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I’m on record as not really liking the American Express Gold Card all that much because I find a number of its benefits to be too restrictive or simply too much of a hassle to use effectively but, thanks, to a particular upcoming change, the Gold Card looks like it just got a lot more interesting.
American Express Gold Card – Headine Info
Annual fee of $250
Standard Welcome Bonus
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. Restaurants
- 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually)
- 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines and amextravel.com
A $120 annual dining credit – up to $10 per month in statement credits when the Amex Gold Card is used at any of the following dining partners:
- Participating Shake Shack locations
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
A $100 airline fee credit per year for incidental expenses like baggage fees at one selected airline of the card member’s choice
$75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon check-in, when available, when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights at hotels in Amex’s Hotel Collection.
No foreign transaction fees
From the day this card was rebooted I haven’t been able to understand the thinking behind Amex’s decision to charge $250 for the card while restricting the dining category earnings to US establishments only.
In a world where cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige card both allow card holders to earn significant numbers of points at restaurants worldwide it seems odd to release a premium credit card which restricts cardholders to such an extent.
Well, it looks like Amex has seen the error of its ways as the restriction on dining earnings is about to be lifted.
Travel With Grant has noticed that a recent American Express credit card statement mentioned a number of changes coming to various credit cards and among these was this one:
Effective 6 June 2019 Card Members with an American Express Gold Card will be eligible to earn three (3) additional points (for a total of four (4) points) at restaurants worldwide
All the other earning rates and restrictions are being kept in place (so Amex Gold Card holders will still only earn bonus points at US supermarkets) but the embargo on earning bonus points at restaurants outside the US is about to end.
This is very good news and it’s good to see that American Express is capable of retinking what was a poor decision from the start.
I spend a lot of time away from the US so the fact that the card restricted me from earning points on dining while I travel made it a non-starter for me.
The annoying way the airline, hotel, and dining credits work have done a good job of putting me off the card but it was the restriction on the dining earnings that really sealed the deal for me and made sure that I put the card to the back of my mind – now I may have to have a rethink.
Something To Look Out For
A lot of people have been reporting that one of the bigger annoyances of using the American Express Gold card in the US has been that the bonus points due on dining spend haven’t been posting correctly for a significant number of eateries so, as this issue is apparently due to the way some establishments are recognized by Amex’s systems (the system doesn’t think they’re restaurants), it will be interesting to see just how successfully international spend gets credited with the bonus points due.
I suggest cardholders should check their statements carefully and contact Amex as soon any errors become apparent.
I still wish American Express would do something about the highly restrictive dining credit and I’d much prefer it if the hotel credit wasn’t only valid on Amex Travel purchases but, nevertheless, I have to give credit where credit is due – this is a good move from Amex.
Amerian Express has done well to reverse a restriction that should never have been implemented in the first place and it makes its Gold Card offering a lot more attractive to people like me who travel a lot and spend quite a bit on dining abroad.