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Travel rewards credit cards with high annual fees offer some of the best shopping and travel perks. One option, the American Express® Gold Card, is one of the best mid-tier travel credit cards. However, you may be wondering if the American Express Gold Card is worth it, especially given that it has a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees)? Well, if you like to travel (even if you aren’t traveling now) and also want to maximize your stay-at-home purchases, this card may actually be perfect for you. Even better, there are several ways to offset that annual fee.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

amex gold credit card
Is the American Express Gold Card worth having? Depending on your lifestyle, the answer is yes. Read on to learn more about this travel-friendly companion. Credit: American Express

American Express Gold Card Benefits

The best reason to get any credit card is for its purchase rewards and additional benefits. These perks can maximize your daily spending and lifestyle. So, when determining if the American Express Gold Card is worth having, the first thing you’ll want to look at is the card perks and whether you’d use them.

Here are the various card benefits that you get with the Gold Card.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Earn Amex Membership Rewards

You will earn up to 4 Amex Membership Rewards per $1 on purchases:

  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year on purchases, then 1x)
  • 4x points on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 1x points on all non-bonus spending

Membership Rewards points are most valuable when you redeem them for award flights and gift cards. If you have other American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards, you can pool your point balances to redeem pricier redemptions more often.

1:1 Point Transfers

In addition to booking award flights on AmexTravel.com, you can transfer your points to domestic and international airlines and hotels. Most transfer partners offer a 1:1 transfer ratio and your points can be worth more than 1 cent each if you play your cards right.

Each Membership Reward is only worth up to 1 cent each when redeemed directly through your American Express account. When possible, consider transferring your points as you’re likely to get more value.

Some of the 17 airline transfer partners include:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

The hotel transfer partners are Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Point transfers are exciting, but many of us are not traveling as often as usual. Flight and hotel cash prices are cheaper as a result. However, you might transfer points to avoid spending cash and to keep your travel miles from expiring.

$120 Dining Credit

You get an annual $120 dining credit that Amex splits into a $10 monthly statement credit. This credit is redeemable at these merchants:

  • Grubhub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Boxed
  • Shake Shack (only at participating locations)

Enrollment is required.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Free Uber Eats Pass

A new perk is a free Uber Eats Pass for 12 months after you enroll. This pass normally costs $9.99 per month. Pass perks include unlimited $0 delivery fees on Uber Eats orders plus 5% off purchases over $15 at eligible restaurants.

Starting in 2021, you can also get a $10 monthly statement credit in Uber Cash credits for Uber Eats and Uber rides purchases. This $120 perk is in addition to the annual $120 dining credit.

These perks make this card one of the best for restaurant purchases.

$100 Credit at The Hotel Collection

You can enjoy an on-site credit worth $100 on qualifying available Hotel Collection stays. The credit can offset dining, spa, and resort activities. To get the credit, book a minimum 2-night stay through American Express Travel.

Baggage Insurance

Amex offers complimentary baggage insurance of up to $1,250 for carry-on bags and $500 for checked bags (up to $10,000 aggregate maximum for New York State residents).  This insurance is eligible for common carrier travel such as flights, train, bus, or ship when purchased on an eligible card.

Secondary Rental Car Loss and Damage Insurance

By declining the rental car agency collision damage waiver and reserving and paying for the entire rental with your eligible card, you get free car rental collision and theft insurance. However, coverage is secondary and does not include liability coverage, meaning you will need to file a claim with your auto insurance provider first. This insurance applies to most car rentals in the US and abroad, though exclusions and restrictions apply.

Amex Offers

An additional way to save money on select local and online purchases is with Amex Offers. These one-time offers let you get a bonus statement credit if you happen to shop at these merchants. To add the offers to your card, simply login into your account or use the American Express app. Then use your American Express Gold Card to pay and enjoy rewards. These will appear directly on your statement.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Welcome Bonus

The current welcome bonus for the American Express Gold is 60,000 Membership Rewards worth up to $600 in award travel or gift cards. You earn the bonus by spending $4,000 in the first 6 months. Most cards only give new cardholders 3 months to earn a bonus.

The 60k welcome bonus is one of this card’s highest bonus offers. Timing your application for an outsized bonus can be a smart move.

