The American Express® Gold Card is one of the best all-around travel cards on the market, helping travelers rack up tons of points at restaurants, grocery stores and more. If you haven't yet grabbed it, we've got good news and bad news.
First, the bad news. American Express just raised the spending required to earn a big bonus, from the previous $4,000 threshold up to $6,000 in the first six months. And depending on which Amex cards you've already got, you might not be eligible to get it, period: The company quietly updated the card's terms and conditions to note that consumers who have previously earned a bonus on *amex platinum card* (or its co-branded cousins from Morgan Stanley or Charles Schwab) can no longer earn a bonus on the Gold Card.
But here's the good news: If you're eligible and can stomach that extra spending, you might be able to get a much bigger bonus for that extra spending. Some consumers are now seeing a bonus of 90,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first six months when applying directly through American Express. That's up from the standard 60,000-point bonus you'll normally get on the Gold Card when applying with Amex or through a site like ours.
Unfortunately, not everyone will pull up this massive, 90,000-point offer on the Gold Card – though it's worth also trying in an incognito browser to see if you can get it on a second attempt. But it's no fluke: American Express quietly updated its terms and conditions on some card pages to reflect this bigger bonus.
Just how big is it? Well, it's the biggest bonus we've seen publicly available – we've seen similar bonuses available through personal referral links in the past, though those were hit or miss. Consider this: Just a few years ago, the welcome bonus on the Gold Card was just 35,0000 points.
Remember: Credit cards are serious business. Spending $6,000 in six months is a lot of money, and it's not worth digging yourself into debt to earn more points. But if you can find the 90,000-point bonus and can earn it responsibly, don't hesitate. This huge bonus just makes an already stellar travel credit card even better.
There's nothing in this for us: We just consider it part of our duty to point you toward an easy way to earn an additional 30,000 points compared to what you'll find applying through sites like ours.
Spending another $2,000 to earn a big bonus might sting … but it feels like it could have been much worse. American Express recently hiked the annual fee on the *biz gold* and made a slew of painful changes to *amex platinum card*, too.
Meanwhile, the $250 annual fee on the Gold Card has stayed put ever since American Express revamped the card way back in 2018. They've even added new perks like $120 a year in Uber credits without raising the annual fee. And now there's a potential path to earn even more points right off the bat.
That is, if you can earn it at all. In its latest move to stop travelers from cycling through cards for the sake of earning big bonuses, Amex added a new restriction to the Gold Card. If you've earned a welcome bonus on *amex platinum card* or on the co-branded Platinum Cards from Charles Schwab or Morgan Stanley, you'll no longer – even if you've never held the Amex Gold Card before.
It's a potentially painful yet familiar change. Just last month, American Express made similar changes to its suite of co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit cards.
One important note: If you're lucky enough to find one of these 90,000-point bonuses on the Gold Card, it likely won't have this new restriction. So even if you're a longtime Platinum cardholder, you should be set.
And the value of the Gold Card goes far beyond an initial welcome bonus.
Thanks to its 4x earning on dining worldwide and U.S. supermarket spending (up to $25,000 each year, then 1x), the Amex Gold is the single best card for earning points on food. And who doesn't spend a ton on food?
You'll also earn 3x points on airfare purchased directly with the airlines or Amex Travel, and 1x points on all other purchases. To top it off, Amex offers monthly money-saving credits for select restaurants on top of those Uber credits.
Amex Gold Card Overview
The Amex Gold Card has a lot of benefits and point earning opportunities to unpack so before we dive into the specifics, let's take a quick glance at the highlights.
Here's the full card breakdown:
- Welcome Offer: *amex gold bonus*, but be sure to check if you can get an even better 90,000-point bonus applying directly with Amex!
- Earn 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide.
- Earn 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x.
- Earn 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent directly with airlines or at amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 each month in statement credits when you pay with the Gold Card at GrubHub, The Cheesecake Factory, Wine.com, Milk Bar, Goldbelly, and participating Shake Shack locations.
- Enjoy up to $120 in Uber Cash annually with your Gold Card. Just add your Card to your Uber account and you'll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $250 (see rates & fees)
Learn more about the American Express® Gold Card
All information about the American Express® Gold Card has been collected independently by Thrifty Traveler.
Welcome Offer Bonus
There's no doubt: This is a really exciting offer on an already exceptional travel rewards credit card.
Earning 90,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first six months is enough to put this card on any traveler's radar – let alone all the other perks and benefits that come with it.
