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Fool’s Gold – This Amex Card Ain’t What It Used To Be

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American Express Gold
This is where I exit the Amex Gold.

All information about the American Express Gold card has been collected independently by Miles to Memories.

American Express Gold

I still have more fun with Amex than any other card issuer out there.  While many banks deserve our attention, they all have limitations.  For us, Amex deserves most of the former due to minimal of the latter.  But we won’t (and can’t) do everything – with Amex or anything else.  And so it is with the American Express Gold card.  I’ve previously explained why we periodically get out of the Gold game.  It’s a card that can deserve attention, but maybe not all the time.  But as years have passed, it’s clear to my wife and I that the Amex Gold isn’t near as outstanding as it used to be.  Today, I’m discussing why.

The Highest-Maintenance Amex Card?

What some call (I don’t) the coupon booking of Amex cards is nothing new.  Putting more responsibility on individuals to get value for the annual fees they pay is just part of the deal now.  And doing so with the Gold requires more attention, more often than maybe any other Amex card.

In return for the $250 annual fee, the American Express Gold piecemeals two monthly $10 credits – Uber and Dining.  We’ve found the Uber one easier to use than the Dining one.  Amex Gold (and Platinum) Uber credits easily combine and are used first with existing Uber gift card balances.  The Dining credit takes a bit more effort to maximize, since it’s only good at a select few outlets we rarely visit.  Both require our attention and action each month to consume.  Other Amex cards’ benefits need those, but we’ve felt it most intensely with the Gold.

American Express Gold

4x?  I Shall Pass.

Earning 4x Membership Rewards in staple categories like supermarkets and dining was previously more attractive than it is now.  Other cards and plays compete with or surpassed (ahem) that for us, often without an annual fee.  For instance, we like the ability earn 3.75% cash back on the no-fee Bread Rewards Amex from Comenity in those (and other) categories.  Interestingly, certain Amex plays (including a current one) drive spend to cards other than the Gold.  And consumers have plenty of other options, including these.  I haven’t significantly spent in either of those categories with the American Express Gold in a year or so.

Other Priorities

Not even a best-ever retention offer on an American Express Gold can keep us around.  Amex’s own card limitations mean we prioritize the Gold much lower now.  Remember, Amex generally holds individuals to limits of five credit cards and ten pay over time cards.  When one couples these rules with the outstanding opportunities with other Amex products, the Gold is much easier to jettison.  This certainly isn’t a complaint – it says more about how much Amex keeps our attention across all of their products.  But we only have so much of that, and less of it is on the Gold these days.

Time For A Refresh?

Selfishly, I think it’s time for Amex to shake things up.  Refreshing the Gold with a new set of earning and/or benefit schemes could bring us back.  But my gut tells me we won’t see that any time soon.  Over the years, the Gold has perhaps become the go-to premium card for supermarket and dining spend for casual spenders.  That’s a huge group of people, probably enough who are paying the $250 annual fee.  They’re happy enough with the current benefits or oblivious.

The only change which wouldn’t surprise me is an annual fee increase of the American Express Gold along with a benefits refresh putting more responsibility on cardholders to consume.  In other words, this would be pretty much the same type of refresh many other Amex cards have received over the past couple years.

American Express Gold
I probably have a trunk full of cancelled American Express Gold cards.

American Express Gold Card – Conclusion

When we became Amex Goldless before, I also talked about our willingness to return to the product.  And we did.  But now, I don’t see us picking up another Amex Gold in its current state.  Will Amex do something to change our minds?  I don’t think so.  The Gold is such a powerhouse for Amex’s portfolio that they probably don’t feel a need to additionally incentivize it any time soon, certainly not enough for my wife and me.

How are you feeling about the American Express Gold card these days?

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.

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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.

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.


  1. You can criticize Benjy regarding the value derived as cash back vs. transferable points. But, you don’t know what Benjy’s personal objectives are. To a person who is awash in transferable points, the value of the incremental point (which might never be used) is little . . . and cash back presents the higher value TO THAT PERSON. Allow Benjy that.

    As a note, Amex’s CFO has said that they seek to refresh each card about every 3 to 4 years. As the card landscape has evolved, individual cards need to adapt. That’s all Benjy is saying. For example, I’ll put business expenses on an uncapped Citi Double Cash as opposed to the capped Amex Blue Business Plus.

  2. It’s definitely my go-to for groceries and my local farm delivery as well. Thankfully it codes as 4x each week. So I can net about 30-40k miles a year just off of groceries alone for my family. I wish they would increase the uber credit since I use them when we travel monthly. It was my first Amex card ever so it does hold some nostalgia when I got it it was the 3/2/1 card. I wish they would add gas stations back as a category.

  3. I love site!! I have the AmEx gold personal and I get my $250 annual fee back in points even if it’s a bit of just over the $250 fee. Agree with you that the 250 is worth more secretly!!! I don’t use the ride share much! Before Covid ride share was reliable now it symbols and I live in a big city. I’ll use that benefits can’t 2x a year when I’m traveling. The restaurant credit I’m going to do what you do! I rarely use it bc of the limited rest choices. I just got the Amex Gold biz 3 days ago bc of the 150k bonus offer. I can live with the fee for that bonus. I’ll use the rest credit as you’ve suggested!! I was going to let it go to waste! Note that’s $30 monthly combined that can make a dent in the delivery meal! Ty!!!

  4. I couldn’t disagree with you more. It’s my favorite card out of over 50 cards between my wife and I. Frankly, I would expect and understand a view like this from a layman, but not from miles and points enthusiast who should know that 4 Amex MR points are worth way way way more than 4% when used properly on business class fares to Europe and Asia. So yeah, the $2-4k of grocery and restaurant spending we put on the Gold every month makes us way more than any other card on the market. And I have no problem using Uber Eats credits or Grub Hub credits, especially given that I now combine them with Grub Hub cards that I buy at Staples every month using the $20 credits on our Business Gold card.

    • I’m glad you’ve found a Membership Rewards redemption which is proper for you, Jason. It just happens to be absolutely useless in my situation. Both can be true. Happy redeeming!


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