The American Express Gold Card is a rewarding credit card that is one of the top charge cards in the Amex portfolio. The card has some great benefits and bonus point earning categories, and at $250 a year the annual fee is less than half the cost of a premium card like the top-of-the-line American Express Platinum Card or the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Amex Gold card is currently offering 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases in the first six months of having the card. This metal card is an impressive card to hold, and you can currently get it in Rose Gold as well. You may also be eligible for a targeted 75,000 point bonus.
Six months is a nice long window to meet minimum spend, unlike many other cards that only give you three months to meet spend and earn a sign-up bonus. You need to spend just under $700 a month to meet the Amex Gold spend requirement, which is more manageable than spending double that to earn the bonus on the mid-tier Chase Sapphire Preferred card for example.
The Gold card also comes with some generous statement credits that can help you offset the annual fee including Uber and dining credits.
If you’re considering applying for this card, continue reading our guide below to see the typical credit score required, the type of consumer(s) that can instantly qualify and to fully understand your odds of approval.
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Credit Score Range Typically Required
If you’re interested in getting the Amex Gold card, you might be wondering if you will be approved if you submit an application. Like any credit card, your credit score is an important factor. But there are other variables that Amex will consider when you apply.
You will need to have a good or excellent credit score to qualify for this card. And if your credit score is considered good, then it needs to be in the high end of that range. Many banks provide you with your credit score in their online portal, so check there or use an online service like Credit Karma to see your score.
You can also review your credit scores from the three credit bureaus which include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Don’t be surprised if the scores are different at each agency. That’s because they all use slightly different scoring models.
What’s included in my credit score?
The credit scores from each credit reporting company should be in agreement on whether your score is poor, fair, good, very good or excellent/exceptional, as they all take the same data into consideration. Scores are based on payment history (35%), debt-to-credit ratio (30%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%) and new credit (10%).
If the scores are too far away from each other though, check your credit history with the bureau who has the lower score to make sure there are no errors on your credit report that might be dragging your credit score down.
A very good FICO credit score is 740 or above, and if your score is in this range then you’ve got a very good shot at having a successful application and getting the Amex Gold card. But you can still get approved for this card if you have a score of 700, or even as low as 670. The lower your credit score is though, the better your credit history and income level needs to be to compensate.
Income Level Required
American Express does not disclose the income requirement for successful applicants, but in addition to income, they will also ask you how much you pay for rent or mortgage each month and they will crunch the numbers to check your creditworthiness and determine if you are a good credit risk.
Amex will also look at other things like how long you’ve been at your job, the amount of debt you carry, the number of open credit card accounts and how many recent hard inquiries are on your credit report, so there are more things involved in their decision than just your credit score and income.
Amex also uses its own internal data to determine your eligibility. They will gauge your ability to pay charges on the card based on what current Gold cardholders spend and how that matches your income and expenses.
You also need to be at least 18 and a US citizen or permanent resident, but this is not a card for people new to credit cards as you need to have credit history. It’s also favorable for applicants who have previously been approved for an American Express card.
Keep in mind that all the income you receive including alimony, child support and investment income can be included in what you report to American Express on your application, so be sure to include that in your calculations. You don’t have to disclose it on your application, but it will improve your odds of getting approved if your wages are not sufficient.
Odds of Approval
If your score is excellent and you have a high income, then you have an excellent chance of getting approved for this card. If you already have other cards or history with American Express that will count in your favor as well, but only if your cards are in good standing.
If your score is very good, and you only make $40,000 a year for example, you can still get approved if you have a clean credit history and low housing costs. If your credit score is hovering around 700 though, a higher income in the $50,000 or more range will boost your chances of getting approved.
But if you have a score over 800, income of $50,000 or more and a deep credit history with no issues, you will likely get instant approval. You may also want to consider the Amex Platinum card rather than the Amex Gold if your credit score and income are at these levels. You can get a rundown of the credit score required with the Amex Platinum card here.
If your income is lower, or if you have too much debt or a history of late payments, even just a few, you will likely be denied.
If you’re uncertain about your eligibility and want to avoid a ding on your credit score, you can check to see if you pre-qualify. You just enter some info including name and Social Security number and the site will show you Amex cards you will likely qualify for. But even if you don’t see the Gold card among your offers, you can still apply. An approval is much more likely though if Amex has pre-determined that you are a good candidate for the Gold card.
