The Amex Gold Card is great for people who like cooking or dining out
Points, Miles & Credit Cards

Review: American Express Gold Card

Chris Dong

Chris Dong

October 24, 2023

6 min read

Going has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Going and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. Some of all of the card offers that appear on this page are from advertisers; compensation may affect how and where the cards appear on the site; and Going does not include all card companies are all available card offers.

Table of Contents

Who is  the American Express Gold Card for?

It’s not just a shiny metal card: the card_name is a winner for its generous earnings on all types of food purchases, relatively straightforward credits that render the annual fee next to nothing, and its access to lucrative Membership Rewards points for travel. For the well-traveled foodie, this is the card for you. 

Quick Facts about the Amex Gold Card

Here’s a closer look at the card_name, including everything you need to know to really make the most of this food (and travel) lover’s companion.

card_name

card_name

Annual fee: annual_fees(See Rates and Fees)


Foreign transaction fee: foreign_transaction_fee


Earning rate:

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). 
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Terms apply.

Recommended credit: credit_score_needed


Welcome offer: bonus_miles_full


Pros and cons

Pros:

  • One of the most valuable credit cards for dining out or grocery shopping. 
  • Amex Membership Rewards are one of the best “currencies” in the travel rewards game.
  • Monthly Uber and dining credits can make the annual fee worthwhile. 

Cons:

  • The annual fee may be a deterrent (at least initially). 
  • It’s not a great card for spending on non-flight travel, such as hotels or rental cars. 
  • You don’t get premium travel perks, like lounge access or hotel elite status. 
Our take

If you spend a lot on food or flights, the Amex Gold card is one of the most rewarding cards to have in your wallet. 

Amex Gold Card Review

Let’s get straight to the point: When it comes to dining out or grocery shopping, there really is no travel credit card more rewarding than the American Express Gold Card. It’s my go-to recommendation for travel enthusiasts who love food (and really, who doesn’t like to eat). 

It’s also a card that’s solid for earning rewards on flight purchases. If these three spending categories make up a significant chunk of your budget—-and you also value travel rewards (that are earned in the form of super-flexible Amex Membership Rewards points)—then the Amex Gold card can be an absolute no-brainer. 

Earning points with the American Express Gold Card

If you spend money on food and flights, it’ll be easy to earn points on the Amex Gold card. Let's take a look at what you'll earn:

  • 4X points at restaurants worldwide
  • 4X points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, then 1X points)
  • 3X points on flights purchased directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com
  • 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Terms and conditions apply.

How do you earn points with the American Express Gold Card?

The Amex Gold isn't the only card to offer a bonus category on dining (including takeout and delivery) and grocery shopping at US supermarkets, but it might just be one of the most valuable. That’s because you’ll earn a whopping 4X Amex points on both of these categories (or in other words, four points per $1 spent). 

For instance, that $7 morning latte will get you 28 Amex points. That $150 splurge at the Michelin-starred joint in town? That’s 600 points right there. And a $50 grocery bill at Trader Joe’s to stock up on a week’s supply (of snacks) gets you 200 points, too. 

It’s not all just about food, though. You also will earn 3X Amex points on flights booked directly with an airline or through Amex Travel. In this case, a $400 round-trip Delta flight to see friends in LA nets you 1,200 Amex points (just make sure you use Delta.com or AmexTravel.com to book). As you can see, those points can add up fairly quickly if you play your cards right (pun intended). 

Beyond that, all other types of spending (which are called “non-bonused” spending categories) will get you a run-of-the-mill one Amex point per dollar (1X). Therefore, more advanced travel rewards enthusiasts may want to use a different card for other types of spend to truly maximize their earning potential. 

Redeeming points with the American Express Gold Card

In the world of travel rewards, transferable points currencies (including Amex Membership Rewards) are some of the most valuable types to earn. That’s because these credit card points are really flexible, meaning you can use your rewards in a number of ways—with some methods providing more value than others. 

Since we know you’re interested in travel, let’s talk details. To redeem Amex points for travel, there are two primary methods: booking directly through Amex Travel or transferring points to a variety of airline and hotel partners. While using Amex Travel is usually way more straightforward (it operates similarly to any other online travel agency), you can sometimes unlock more value by transferring your points to nearly two dozen partners. 

Let’s dive into this below.  

Amex transfer partners

You can transfer Amex points to these airline partners.
 

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Hawaiian HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

First off, while this might seem obvious, you need an account with the program in order to transfer points from Amex to that program. Usually, that just requires a form and a few clicks to complete—and it’s totally free. 

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind about transferring points to partners is that once a transfer is complete, you cannot convert the points back to Amex. (Therefore, make sure you want the points in that airline or hotel account before transferring.) 

With the exception of Aeromexico and JetBlue, you can transfer Amex points to airlines at a one-to-one ratio, meaning one Amex point is equivalent to one airline mile. For instance, you can convert 10,000 Amex points to 10,000 Delta SkyMiles. 

Most Amex point-to-airline transfers occur instantly, but several partners do take a bit of time. These include Aeromexico (up to 12 days), ANA (up to 3 days), Cathay Pacific (up to 7 days), Iberia (up to 3 days), Singapore (up to 2 days), and Virgin Atlantic (up to 2 days). This matters because the cost in miles could change in the time it takes for the transfer to be complete. 

You can transfer Amex points to these hotel partners.

  • Choice Privileges 
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

While both Choice and Marriott have a one-to-one transfer ratio, Hilton has a one-to-two transfer ratio, meaning 1 Amex point is equivalent to 2 Hilton points. (However, don’t get too excited, as Hilton typically requires way more points to redeem for hotel stays.) 

