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Amex Gold airline credits

The Amex Gold Card Annual Fee: Is it Worth $250?

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Let’s just get to the point: The American Express Gold Card is one of the best options out there for your everyday spending, and maybe one of the best travel rewards cards, period.

It earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. grocery stores (up to $25,000 spent each year) and 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide. While other cards may offer higher bonuses on different spending categories, no single credit card can outpace the Amex Gold Gold card for what comprises such a large portion of our expenses. We all need to eat, right?

Further, it is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership.

But with these and other lucrative benefits the card provides, The Amex Gold Card annual fee clocks in at $250, and is not waived for the first year of card membership. So let’s dive into the card and see whether or not it’s worth that price tag.

 

Gold Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card. 

 

American Express Gold Card Benefits

American Express updated the benefits of the Gold card back in 2018, and in my opinion, they knocked it out of the park with the updates on the Amex Gold Card.

 

Amex Gold Card

 

Here’s the full breakdown:

  • Earns 4x points per dollar spent at Restaurants Worldwide
  • 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year (Then 1x)
  • 3x points per dollar spent directly with airlines or at amextravel.com
  • A $120 annual dining credit which is split up in $10 monthly amounts for charges at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed & Participating Shake Shack locations.
  • Starting in early 2021, the Amex Gold Card will receive $120 in Annual Uber Credits split up into $10 monthly amounts. These can be used for Uber rides or for Uber Eats food delivery.
  •  Amex Gold cardholders get a free year of Uber Eats Pass – Uber Eats’ paid membership with unlimited $0 delivery fees, 5% off all food deliveries over $15.
  • A $100 travel credit for incidental airline fees. Read our guide on the best ways to use these credits. This benefit will be going away at the beginning of 2022.
  • The Amex Gold Card Annual Fee of $250 and is not waived for the first year.

 

Gold Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card. 

 

Is the Amex Gold Card Annual Fee Worth It?

The annual fee on my American Express Gold Card recently came due. And as I do with all the cards I carry, I make sure to do the math to make sure it still makes sense to pay an annual fee. As long as I am getting more value out of a credit card than the annual fee, I will keep it open. If I am not, I’ll simply close the card.

I originally opened the card because of how valuable I think it is for both restaurant and grocery store spending. It’s the leader in the points and miles world for both of those categories and thus I think it is a great option for many.

But am I really getting that much benefit out of it? There are five main benefits on the card that needed a closer look, so let’s break them down.

 

$120 Annual Dining Credit

One of the benefits to the Amex Gold Card that needs to be considered when weighing the $250 annual fee is the $120 annual dining credit. The credits are split up in $10 monthly increments for charges at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed & Participating Shake Shack locations.

It is a use it or lose it credit: If you don’t use the $10 in a given month, it doesn’t roll over.

 

Screen Shot 2020 03 20 at 8.27.15 AM

 

I value this benefit at face value as both GrubHub and Seamless offer food delivery service where I live. Ordering lunch or dinner once a month from either of these services hasn’t been an issue and I used my $10 credit each and every month of my first year with the card.

Total Benefit Value: $120

 

$100 Annual Airline Incidental Fee Credit

Each calendar year, the American Express Gold Card will provide you with a $100 credit to be used for things like checked bag fees, lounge access, seat selections, etc.

See our post on the Best Ways to Maximize Your Amex Airline credits

The airline credit on the American Express Gold Card is not quite as valuable as the credit on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as there are a lot of restrictions on how you can use it.

Because of this, I don’t quite value this benefit at face value, as I would rather have the cash. That being said, I would reasonably pay $80 for this $100 credit. 

And since this is a calendar year benefit, if you were to open the card now, you could take advantage of it before the end of 2020, and again after January 1st, 2021. Effectively getting $200 in credits before paying your second annual fee.

One important thing to note however is that Amex has confirmed this benefit will be going away starting on January 1, 2022.

Total Benefit Value: $80

 

New! $120 Annual Uber Credit

Starting in early 2021, you will receive $120 toward Uber rides or food delivery on Uber Eats. You will be issued $10 each month for a total of $120 each year. 

You must use the full credit each month or you will lose any remaining value. The credits do not carry over from month to month. And even if you don’t often take Uber rides, the credit can also be used on UberEats, Uber’s food delivery platform. If Uber eats is available in your area, it makes it relatively easy to maximize this benefit each and every year.

This is identical to the $200 annual Uber credit that is offered on the Platinum Card from American Express.

Additionally, Amex Gold, Green, & Platinum cardholders get a free year of Uber Eats Pass – Uber Eats’ paid membership with unlimited $0 delivery fees, 5% off all food deliveries over $15.

Similar to the $10 dining credit ($120) annually, I don’t foresee any issues taking advantage of this credit. And because of that, I value this benefit at $120.

Total Benefit Value: $120

 

4x Membership Rewards at Restaurants

One of my favorite benefits of the American Express Gold Card is that it earns 4x Membership Rewards points at worldwide restaurants. This is a category I spend a decent amount of money on each year, so it has a lot of appeal to me. There isn’t another credit card out there that provides this kind of return on restaurant spending. 

I value Membership Rewards points very highly. Not only can you transfer them to a number of partner airlines like Delta, Singapore Airlines, etc., but you can also sometimes transfer to partners with a transfer bonus as is often the case with Virgin Atlantic transfers.

For the sake of this analysis, let’s say each Membership Rewards point I earn is worth 1 cent each – a very conservative valuation. And let’s also assume that my wife and I spend $100 a week at restaurants, on average.

  • Weekly restaurant spend: $100
  • X 52 Weeks in a year =  $5,200
  • X 4 Membership Rewards Points = 20,800
  • X .01 (Membership Rewards Point Valuation) = $208

Total Benefit Value: $208

 

4x Membership Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets

Another great benefit of the Amex Gold Card is that it earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, then 1x). It is our choice as the best credit card for grocery store spending.

Again, my wife and I spend a decent amount on groceries, so the 4x multiplier goes very far.

As mentioned above, we will value Membership Rewards points at 1 cent each for this analysis, as you should always be able to get at least that amount for them. I will also assume for the sake of this analysis that my wife and I spend on average $125 a week at U.S. supermarkets.

  • Weekly Supermarket spend: $125
  • X 52 Weeks in a year =  $6,500
  • X 4 Membership Rewards Points = 26,000
  • X .01 (Membership Rewards Point Valuation) = $260

Total Benefit Value: $260

 

Final Valuation

Is the American Express Gold Card annual fee worth $250? For me, the answer is a clear yes, though that will be different for everybody. Even though I am not eligible to earn the welcome bonus in my second year of card membership, there is still huge value in holding this card.

From my analysis above, I estimate that I can squeeze $538 of value out of the card each year. That is $288 more than the $250 annual fee. As long as that number is larger than the annual fee, I will continue to keep this card in my wallet.

 

Amex Gold Card Annual Fee

 

The Amex Gold card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership. But make sure to check CardMatch. You could be targeted for a 75,000 point offer for the same spending requirement.

So if you haven’t yet had the card, and you are eligible for the welcome bonus, the value of the card for the first year is even better. Using the same valuations from my analysis above, you can fairly easily squeeze over $1,000 in value out of the card for the first year.

 

Amex Gold Card Annual Fee

 

Bottom Line

We always encourage our readers to do the math before ruling out cards with larger annual fees. While it’s never fun to pay a big annual fee, you may be able to get far more value out of that card than the payment.

While the Amex Gold card annual fee is $250, I can fairly easily come out ahead by keeping it open as long as my spending habits remain similar. If you are eligible for the welcome offer bonus, that number gets even better for the first year.

 

Gold Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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