|Card Details and Application Link|
American Express® Gold Card
Recent better offer: 90K after $4K in the first 6 months + 20% back at restaurants for the first 12 months up to $250 back [Expired 6/8/22]
FM Mini Review: This card offers an awesome return on US supermarket and worldwide dining spend, putting it at or near the top-of-class in both categories. Dining credits and Uber / Uber Eats credits go a long way towards reducing the sting of this card's annual fee.
Card Type: Amex Pay Over Time Card
Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
Noteworthy perks: Up to $10 in statement credits monthly with participating dining partners (Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory) ⚬ $10 monthly Uber or Uber Eats credit (use it or lose it each month) ⚬ $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges on stays of 2 nights or longer, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc ⚬ Enrollment required for select benefits.
The American Express Gold Card is a solid option for those who can make use of the monthly dining credits given that it also offers terrific return on spend at both U.S. Supermarkets and restaurants worldwide. Given the strength of Amex transfer partners, it is hard to argue that there is a better card in those bonus categories.
However, if you don’t make use of the monthly dining credits, it may be hard to justify this card’s annual fee given that there are cheaper options on the market for earning only marginally lower return in those same categories.
Amex Application Tips
Check application status here.
Should you apply?
Gold card welcome bonuses are usually worth considerably more than the card’s annual fee. So, as long as you can make use of some of the card’s perks, and as long as you can meet the offer’s minimum spend requirements, it makes sense to apply for at least one year. You can always cancel (or downgrade to a less expensive card) once the annual fee comes due in year 2 so as to avoid paying for the second year.
Amex Gold Card Reconsideration
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new account holders); 866-314-0237 (current account holders)
How to Meet Minimum Spend requirements
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount do NOT include fees or interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements (click each link for more information):
The Amex Gold card has a $250 annual fee. Additional cardholders are free (and Amex sometimes offers a small bonus when you add a cardholder and they meet a minimum spending requirement).
Amex Gold Card Perks
Arguably the most important perks of the Amex Gold card are the bonus categories. Earning 4x transferable points on the first $25K in purchases at U.S. Supermarkets per year (then 1x) is certainly an attractive prospect for many. Earning 4x at restaurants worldwide could be icing on the cake for those who dine out frequently.
However, in order to justify the annual fee, you will likely need to be able to take advantage of the card’s key statement credit benefits:
- $10 monthly Uber Cash. Just add your card to our Uber account and you receive $10 in Uber Cash each month to use on Uber Eats or Uber rides in the U.S. You must use this by the end of the month.
- Up to $10 per month in statement credits for purchases at GrubHub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations.
If you’re able to make use of both credits each month, that’s up to $240 worth of credits and Uber Cash. However, you shouldn’t value it at face value since you would expect a discount if paying up front for a subscription to monthly credits.
In general, Membership Rewards points are worth up to 1 cent each when redeemed for merchandise or gift cards. Fortunately, there are three ways in which it is possible to get more value: redeem points for flights, transfer points to hotel or airline partners, or invest rewards. More on each below…
The Business Platinum Card offers a 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% of your points back when you redeem points through Amex Travel for either a First or Business class flight on any airline, or for any flights with your selected airline.
After you receive the 35% rebate, the value works out to 1.54 cents per point. That's very good, but it does require owning this ultra-premium card.
The best use of Membership Rewards points, in our opinion, is to transfer points to airline and hotel partners in order to book high value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight or flight award before transferring points. One exception: Amex often offers 30% or higher transfer bonuses to certain programs (Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are two common examples). If you’re confident that you’ll use the points for good value, it may make sense to transfer points when those bonuses are in effect.
For specific examples of great ways to use points transferred to airline miles, please see: Amex Membership Rewards sweet spots.
Current Transfer Bonuses
Here are the currently available transfer bonuses from Amex Membership Rewards (this table will update automatically when new offers are found):
|Transfer Bonus Details||End Date|
|Amex: 25% transfer bonus to Air France/KLM Flying Blue||2023/05/22|
|Amex: 15% transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles||2023/05/31|
|Get 30% bonus when transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||2023/06/14|
|Get 20% bonus when transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2023/06/14|
Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user or employee on the account.
