American Express is amping up the rewards on its newly-renamed American Express® Gold Card in an effort to reclaim its throne as the king of premium credit cards. Previously known as the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the new version comes in rose gold until Jan. 9, 2019 and is aimed at capturing millennial customers who spend a lot of money on food and travel.
Lucrative New Rewards Structure for Dining, Travel and More
Foodies who love to cook and eat out will rejoice: the AmEx Gold Card has doubled the number of Membership Rewards® points offered on purchases at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets, resulting in one of the most generous rates available. Travel aficionados will be thrilled, too. Here's how the new rewards structure works:
- 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants.
- 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, on the first $25,000 in purchases each year (after that, it goes down to 1 point per $1 spent).
- 3 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with the airlines or at amextravel.com.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
The travel and dining rewards earning rate is the best around; the Capital One Savor Card offers 4% cash back on dining, but only 2% back at grocery stores. AmEx Gold also has the edge over the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which offers 3 points per $1 spent on dining and travel.
What's more, American Express Membership Rewards® points—which are valued at one cent apiece for cashback redemption—can also be transferred to more than a dozen airline partners such as Delta and British Airways, as well as hotel partners like Starwood/Marriott.
Transferring can significantly boost the value of the points because you can often book travel with points at a much better redemption rate. According to The Points Guy, as of January 2019 American Express Membership Rewards® points are valued at 2 cents each on average.
Significant Perks for the Frequent Diner and Traveler
But that's not all when it comes to card benefits. The AmEx Gold Card also offers several other perks, including:
- An annual $120 dining credit, which is rewarded in up to $10 statement credits each month on purchases at participating Shake Shack locations, the Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and delivery portals GrubHub and Seamless. (Enrollment required.)
- An annual $100 airline fee credit, which can be used to pay for things like checked luggage fees or in-flight drinks at one selected airline of your choice.
- No foreign-transaction fees.
- New metal versions of the Gold Card available to both new and existing cardholders. A limited-edition rose gold metal card version is available through Jan. 9, 2019.
- 20% back statement credit at U.S. restaurants during the first three months of owning the card, up to $100 back. This offer is available to new cardholders who apply by Jan. 9, 2019.
- A 35,000-point Membership Rewards® welcome bonus after you use your card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of owning the card.
- A slew of other AmEx benefits on shopping, including a free ShopRunner membership, additional warranties and return protection.
What Does the Card Cost?
American Express has increased the annual fee on the card from $195 to $250. The fee will not be waived the first year for new cardholders, as it has been in the past. Existing cardholders will have to pay the higher fee on their membership anniversaries starting on April 1, 2019.
If you are an existing cardholder, you will have immediate, automatic access to the new rewards rate. However, existing cardholders should know that American Express has revoked the previous rewards structure of 2 points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations, which takes effect immediately. Now, you will earn 1 point per $1 spent at gas stations in the United States.
If you pay your balance off on time every month, you will not be charged interest. However, if you take advantage of AmEx's Pay Over Time feature, which allows you to pay in installments on eligible purchases greater than $100, you will be subject to a variable APR.
Should I Get the New American Express® Gold Card?
If you have good credit and spend a lot of money on dining out or at supermarkets, this card is a no-brainer given that it offers the best rewards rate around on those purchases. Frequent travelers will also benefit from the generous 3x rewards rate on flights booked directly through the airlines or at amextravel.com.
The annual fee has increased from $195 to $250. However, if you take advantage of the total $120 dining and $100 airline fee credits, your effective annual fee is $30—and that's before you factor in how much the rewards points are worth. If you also earn the full $100 statement credit on dining purchases in the first three months, you will have covered the cost of the annual fee and netted another $70 worth of credits.
The $250 annual fee is still significantly lower than the $450 fee that comes with the comparable Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
And when you apply for the card online, you don't have to wait for your card in the mail to begin using it. You have the option of getting an Instant Card Number that can be used online or with digital wallets to start spending immediately.