 1 cent per point or 0.7 cents for hotels. This method is definitely easier than using transfer partners, but what you gain in simplicity you lose in potential value.
You also have the option of redeeming your points for gift cards or on purchases with Apple and Amazon — you can even redeem them for statement credits towards any purchase made on your card, but you’ll receive just 0.6 cents per point in value this way. But being that the Amex Gold card is a travel rewards card, we highly recommend you use your points with transfer partners.
Alternative Card To the Amex Gold Card
If you want a card that takes luxury travel to the next level, then you might be in the market for the Amex Platinum card. The card earns 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on airfare (up to $500,000 per calendar year; 1x thereafter), earns 5x on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and comes packed with benefits that frequent flyers will love, like an annual airline fee credit, access to 6 different airport lounge networks like American Express Centurion lounges and Delta Sky Clubs, plus elite status at Hilton and Marriott hotels (upon enrollment).
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable in terms of the annual fee that still offers solid travel rewards and benefits, then consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. For just a $95 annual fee you’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases. Plus all cardholders get a DoorDash DashPass subscription, along with travel protections like trip delay and baggage insurance.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.