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The Amex Gold Dining Credit Is Useless. There, I Said It.

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useless Amex Gold dining credit

The Useless Amex Gold Dining Credit

What’s worse than a credit card with no benefits? A credit card with pointless benefits. Much of what the American Express Platinum and American Express Gold cards offer is pointless. The cards offer credits for services I don’t use and at companies I rarely, if ever, shop at. This even applies to their monthly restaurant credit. The useless Amex Gold dining credit doesn’t get much love from me.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat out, and do so more than my budget would like sometimes. But the idea that I get any real value out of the Amex dining credit is laughable.

Amex Dining Credit: Breakage Galore

All the various credits offered by the Amex Gold and Platinum cards make my eyes cross at this point. Its hard to keep track of them. I’ve used some of the annual and semi-annual credits, such as the Dell credit on the Business Platinum and the airline credits at times. But in general, the bulk of them go unused.

It’s always one of two things: either the credit is for something I wouldn’t buy on my own, or it’s handed out in tiny pieces a la the dining and Uber credits. Rather than offer you a flat credit for the whole year, Amex gives you $10 at a time.

So, I pretty much never recoup the $695 annual fee. I like many of the Amex Platinum Card benefits, and the earning rate of the Amex Gold card on groceries is steller. But I just can’t justify the fee next to the benefits. I thought I’d be able to use the Amex dining credit a handful of times during my cardmember year, but it has proven to not be the case.

Why I Find the Amex Dining Credit Useless

Given that I travel more than a few times per year, I figured I’d be able to use the dining credits. I end up using more than half of the Uber credits. But I’ve concluded differently. The useless Amex Gold dining credit has overwhelmingly gone unused.

You might be thinking: “dude, just plan a dinner out.” It’s not that simple. Amex restricts you to only a handful of merchants: the Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly,, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. It’s not like everyone has a Shake Shack or Cheescake Factory around the corner.

There is all of one Grubhub restaurant within 15 miles of me. So that’s not even an option locally. Plus, after my last few food delivery experiences, I also pass on these, unless work is paying. It’s not worth the extra fees and hassle. The last time I considered Grubhub was in Oahu, and we walked across the street to Dominos instead. That’s what I stooped to, rather that use food delivery.

I have no need or desire to try to use the credit at the other online options.

All said and done, the Amex Dining Credit isn’t on my radar, even as the card has occupied my wallet for early an entire year. I’ve even skipped the Uber credit, when a Lyft ride was less than Uber, even factoring in the credit.

useless Amex Gold dining credit

Right, There Was That One Time We Used It

Our trip to Seattle last summer was the only time I used the credit. My sons and I spent a few days in the Emerald City, seeing some of the iconic sights and catching a Sounders game. I figured this was my chance to use the Amex Gold dining credit.

So, for lunch one day, we walked several blocks to a Shake Shack location. It was a good lunch, but the prices surprised me. Even after the $10 credit, I spent about as much as I would have at Chipotle or other fast casual restaurants. Not so helpful.

The boys did enjoy the food. But I regretted the choice. It would have been easier to simply find a restaurant close to where we were rather than go 15 minutes out of our way to try to use a $10 credit.

What Would Make the Amex Dining Credit Actually Useful

If American Express changed the credit to something like once a quarter for $30, that I’d actually consider using. It would give me the flexibility to work it into travel plans, and enough to ensure we get a free, or at least mostly free, meal. Having $30 for a Shake Shack lunch in Seattle would have been far better.

$10 goes almost nowhere these days. And when you’re restricted to only a handful of options, it’s useless. Worse than useless, since it takes up my mental space when I think, “oh yeah, I should try to use that benefit.”

So now I don’t even try.

Final Thoughts

My Amex Gold card will be getting the axe in the next two months when I hit my first year. It’s simply not worth the $250 annual fee, the useless Amex Gold dining credit being a main culprit.

The longer I’ve been in this hobby, the more I like simple cards. I pick a few cards to fill my wallet, and I pretty much forget about the rest. I’ll gladly take ones with annual credits that are worth the fees, such as free hotel nights. But those live in the desk drawer.

It’s the ones with monthly credits that drive me nuts. I’d rather the Amex Gold card drop its annual fee by $75 and also drop the dining credit. Would be an improvement.

