Other Cards in the “Earn Back the Annual Fee” Series:
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: How to Earn Back the Entire Annual Fee
- Earn Back the Annual Fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Edition
- Friend Question: “How Do I Earn Back That Huge Annual Fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express?”
I’ve held the American Express® Gold Card for as long as I can remember. Its annual fee and benefits have changed over the years — just like many rewards cards (Rates and fees.). But I’ve always found it easy to earn back the card’s annual fee — and even come out well ahead. (Rates and fees.) If you have the Amex Gold Card or are thinking about applying, here’s how you can also enjoy the benefits without losing money out of pocket.
What is the American Express® Gold Card’s Annual Fee?
Current Welcome Offer
The Amex Gold Card offers new applicants 60,000 bonus American Express® Membership Rewards® points after they spend $4,000 in eligible purchases within six (6) months of being approved for card membership. (Learn here how to apply for this promotion. Terms apply.) Six months gives you plenty of time to reach that $4,000 minimum spending requirement.
American Express® Membership Rewards® boasts a bunch of great travel partners. It’s relatively easy to get at least 1.5 cents of value per point — especially if you find a transfer bonus sale. (Those can really do wonders.)
Given that figure, your 60,000 bonus points are worth $900 in travel. That’s well over three years of the $250 annual fee. (Rates and fees.)
And we haven’t even touched the statement credit offers yet.
Dining Credit ($10 Monthly / Cumulative $120 Annually)
Amex Gold Card members can earn up to $10 in monthly statement credits when using their card for purchases made at these dining merchants:
A one-time enrollment is required and terms apply. These credits are if-used and do not roll over to subsequent months.
Grubhub and Seamless might be excellent food delivery options when you travel and your hotel doesn’t have a restaurant (or it’s closed). I also use Grubhub and Seamless to order side dishes when I’m busy grilling or smoking big meals. Or if I’m stuck at my desk and don’t have time to make a meal.
You might also consider using your Amex Gold Card benefits to buy Wine.com and Cheesecake Factory gift cards. (You have to visit actually Cheesecake Factory restaurants for to purchase qualifying gift cards).
If forgetting to use the benefits worries you, consider setting a reminder for around the 20th of each month. That gives you at least a week-ish to put a plan into motion.
Uber Cash Deposit ($10 Monthly / Cumulative $240 Annually)
American Express® Gold Card holders automatically receive $10 Uber Cash deposits each month. Enrollment is required, terms apply, and the Gold Card must be a form of payment in your Uber account.
The Uber Cash deposits are valid toward both Uber rides and Uber Eats purchases.
Like the dining credit, the Uber Cash deposits are if-used and disappear if you don’t use them during a given month. So, set a reminder if you’re afraid you’ll forget.
Amex Offers (Probably at Least $50 / Cumulative $300)
Remember that American Express drops new Amex Offers almost weekly. (Here are a few examples.) You can likely save at least $50 each year — and that’s being very conservative. Almost laughably so. (Remember that Amex Offers require manual enrollment and terms apply.)
The Hotel Collection Credit: ($100 Per Stay / Value Varies Per Cardholder)
Whenever you book an Amex The Hotel Collection stay of at least two nights, your Amex Gold Card entitles you to a $100 property credit. (Terms apply and the stay must be booked through Amex Travel.)
This may or may not be worth it — depending on what kind of deal you find. You can pre-pay the stay with Amex Membership Rewards points (one cent per point) or with cash — as long as you do so on an American Express card.
Don’t Forget the Points Earnings!
Remember that the American Express® Gold Card features several bonus points categories:
- 4X points per dollar spent at Restaurants (worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the United States)
- 4X on groceries at U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year)
- 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com
- In my experience, the 3X on flights generally works with many incidental purchases such as checked baggage fees, onboard food and beverage purchases, etc. You’re not necessarily limited to just airfare purchases.
- 1X on other eligible purchases
The American Express® Gold Card carries a $250 annual fee. (Rates and fees.) But using the card’s dining credits, Uber Cash deposits, and Amex Offers easily offsets that figure. And that’s before the card’s The Hotel Collection benefit and great points-earning features.
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