Bye For Now – Why the Amex Gold Is My Latest “One and Done” Card

This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

American Express Gold Cancellation

American Express Gold Cancellation

The American Express Gold, and the Premier Rewards Gold before it, have been reliable cards for many points and travel hobbyists for years.  The Gold generously rewards cardholders 4x Membership Rewards points in staple categories and provides ongoing benefits where cardholders can find more value.  For those reasons, my wife and I have consistently added more Golds to our collective portfolio, and we have held them longer than other Amex cards.  But over the past 12 months or so, our American Express Gold strategy has changed.  We’ve reached the point where we treat the Gold like other Amex “one and done” cards.  Today, I’ll share why we follow this strategy and how we finally reached this point with the Amex Gold.

American Express Gold

One and Done

Various card issuers, including Amex, provide cardmember bonus spend earning caps and other benefits based on calendar or cardmember years.  In general, calendar year-based items are preferable, since cardholders can obtain that benefit twice (or more) while being subject to just one annual fee.  After maximizing those benefits across multiple calendar years, cardholders can freely close a card after one card member year and not have to pay a second annual fee.  Attentive cardholders got everything they could out of the cards in one cardmember year, now they’re done.

With Amex, I’ve historically implemented this strategy with the Blue Cash Preferred (6% cash back categories), Everyday Preferred (4x categories), and Hilton Surpass ($15k annual free night cert big spend bonus).  Mark has also done similar with Amex cards.

American Express Gold

American Express Gold Finally Joins This Club

The primary driver for us holding multiple Amex Golds is the 4x earning on up to $25k annual spend at supermarkets.  We’ve done very well in this category over the years.  But based on other time-sensitive bonus earning opportunities, welcome offer priorities, and high spend methods, we haven’t been as disciplined in efficiently maxing out the $25k on each Gold card.  Historically, instead of rapidly meeting the $25k cap over a truncated timeframe, we’ve stretched out the $25k spend on these cards throughout the calendar year.

Last year, we decided that needed to change.  We refocused and decided to meet the 2022 $25k supermarket cap on each Gold card ASAP but ensured not to miss out on any other lucrative plays.  We were done in the first few months of the year.  Ever since, we’ve closed each Amex Gold card when the annual fee has come due, even if we were offered a retention bonus.

But Why Close?

Decreasing Value of Ongoing Benefits

The removal of the Amex Gold’s $100 airline fee credit years ago was the first shoe to drop here.  Finding benefit values to counter the $250 annual fee largely relies on cardholders using the $20 monthly credits ($10 each for Uber/Uber Eats and a dining credit including GrubHub, Shake Shack, Cheesecake Factory, etc).  Those monthly credits, especially the dining credit, have become more onerous over time.  At the end of each month, we’ve increasingly found ourselves with more credit than we need.  They’ve become more of a chore than a benefit.

Referral Offers Replace Retention Offers

We’ve received nice retention offers on our Amex Golds in the past which have ended up covering the annual fee, in some cases.  But those retention offers often had a spend requirement.  Spending to achieve that bonus, which may involve just 1x everyday earning, wasn’t optimal.

Luckily, we live in an Amex referral offer world.  By playing the points and travel hobby in two player mode with my spouse, we can receive referral offers on new card accounts, even if we held the cards before.  Instead of accepting a retention offer now, we’ll collectively benefit from a referral offer, often a similar amount, in the future.  Even better, a referral offer doesn’t have a spend requirement, unlike many retention bonuses.

As a reminder, referral offers are taxable, so everyone should take that into account.  And, of course, there’s no way of absolutely knowing if the referral offer amount is as good as the retention offer I would’ve otherwise received.  But the following additional benefit is more valuable in our situation, anyway.

American Express Gold Cancellation

Flexibility

I routinely remind myself that a lot in the hobby is out of my control.  I may have a plan for how I’ll spend in the future, but outside forces can change that.  New, superior promos may drive my spend to other cards, certain high spend methods change or disappear, etc.  Having $25k of 4x supermarket capacity is nice, but I won’t always need it.  But when the time’s right, I know I can relatively easily pick up another Gold.  By doing so, I’m avoiding paying annual fees for unnecessary periods and inconvenient card benefit conundrums with Uber, GrubHub, and others.

