Credit Cards

The American Express Gold card

There’s something exciting about getting a gold card – especially one that’s made of metal and not plastic – it has a certain heft to it and feels good hear it clang when you put down when paying for groceries or dinner.

That being said, you’re going to be paying a moderate price to carry around something like this in your wallet – $250 to be precise for a year of ownership.

Sign-up offer

The sign up offer is 60,000 MR points when you spend $4000 in 6 months ($667/mo on avg). At a valuation of 2CPP, you’re getting $1200 worth of travel which is a good 30% return on spend – however YMMV.

Bonus categories

4x back on restaurants (worldwide – including takeout and delivery) and US supermarkets (HEB, Kroger, Central Market included). 4X is capped on upto $25,000 in spend at supermarkets.

3x back on airline bookings made directly with the airline (not valid on bookings from third party resale websites).

All other as well as NON-US transactions earn a default rate of 1x (or 1 MR point per dollar spent). International transactions do not include foreign transaction fees.

Included credits

The Gold card offers two included credits offered over time. One being dining credits and the other being Uber credits.

Dining credits

$10/month on valid purchases made at Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can result in annual savings of up to $120/year. Enrollment is required on the AMEX portal.

My recommended hack for dining credits is to use GrubHub/seamless sign-up offers such as $10 off $15 or $15 off $20 first purchase.

Use a new email address to place an order from a nearby restaurant and pick it up so you don’t even have to pay the delivery fees. You effectively get a free meal for yourself and friends on the weekend once every month.

$120 Uber Credit

Whether you’re dining or riding, Uber and Gold deliver savings. Enjoy up to $120 in Uber Cash per year for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. Just add your Card to your Uber account and you’ll automatically receive $10 in Uber Cash every month.

Image result for amex uber eats gold card

Uber Eats Pass

Starting 26 October 2020, AMEX Gold will offer 12 months of free Uber Eats Pass which would otherwise cost $9.99/mo – helping you save on delivery charges and 5% off the order total every time you book.

The Points Calculator

You pay $250 but are reimbursed $120 (dining credits), $120 (airline credits), the Uber Eats membership charges (~$120). This means AMEX is paying you to keep the card. However, if you do not value the UE membership, then your true cost is $10 – which is a win in my books for the value you get in return.

The Value

Transfer partners of course! Eighteen Airline partners including the likes of Air France/KLM, Emirates, Delta, British Airways and Etihad amongst others.

Additionally you have hotel partners the likes of which include Marriot and Hilton (and all their properties).

Travel partners

To avoid paying additional cash and redeeming your points for your travel and stay of course!

I recently used the Chase portal to transfer 10,000 Bonus points to World of Hyatt and was able to redeem them for two nights at the Hyatt Place in Downtown Houston. The booking for three people (two queen size bed – room) including breakfast would’ve cost $777 had I paid for it. That’s a ¢7.77 per point redemption and a pretty good deal if you ask me.

Similar to transferring points out of the Chase portal, you may book Marriot properties for a weekend getaway or 3/4 night trips with the third or fourth night being free (depending on participating locations and resorts).

This is NOT a credit card, but a charge card.

Being a charge card, you are required to pay back the statement balance in full at the end of each month. No balance is to be carry forwarded and the interest APR is extremely high if you miss a payment. So please pay off whatever you owe immediately after it posts just to be on the safer side.

It may not affect your credit score negatively.

AMEX has a very different way of approving you for their cards in a way it does not, for some reason, involve a hard inquiry/pull if you’re an existing customer. You’re highly likely to be approved for this card if you have a score of 710 and above and have no negative marks already on your report.

Conclusion

Assuming all your spends are towards bonus categories, you can calculate how many points you earn and see if the benefits outweigh the costs. The big brother to the card is the Amex Platinum card which I’ll cover in a separate article.

I would recommend this card for one year after which you can close it assuming you utilized all the collected points either by booking directly on the AMEX travel website or transferring out to travel partners. If you spend a lot on dining out and eligible supermarkets, (more than $6,000) you actually stand to come out on top.

The second year of keeping the card will cost you only $10 [$250 Annual fee -$120 dining credits -$120 uber credits] but by knowing your expenses, you can easily justify the effective annual fee of $10.

Want access to American Express Membership Rewards but don’t want to pay an annual fee? Check out my article on the AMEX Everyday card here.

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