Who is the Amex Gold Card For?
The American Express Gold Card is a great fit for travelers because it has a lot of travel benefits, and you get the most value out of Membership Reward points when redeemed for travel. It also earns 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, which will help you earn rewards faster to reach your travel goal.
It’s also a good Membership Rewards earning card for foodies and almost anyone because it earns 4x points for dining, takeout and food delivery worldwide, and 4x on purchases at US supermarkets up to $25,000 per calendar year. That can add up to 100,000 points annually for buying groceries if you max out that bonus.
While some other cards added food purchases as a temporary bonus category during the pandemic, the 4x earning on Amex Gold dining and groceries is not likely to change as it was in place before COVID. The Citi Prestige card is one of the few cards that offers a bigger bonus for dining at 5x points per dollar spent, but that card has a $495 annual fee. All other purchases made using the Gold card earn one point per dollar.
Travelers will benefit the most by holding the Amex Gold card though, because Membership Rewards are a valuable, flexible currency that can be used to book travel with Amex, or they can be transferred to airline or hotel programs for even greater potential value. If you don’t travel much, they can also be used for gift certificates or you can pay with points at popular sites like Amazon or Best Buy.
It’s also easier to get the Gold card than the Platinum Card, which is the top credit card available to the public from Amex. There is only one card that is more prestigious than the Platinum, and it is much more difficult to get and much more expensive to hold. It is the Centurion Card from American Express and by invitation only, so you won’t be invited to apply for that Black card unless you’re already an Amex cardholder and you make and spend a lot.
American Express Rules
There are a few other things that may cause you to get denied for the Amex Gold even if you have an excellent credit score and good income. Like other banks and credit card issuers, Amex has some rules to stop people from applying for too many credit cards.
It should be at least five days since you last applied for an Amex card. For example, if you applied for the Amex Platinum card and got an instant decision denying your application, wait a week before you apply for the Gold card. You also should not apply for more than two Amex cards in a 90-day period, even if your application was denied.
American Express also has a rule that indicates you can only have five active Amex cards with a preset spending limit, including both personal and business cards. The Gold card however, does not have a preset spending limit so this rule won’t likely be an issue.
One last rule to keep in mind is that you can only get a welcome bonus one time for each of its products. That means if you previously got a sign-up bonus for the American Express Gold Card, or the American Express Premier Rewards Gold as it was known before it rebranded in 2018, then you are not eligible for another welcome bonus.
Is the Gold Card Worth the Annual Fee?
If you think your credit score, history and income are good enough to qualify, then you might be wondering if this card is worth the annual $250 fee. Let’s take a look at the value of the welcome bonus and the statement credits and benefits and that can offset the fee.
The 60,000 point bonus can vary in value depending on how you redeem the points, but it is worth $600 in travel booked through the Amex portal where points are worth a penny a piece. You can also transfer the points to a hotel loyalty or an airline rewards program, which usually offers the highest potential value.
Airline Transfer Partners
Amex Membership Rewards transfer to16 airline programs that include carriers in the three major airline alliances at a ratio of 1:1 for most carriers, so the Amex Gold bonus could be turned into 60,000 miles.
Airline transfer partner programs include Aer Lingus AerClub, Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Avios, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Delta SkyMiles, El Al Matmid Frequent Flyer Club, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, HawaiianMiles, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Singapore KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
There are many redemption possibilities with all these airline partners, but to give you an idea of the value of 60,00 miles, two round-trip domestic tickets on one of the legacy carriers cost an average of 50,000 miles. Or you can book a one-way business class ticket to Europe for about 60,000 points. The best way to get the most value per mile is usually by booking international travel in first or business class.
Hotel Transfer Partners
You can also transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to three hotel programs including Choice Privileges (1:1 ratio), Hilton Honors (1:2 ratio) and Marriott Bonvoy (1:1). These transfers don’t always represent the best value even when you get two points per MR in the Hilton program, but if you just need a few thousand more points for an award stay in one of the programs, then it’s nice to have this option. It can also make sense if a particular property has a great redemption rate for a certain property.
