3 reasons why the Amex Gold card is an easy choice for foodies, travelers, and even beginners

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  • The American Express® Gold Card has added a new benefit of up to $120 a year ($10 per month) in Uber Cash credits.
  • It also offers up to $120 a year in dining credits and bonus points in foodie-friendly categories.
  • Even if you’re not traveling right now, it’s easy to get incredible value from the Amex Gold Card.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best American Express cards.

My friends are shocked when I tell them that I’m often able to get hundreds, even thousands of dollars of value each year from some of the credit cards in my wallet. Unfortunately, some of the most valuable options are also the hardest to maximize, with restrictions and limitations on how and when you can use the various benefits that come with the card. If you’re unwilling to put in the time or are less familiar with how credit cards work, you might end up getting a considerably lower value from the same card.

That’s one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of the American Express® Gold Card. As long as you like food — eating out, ordering in, or some combination of the two — it’s easy for beginners and pros alike to get an incredible return from this card.

Let’s take a look at the benefits that make the Amex Gold Card so rewarding and easy to use. 

American Express® Gold Card

American Express American Express® Gold Card

The card does carry a $250 annual fee (See Rates), and while that might be a lot if you’re new to the world of travel rewards credit cards, it’s less than half of what you’d pay to hold premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates) or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. To some degree, you get what you pay for, and the Amex Gold Card offers a compelling suite of benefits to help offset that fee. 

In fact, 2021 is shaping up to be the most valuable year on record for Amex Gold Card customers. As part of its recent refresh, the Amex Gold now comes with up to $10 a month in Uber Cash credits that you can use in the US for Uber rides or to order food with Uber Eats (the Gold Card needs to be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit). Gold cardholders can also activate a complimentary year of Uber Eats Pass before December 31, 2021, which can help stretch the value of this credit even further (keep in mind the Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from your initial enrollment at the then-current monthly rate).

This is all on top of up to $10 per month in dining credits that the card has offered for years now, valid at participating retailers including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

Put together, you’re looking at up to $240 in credits each year in exchange for your $250 annual fee. That means if you’re able to max out all these credits you’ll get a value nearly equal to the annual fee — even before factoring in your welcome bonus and the other perks the card offers.

Rewards well above its paygrade

I also love the Amex Gold Card for its incredibly generous rewards structure. Frankly, if you’re more concerned with earning points than you are with luxury travel perks, you might even find that the Amex Gold Card offers a better value proposition than the ultra-premium Platinum Card.

So how does it work? You’ll earn points at the following rates:

  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide and on up to $25,000 in spending at US supermarkets per year (then 1x)
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Those are among the best earning rates you’ll find from any card in those categories, and make the Amex Gold Card my go-to any time I’m eating out or buying groceries. Food is the most universal language we know, and even if you aren’t the most frequent traveler you should have no problem racking up thousands and thousands of bonus points this way.

Use points for valuable redemptions

Incredibly generous bonus multipliers in categories people spend a lot of money in wouldn’t be worth much if the points themselves weren’t valuable. But Amex Membership Rewards points are among the best out there, whether you’re looking to book an aspirational premium-cabin flight in a socially distanced suite or a few shorter domestic hops.

I was recently able to redeem around 136,000 Amex points for an Emirates first-class award flight, paying just under $200 in taxes for a ticket that would normally cost over $15,000. If you’re looking to fly to Europe or Asia instead, you can look at transferring your points to Avianca LifeMiles to book partner awards on luxury Star Alliance carriers like Lufthansa or ANA. Avianca can also be great for domestic United flights, as can Air Canada’s Aeroplan program.

Bottom line

2020 left many people looking for credit card benefits that didn’t center solely around travel. If that sounds like you, then 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the Amex Gold Card. With up to $240 in Uber and dining credits, a massive welcome bonus, and some of the strongest bonus categories on the market, there’s a lot to like about this card.

Ethan Steinberg is an award travel expert who loves helping readers leverage their credit card rewards for luxurious international travel on a budget.

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardChase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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