The Gold Card from American Express is one of Amex’s popular charge cards that earns flexible Membership Rewards points. The card frequently offers a sizable welcome bonus (~50,000+ points) that is worth a lot of free travel when the points are transferred to airline partners.
American Express offers two valuable versions of charge cards—the Amex Platinum Card and the Amex Rewards Gold Card—and each are available in a business version as well. Depending on which travel benefits suite your needs best, you may find that one card offers more value over the other.
Remember that the difference between a charge card and a credit card is that with a charge card there is no pre-set credit limit and you are expected to pay off your total balance each month.
Amex charge cards earn valuable Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to an array of travel partners including many major airlines and hotels programs. Currently I value Membership Rewards points at 1.6 cents each, which means that a large welcome bonus on these cards can easily be worth $500+ in value.
The Amex Gold Card offers strong points earnings with 3X points on airfare and several valuable perks, such as a $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year.
Amex Rewards Gold Card Review
Here is an in-depth review of the benefits and drawbacks of the Amex Gold Card. Below you’ll also find a FAQ section covering important information regarding various aspects of the card and rewards program.
Amex offers several public welcome bonus offers at any given time, as well as semi-targeted and targeted offers. Historically the card has offered a welcome bonus ranging from 25,000 to 75,000 Membership Rewards points. You may see a different online offer depending on factors including:
- If you are a current Amex cardholder.
- How many Amex cards you have.
- Where you are physically located (IP address).
- Which internet browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc) you are accessing the Amex website with.
- Using incognito or private browsing mode or a VPN.
How can you get a better offer? Open this link in an incognito or private browsing window to see what offer is available to you. It may help to open the page using a different internet browser, as it may be possible to get different offers with different browsers.
Earn 65,000 Bonus Points (40k + 25k) (OFFER EXPIRED)
This offer is broken down into two parts that makes it essentially a 40,000 point welcome bonus + 25,000 points renewal bonus. You can get $300 in airline incidental credit before you have to pay the annual fee.
You’ll earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, when you keep the card after the first year and pay the $195 annual fee, plus spend $2,000 during the second year you will earn an additional 25,000 Membership Rewards points.
Earn 50,000 Bonus Points (OFFER EXPIRED)
With this offer you will earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. You can get $200 in airline incidental credit before you have to pay the annual fee.
Earn 25,000 Bonus Points (OFFER EXPIRED)
The standard public offer if you are unable to get a higher targeted offer is for 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. You can get $200 in airline incidental credit before you have to pay the annual fee.
The Amex Gold Card offers some amazing travel benefits that you can use if you are a frequent traveler.
The card earns Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to valuable travel partners including most major hotel and many airline programs (find out where you can transfer points to here).
Here is a review of the card’s benefits & rewards earning structure:
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare.
- Earn 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. stand alone gas stations and U.S. stand alone supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- $100 airline incidental fee (checked bags, lounge access fees, gift cards, etc) credit per calendar year – this means that you can get $200 in credit before the 2nd years annual fee posts. (You can enroll your card for this benefit here.)
- No foreign transaction fees
Most people will find that the valuable welcome bonus and card benefits will far outweigh the drawbacks of the Amex Gold Card. These include a high annual fee, but this normally waived for the first year with most available offers (be sure to read the terms before signing up).
Although the card does not have foreign transaction fees, if you frequently travel outside the U.S. the 2X bonus earning categories do not apply on international purchases. You’ll only earn 2X points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets.
Amex Gold Card FAQ
Can I earn a welcome bonus more than one time on the Amex Gold Card?
No, American Express has a once per lifetime limit for earning a welcome bonus on both their personal and business cards. Online card applications state the following terms: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”
However, it may be possible to avoid this limit if you received targeted Amex offers without the once per lifetime language.
Will I earn 2X points on international restaurant, gas station, and supermarkets purchases?
No, the 2X points bonus category spending only applies to U.S. restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets. Consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus Mastercard for a card that earns 2X points on all international purchases and does not have foreign transaction fees.
What can the $100 airline incidental fee credit be used for?
With the Amex Gold Card you get a $100 airline incidental fee credit per calendar year that can be used to cover charges such as checked baggage fees, change/ticketing fees, in-flight food purchases, and lounge access. Remember that you must first enroll your card for this benefit and select an airline.
Per American Express’s terms the incidental fee credit cannot be redeemed to cover “airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets.” However, in the past it has been possible to use the $100 credit to purchase gift cards from an airline, but it depends how the airline processes the charge and can vary from airline to airline.
Do authorized users get an additional $100 airline incidental fee credit?
If you order additional cards for authorized users they can make charges that the $100 airline incidental credit can be applied against, but only one $100 credit will be issued per card account per calendar year.
How long does it take for the welcome bonus points to post to my account?
After meeting the minimum spending requirement it will typically take 6 to 8 weeks for the Membership Rewards points to be deposited into your account.
What is the difference between an Amex charge card vs. credit card?
An Amex charge card is different than a credit card because there is no pre-set spending limit and you are required to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle. Because of these features it may be easier to get approved for a charge card than a credit card. Note that similar to applying for a credit card, submitting an application for a charge card will result in a hard pull to your credit report.
What are Amex Membership Rewards points worth?
Member Rewards points can be valued at 1.6 cents per point. Of course each user will ultimately redeem their points at different value levels, but the bottom line is that you can expect to get roughly 1.6 cents in value per point when transfer and redeem Membership Rewards points with a airline transfer partner.
What is the value of the welcome bonuses offered on the card?
At a value of 1.6 cents per Membership Rewards point the welcome bonuses offered are worth the following:
- 65,000 points are worth $1,040
- 50,000 points are worth $800
- 25,000 points are worth $400
What airline and hotel programs can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to?
You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to the following valuable transfer partners:[table “mr-airline” not found /]
|Hotel||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|SPG Starwood Preferred Guest||1:0.33||Instant|
For a chart comparing all transfer options from all flexible point programs, go here.
Does the Amex Gold Card have a refer-a-friend program?
Yes, you can earn 5,000 Membership Rewards points for each person you refer who is approved for an account. You can earn a maximum of 55,000 points per calendar year. Note that the welcome bonus through a refer-a-friend link is often not the highest welcome bonus offered (targeted or semi-targeted).
The Amex Gold Card offers strong points earnings with 3X points on airfare and valuable travel perk of a $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year.
Applying for the card when a higher welcome bonus offered, such as the current 50,000 or 65,000 bonus point offers, can make the card a amazing value for travelers that can use the benefits.