To check the redemption value of airline and hotel bookings, just compare the cash price you would pay to determine the value of the points you would need to redeem to get the award ticket or night.
You can also use points for gift cards, cover charges on your statement or for other redemptions like Uber rides, but some of these don’t offer the best redemption value so you may get as little as half a penny per point. But even at that low-value redemption, those welcome points are worth at least $300.
If you take advantage of statement credits available on the American Express Gold Card, you can get up to $240 annually, which covers the annual cost of the card. There is also an Uber Eats pass that is available for a limited time and is valued at $119.
The Amex Gold card comes with up to $120 in Uber Cash. When you add your Gold card to your Uber account, you get an automatic $10 credit every month that can be used for Uber rides in the US or Uber Eats. You’ll also earn 4x bonus points on all Uber food deliveries purchased using your Gold card.
Amex Gold also has an additional Uber benefit that is available to new cardholders who apply before the end of 2021. You’ll get 12 complimentary months of Uber Eats Pass once you enroll. The pass eliminates delivery fees and gives you a 5% discount on orders over $15.
The card also comes with a $120 annual dining credit. You can get up to a $10 monthly statement credit for Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed and other participating dining partners. You have to enroll in this offer when you get the Gold card, and use it to pay for your purchase to get the credit each month.
The travel benefits that come with the card also add value if you use the benefits. If you book a hotel in the Hotel Collection with American Express Travel, you get a $100 credit that can be used at the hotel for things like dining or spa treatments. Qualifying activities vary by property.
If your baggage is damaged, lost or stolen while you’re on a plane, train, ship or bus on a ticket purchased using the Gold card, you have coverage up to $1,250 for carry-ons and up to $500 for checked baggage. There’s also trip delay insurance of up to $300 if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours because of a covered reason. It can be used twice a year for eligible expenses including meals, lodging and toiletries.
You’ll also have access to the Global Assist Hotline when you travel more than 100 miles from home. It is available around the clock for financial, legal, medical and other emergencies and can help you get cash in an emergency and assist with missing luggage in addition to other services.
The Gold card also comes with car rental loss and damage insurance. Pay for the rental using the card and decline the collision damage waiver (CDW) at the counter when you pick up the car, but check with the card issuer when you make your booking to make sure the coverage applies to the location you are renting from and for the vehicle you are renting as there are some exclusions.
You also have access to personalized travel services to book your trip, and when you make purchases overseas there are no foreign transaction fees.
Shopping and Entertainment
You can book American Express cardmember-only experiences with the Gold card including Broadway shows, concerts and sporting events. You will also have access to premium seating for select events with the Preferred Seating benefit.
You’ll also be eligible for Amex Offers which are discounts and/or bonus points earning opportunities when you shop at featured retailers online or in store.
The American Express App also has local offers that you can take advantage of. And you can use the Send & Split feature to send money to other Venmo and PayPal users without being charged the standard credit card fee.
Or you can split a dinner bill with a PayPal or Venmo user and get a credit back to your Gold card, and you’ll earn rewards on the bill paid. You do need to enroll to use this service. You can also add anyone over 13 as an authorized user and earn rewards on their purchases.
Ways to Pay Your Card
You should be aware that the Amex Gold is a charge card, and while it doesn’t have a preset spending limit, your credit line is not limitless. If you are planning a big purchase, you might want to check with the issuer to make sure there is a big enough credit line and to ensure that the purchase is not flagged as fraud.
To avoid diluting the value of points earned, we recommend paying off your balance every month. But the Amex Gold charge card will allow you to pay the minimum amount due and use the Pay Over Time feature where you carry the balance with interest of 15.99% to 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness.
There is also a Plan It feature that allows you to split large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, though there is a limit on the amount you can carry as a balance or move to a plan.
Now is a great time to apply for the American Express Gold Card. Not only is travel opening up again after the pandemic, but you might be eligible for the targeted 75,000 point welcome bonus, and the popular Rose Gold card is also currently available.
If you are approved for the Gold card, make sure you channel enough spend to the card to get the welcome bonus. Don’t forget to use it for groceries, dining and food orders to earn the 4x bonus points on those categories, and use it for your travel bookings to get the 3x bonus. And remember to use the monthly dining and Uber statement credits to make sure you get the full value of Gold card membership.