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American Express Gold Card Review: For Dining and Travel

Our review of the American Express Gold Card looks at the card's rewards program and benefits for consumers who travel and dine out frequently.
(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Are you looking for a credit card that rewards you for everyday spending and travel?

If so, the American Express Gold Card could be a good fit.

This card makes it easy to earn points on dining and groceries, as well as flights and other purchases.

You can use Membership Rewards points earned with the card to pay for flights or hotels. Or you can redeem them for shopping, gift cards or statement credit.

The American Express Gold Card also comes with some added benefits for dining, shopping, entertainment and travel.

Wondering if this could be the right rewards card for you? This American Express Gold Card review covers the main highlights to know.

See Rates & Fees. Terms apply.

American Express Gold Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn bonus points at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • Minimal fees
  • Earn up to $120 in dining credit at select dining establishments and food takeout/delivery services
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee
  • Card balance is due in full every month, or interest is assessed

Main Highlight: Earn Rewards That Fit Your Life

The American Express Gold Card is rewarding on several levels.

This card features a tiered rewards structure. Cardmembers can earn:

  • 4x points per dollar on dining, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points per dollar on groceries on up to $25,000 in purchases per year
  • 3x points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
  • 1x points per dollar on all other purchases

With the exception of the $25,000 cap on grocery purchases, rewards are unlimited.

So the more you spend on dining, flights or everyday purchases, the more Membership Rewards points you can earn.

This card does have an introductory bonus offer for eligible cardmembers. You'll need to meet the minimum spending requirement to qualify.

But overall, it could be a solid choice for earning points on dining, groceries and travel.

Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for:

  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credit
  • Shop with Amazon
  • Merchandise
  • Charitable donations

You can also transfer points to partner airline frequent flyer programs.

Travel partners include:

  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways
  • Club Eurostar
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

That's a plus, as not all rewards cards allow for points transfers.

Special Dining Benefits

The American Express Gold Card comes with some features that foodies may appreciate.

They include:

  • $120 Uber Cash: Cardmembers can earn up to $130 in Uber Cash annually. You just need to link your card to your Uber account to earn $10 in Uber cash each month for Uber Eats (or Uber rides).
  • $120 dining credit: You can earn up to $120 in credits when you dine at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and Shake Shack. The credit is earned at a rate of $10 monthly.

If you're a regular Uber Eats user or Uber rider, these are nice to have perks that increase the card's value.

What Else Do You Get With the American Express Gold Card?

The American Express Gold Card comes with a slew of other benefits, beyond its rewards program.

Here's some of what you can get when you're approved for the card:

  • Access to The Hotel Collection when you book with Amex Travel
  • $100 on-site credit for qualifying activities at The Hotel Collection properties
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Personalized travel services
  • Global Assist Hotline access
  • Baggage insurance plan benefits
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Pay with Points
  • Amex Offers
  • American Express Experiences
  • American Express Preferred Seating

This card has quite a few features that make it a great choice for travel.

You also have flexible payment options that include paying in full, Pay Over Time or Plan It. This way, you have the ability to carry a balance from time to time if you need to.

Annual Fee

The biggest fee to keep in mind with the American Express Gold Card is the $250 annual fee.

Whether it makes sense to pay this fee can depend on how often you plan to use the card.

For example, say you spend $25,000 on groceries each year. You'll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points.

According to the Membership Rewards calculator, 10,000 points is equal to $100 in flight credit.

So the points you earned from grocery shopping could be worth $1000 toward free flights.

That could easily cover the $250 annual fee, along with points earned from other purchases. But if you're not a frequent spender, the fee may not be worth it for you.

American Express Gold Card vs. Other Rewards Cards

The American Express Gold Card is one option for earning reward points on dining, groceries and travel.

If you're looking for cards to compare it to, here are three others to consider.

The Platinum Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms apply.

The Platinum Card from American Express Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • One of the best cards for people who want to earn high rewards points and added perks for shopping - especially for travel
  • Tons of added perks for cardholders
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Various credits toward certain travel and shopping expenses
  • $695 annual fee
  • Card balance is due in full every month, or interest is assessed
  • AMEX may not be accepted at every merchant
  • If you don't travel often, it can be costly

The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium travel rewards credit card.

While the card's rewards program is also very attractive, the notable travel benefits are the highlights, including:

  • $200 Uber Cash
  • $240 digital entertainment credit
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • $200 hotel credit
  • Global Lounge Collection access
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $179 CLEAR credit
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
  • The Hotel Collection
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status

That's just some of what you get with the card. In exchange, however, there's a $695 annual fee to pay.

But the value of the rewards you can earn, along with the added benefits, could easily outweigh it for frequent travelers.

Read the full editor's review of the American Express Platinum Card.

American Express Green Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms apply.

American Express Green Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn bonus points on transit, travel, and restaurants
  • $100 annual statement credit for CLEAR membership
  • $100 annual statement credit per year for lounge access
  • No foreign transaction fees fee
  • $150 annual fee
  • Not designed to carry a balance month-to-month

The American Express Green Card is another dining and travel rewards option.

With this card, you can earn:

  • 3x points per dollar at restaurants
  • 3x points per dollar on transit
  • 3x points per dollar on travel
  • 1x points per dollar on other purchases

Compared to the American Express Gold Card, you get a lower rewards rate for travel. But you can earn the same rewards rate on all travel purchases, not just flights.

This card comes with some travel benefits, including a $100 credit for lounge access and trip delay insurance. There are no foreign transaction fees but there is a $150 annual fee.

You might choose this card if you tend to spend more on dining and travel versus groceries and are comfortable paying a moderate annual fee.

Read the full editor's review of the American Express Green Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Good for frequent travelers who don’t mind paying an annual fee to get premium perks
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Easily transfer points to participating travel vendors
  • Every 100 points are worth $1.25 instead of $1 when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
  • Can combine your points with multiple Chase cards
  • No 0% promotional APR offer
  • $95 annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card keeps rewards simple.

You can earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining. And you earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

What makes this card attractive is the points bonus you get when redeeming rewards for travel.

When you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they're worth 25% more. You can also transfer points to Chase travel partners on a 1:1 basis.

This card has no foreign transaction fees. There's an annual fee of $95, which is the lowest of any card mentioned here so far.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also has an especially generous introductory points bonus. If you qualify, you could easily bank some rewards toward free travel.

Read the full editor's review of Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Final Verdict: Should You Apply for the American Express Gold Card?

The American Express Gold Card is suited to people who spend most heavily on dining, groceries and flights.

This card could be a good option for you if:

  • You want to earn rewards on all purchases with a single card
  • You want to enjoy dining benefits, on top of dining rewards
  • You don't mind paying a higher annual fee to earn rewards

This card can work well for travel, even though it isn't specifically a travel rewards card. Though it doesn't come with some of the same perks that you'd get with an upper-tier option like the American Express Platinum Card.

Overall, you might like the American Express Gold Card if you want to get rewarded for dining, travel and everyday spending. Just consider how much you could earn in rewards each year versus what you'll pay in annual fees and interest if you carry a balance.

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