American Express Gold Card Review
2018.10 Update: New benefits (4x MR at restaurants and supermarkets and $120 dining credit) are officially alive! Annual Fee is creased to $250. New applications will not receive first year waived AF. For current cardholders, if your next anniversary date is earlier than April 1st, 2019, your next AF due will still be $195, otherwise you will pay $250 upon card renewal.
You can request metal card online now but Rose Gold design is only available via online chat or phone calls.
The sign-up bonus of new Gold card is 50k points after $2000 spending within 3 months. But $250 AF is not waived for the first year. You will also receive 20% cash-back, up to $100, on dining purchases in US restaurants in the first 3 months.
- 50k offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after spending $2000 in first 3 months. And receive 20% dining cash-back in US restaurants, up to $100 in the first 3 months.
- We estimate that Membership Rewards (MR) are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 50k highest sign-up bonus is worth about $800!
- New: Earn 4x MR per $1 spent at US restaurants and supermarkets; 3x MR per $1 spent directly at airlines; 1x MR per $1 spent on other purchases.
- New: 4x MR earning rate at supermarkets is capped at $25,000 supermarket spending per calendar year, the cap is so large that many people can treat it as unlimited.
- New: $120 dining credit: $10 dining credit per months good at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shake & Shack. Must enroll first and pay using your new Gold card. Here‘s the link to enroll.
- $100 airline fee credit for incidental charges such as checked bags per calendar year. Because this benefit resets according to calendar year instead of when you opened the card, you can actually get airline fee credit TWICE during the first year! Note that this benefit is not automatically enrolled, you need to enroll and specify an airline by clicking here.
- The airline credit is actually easy to get: although AmEx terms & conditions says airline gift cards are excluded, data points show that they actually can trigger the credit.
- With this card, you have access to Amex Offers, which often offers very good discounts at some stores. In the past we have seen offers like: Spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; Spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- This card is very easy to get approved, because it is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. Charge card means that you don’t have an option to pay only minimum payment, you have to pay your balance in full on the due dates. Note that Charge Card applications will also result in a Hard Pull, same as Credit Card applications.
- Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit.
- Refer a friend: You can earn 10,000 bonus MR points for every approved account you refer, up to 55,000 MR points per calendar year.
- $250 annual fee, not waived for the first year.
- There is no annual fee for up to 5 Additional Cards. But the annual fee for 6 or more Additional Cards is $35 for each Card.
- The 4x bonus categories are limited within the United States.
Introduction to MR Points
- You can earn MR points with AmEx ED, AmEx EDP, AmEx Green, AmEx Gold for Ameriprise, AmEx PRG, AmEx Platinum, AmEx Platinum for Ameriprise, AmEx Platinum for Schwab, AmEx Platinum for Mercedes-Benz, AmEx Blue Business Plus, AmEx Business Green, AmEx Business Gold, AmEx Business Platinum, etc.
- The MR points you earn on different MR cards will automatically go to the same MR account.
- MR points never expire. You will not lose the MR points on one card if you close the account, but you will lose all of the MR points if you close all of the MR cards. In order to avoid losing your MR points, we recommend to keep the no annual fee AmEx ED.
- If you have any of the MR cards, MR points can be transferred to some airline miles. One of the most common and best way to use MR points is to 1:1 transfer them to All Nippon Airways (ANA, NH) miles (Star Alliance). Other good options are: Air Canada (AC) (Star Alliance), Delta Air Lines (DL) (SkyTeam), British Airways (BA) (Oneworld), Asia Miles (Oneworld), Singapore Airlines (SQ) (Star Alliance), Flying Blue (SkyTeam), Virgin Atlantic (VS) (Non-alliance), etc. If you use MR in this way, the value is about 1.6 cents/point.
- If you have any of the MR cards, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate about 1 cent/point towards air tickets on AmEx travel portal.
- If you have AmEx Platinum for Schwab, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 1.25 cents/point towards cash. If you don't want to spend time studying airline miles, this is a pretty good way to cash out the points. If you don't have this card, you can only redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 0.6 cents/point towards cash.
- In summary, we estimate that MR points are worth about 1.6 cents/point.
- For more information about MR points, see Maximize the Credit Card Points Values (overview), and Introduction to MR: How to Earn and Introduction to MR: How to Use (very detailed).
Recommended Application Time
- You can get the sign-up bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
- AmEx doesn’t care about the number of hard pulls.
- You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.
This card is revamped from AmEx Premier Rewards Gold (PRG). The new Gold card has much better points earning structure although we’re paying a higher annual fee. If you can utilize the $100 airline credit and $120 dining credit, then you should consider holding this card even in long term, because 4x points at restaurants and supermarkets easily surpasses other cards.
For new applicants, although AF is not waived for the first year, you can still offset partial AF by taking advantage of 20% cash-back at restaurants. In summary, the new Gold card is a strong competitive product by Amex.
If you only keep this card for one year, you will get 50k MR points (is worth about $800) and two airline fee credit ($100*2), and you don’t need to pay for the first year annual fee. So in total, the net income is about $1000!!! However, the reward rate is not impressive except the airline 3x bonus category, which makes it hard to cover the $195 annual fee. If one day you don’t want to keep this card any more, while still have some remaining MR points, you can apply for AmEx EveryDay (ED) (no annual fee) to keep the MR points and use them in the future.
Related Credit Cards
Note that, although the look and benefits of the following cards are almost the same, they are different products, and they don’t affect each other’s sign-up bonus:
- AmEx Gold Card (formerly known as AmEx Premier Rewards Gold (PRG)) (this post)
- AmEx Gold Card Old Version (this card is discontinued)
- AmEx Gold Card for Ameriprise
Recommended Downgrade Options
- You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee, so I suggest you close it when you don’t want to keep it any longer.
- Click here to check AmEx application status.
- AmEx reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083. The “real” backdoor number of Amex is well protected. Different from Chase, the representatives from this AmEx reconsideration backdoor number only have the right to help you submit requests.