American Express Gold Card review | finder.com

American Express® Gold Card review – March 2019

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Spend in categories like airfare, dining and groceries to collect points that take you around the world.

finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

30-second take

  • Get this card if you spend big on airfare, dining, gas and groceries and want travel rewards.
  • Pick something else if you don’t want an annual fee or are looking to pay off your balance over time.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.
Product NameAmerican Express® Gold Card
Card TypeAmerican Express
Annual Fee$250
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for PurchasesSee Rates & Fees
Introductory Purchase APR

N/A

Introductory Balance Transfer APR

N/A

Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $38
Returned Payment FeeUp to $38
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Rates & FeesRates & Fees
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome Offer35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
Base Rewards1x points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever
Apply now

The basics

The American Express® Gold Card comes with strong rewards, offering accelerated points on airfare booked through airlines and spending at restaurants and supermarkets in the US.

Still, if you like to see the world, the American Express® Gold Card could be a powerful travel companion. It offers accelerated rewards in select spending categories, helping you to quickly rack up points redeemable toward flights, hotels, cruises and more. You can also transfer points to select travel-related loyalty programs, resulting in more flexible rewards.

The American Express® Gold Card benefits

  • 35,000-point welcome offer.

    To earn this welcome offer, spend $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of card membership.

  • Rewards: Accelerated points in multiple categories.

    Earn 4x points at US restaurants. At US supermarkets, earn 4x points on up to $25,000 per calendar year on purchases, then 1x points.

    You’ll earn 3x points on flights you book directly with airlines or through American Express Travel. And you’ll earn 1x points on all other eligible purchases.

    The card sets itself apart from the competition with its generous reward tiers. Because it offers accelerated points on travel and everyday spending, you can spend broadly to rack up rewards toward worldwide travel.

  • Dining credit.

    You can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly by using your card to pay at participating dining partners. You’ll need to enroll in the program to activate this perk.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The American Express® Gold Card‘s $250 annual fee isn’t quite a premium price, but it’s still substantial. Here are a few factors that’ll help you decide if it’s worth paying.

Earn excellent rewards in the right categories

To break even on the annual fee with rewards alone, you’ll need 25,000 points.

You can get there by spending:

  • $6,250 at US restaurants or US supermarkets.
  • $8,334 on flights booked with airlines or on American Express Travel.

Take advantage of the card’s valuable credits

You could get a combined annual value of $220 from the dining and travel credits, helping you offset most of the card’s annual fee.

Benefit Estimated annual value
Dining credit $120
Airline fee credit $100

Other travel perks

The American Express® Gold Card gives you access to The Hotel Collection. The $100 hotel credit for qualifying bookings can be especially valuable, especially if you travel often.

You’ll also find attractive travel and purchase protections, which can save you money in a pinch.

You’ll also like …

  • $100 airline fee credit.

    Charge up to $100 a year on eligible incidental airline fees with one qualifying airline — for instance, in-flight refreshments or checked baggage — and get it back in statement credits.

  • The Hotel Collection perks.

    When you book two or more consecutive nights through a qualifying travel service for the Hotel Collection you’ll receive up to a $100 hotel credit and a room upgrade when available.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    Use your card internationally and on foreign websites without incurring fees.

  • Transfer points.

    Transfer your Membership Rewards points to eligible travel-related loyalty programs, such as British Airways Avios, Emirates Skywards, JetBlue TrueBlue, Choice Privileges Rewards, Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest.

  • Travel services.

    Access the Personalized Travel Service for bookings and the Global Assist Hotline on vacation for planning help and emergency services you might need. Also enjoy complimentary car rental insurance, baggage insurance and roadside assistance.

  • ShopRunner benefits.

    Get free two-day shipping at more than 100 stores through ShopRunner after an included one-time registration.

  • Purchase benefits.

    Extend the warranties on eligible items you buy with your card and potentially qualify for a refund from American Express if a merchant won’t accept a return within 90 days of purchase. Your eligible items are also covered against theft and accidental damage by Purchase Protection.

  • Access American Express perks.

    Use Amex Offers, which offers discounts and opportunities to earn more points at select stores, restaurants and services. Also get access to cardholder-only experiences and preferred seating at select events.

American Express® Gold Card: Limit on purchases?

Like The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card has no preset spending limit.

While that doesn’t mean you can spend as much as you want, it does mean there’s no defined credit limit. You may, if approved, make purchases that exceed your typical spending cap.

