The points and miles game has always been volatile, with most of the changes chipping away value. After all, credit card companies are in it to make money. In 2018, however, American Express refreshed its Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card, introduced a slew of new benefits, and renamed it the Gold Card.
I was on the fence about joining the points and miles race until this time. As soon as I saw the improved earnings structure and attractive welcome bonus (50K points at the time – you can get much more today), I submitted my application, and my new Gold Card was delivered by UPS a few days later.
Nearly five years later, the American Express Gold Card remains my go-to card for just about everything (ie grocery and dining out 😅). It is my top credit card recommendation for those getting started with points and miles.
Attractive Sign-Up Bonus
The first rule in the points and miles game is to make sure you get an attractive Sign-Up Bonus (SUB). This is sometimes referred to as a Welcome Bonus. When American Express refreshed the Gold Card, they were offering 50,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points and a $100 statement credit (in the form of 20% cash back on dining purchases, up to $500 in spend). Today, I’ve seen that offer as high as 75,000 and even 100,000 points! Wow!
If you’re like me, that is a lot of money to charge…
So, how do you earn the bonus without going into debt? Use your Gold Card for all of your everyday purchases instead of your debit card. Then, just pay your Amex bill in full when the statement is generated. You won’t pay a penny in interest.
If you’re worried that your normal monthly expenses won’t meet the minimum spend requirements, ask your landlord if you can charge your rent. While you may have to pay a small fee, the value of the bonus is worth much more (50K Amex points are worth anywhere between $300 and $750, depending on how you use them).
Amex Gold Point Earning Structure
After you’ve earned your initial sign-up bonus, it’s time to focus on maximizing your daily spend. How do you do that? Well…
The Gold Card offers point multipliers for the following categories:
- 4X Points at Restaurants Worldwide
- 4X Points at U.S. Supermarkets
- 3X Points on flights booked directly with airlines
Use your Gold Card for those purchases.
If you’re not at a restaurant or grocery store, feel free to use a different card. Are you still paying your rent with your Amex? Switch back to check or EFT payments after getting your Sign Up Bonus if you’re being charged an extra fee.
Annual Dining & Uber Credits
American Express charges a $250 annual fee to hold a Gold Card. To get the most value, you need to take advantage of the included ancillary benefits.
Specifically, each year, you’re eligible for :
- $120 in Uber Credits that can be used for Uber rides and even Uber Eats!
- $120 in Dining Credits for charges at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, and most Shake Shack locations.
The Gold Card’s effective annual fee is just $30 if you take advantage of those credits. Keep in mind the credits are offered in $10 monthly increments. I find it best to take advantage of take-out to maximize the value. Delivery is spendy!
Between the welcome bonus, point earning structure, and annual dining credits, it should be easy to see why the Gold Card is my top recommendation for everyday spending.
Ready to get your own? There are two ways I recommend getting started:
- Check for pre-qualified offers at AmericanExpress.com. Simply enter your basic personal information to see if you have any targeted offers. If you do, your approval odds are high if you apply this way.
- Use my referral link. American Express also offers attractive sign-up bonuses through individual member referrals. Feel free to use mine! We’ll both get points.