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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Ian Snyder
Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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. The card is only useful for metropolitan residents with Uber/Grubhub restaurants close to them. if you have to go out of your way to use the credits, it is not worth getting or keeping. you are better off saving $250/yr and going with CapOne Savor One for the Uber benefits or Citi Custom Cash for 5% cashback on groceries.

  2. I agree as well regarding all of Amex’s credits, both Gold and Platinum. I cannot justify Amex Platinum’s $695 annual fee with any of their silly credits and I have tried using them for the last two years (airline fee, as much lounges as I can get into, and all the other dumb ones – Saks).

    I called Amex to downgrade/cancel and they did offer me a generous retention bonus b/c they know the credits are absolutely trash. I will be canceling the Platinum card next year since I have already received the retention bonus points and redeemed them for international business class tickets to Europe.

  3. As they say… ‘To each his (their) own.’
    Thanks for your article Ian. Keep them coming.
    In my situation those dining credits were extremely difficult to use if not totally worthless. Offered no retention so I cancelled the Gold last month. A big hoorah for those living where these credits are redeemable!

    • Likely gonna be in your shoes in June. Amex has yet to offer me a good retention offer for a MR-earning card.

  4. I used to let this credit expire all the time, but I found a good use with picking up GrubHub. Picking up a dessert in person is just about $10, so free dessert twice a month (w/ P2’s card) is nice.

    • Ironically, I’m gonna give Grubhub a whirl tonight for Mountain Mike’s pizza since I’ll be close to the place anyway. We’ll see if it’s worth a $10 credit.

  5. Amex cards are just coupon books. It is frustrating and totally understand when people close accounts. I closed some too because it wasn’t beneficial.

    One option could be getting a retention bonus. It is sometimes weird that they don’t give something around the renewal time but mich later, even mid year.
    Of course that is best asked when you have the organic spending.

    • My lack of sufficient organic spending is likely what keeps me from being offered solid retention bonuses.

  6. The ability to use a dining credit predisposes that a person lives somewhere near ample dining establishments. Not hard stuff. 68% of the people in the country live in a metro area of 600K people or more. Everyone of those metro areas probably has 50+ grubhub dining opportunities. (The top 30 metro areas (46.5% of the population) each have 100+ Grubhub locales) Don’t live/work in the middle of nowhere, and it will be much easier to use the credit.

  7. “The longer I’ve been in this hobby, the more I like simple cards.” Bravo for coming to this realization for your situation.

  8. The local Shake Shack gets a visit from me most months. They occasionally run promotions, such as BOGO shakes or burgers. If anything, it offers a fun reason to get a shake with the kiddo. I do agree the prices are high for what you get.

    If I miss using the credit during a month, I do not lose any sleep over it.

  9. This article is 100% on point about the Amex credits. I’ve had the Gold and Platinum cards for almost a year and they really need to move to quarterly credits if not annual. It requires a spreadsheet to track these credits especially with my wife and I owning both products. We use the Uber credits diligently with pickup UberEats but agreed that all the delivery services are worthless due to high fees. Food is expensive already, and the convenience is not worth doubling that cost.

  10. this guy said, “it doesn’t work for my lifestyle” so i’m going to deem it as a useless feature for everyone else. lol grow up, bro spent hours of his day writing an article complaining about a credit card perk. If it doesn’t work for you then don’t renew it. I on the other hand take advantage of grubhub PICK UP. No delivery fees, nada. A panda plate for $9.60? Perfect. A free lunch every month.

  11. Capital One Savor definitely seems better. Free Uber one and 10% back on all Uber or Uber eats. All for free are only $95 annual fee depending on which card you pick. Unfortunately they’re domestic transfer partners are weak.

  12. I never use the dining credit. Going out of your way to save $10 on a meal is ridiculous. But there’s no way the Uber credit should not be used. Even if there’s a month where I don’t take any Ubers, I’ll just order something with Uber eats.