Welcome offer on the Amex Gold

The current welcome offer on the card_name is: bonus_miles_full.

The current welcome offer can get you a wide variety of travel experiences. Here are some ideas of what you could do with those points. 

  • Take a solo vacay and fly in style one-way from the East Coast of the US to Europe (or vice versa) in business class using 60,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points. Transfers from Amex occur instantly, and you can book flights on airlines such as SWISS, United, Austrian, and more. 
  • Fly with your partner from the West Coast of the US to Hawai’i for 13,000 British Airways Avios per person (or 54,000 Avios round-trip for two) on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines economy. Save some cash for surf lessons and poke.
  • Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Tokyo and fly ANA’s incredible business class from the US to Japan for one (1) with 47,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. Have a few points left over to help you book a hotel.
  • Make a flight booking via the Amex Travel portal that would cost $600 in cash. A prepaid hotel booking would only get you a $420 stay. 

What are the other benefits of the American Express Gold Card?

While at first glance, the annual_fees annual fee (See Rates and Fees) on the card may deter would-be applicants, it’s actually pretty simple to recoup nearly all of that back (in the form of monthly statement credits). 

  • One of the biggest perks of the Amex Gold is up to $120 in annual dining credit, broken down into $10 monthly statement credits. While that “dining credit” isn’t exactly as flexible as it could be, it’s still pretty easy to maximize. The following retailers qualify: Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and Shake Shack. Terms and conditions apply.* 
  • The other primary Amex Gold perk is up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. This also comes in the form of a $10 monthly credit. The great thing is that even if you don’t take Uber rides, the credit also works for Uber Eats pickup and delivery. Again, food is king with this card. Terms and conditions apply.*

If you add the total value of the credits up ($240), you’ll notice that the effective annual fee on the card is just $10. In addition to these perks, cardholders also get access to the Amex Hotel Collection, a curated list of properties through Amex Travel in which guests receive a $100 on-site credit for qualifying activities.

You aren’t charged foreign transaction fees, and there’s trip delay insurance, as well as baggage insurance of up to $1,250 in coverage for carry-ons, and up to $500 for checked bags is included (when airfare is purchased with the Amex Gold).‡ 

*Enrollment required for select benefits. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. 

‡Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an IAG Company.

Alternatives to the Amex Gold Card

The Amex Gold is a valuable card for its specific bonus categories, but there are better options out there for those who spend a lot of their budget outside of dining, groceries, and flights. 

Alternatives to the Amex Gold Card

card_name
card_name
card_name
card_name
card_name
card_name
Annual fee
annual_fees
(See Rates and Fees)
annual_fees
annual_fees
(See Rates and Fees)
Foreign transaction fees
foreign_transaction_fee
foreign_transaction_fee
foreign_transaction_fee
Earning rate
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). 
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Terms apply.
  • Earn 5X points per dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM).
  • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), dining at restaurants (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out).
  • Earn 3X select streaming services. 
  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on all other eligible travel purchases (like airline tickets and hotel bills).
  • Earn 1X point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per calendar year); and on eligible prepaid hotels booked at AmexTravel.com, including The Hotel Collection. 
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Terms apply.
Welcome offer
bonus_miles_full
bonus_miles_full
bonus_miles_full
Our take

Usually the best option for food-related purchases, but its annual fee is higher and the card doesn't come with many travel perks. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you to earn bonus points on other travel expenses, such as Airbnbs, hotels, and rental cars. With a lower annual fee, it comes with fewer statement credits.

The Amex Platinum comes with a bunch of travel perks, like credit for the application fee to Global Entry and grants you lounge access. While it earns more on flights (5X per dollar), it doesn't earn bonus points on food.

Card benefits
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Terms apply.
  • Points transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel travel partners
  • 10% anniversary point bonus
  • Annual $50 credit on hotel stays booked through Chase Travel(SM)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance (terms apply)
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (terms apply)
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection (terms apply)
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your
    Platinum Card(R) on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card(R) to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber
    Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck(R) application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck(R) official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card(R). Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • Terms apply.

Amex Gold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

One drawback of the American Express Gold Card to note is that non-flight travel purchases—like hotels, car rentals, Airbnbs, and trains—don’t receive the same 3X Amex points per dollar. 

If you spend significantly on other travel purchases, consider the card_name. It earns 5X points on travel through its portal, Chase Travel, and 2x points on all other eligible travel. Plus, it earns 3X points per dollar on dining at restaurants and takeout. While it may not be quite as rewarding in sheer points per dollar, it is a more versatile points-earning card.

Amex Gold vs. Amex Platinum 

One other drawback of the Amex Gold card is that there aren’t any premium travel perks, such as swanky airport lounge access or comped elite statuses that a card like card_name includes. This is something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a higher-end travel experience.

The Amex Platinum earns 5X points on flights purchased directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com, compared to the 3X points the Amex Gold earns in these categories. However, unlike its golden cousin, the Platinum Card does not earn bonus points on food-related purchases.

Going has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Going and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. Some of all of the card offers that appear on this page are from advertisers; compensation may affect how and where the cards appear on the site; and Going does not include all card companies are all available card offers.

Chris Dong

Chris Dong

Freelance Writer

Chris Dong is a travel journalist and content strategist, crafting stories ranging from in-depth features and personal essays to travel news as it relates to loyalty and credit cards. His words have appeared in The Points Guy, The Washington Post, Business Insider, among other publications.

Published October 24, 2023

Last updated May 17, 2024

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