American Express® Gold Card Review

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments we receive from our advertising partners. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.

The American Express® Gold Card offers good value for cardholders who earn rewards on food purchases, and then use those rewards to pay for travel. There is a catch, though—a high annual fee. See rates and fees.

American Express® Gold Card

Overall Rating
American Express® Gold Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $250
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4X Membership Rewards(R) Points on Restaurants, including takeout and delivery. Earn 4X Membership Rewards(R) points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
for Fees
for Rewards
for Credit
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards(R) points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

With its bonus points coming from purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, and for travel, this is a rewards card meant for people who like to eat and roam. That’s because cardholders are well-advised to spend the points they earn by eating on a wide array of travel: airfare, cruises, hotels, and lots of other travel experiences. These generally have the best redemption value. The Gold Card offers plenty of travel perks, too. 

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Lots of travel credits and perks

  • Lots of rewards redemption options

  • Very high rewards earnings rate on food and airfare purchases

  • High annual fee

  • Limited financing options

  • Narrow rewards categories

Pros Explained

  • No foreign transaction fee: This is a must-have on travel cards.
  • Lots of travel credits and perks: These benefits solidify the Gold Card as a good choice for travelers who want more than points in exchange for their frequent travel purchases. 
  • Lots of rewards redemption options: Membership Rewards is a flexible program. Even though points values differ by redemption option, it's still nice to have choices.
  • Very high rewards earnings rate on food and airfare purchases: The Gold Card has some of the best rewards rates for foodies—especially if they love to travel. 

Cons Explained

  • High annual fee: This card offers a lot of value, but at a steep price. You can get the same rewards earnings rates for no annual fee with the Uber Visa, for example.  
  • Limited financing options: The Gold Card used to be a charge card, which meant cardholders were expected to pay their whole balance in full every month. These days, Amex allows cardholders to carry a balance from month to month on some purchases over $100 under its "Pay Over Time" feature. You'll pay a monthly fee of up to 1.33% of each purchase for that convenience, though.
  • Narrow rewards categories: American Express recently expanded the Gold's restaurants category to include dining purchases, but other limits remain. If airfare isn't the main source of your travel spending, you can get better travel rewards elsewhere.

American Express® Gold Card’s Welcome Offer

Unlike many cards with similar rewards rates, the American Express Gold Card offers a welcome offer—and a good one. You get 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend at least $4,000 within the first six months of opening the account. That's a $666 value, based on our estimates that each point is worth 1.1 cents. (More on this in the Redeeming Rewards section.)

Earning Points & Rewards

Every dollar you spend on purchases with this card will earn at least 1 American Express Membership Rewards point. However, you get more points for certain purchases:

  • 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants
  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 spent per year
  • 3 points per $1 spent on airfare purchases directly from airlines or through American Express Travel

Because card networks use the IRS’ Merchant Category Code (MCC) system to classify purchases, some stores where you might buy groceries (Target, for example, or Costco) are not classified as supermarkets, and grocery purchases there may not earn the 3-point bonus. The same is true for restaurants that are located within other establishments like cruise ships or hotels. Those buys may only earn points at the regular rate of 1 point per $1 spent. 


The bonus for supermarket store purchases is capped at the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually.

Redeeming Rewards

The value of your Membership Rewards points varies depending on how you use them:

  • Book travel: 0.5 cents to 1 cent, depending on type of travel and destination
  • Redeem for gift cards: Up to 1 cent 
  • Pay with points at checkout: 0.5 cents to 1 cent, depending on retailer
  • Cover your card charges with a statement credit: 0.6 cents 
  • Shop the Amex shopping portal: 0.5 cents

Another option is to transfer your points to one of 18 airline and 3 hotel rewards partner programs. In most cases, you can transfer your points at a one-for-one ratio, which means you'll avail yourself of whatever value the other program offers. Factoring in these transfer options, we value Membership Rewards points at 1.1 cents each, on average, when used for travel.

To see how the American Express Membership Rewards points stack up with other rewards programs, check out our in-depth analysis of what credit card points are worth.

If you transfer your points, you’ll pay an “excise tax offset fee” of 0.06 cents per point, up to a maximum of $99 per transfer.

How to Get the Most Out Of This Card

Make sure you spend at least $4,000 on this card within the first six months so you earn the 60,000-point welcome offer—this is simply too good to pass up. After that, take a few minutes to enroll in the benefit programs that require sign-ups (more on those below), because taking advantage of those almost make up for the annual fee.

Finally, keep the card in your wallet and use it when you’re at the supermarket or dining out, since this is how you’ll earn the most points. 

American Express® Gold Card’s Excellent Perks

  • The Hotel Collection credit: Get up to $100 in credits for qualifying activities at hotels such as spa treatments and hotel dining.
  • Coverage for lost luggage: This plan will reimburse you for up to $1,250 per person on your reservation and $250 for “high-risk equipment” like cameras or sporting equipment. 
  • Travel accident insurance: If you, your spouse, or your children become permanently disabled or die on a trip paid for with this card, you or your beneficiaries can receive up to $250,000 as compensation.

American Express® Gold Card’s Benefits

The Gold Card has several benefits you might like if you're a big traveler, diner, or shopper:

  • ShopRunner membership
  • Up to $10 per month reimbursed for purchases at participating restaurants and food vendors (enrollment required)
  • Access to ticket presales and exclusive events for Amex cardholders
  • Travel assistance hotlines for planning and emergency purposes
  • Lowest hotel rate guarantee
  • Premium roadside assistance, paid for by Amex on up to four covered emergencies per year
  • Purchase return protection
  • Extra benefits when you use your American Express to put down at least $2,000 on a car purchase
  • Supplemental car insurance when you waive coverage from a rental car company
  • Extended warranties

These benefits are typical of travel rewards cards with annual fees.

Customer Experience

American Express consistently gets good marks for its customer service. In a 2021 J.D. Power study, it topped the list in terms of customer satisfaction. Amex scored 838 (out of 1,000), well above the industry average of 809.

The company provides 24/7 customer support via phone and chat. Aside from that, you can manage your account through the American Express app, which can also show you any special perks or benefits available near your current location.

Security Features

American Express offers basic, industry-standard security features. Amex also offers a free credit monitoring service called MyCredit Guide, which is available to anyone, even non-cardholders. It provides a VantageScore 3.0 credit score and other credit watching tools. Cardholders can also check their FICO Score 8 through their account page online or via the app.

American Express® Gold Card’s Fees

The Gold Card’s fees are in line with industry standards.

To see the rates and fees for American Express® Gold Card, please see the following links: rates and fees.

Next Steps
For American Express® Gold Card
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
American Express® Gold Card
overall rating
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $250
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4X Membership Rewards(R) Points on Restaurants, including takeout and delivery. Earn 4X Membership Rewards(R) points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. American Express. "Interest Rates and Interest Charges." Accessed Jan. 24, 2022.

  2. J.D. Power. “While Many U.S. Credit Card Issuers Struggle to Meet Evolving Customer Expectations, Some Bright Spots Exist, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2022.