  13. WOW

  14. The uber credits are manageable, but i agree the dining credit is a hassle. I live relatively close to a shake shack and a cheesecake factory (in fact they are in the same mall parking lot) but it’s far enough it’s a pain. If I remember I’ll use it for a grubhub pickup. If grubhub added jimmy johns I could get more use from it, but i try to get a burrito once a month. I just a cheap guy food delivery is off my radar and I forget about it. With the near death of vgc to money order. The gold holds a lot less value than it once did.msybe I just need some more info on what still works. Lol

  15. Useless to you, Ian.

    I use both dining credits every month for pickup orders along my commute. Free food with little to no effort.

  16. Ian, to your point about the number of cards, I came across a comment to an article a while back that suggested it only takes three cards for a person (given one’s spending pattern) to get about 90+ percent of the theoretical maximum points (if one had all cards and used the best card for each purchase). One simply has to pick the right three cards. I went through that exercise and found it applied to my circumstances. I have only three cards in my wallet. That’s it.

    While not for others, the Business Platinum is the most valuable card in my wallet.

    • PS – Agreed regarding the Gold Card’s statement credits. But, if you did only one referral per year and received 30k Amex points and nothing more, that alone would cover the annual fee. (I don’t hold the Gold Card.)

      • Just getting the 4x points on restaurants and groceries makes this card worth it, I’m pretty sure the uber money also doesn’t evaporate l. So I use the credits easily on one vacation.

    • If I had to pick a three card wallet, Citi Premier, Amex BBP, and Chase Ink Preferred would open up all the options. But I’d hate having no hotel cards.

    • The credits are used by young people who live and play in a metro area. Suburban family life living where you commute by car everywhere doesn’t fit well. It must be who they want.
      Certainly many of the utube and other points people fit that description when they post.

  17. On the flip side its no effort for me to use the grubhub and uber eats credits since there are plenty of restaurants around me that I can use. When I first read this article I was shocked by the assertion but then when the author said there is only 1 grubhub restaurant that reminds me that food delivery service is really a urban big city thing. So it makes sense. For me it’s am easy $240 credit since at least several times /month I do a quick lunch run/pickup to use my credit. That and the amex offers alone gets me ahead of the cc game.

    • I know people seem to use Amex offers a lot…it’s a rare year where I get more than $500 in real value across all my Amex cards.

  18. I’m dropping the Gold this month unless Amex gives me an exceptional retention offer. I have noticed several 0% offers out there. I signed up for one that offers 0% for a year, $150 bonus and 2% cash back on purchases. Going to spend $2,000/month, pay the minimum, let the balance accumulate, and put the money in a savings account now paying 4-5% interest. I will pay it all in a year and after netting at least $1,100, all told. I will watch to see how my credit score is affected, but it is high enough so as not to be a concern for me.

    • amEx may offer to let you keep it for free. That’s what they did for us when we cancelled after the first year of the Delta Am Ex Platinum because we didn’t get anything out of it either. Chase sapphire reserve a better fit for our situation, Amex worthless.

      • Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t give you anything for Groceries.
        At the CSR, be sure to compare any travel purchases through Chase Portal with travel portal like skyscanner. I have seen overpriced rental cars and even hotels on Chase especially if you want to use the Reserve card.

  19. “ACinCLT “ You are ridiculous: and most likely an AX employee (PR Dept). This was an excellent article and spot on. I am an AX card Number since 1989 I have canceled both my gold cards and two platinum cards. They simply aren’t worth the time and headache. I will be using my Cap one Venture X and CITI AA executive world MasterCard. I may go ahead and get the CSR.

    • How I wish I could get a Venture X. It would fit me well. But I’ve gotten too many other cards recently.

  20. I’ve dumped them all
    Platinum biz and consumer gold etc
    The only card I like is the premium Hilton card and If you don’t stay Hilton it’s useless too
    Getting rid of the premium Marriott card too the Marriott300 dollar credit is now yet another dining credit.Total PITA
    I hate their airline credits too worthless for elite members that get free seat assignments
    I’d argue chase & Citibank depending on the card are all vastly superior
    And Citibank shines with disputes unlike Amex
    Amex once was the standard all other providers should aspire too
    The once mighty has fallen in more ways then just mAking it harder to reap their once good benefits
    I don’t want to follow the herd to get a meager monthly credit
    To each their own

    • I’d like to get the Hilton surpass again now that my status finally expired. Amex BBP gets some love, but I do spend more with Chase. Less with Citi these days.

