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Yesterday American Express introduced the new American Express® Gold Card. I’d argue that this is the hottest credit card that we saw introduced since the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

The card has a $250 annual fee, and offers 4x points at U.S. restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 spent per calendar year), and 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines.

On top of that, the card offers a $100 annual airline fee credit, plus an annual dining credit of up to $120, in the form of up to a $10 statement credit per month for purchases at select dining establishments.

I really do think the American Express® Gold Card is a hot new card. It’s a card I plan on getting, and one that I think is ridiculously lucrative for anyone who spends a lot of money on food (regardless of whether we’re talking about dining out or buying food at supermarkets).

To be balanced, in this post I wanted to look at six areas in which the card is less competitive, which is also why some people may still want to hold onto the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card.

In no particular order:

4x points on U.S. dining only

The American Express® Gold Card offers an unprecedented 4x points on dining, though it’s only valid for purchases in the US. So internationally you’ll still do much better putting your dining purchases on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which offers 3x points on dining globally.

No travel coverage

Right now my airfare purchases go on one of two cards:

  • I use The Platinum Card® from American Express for a lot of airfare purchases, as the card offers 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly from airlines, though it doesn’t offer any sort of travel coverage
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel purchases, and the card comes with great travel coverage, in the event that your flight is delayed or canceled, or that your bag gets lost

Often I find it’s worth forgoing this coverage so that I can earn 5x points on airfare with the Amex Platinum Card (I shared my strategy on that in this post), though when we’re talking about both issuers offering three points per dollar, Chase has a big advantage.

No car rental coverage

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card both offer primary collision damage waiver coverage when renting cars, which is a valuable benefit for a premium credit card. Unfortunately the American Express® Gold Card doesn’t have that coverage.

Amex doesn’t have as much global acceptance as Visa & Mastercard

This is an area where American Express is improving, though it’s still worth acknowledging that as of now Mastercard and Visa have much better global acceptance. So if you’re looking for a “one size fits all” card, this one won’t be ideal for international travel.

The airline & dining credits are complicated to use

Personally I think the $250 annual fee on the American Express® Gold Card is reasonable for what the card offers. To help offset that annual fee, the card also offers up to $220 in airline and dining credits annually, though using them isn’t that straightforward.

I only list this in order to contrast it to the $300 annual travel credit offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which is valid for any purchase coded as travel.

In the case of this card, however:

  • The $100 airline fee credit can only be applied towards select fees on a designated airline (though I’ve still always been able to get good value out of this)
  • The $120 dining credit comes in the form of a $10 per month credit when you use your card at eligible dining partners, including Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Grubhub/Seamless

You can’t redeem points efficiently towards airfare

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card then you can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase. While there are many things I prefer about Amex points compared to Chase points, being able to redeem Amex points at a good rate towards the cost of a travel purchase isn’t one of them.

The one exception is if you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, but even that is complicated.

Bottom line

The new American Express® Gold Card is a phenomenal card that I plan on acquiring. Earning 4x points on U.S. dining and supermarkets are bonus categories that will quickly pay for themselves, and make this card a keeper.

However, I think it’s worth also mentioning that getting this card is part of an overall credit card strategy. This is a card you get for the return on spend that it offers, but there are some limitations, like the lack of travel and car rental coverage, and the two biggest bonus categories being limited to US purchases only.

So in that sense I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.



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