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American Express® Gold Card review

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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

★★★★★

  • 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.

35,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 4x

Points

$250

Annual fee

680

Recommended credit score

Details

Product NameAmerican Express® Gold Card
Card typeAmerican Express
Annual fee$250
Purchase APRSee Rates & Fees
Balance transfer APRSee Rates & Fees
Cash advance rate26.74% variable
Cash advance fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction feeNone
Interest free periodUp to 25 days
Late payment feeUp to $39
Returned payment feeUp to $39
Additional cardholder fee$0
Rates & feesrates & fees

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer who has written nearly 500 Finder articles. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

With up to 4x points on select purchases, a 35,000 point welcome offer, $100 in airline credits and up to $10 in additional credit monthly, the American Express® Gold Card stands out as a powerful and popular travel card.

And this card does more than just earn coveted Membership Rewards points, offering an array of travel benefits, such as concierge service and access to Hotel Collection perks.

If you’re a frequent traveler and luxury enthusiast, the American Express® Gold Card could be the companion you need to earn and travel on your own terms.

Apply now
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Upcoming benefits changes to the American Express® Gold Card in 2020

Amex recently announced it’ll add, remove and reduce certain American Express® Gold Card coverages starting January 1, 2020. Trip cancellation coverage and Baggage Insurance Plan benefits are slated to remain the same.

Planned changes include:

  • Added trip delay reimbursement.
  • Reduced extended warranties from two years to one year.
  • Reduced purchase protection from 120 days to 90 days.
  • Removal of travel accident insurance.
  • Removal of roadside assistance.
  • Removal of return protection.

The American Express® Gold Card benefits

  • 35,000-point welcome offer.

    To earn this welcome offer, spend $4,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of card membership.

  • Rewards: Accelerated points in multiple categories.

    Earn 4x points at 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.

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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 (see rates & fees). 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 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 when used effectively.

BenefitEstimated 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 the American Express® Gold Card‘s complimentary travel coverage including car rental insurance and baggage insurance.

  • 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. 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.

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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 $39.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
$150
Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Rates & fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
See terms
See terms
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

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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.
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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.

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.

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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 $39, so be sure to pay on time (see rates & fees).
  • 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.

Frequently asked questions about the American Express® Gold Card

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Images: AmericanExpress.com

Travel card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

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