  21. Today agree! Annual fee should be hitting next month I will close it. I dislike being limited to what restaurants I can use it at. Silly not to just give us the $10 as a general restaurant credit period! The Uber credit I dislike because ride sharing is not as available as it was before the pandemic. Sometimes I can’t even get an Uber ride period or takes 10 minutes to locate a driver! I find the credit useless it should be a general credit for travel and that could be convincing for me to keep it. Bu AmEx makes it challenging to use the credits. I’m done and looking forward to sharing why I have decided to close it. I will only get the gold again if they give me a bonus if not not the cost is not worth it. I agree with the post that if you spend $6k in groceries and/or travel a year then you break even. That’s why I keep my husband’s AmEx Gold. Only one in the family needed. That’s just because of the grocery option if not I’d close my husband’s too! But 4x at groceries is nice plus Xmas/general gift cards I spend $500-$1000 a year. I don’t make it hard works for the GC it’s just the usual we would spend a year so I’ll just go to the grocery store and get the GC there!

  22. Sounds like location is your issue. I mean the $10 Uber cash just like GrubHub goes towards a pick up nela where you don’t pay those extra fees. $10 covers all or most quick serve places. It’s essentially free lunch or I heavily just kind of lunch twice a month…

    I don’t use the platinum because my home airport is ORD. United / American is always cheaper out of this hub than Delta, there’s no centurion Club & PP lounges are embarrassing within the United States.

    • Pick up is the way to go. I may even give that a whirl if I’m close to the one restaurant. Betting the pizza will be garbage, though.

      • I primarily use pick up, don’t want to pay a lot more than the $10.
        I am fortunate to have non-junk food places in walking distance.

  23. Totally agree, i went out of my way to a shake shack a couple months ago. Not impressed for the price. I dont use grubhub, all the credit would do is offset the delivery fee anyway. I applied for the everyday preferred and got the popup. AMEX Gold is gone as soon as everything clears and i transfer the points. Freedom Flex just became my grocery card for the first year.

  24. Thank you for saying it. I downgraded to the Green card since I didn’t want to eat garbage food. Although, I miss the Centurion lounge. I can’t cancel the green since I have a long credit history for the charge card.
    My life is much simpler without having to worry if I use the credits.

    I wish Amex had a charge card like the Amex BB+ that gave 2x points but not all these monthly credits.

  25. I dropped the Platinum Personal for this reason – I was tired of navigating the world’s most expensive Entertainment coupon book. I use the Uber credit, but not the Dining credit – that’s just not how I do meals. I like the 4x points on dining out and grocery, so for now it’s worthwhile. I reconsider every year, though.

  26. I have both Gold and Platinum. I don’t go for anything at all. All those credits for Uber, restaurant credit, gym membership and any other credit or savings go unused. I don’t even care for miles..
    I am not as organized as all the people who commented on this issue. Call me lazy, call me stupid but I am not penny pinching. It is very confusing and I don’t want to be more confused.
    I get cards for welcome bonus And as soon as I get a chance I use the miles for upgrading my flights. Case closed.

  27. I grab a $10 Cheesecake Factory GC every month and then my wife and I go out to dinner every couple of month and it defrays most of the cost. But sometimes I wonder if it’s worth my hassle and time for $10

  28. It’s pretty easy to get value out of the Amex Platnium. I mean that statement was pretty much trash because basically you are not trying. I have the Gold and 10 a month in Uber is easy to turn it ino a $130 card. Using the dining credit every once in awhile and I’m a frequent grocery and restaurant guy so the card pays for itself. Yep click bait article.

  29. It really sounds like you’re going out of your way to use these credits when you say you make a point to do something once a month. Ask yourself if it wasn’t for the gold card, would you really be eating a Jersey’s, and I think you would conclude you’re getting far less than $120 value from your GrubHub credit.

  30. I guess the card is not for you.
    And I don’t mean you have a personal issue.
    You have an American Express issue.

  31. Not sure where you stay but for someone like me staying in CHI suburbs Grubhub delivery n pickup is common n easily available. I guess it’s the case for all major US cities n surroundings

  32. For me it’s the Amex Gold Card’s $10 monthly Uber credit that is pretty useless. The main occasion to use it is when taking an Uber to the airport instead of driving and parking in a lot. Since I don’t fly but maybe twice a year (and generally prefer to drive/park), the credit has little value in my situation.