Related: The Best Limited-Time Credit Card Offers

Annual Fee

As you shouldn’t judge a book solely by its cover, you shouldn’t choose a card only for its annual fee. The American Express Gold Card has a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). This fee is higher than most credit cards that cap out at $95 but is cheaper than premium credit cards that charge $550 each year.

While you pay a higher fee upfront, the various card benefits can be worth more than $250. If that’s the case, the American Express Gold Card is worth it.

Should You Get the American Express Gold Card?

You should consider getting the American Express Gold for these reasons:

  • Balances travel and dining rewards
  • Earns up to 4x Membership Rewards
  • The annual fee is lower than premium credit cards
  • Has more benefits than most travel credit cards

This mid-tier travel credit card gives you a taste of the premium credit card benefits but with a smaller fee. The purchase rewards make it easy to earn bonus Membership Rewards at home and when you travel.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

One of the perks of the American Express Gold Card is the dining statement credits. Credit: American Express

Alternatives to the American Express Gold

The Amex Gold can be a good card for travel and dining rewards. However, you may find it difficult to use the card benefits enough to justify the $250 annual fee. These cards can provide more value.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Simplicity can be a primary goal of your life at the moment. If so, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is for you. All purchases earn 2 Venture miles per $1 spent and you can redeem them for travel statement credits, future travel, and gift cards. You also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, up to $100.

The annual fee is $95. For a limited time, you can earn a signup bonus of 100,000 miles worth $1,000 in travel statement credits. You earn the first 50,000 miles by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and the remaining miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months.

Related: Capital One Venture Card Review 2020: 100,000 Miles, 5x Miles, & More

American Express Green Card

The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The American Express® Green Card is less robust than the Gold Card but offers different perks. You also get a lower annual fee of $150 (See Rates & Fees). Key card perks include:

  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards on dining, transit, and travel
  • $100 CLEAR membership credit
  • $100 LoungeBuddy credit
  • Up to $300 in trip delay insurance (on qualifying round-trip purchases; limitations apply)

New cardholders can earn 45,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Through December 31, 2020, cardholders earn up to $10 back per month in statement credits when you use your new card on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.

Related: American Express Green Card Review

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium card with flexible redemption options. Despite the $550 annual fee, you get these perks:

  • 50% redemption bonus for travel purchases
  • Annual $300 travel credit
  • Up to $120 in DoorDash credits ($60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021)

Cardholders also get a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Also, cardholders earn 3x points on dining and 3x points on travel (immediately after earning the $300 travel credit).

If you don’t want travel and dining credits but want a card that purely earns Ultimate Rewards points, also consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You earn 2x points on travel and dining, get a 25% travel redemption bonus, 1:1 point transfers and the annual fee is only $95.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits and Perks

Summary

The American Express Gold Card makes it easy to earn Membership Rewards when you stay at home or travel. However, it’s most valuable point redemptions are for award travel. If you don’t travel often and don’t use the annual travel and dining credits, the American Express Gold Card may not be worth it.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

FAQs

Is the Amex Gold Card metal or plastic?

The American Express Gold card is metal.

Related: The Best Metal Credit Cards 2020 (Reliable, Durable, Sleek, and Secure)

Does the American Express Gold Card have a credit limit?

No, the American Express Gold Card doesn’t have a preset spending limit. Like The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Gold Card has the Pay Over Time Limit. Cardholders have the flexibility to carry a balance with interest or can use the Plan It feature to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee.

Cardholders may be able to keep spending beyond their limit and still earn rewards, so long as they pay for any new purchases in full when the bill is due.

While you can’t spend money indefinitely, you likely won’t reach the upper spending limit if you pay your balance in full monthly.

Is the Amex Platinum better than the Amex Gold?

The Platinum Card from American Express can be the better card if you’re a frequent flyer and want better travel rewards and fewer dining rewards. The Amex Platinum earns 5x Membership Rewards on prepaid hotel purchases made on amextravel.com.

Cardholders also earn 5x points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. You also get an annual $200 airline fee credit and up to $200 in annual Uber rides and Uber Eats credits. However, the annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).

The Amex Gold is a better option if you travel less often and want to earn bonus points on more daily purchases. For instance, you earn 4x Membership Rewards on US grocery purchases (the first $25,000 per year) and worldwide dining purchases. Plus, you get 3x points on travel purchases. You also get up to $120 in dining credits and Uber rides and eats credits per year.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Related Articles:

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

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

And For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Josh Patoka
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