American Express Gold Review

Summary

Pros Cons
$100 Airline Credit $250 Annual Fee
$120 Dining Credit Lower Availability than Visa/Mastercard
No Foreign Transaction Fees

Considerations Before Applying/Credit Score Needed

When it comes down to it, the Gold card is backed by American Express. While they have been working hard and lowering their fees to get accepted at more businesses across the world, they still aren’t accepted at as many places as Visa or Mastercard. Whether it’s this specific card, or any other card from American Express, I think it’s crucial to make sure you have access to a Visa or Mastercard as well. 

Technically speaking, the Gold card isn’t a credit card, but actually a charge card. The difference being that a charge card you’ll have to pay off at the end of each month. Because of that restriction, American Express is more willing to give these cards out to people with lower scores than their prestige would indicate. You could probably get approved for the Gold card with a 660 score. However, I would recommend waiting until you have at least a 680 score before applying. 

If this is your first American Express card, you will get a hard inquiry. If this isn’t your first credit card through them, chances are that you will not incur a hard pull on your credit report.  

Sign Up Bonus/Annual Fee/Foreign Transaction Fee

The standard public sign up bonus on the Gold card is 35,000 Membership Reward points for spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. If you value the points at 2 cents per point (TPG), then the sign up bonus would be worth $700. That would be a return of 35% for the sign up bonus spending. ALternatively, before applying directly, check to see if you can get a referral, as it’s possible that you could be earning many more points with the same amount of spending.

The annual fee on the Gold card comes out to $250. Of course with an annual fee like this, there are credits that can help offset the fee. More on that down below. There are no foreign transaction fees on the Gold card, however it may be a more difficult to use the card internationally.  

Reward Categories

In late 2018, the reward categories got revised into the following:

  • 4x: restaurants and supermarkets (in the US)
  • 3x: flights on amextravel.com
  • 1x:  everywhere else

Other Notable Benefits

In order to offset the $250 annual fee, American Express offers two different credits:

$120 Dining credit. Every month, American Express will reimburse its cardholders up to $10 when they dine in the following places: Grubhub, Seamless, Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shake Shack. Due to complaints from its users, if you order groceries from boxed.com that will count for the credit as well. Keep in mind though, there is a $50 minimum at boxed.com for free shipping. 

$100 Airline credit. Every year American Express allows you to pick an airline where you can get reimbursed on fees charged by that airline. Note, airfare itself is not included in the $100  credit, only extra fees including checked bags, upgrade fees, and in-flight services. 

Cards This Competes With

Typically speaking, most credit cards that charge an annual fee set their price point at two places, either $95, or $450+. The Gold card does an awkward thing that’s right in the middle of both. There aren’t many other cards at that price point, so it does make it difficult to compare. It would be no surprise to say that the Gold card is better than cards that are in the $95 price range, and not as good as the $450+ cards out there either. 

That being said, the Gold card leads in value you get at supermarkets, just about no other card offers that many points; the closest card is also from American Express (Blue Cash Preferred). The dining categories on this card can be compared to both the Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige. 4x on the Gold card is higher than the Reserve, but lower than the Prestige.  

Cards This Pairs Well With

Chase has the most famous credit card setup out there called the Chase trifecta. But what about American Express? There are also a few cards that could be combined into a nice setup with the Gold being one of the pillars of it. 

The Platinum Card

If you happen to fly a lot, the Platinum card is American Express premium travel credit card. The Platinum card comes with a $550 annual fee. The public offer for the card is 60,000 Membership Reward points for spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. The Platinum card earns 5x on flights booked directly with airlines or Amextravel.com, and prepaid hotels booked in amextravel.com. With the annual fee, there are a few different credits that can help offset it, including $200 airline fee credit, $200 Uber credit, and $100 Saks. Additionally, one of the most recognized benefits of the Platinum card is access to the American Express’ Centurion Lounges.  

Blue Business Preferred

In addition to these two cards, the final card that could create an American Express trifecta is none other than the Blue Business Preferred. The BBP is a business card, however you may be more eligible for this card than you possibly think you would be. If you are able to get it, the Blue Business Preferred is a great catch all type of card, earning 2x points for every purchase up to the first $50,000 per year. Unfortunately for the other cards in the setup, there isn’t really a downgrade path that includes an card without an annual fee. This card is also great way to keep points safe if you want to cancel either one of those two charge cards. 

Final Thoughts

The Gold card was probably the most talked about card of 2018. When it relaunched, it offered a ton of benefits that a lot of people could use plus a limited edition color. The price point can be an awkward one to judge, because it’s right in the middle of most credit cards with annual fees. That being said, if you can maximize the benefits on the card, you are only pay a $30 annual fee after the credits. 

The Gold card is really targeted for foodies, as it rewards you for not only making food (groceries) but also restaurants. Even with the in-between price point, it still offers points that rival the top premium travel credit cards. When paired with the other cards in the American Express setup, the Gold card can be the card that’s used everyday. 

What do you think about the Gold card? Has its revamp convinced you to pick it up? Let us know below!

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