    OTOH, there is a Cheesecake Factory right next to my gym, so I can always buy a (monthly) slice of cheesecake to go after a workout, lol.

    But the 4-points-per-dollar on restaurant and grocery spending is the primary reason to keep the Amex Gold card (assuming you can put $500 or more per month of such spending on it). If this fits your use case, you’re golden and if not, it’s an expensive metal card.

    • I agree completely. I rarely use the dining credit, use the Uber credit somewhat more frequently but charge all of my groceries and dining on the Gold card. I also take advantage of offers and usually can get the annual fee down fairly well with those plus the Uber credit.

    • Cheescake and a workout. A match made in heaven.
      If I didn’t have other options (5% cards for $3k spend per year, Citi Premier) it’d make sense. As it stands, the opportunity cost of not having it is rather low.

    • My wife and I buy a 7-inch cheesecake each month from the Cheesecake Factory and use the Uber Eats credit to pick up takeout from our favorite deli.

  33. I use grubhub once a month and pickup my order on my way home work instead of having it delivered. It works for me and I don’t have to pay delivery fees and tip.

  34. “There is all of one Grubhub restaurant within 15 miles of me.” I think that the real name of this credit should be Grubhub credit, because that’s what it pretty much is. It’s very useful if Grubhub is strong in your area, and useless if it’s not. No need to write an entire article about it. My wife and I both have AMEX Gold cards and we use our 2 x $10 per month within the 1st week of every month (as we easily order from Grubhub 2 x week).

    • I would guess most people use it for Grubhub. At least you have some options. Well…unless you’re in my situation.

  35. Where do you live such that there’s only one GrubHub restaurant? I’ve lived in cities and suburbs and they all have dozens to choose from. In the suburbs, you might have to drive to pick up one, but that statement is obvious and redundant. I don’t think Amex’s Gold card is targeted to people who live 50 miles away from the nearest city where there is only one strip mall with chain restaurants? I’m sure plenty of wealthy people nonetheless meet those conditions but their target with this card is clearly people who dine out frequently (and secondarily grocery shop), not people who are simply wealthy. You might not be the target market; you might just be slipping in under the grocery category which by their suggestion (annual limit & the fact that there are no additional grocery benefits beyond earn rate) is secondary.

  36. I can not agree more than I do with this entire article. Totally accurate. I have been loyal AMEX since 1992, but over the next 2 years, gonna trim down to likely just the Biz Plus and whatever great SUB I can get, which ain’t many of them now unless a really good NLL offer. Next Premium card looks to be Cap 1 VX.

    • I’m at the point where I’m looking for a friend to be an Amex Platinum AU for ~$100 until I get another premium card with lounge access. Blue Biz Plus is a keeper. I’ll be in the market for sign-up bonuses as well.

  37. Quit whining. If you don’t value the cards just drop them. As for me I get value from the dining credits on both my Amex Platinum and Gold cards. Between them I get $25/month Uber. Not using Uber for rides as much so do Uber Eats once a month (I select pickup to get it fresh and avoid delivery fees). As for the $10 general credit I assign it to Grubhub and use it to order a Jersey Mike’s sub once a month. Total is like $12 so bet is $2.

    You are either lazy or just posting clickbait. I get much more value from my Amex Platinum and Gold cards (and my CSR among others) than the annual fee. It really isn’t hard. Again if you don’t value the credit drop the card but do waste your time blogging about something like this.

    • I found this valuable! I’m sometimes tempted by the AMEX offer, but then read something like this and realize it wouldn’t be worth the money for me.

    • AC-in-CLT, It is unfortunate that you chose to take such a negative tone. “Lazy and why are you whining” wasn’t needed.

      I’m glad that you see the benefits in this card. I however; agree with the author of this article and others who have commented. More, there is a pattern with card issuers who are trying to make it difficult to use their benefits while at the same time raising the annual fee.

      Kindness is a virtue

    • LOL why do you care if he blogs about anything he feels like blogging? If you don’t like it then QUIT READING…it’s simple, you don’t have to waste time reading or responding to anything he posts, why can’t you follow your own advice and mind your own business…


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