Who is the American Express Gold Card for?
The American Express Gold Card is for someone that truly wants to go above and beyond in their spending adventures. With a holistic rewards program and competitive perks, this card was designed for a customer that uses their card more frequently than the average spender. This card is ideal for a seasoned cardholder seeking to reap the benefits of his or her spending on dining, shopping, and travel.
The $250 annual fee might seem high at first glance, but upon exploring the benefits of this card, it is clear that the fee pays for itself over the course of the year. If you are a new American Express Gold Card user and spend enough, you may also qualify for an attractive welcome bonus. Also, the credit card issuer’s rewards extend beyond individual cards. You can use the points you attain using this card to shop the Internet, buy plane tickets and book hotels.
Although the benefits of this card might seem too good to be true, they come with a potential cost. No set spending limit with this card can create a risk of late and returned payments, which sets you up for a hefty APR. Knowing this, the Gold card should be used to make frequent purchases while ensuring timely payments in order to maximize the benefits that come along with it.
Overall, the Gold card can be seen as a precursor to the Platinum card, which comes with a hefty $550 annual fee. If you are testing the waters and the Platinum card seems like too much, the Gold card might be a great option for you.
Unlike other cards with annual fees, the American Express Gold Card does not have a guaranteed signup bonus. However, if you are a new American Express Gold Card customer and spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of owning the card, you can receive 60,000 points membership rewards points. Considering the fact that you would have to spend $60,000 to earn the same amount of points, this is a steal.
The main rewards mechanisms of this card operate through three industries: restaurants, supermarkets and travel.
When you dine at restaurants worldwide, you gain 4x Membership rewards points. As for US supermarkets, you earn 4x Membership Rewards points for up to $25,000 of purchases. Finally, you can use your card to book flights via the American Express website or directly via the airlines and earn 3x points. These Membership Reward points can be redeemed through online purchases or the American Express travel website, which allows you to book flights and hotels with accumulated points. You can also use the points in conjunction with a participating frequent flyer program in order to get discounts and offers on flight bookings.
In addition, as a cardholder, you are given $120 in dining credit, $100 in airline fee credit and $100 in hotel collection credit. The dining credit is added to your statement monthly and can be used at partnering establishments. The airline fee credit can be used to offset supplemental travel costs like in-flight meals and baggage fees. Finally, the hotel collection credit can be used for dining, resort and spa activities. Given these credits, it makes sense that if you spend significantly on dining and traveling, the $250 annual fee should pay for itself.
In addition, there is no foreign transaction fee levied on international purchases. This perk, coupled with the other benefits, is extremely handy for frequent travelers that want a travel-friendly card. The card issuer also has the lowest hotel rate guarantee, which means that it will refund you the difference if you can find cheaper accommodation prices online. And it doesn't end there. With the Gold card, you are also eligible for personalized travel services, discounts and amenities. American Express also provides baggage insurance and rental car loss and damage insurance.
As for shopping perks, this card gives you access to Amex Offers, which can be accessed through the handy American Express mobile app. Amex Offers helps you earn rewards at places you shop at the most. The Gold card also gives you complimentary access to ShopRunner, which gets you free 2-day shipping on eligible purchases at over 100 online stores. With no preset spending limit, we recommend making this card your main credit card and maximizing purchases while keeping in mind your ability to make timely payments.
As with other Amex cards, the Gold card also gives you access to exclusive ticket presales for sporting and entertainment events. It also gives you premium seating options for select events.
With an option to add additional cards for individuals aged 13+, you can maximize rewards by giving every family one of these to use.
This card comes with a hefty $250 annual fee. However, using the extensive list of benefits and perks, optimal utilization of this card will render this fee insignificant. However, this payment can pose a significant barrier for lower-income customers and newcomers to the credit world. Also, if you don't expect to use this card as much, the $250 annual fee might not be worth it.
Services and Protections
A common problem with a lot of other rewards-based credit cards is the complicated interface between your card usage and redeeming available offers. American Express simplifies that by making everything available on your phone through the American Express App. The app allows you to manage your account, view offers at nearby establishments and receive fraudulent transaction alerts.
In terms of customer service, American Express has a dedicated Card Member Services team that can assist you with queries 24/7. Furthermore, the Global Assist hotline gives you 24/7 access to emergency assistance regardless of your location around the world. This service can be extremely useful in the case of lost card inquiries and emergency cash wire needs.
As an American Express Gold cardholder, you are probably already quite responsible for your credit card payments and have built good credit over the years. That said, the penalty APR of 29.24% can make serious dents to your bank account. In addition, the lack of a strict spending limit can make overspending possible. Therefore, your first and foremost priority should be to maintain your credit score by only spending what you can pay once the payment date arrives.
Your second focus should be making this card your primary method of payment. Like most credit cards, you get out of it what you put into it. Making regular purchases and using the benefits will allow you to maximize your membership rewards points earnings. A lack of use will make sure that the annual fee gets wasted inefficiently and you might regret picking this card.
The American Express Gold Card is a great choice for more sophisticated credit card users who want a card that does it all. While the annual fee might be off-putting for some, if used properly, this card can make up for it and give you access to a multitude of benefits. Once customers are satisfied with this card, they can consider upgrading to the Platinum card, which increases potential benefits and rewards along with its annual fee.