A Leaner Card Portfolio

This next item takes the benefits of flexibility to another level.  When Amex instituted a ten pay over time card limit a few years ago, I didn’t think I’d come close to hitting that ceiling often.  I was wrong, and happy to be so, based on the excellent no lifetime language offers I’ve received.  We’re at the point where we want capacity to obtain more of these offers without clogging up our portfolio with a bunch of unnecessary Golds.  And, in my view, many of these NLL offers are more lucrative than 4x at supermarkets.

Conclusion

Looking back, I probably should’ve paid better attention to our American Express Gold behavior earlier on.  But I’m glad we’ve gotten to the point of more efficiently holding Golds like other one and done Amex cards.  We’ve slimmed our Gold portfolio from five to three, and we’ll end up hitting zero later this year.  I must also concede that our Amex Gold plan isn’t bulletproof.  For instance, are we opening up ourselves for more Amex pop-ups?  We’re willing to absorb that perceived risk.

Will we return to the Gold?  Probably, but we’re not sure when.  Regardless, it’ll be on a timetable more convenient for us.  How do you maximize the Amex Gold in your situation?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

More Like This

29 COMMENTS

Responses 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.

29 COMMENTS

  1. @Retired Gambler Okay, now I know you’re full of it. I don’t believe anything you’ve ever said. Your actions and behavior just doesn’t measure up. You claim to be this high wealth retired “senior officer of 4 different national companies” yet your actions, the way you behave, and responses are that of a petulant child.

    What person of your claimed caliber would sit around on the internet and admit to wanting to annoy folks for the sake of doing it. Have you nothing better to do…unless you are, and I go back to what my original thought about you, a liar, broke, busted, and have nothing better.

    I wish this site captured IP address…it’d be really telling as to where you are cranking out your little hateful messages. Maybe they can…hmm. Bet you’re scrambling to launch a VPN now, right? Wouldn’t want anyone to find out your little secret or what whole you crawl out of everyday.

    • @2808 Heavy – Last response but need to clarify. All I state is true. Not trying to tick people off just amazed at the “angle shooting” to use a poker term and other stuff in the margins that people do the card companies never planned for.

      BTW in IT over 40 years before retiring so not worried about any of your BS techie talk (you are full of it). As for career was Chief Technology Officer of a national company and Chief Information Officer of 2 others (all SVP titles). I was also a partner of a national consulting firm. To top it off I had my own business for a while. I am a gambler and enjoy the World Series of Poker, including paying $10,000 to entire the main event.

      This is all true whether you want to accept it or not. Won’t be replying again regardless of what you post and will block or ignore any future posts from you

    • 2808 Heavy, I was thinking the same thing. The site likely does capture IP addresses. I also wonder if Retired Gambler is also Alan and Jackson and Ayenus, etc.

      It’s one thing to have open dialog. It’s another thing when a participant is stirring up poop.

    • The main reason I come here is to watch everybody beat up on each other. Heck sometimes even Mark throws a punch or two lol.

    • @CMorgan – LOL now why would I do that? Now I’m staying even longer just to annoy people like you.

      As stated, I am on here mainly for the Las Vegas video reports but I do find Benjy’s posts the most informative and usually very practical info. Most of the others are either reposts from other sites (I’ve usually already seen) or shilling for time share offers (ugh), encouraging people to join class action suits (you rarely get anything of value people and the ambulance chasers are the only ones making money), some offer that gets you $10-$20 (I don’t bend down to pick that up so why would I go to any effort) or various max spend scams.

      That said I can easily ignore the majority of these. I started with a very simple, honest question of why someone would charge $50,000 a year in grocery costs and apparently that is a well known scheme involving gift cards (which again I would never do).

      Sorry I’m in a different financial situation that many and have ethics that prohibit me from groveling (I don’t beg for retention offers either) or looking how to work the margins to get some small payback. I use my cards as intended and have more than enough spend to cover it so whatever you do is your business but I would never participate.

  2. It may not work at the volume you folks need, but I did a PC from Gold to Platinum. Got nearly the same offer as a new app and lower required spend. Didn’t get charged the full difference in AF either which I don’t get. When I’m done with the Platinum, maybe they’ll come out with an Unobtanium card or something to switch into.
    I’m doing organic spend only which keeps the old codgers happy!

