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American Express Gold Card Review

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Who is the Gold Card From American Express Good For?

The Amex Gold Card is a charge (not credit) reward card that’s part of the American Express Membership Rewards program. In addition to offering some nice travel benefits, including trip cancellation and lost baggage insurance, you’ll also get double points at restaurants and you’ll never have to pay foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is also waived for the first year.

Membership Rewards is a robust program that allows members to redeem points in a variety of ways, from merchandise and gift cards to travel services and point transfers to airline and hotel programs.

Sign-Up Bonus:

The Gold Card does not come with a sign-up bonus.

Points Earned:

  • 2 points per dollar for direct airline booking
  • 2 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar for everything else

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What Do Your Points Get You?

The Amex Membership Rewards program is designed for travel, so even though you can redeem points for merchandise or gift cards, it’s still best to use them for travel awards. You can get the best value for your points by transferring them to an airline frequent flyer program to purchase expensive flights.

Usage Perks:

  • Many airline and hotel partners
  • Points transfer simultaneously or very quickly for most airlines
  • Occasional bonuses for airline transfers
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Flights booked on any airline get 2 points per dollar
  • Excellent travel insurance coverage and other travel benefits
  • Earn miles on flights booked with points

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Usage Quirks:

  • No sign-up bonus
  • A small fee for transferring miles to domestic airline programs
  • High annual fee

How Far Do Your Points Go?

Although there are a variety of ways to use Membership Rewards points, you’ll get the best bang for your buck by making strategic transfers to airlines and purchasing expensive plane tickets.

A $500+ ticket can be redeemed for 25,000 Membership Rewards points that have been transferred to a frequent flyer program. That means that each point is worth 2 cents. This kind of value is impossible to achieve with gift cards or any other redemptions.

Additional Cardholder Benefits:

  • Extended warranty
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Zero liability
  • Global assist hotline
  • Personalized travel service
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Room upgrades and hotel credits on two-night stays booked with the Amex Hotel Collection
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