Your spending limit may change periodically based on your prior spending, payment history, income and more.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee.

    The card’s annual fee is a high $250, though you may find its rewards outweigh the cost.

  • Pay over time feature.

    This card is a hybrid between a charge card and a regular credit card. Charge cards required you to pay your bill in full monthly, with no balance carryover. This card’s Pay Over Time feature lets you set certain transactions to pay over time with interest (see Rates & Fees). Or automatically set all eligible transactions over $100 to Pay Over Time, but you’ll pay interest from the transaction date on these purchases if you don’t pay them off at the end of the billing cycle.

  • Not as widely accepted overseas.

    Because the card is provided by American Express, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would a Visa or Mastercard.

  • It hurts to pay late.

    Making late or returned payments could saddle you with fees as high as $38.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases
$195
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Rates & Fees
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
70,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days
2x miles on all purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & Fees
125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
Earn 3x points on travel — or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member — and 1.5x points on all other purchases
$0
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
20,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
2x miles on Avianca purchases, 1x miles on all other purchases. Plus a 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
$59
20,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
3x miles on Avianca purchases, 2x miles at gas stations and grocery stores and 1x miles on all other purchases. Plus 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
$149
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.

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Compare American Express travel cards

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the American Express® Gold Card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A US citizen or permanent resident.

Is there a minimum American Express® Gold Card credit score?

American Express doesn’t publish a minimum credit score, but you’ll have a better chance of approval if you apply with a good to excellent score of 680 or higher. If you have a good credit score and a relatively high annual income, you may be the type of customer American Express is looking for.

Here are a few other factors that might affect your odds of approval:

  • Many hard inquiries on your credit. If you have several hard pulls on your credit history, it could indicate to a provider that you’re desperate for credit or have trouble managing your debt. As a result, American Express may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
  • Factors that tie into your credit score. Credit utilization is a major factor that American Express considers. Customers who have low balances relative to their credit limits are favored by providers. Many new card accounts on your file may be a red flag, indicating to a provider that you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s hunting for welcome bonuses.
Apply now

What do customers say about the American Express® Gold Card?

Customers generally say positive things about the American Express® Gold Card, many citing the card’s diverse rewards as their favorite feature. Many cardholders also like the ability to transfer points to other loyalty programs.

American Express earns a Trustpilot score of 3.1 out of 10 at the time of this writing. Many negative reviews cite unhelpful customer service and inflexible company policies. Positive reviews mention the company’s pleasant customer service representatives.

How to apply for the American Express® Gold Card

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application with information like your Social Security number, home address, income source and total annual income.
  3. Review and submit your application.

American Express Gold Card application

How long will it take to get my American Express® Gold Card?

Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you may get a decision on your application within 30 seconds. If there are issues with your application, it may take a few business days up to a few weeks to hear back.

After you’re approved, you’ll typically receive your card in the mail within 10 business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments.
    Register an account on the American Express website to pay your balance online and enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid fees.
    Late and returned payments come with fees of up to $38, so be sure to pay on time.
  • Get help.
    If you’re not able to find what you need on the American Express website, call 800-528-4800 for American Express® Gold Card customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks for customer interaction.

How do I redeem points from the American Express® Gold Card?

Membership Rewards is a flexible program, letting you redeem points for options like:

  • Prepaid flights, hotels, cruises and vacations.
  • Shop with Membership Rewards points.
  • Pay off card charges.
  • Purchases on Expedia.com.
  • Charitable donations.
  • Purchases with partners such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Staples.com.
  • Gift cards.
  • Point transfers.

Flights and gift cards are among the best options, according to redemption values in the Membership Rewards portal. You’ll often get a 1-cent-per-point value, which is standard for credit cards.

You could get a higher value with point transfers to Amex’s hotel and airline partners. For example, you’ll find values of more than 2 cents per point with programs such as British Airways Executive Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

How to redeem points

Navigate to the Membership Rewards website, and log in with your American Express account. You can view your points balance, check special offers and more.

Bottom line

The American Express® Gold Card lets you spend in a wide array of categories to earn flexible travel points. Its accelerated rewards on both travel and everyday spending set it apart.

Consider other rewards cards to find the one that best fits your spending habits and financial needs.
American Express® Gold Card vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Frequently asked questions about the American Express® Gold Card

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Images: AmericanExpress.com

Travel card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and build credit responsibly. Kevin has written across many personal-finance niches at finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers. In his spare time, he likes to travel, read and play poker.

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