  3. @2808 Heavy – not lying or trying to brag just stating facts. I’m retired but was senior officer of 4 different national companies. As to why I am here – live to travel and have been collecting points/miles since mid 80s. Follow OMAAT and VFTW plus God Save the Points (and some paid sites) for travel info and booking opportunities). On here mainly for the Las Vegas video blogs. Frankly not into scamming gift cards or chasing every $10-$20 offer (or going after time share offers or class action BS) like this site does.

    Frankly not a fit for me except for the Las Vegas info (long time active gambler and been to La Vegas over 100 times).

    Trust me my info so real but still find it odd and offensive that so many try to game or work the system for crumbs. Guess I’m lucky that doesn’t matter to me and would drop this site if not for the LV info from Mark and Shawn

    • @Retired Gambler Then why do you always feel the need to comment? Your negative reputation precedes you. Most of us around here know your position on this sort of topic…you make it VERY CLEAR every.single.time.

      And each and every time you get the same push back. So if you don’t care, why can’t you just leave others alone, let us get in trouble if that’s the end result, enjoy the content that you say you’re here for, and let us all go about this in the manner in which we choose?

      Obviously none of us are taking your advice, we’re not going to stop…the only thing you get is pushback in the comment section…unless that’s what you’re after anyway…and if so, wow, how miserable your life must be. And if that’s not what you’re going for…then just mind your business and leave others alone. What we do isn’t your business and minding your own business cost nothing.

      Stop trying to tell us what to do or shame us into doing things your way…it’ll never happen. Just let it go and enjoy the Vegas content you said you come here for and ignore articles like this one if you know it’s going to trigger your internal desire to be hateful towards other.

      Surely you have something better to do with your time than you bash folks on the internet for not going about this hobby the way *you* see fit.

      When Amex or any other bank gets tired of our shenanigans they’ll let us know…and there’s nothing you can do in the meantime so stop wasting your time and energy pushing your thoughts and opinions on us.

  4. @Retired Gambler While this site focuses on other things, a good amount of it is about maximizing credit card rewards and benefits. If you have all this money, and all the points and miles that you claim, WHY ARE YOU HERE?

    Shouldn’t you be off counting your coins, and reading stock reports, or standing in a mirror telling yourself how much better you are than the rest of society?

    ORRRR…are you just a liar, broke and busted, and just here to rain on others. You’re probably want to do what we do but don’t have the courage to do it so you sit behind the computer and nag thinking we’ll stop…but we won’t.

    I bet you’re broke…most who brag about having money usually have very little of it.

    There’s something to the phrase “misery loves company” and you go try to recruit with every post you make around such sites.

    With all your “money” shouldn’t you be on a yacht smoking an expensive cigar? NAAAHHH…I bet you’re sitting in your living room drinking a Milwaukee’s Best, chain smoking a pack of Newport menthols, typing out your hateful messages on your Android tablet with a cracked screen.

  5. Benjy, did you ever think a discussion thread on the Amex Gold Card would ever get as animated as one of Gary’s political meatball topics over at VFTW?

  6. Retired Gambler, it’s worth noting a few things. Amex receives multi-tier transaction data from stores. This data includes the item being purchased. Amex well knows when a gift card is purchased at a grocery store to earn 4X points. As a matter of practice, Amex will disgorge points earned in such a manner IF the purchases go towards meeting a sign-up bonus or retention bonus. However, as a matter of practice, Amex does not disgorge points earned in such a manner IF the purchases do not go towards meeting a sign-up bonus or retention bonus. All of this might change tomorrow but for now Amex tacitly permits it.

    This being said, Amex denies any points for gift card purchases at Simon Properties malls. Why them and not others? Amex has its reasons. Other card issuers and certain retailers have their practices regarding gift card sales. They have their reasons.

    While MS is not up my alley, I will not criticize those who do it.

  7. @Carl – so is everyone on this site a scam artist? Personally I have status and point from 35 years of business travel (8 million miles so lifetime on DL and AA plus lifetime Titanium on Marriott and Hilton Diamond among other statuse). Guess I am the evil rich 1% that is now retired and an run $150,000 minimum a year through my cards (and don’t sweat several w $500-$700 AFs) so don’t need a o game the system or try to squeeze out 1% on gift cards. I have a high 7 figure stock portfolio that gives me all I want but you guys want to gravel for nickels and dime go for it – not my style but I don’t beg or scam

    • No, people here are not scam artists, but someone who persistently brags about their spending, how much they make, the size of their portfolio, etc… well, that person seems to me to be a rude braggart at the very least, and more likely a blowhard who probably isn’t nearly as rich as he says. That kind of bragging is not considered by most to be very polite in public conversation.