It's hit or miss whether you'll pull up a 90,000-point bonus with American Express. Some travelers might see a 75,000-point bonus while others may get the standard 60,000-point offer.
If you luck out with a 90,000-point offer, don't sleep on it.
Learn more about the American Express® Gold Card
Earn 4x Points Per Dollar Spent at Restaurants & U.S. Supermarkets
The American Express Gold card earns an unlimited 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants, and 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 of spending in a calendar year (then 1x).
It's one of the best returns you'll find for spending in either category. That alone can easily make the Gold Card a mainstay in many traveler's wallets and a go-to card any time you're buying groceries or heading out to dinner.
Related reading: The Best Credit Cards to Use for Your Grocery Shopping
Earn 3x Points Per Dollar Spent on Flights
The American Express Gold card earns 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline, as well as airfare booked through American Express Travel.
There is no limit to the number of bonus miles you can earn in this category.
All other spending on the American Express Gold card will earn 1x point per dollar spent.
Up to $120 in Annual Uber Cash
Much like *amex platinum card*, the Gold Card offers credits to use at both Uber and Uber Eats each and every month.
You'll get up to $10 per month in Uber Cash for purchases made on either platform. But just as with other credits on top American Express cards, this is a use-it-or-lose-it benefit: If you don't spend $10 with Uber or Uber Eats in each month, it won't carry over to the next month.
Up to a $120 Annual Dining Credit
Another great benefit on the American Express Gold Card is the up to $120 annual dining credit.
Each month, cardholders get up to $10 in statement credits for purchases at participating partners. But it is yet another use-it-or-lose-it benefit. If you can use it up each and every month, that's another $120 back each year.
But keep in mind it won't work at just any restaurant. Here's the current list of participating partners that are eligible for your American Express Gold Card dining credit:
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Milk Bar
- Participating Shake Shack locations
With Grubhub on the list, this is a fairly easy benefit to use each month with a single to-go or delivery order.
The Amex Gold Card has a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees).
That's a more-than-reasonable price tag for a well-rounded travel credit card. And honestly, we're surprised American Express hasn't hiked it yet.
Additionally, the card waives foreign transaction fees.
Related reading: Is the Amex Gold Worth its Annual Fee?
How Good is this Offer?
Aside from targeted offers through CardMatch and select referrals, this is as good of an offer as we've ever seen on the Amex Gold Card. Heck, it's even better than the public 80,000-point offer on the bank's flagship *amex platinum card* – with a smaller spending requirement, to boot.
So how far can 90,000 Membership Rewards points take you? By transferring your points to Amex's partner ANA, you'd quite literally have enough to fly around the world and back in economy. Or get from the U.S. and Europe and back in business class, again using ANA.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg for what you can do with 90,000 Membership Rewards points.
If you've had your sights set on Europe – and want to do it in style – transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Iberia for business class flights across the pond is the way to go. While most airlines charge at least 60,000 miles (or much more) for a one-way business class ticket to Europe, you can fly Iberia business class for as low as 34,000 miles each way!
Don't let the drab gray interior fool you, the seats are plenty comfortable, the food is good, and you can sip on delicious Spanish wines as you cross over the Atlantic Ocean. What's not to love about that?
If you prefer to stay closer to home, transferring Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic can be a great way to fly Delta on the cheap. In fact, flights under 500 miles in distance are only 7,500 Virgin points one-way. And even if you're going a little further, it’s only 8,500 points each way for flights between 501 and 1,000 miles.
At this rate, you and travel buddy could take three separate weekend getaways to the Big Apple (or anywhere else Delta flys) with the Amex Gold welcome offer bonus alone.
Related reading: Save Big on Short Delta Flights by Booking with Virgin Atlantic
No matter how you choose to spend your newfound fortune of Amex points, you should have enough for a trip (or two) to just about any corner of the globe. The tough part will be deciding just where to go…
American Express has pulled out another page from its playbook, increasing how much you'll need to spend in order to earn a big welcome bonus on the American Express® Gold Card – and making it impossible to earn that bonus if you've earned bonuses on other, higher-priced Amex cards.
But there's a silver lining: That welcome bonus could be much bigger for you. While it's not a slam dunk, some travelers are seeing a massive 90,000-point bonus after spending $6,000 in the first six months when you apply directly with Amex. It's one of the biggest bonuses you can get on this card, period.
And considering the bank hasn't made other negative changes to the Gold Card, we'd consider it a win overall.
Learn more about the American Express® Gold Card