It is free to transfer Membership Rewards points to foreign airlines. For transfers to US airlines, however, Amex charges an “excise tax offset fee” of $0.0006 per point (with a maximum fee of $99). Airlines subject to this fee are noted below.
|Rewards Program||Amex Transfer Ratio||Best Uses|
|Aer Lingus Avios||1 to 1||Fuel surcharges are sometimes lower when booking with Aer Lingus (Avios.com) rather than British Airways, Qatar, or Iberia. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.|
|AeroMexico ClubPremier||1 to 1.6||AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1 to 1||Redeem for Star Alliance flights and/or flights with Air Canada partners (such as Etihad). No fuel surcharges; $39 CAD award booking fee; 5,000 points to add stopover on one-way award. See: Air Canada Aeroplan: Everything you need to know.|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||1 to 1||Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards. Air France often offers very good business class award pricing between the US and Europe & Israel.|
|ANA Mileage Club||1 to 1||Redeem for Star Alliance flights. Multiple stopovers allowed. ANA offers many great sweet-spot awards, including flying around the world in business class for as few as 115K miles! See also: ANA - a terrific Membership Rewards gem.|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1 to 1||Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.|
|British Airways Avios||1 to 1||While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Excellent value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1 to 1||Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available. For long distance flights, it is possible to reduce the cost of a premium cabin award by adding on a lower cabin segment. See this post for details.|
|Choice||1 to 1||Choice Privileges points seem to be randomly valuable within the US, but dependably valuable internationally in expensive locations such as Scandinavia and Japan. Points can sometimes offer great value when used towards participating Preferred Hotels of the World.|
|Delta SkyMiles||1 to 1 plus excise tax||Delta no longer charges change or cancellation fees on awards originating in North America. Flash award sales and flights to/from locations other than the U.S. or Canada can offer great value. See: Best uses for Delta miles.|
|Emirates Skywards||1 to 1||The best use of Emirates miles has been to fly Emirates itself. Unfortunately fuel surcharges can be steep. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip.|
|Etihad Guest||1 to 1||Etihad offers a distance based award chart for flying Etihad and another for its partners. Points may offer good value for expensive but short-distance flights.|
|Hawaiian Miles||1 to 1 plus excise tax||Hawaiian Airlines’ award prices tend to be quite high, but there are some not-terrible uses: fly to neighboring islands for 7.5K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to South Pacific islands for as few as 95K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to Australia for as few as 130K miles, or use miles to upgrade paid flights.|
|Hilton||1 to 2||5th Night Free awards. Best value is usually found with very low end or very high end Hilton hotels. Bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees.|
|Iberia Avios||1 to 1||Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights and a very reasonable 25 Euro cancellation fee. Partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well, but these are usually nonrefundable. Fuel surcharges are sometimes lower when booking with Iberia rather than British Airways, Aer Lingus, or Qatar. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.|
|JetBlue||250 to 200 plus excise tax||JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.|
|Marriott Bonvoy||1 to 1||5th Night Free awards. Opportunities to get outsized value exist but can be hard to find.|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1 to 1||Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)|
|Qatar Privilege Club Avios||1 to 1 via BA||Qatar has reasonable award prices for flying Qatar itself. Points are now transferable 1 to 1 to British Airways (and from there to Aer Lingus or Iberia)|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1 to 1||Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1 to 1||Virgin Atlantic offers a few great sweet spot awards including US to Europe on Delta One business class for 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).|
Cash back (invest with rewards)
You can also redeem points for gift cards or merchandise. At most, with this approach you’ll get 1 cent per point value, but usually you’ll get quite a bit less.
You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com, for example). Don’t do this. These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Membership Rewards points – causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated).
Combine PointsAmex automatically pools all of your points together. When you earn points with different cards, the point total shown when viewing either card is the total across cards.
Share PointsUnlike Chase and Citibank, Amex doesn’t allow members to move points from one person’s account to another. That said, it is possible to transfer one person’s points to another person’s loyalty program account. The key is that the person who receives the points must be an authorized user or employee on the other person’s account. For example, my wife can transfer Membership Rewards points to my Virgin Atlantic account as long as I’m an authorized user (or employee) on any of her Membership Rewards cards.
An authorized user card must be active for 90 days before it will unlock the ability to transfer your points to the authorized user’s loyalty program account.
How to Keep Points AliveThankfully, it is very easy to keep Amex Membership Rewards points alive. Simply keep any Membership Rewards card open. For example, if you are about to close your one and only Membership Rewards card, then open another Membership Rewards card account first in order to preserve your points. Amex offers some no-fee Membership Rewards cards, such as the Blue Business Plus and the Amex Everyday, so this shouldn't be much of a burden.