      Reminds me of “John Barron” who would try to plant news stories about himself under his real name. I’ll let you google that up yourself.

    • To answer the question that you pose to 2808 Heavy:

      Many readers on this site are not in your situation. They don’t have the financial resources to earn as many points from organic spending. They are everyday people. For them, $100 here and there is meaningful. And, they are trying to take advantage of permissible opportunities. Let me emphasize “permissible.” Referring to my other comments, Amex well knows what’s going on. And, if Amex didn’t tacitly permit it, Amex would shut these individuals down. And, if Amex knows and doesn’t shut these individuals down, it would be incorrect and unfair to call the practice a scam.

      It is distasteful for the evil one percent to lord their wealth over others . . . especially when it is lorded over the virtuous one percent of one percent.

      To call everyone on this site a scam artist is also incorrect and unfair. You know not of whom you speak. I’m a business owner. I’ve busted my butt for years. Every single dime that goes into travel comes out of my pocket. Every single point came from a bona fide purchase. The amount of annual spend you claim is not even what I spend at some hotels. So, perhaps, stow the characterizations.

      So, why am I on this site? I have an appreciation for the community’s ingenuity.

  8. @2808 Heavy – why are people so cheap or such grifters they feel they need to game the system? That is the real question.

    • One might also ask, Why are there people who come to a page and post something they KNOW will ire people, then keep prolonging the argument disagreeing with what everyone else says, and wishing bad on people he doesn’t even know?

      • Carl, here’s your answer: one elected leader made “in your face” a matter of public policy and the social norm.

        ” . . . in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”

        “The essential [] leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness . . . follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

  9. @Lee – I call it scamming and hope everyone that does it has their account closed and points/miles lost. iMHO you use credit cards for regular spend (as I do to the time of $150,000 a year) and shouldn’t ever try to game the system. You just risk losing everything and ruining it for the rest of us

    • And you are entitled to have that opinion.

      Would you also call offer-stacking a scam? Say, Dell has a 10 percent off sale. Amex has an offer of $100 off for a purchase of $500 or more. The Business Platinum offers $200 Dell statement credit semi-annually. The Business Platinum gives 1.5X points for Dell purchases. Is that gaming the system? Or, is that a permissible practice?

      Consider a family struggling to make ends meet. So, they buy a Sunday paper and clip coupons. I’ve seen an extreme coupon mom buy over $1000 of groceries for under $10. Is that gaming the system? Or, is that a permissible practice?

      • Sorry! Coupon Mom is not permitted to save money because she does not have a 7 figure brokerage account or spend 150k on groceries annually. Off to jail with her! (Sarcasm as if you couldn’t tell)

  10. Retired Gambler is the type of guy that watches Frosty the Snowman and cheers for the sun.

    If I ever get to the point I’m so bitter in life that I cheer for the demise and hardship of others, PLEASE just put me out of my misery.

  11. @Carl – so a scam. I have zero sympathy for max spend and other scams. I have probably 12-14 credit cards w around $3000 in AF. I run $150,000 a year through them with regular spend and don’t think anyone should game the system. I get happy every time I read about clawbacks or shutdowns of those that do. Just use the cards as planned for regular spend and you won’t run into problems. Not really that hard.

    • You yell at the kids to get off your lawn, too? You don’t like doing MS, fine, but enjoying when others get shut down when they do not harm you in any way? Whatta grump.

  12. Just curious and maybe I’m clueless on max spend or other similar such approaches but how (and why) can you max $25,000 in groceries (and I assume you have at least 2 cards so $50,000). I have a gold card and usually spend $1500 or so a month on it between groceries and restaurants. I mean $25,000 a year is $500 a week on groceries which seems crazy. Is this some max spend scheme or do you actually spend that much on groceries?

    BTW I’m fine w reasonable caps since I hate to see people scam the system.

    • Pretty obvious to me on the face of it. Gift Cards and a method to liquidate those same cards.

      I wish I had one here near to where I live but while getting the gift cards is easy, liquidating them around here is not.

    • It’s called manufactured spending.
      The value of the points for the purchase of gift cards is greater than the activation fee on gift cards.
      I’ve never gone down that road.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

7,703FansLike
16,125FollowersFollow
36,600SubscribersSubscribe

  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up


  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!