I’ve long loved my American Express Gold Card. It’s packed with great points-earning potential and includes a couple of statement credits that drastically help offset its annual fee.
But the card reportedly will see a rather significant-ish change in 2022. Let’s examine that and much more as we check six (and a half!) reasons why you may want the American Express Gold Card.
1. It Earns Membership Rewards
American Express Membership Rewards are a valuable points currency. They transfer to nearly 20 airline programs (including Delta SkyMiles) and three hotel partners.
We much prefer transferrable points (i.e., Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards) because they’re more versatile for redemption — and don’t get devalued nearly as much as, say, airline programs.
Or, you can use your points to pay for travel booked through American Express. Because those purchases are considered cash fares, you’ll still earn loyalty points — even if you don’t spend a dime paying for the trip.
2. 4X Points at U.S. Supermarkets
My wife and I use the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express as our primary card for grocery store purchases because it earns a generous 6% cashback. However, that benefit is capped at $6,000 in yearly spending.
We use the Blue Cash Preferred Card to buy Visa debit gift cards at grocery stores to help pay our daughter’s preschool tuition. (The school accepts only Visa and Mastercard.) So we hit $6,000 — at least when she’s in school — in a few months.
Once we reach $6,000 we switch to the American Express Gold Card because it earns (on up to $25,000 in eligible purchases each calendar year) 4X at U.S. supermarkets.
Here’s a fun little tip: 7-Eleven stores that don’t sell gasoline code as 4X on the American Express Gold Card.
I get propane tank refills at a local 7-Eleven and use my Amex Gold to pay for the purchase.
But 7-Elevens with gas pumps code — at least, in my experience — as gas stations, which aren’t bonused on the Amex Gold Card.
3. 4X on Worldwide Dining (Including Delivery Services)
I cringe when I see people using their Platinum Card from American Express at restaurants — simply because they could earn four times as many points with the Gold card.
4. Current Welcome Bonus: Could Net You 76,000 Total Points
I don’t remember ever seeing Amex give new Gold cardholders six months to reach the minimum spend threshold.
Should you spend all $4,000 on dining and at U.S. supermarkets — both 4X categories — you’d pull down 16,000 points alone right there. Once that triggers the 60,000 points bonus, you’re suddenly 76,000 points richer.
If that were your strategy, each dollar spent (again, on dining and at supermarkets) while accruing the bonus would essentially be worth a whopping 19X.
We value American Express Membership Rewards points at about 1.5 cents each. So even “only” 60,000 points worth about $900 in travel, depending on how you use them.
5. $120 Annual Dining Credit
Many of us use food delivery services more than ever. The American Express Gold Card gives its members a monthly, if-used $10 statement credit valid at several restaurants and delivery services:
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Participating Shake Shack locations
A one-time enrollment is required.
6. 3X on Select Airfares
The American Express Gold Card‘s travel purchase earnings are admittedly a little underwhelming. The card earns 3X Membership Rewards per dollar on flights purchased directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com. It doesn’t earn bonused travel spend in other areas such as rideshare, hotels, parking, etc., as many other cards do.
But if you buy your flights through, say, Delta.com or Southwest.com, then you should be just fine. This puts the flight purchase earnings on par with other products such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Green Card.
6.5 $100 Airline Incidental Credit
Here’s why this perk earns only a “half” reason.
The American Express Gold Card gives cardholders an annual, if-used $100 statement credit for incidental purchases made with a designated airline.
Granted, it’s become harder for many frequent travelers to use their airline incidental credits. Plus, many of us receive complimentary adult beverages in first class or certain coach sections. And most airline status programs and airline credit cards include at least one complimentary checked bag.
But the benefit still carries some bang for certain cardholders. If you were to get the card now, you’d have through 2020 to spend the $100 and then get another $100 in 2021. That’s $200 you can enjoy. (I picked Southwest for my Amex Gold incidental credit — here’s why.)
Here’s hoping Amex introduces an even better benefit for 2022! Frankly, I think they will.
But What About the Annual Fee?
I never worry about getting my money’s worth, though. Here’s why:
- The $120 food credit and $100 airline incidental credit get me back $220 that I’d probably spend anyway.
- The other $30 is easily earned by spending at least $750 each year in the 4X categories. (And, really, that’s easy to hit most months.) Plus, my card receives plenty of Amex Offers for bonus Membership Rewards points or statement credits. So I earn back the annual fee and then some.
Plus, if you’re new to the Amex Gold Card and meet the minimum spend requirements, you’ll have at least $900 worth of travel to enjoy.
The current American Express Gold Card promotion is awesome for several reasons — especially because of the 60,000 bonus points and six months to meet the minimum spend.
I love that the card earns 4X in a couple of everyday spending categories: supermarkets and dining. Plus, the food credits and airline credits are great benefits, too.
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