Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
If you’re considering applying for the American Express® Gold Card, odds are you may have been drawn in by the incredible rewards for foodies – 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on dining at restaurants.
The big picture highlights of the Amex Gold make it a great card — from the up to $240 in annual statement credits that almost entirely offset the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) to the 4 point per dollar bonus categories, which TPG values at an 8% return on spending.
Enrollment is required.
While the Amex Gold Card isn’t as weighed down with perks and benefits as some of its premium competition, it offers some solid and underrated perks that help seal the deal. Here are four of our favorites.
The Amex Hotel Collection
While Amex opts for a more restrictive travel bonus category than Chase (only offering 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel), they do include a hotel-specific benefit that carried over from the old version of the Amex Gold Card.
When you use your Gold Card to book hotels through The Amex Hotel Collection, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar and enjoy an up to $100 property credit and space-available room upgrades on stays of two nights or longer. This might be a good option if you don’t have a card that gives more bonus points for hotel bookings. And on short, cheap, stays, the up to $100 property credit can be a pretty serious rebate.
Related: Everything you need to know about The Hotel Collection
The rest of the perks on this list fall under the category of “you hope you never need them, but if you do, you’ll be so thankful you have them.”
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Baggage insurance is one of those perks, especially since some airlines do a surprisingly poor job of remembering to put bags on the plane.
If you purchase the entire fare of your common carrier ticket with your Amex Gold Card, you’ll be eligible for up to $1,250 in reimbursement if your carry-on bag is lost, stolen or damaged, and up to $500 if it’s your checked bag.*
There are two important things to point out here, the first being that there’s no insurance for luggage delay. The second is that you must purchase the entire ticket with your card to be eligible, so simply paying taxes on an award ticket would not count.
This fits well with the bonus categories on the card, as anything other than purchasing the full fare (directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) will only earn you a meager one point per dollar.
*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
Related: Everything you need to know about Amex’s baggage insurance plan
Car rental insurance
If you charge a rental car to your Amex Gold Card and decline the collision damage waiver at the counter, Amex will cover you if your car is damaged or stolen.**
This is secondary coverage that kicks in after and in addition to your own personal policy, and there are exclusions to be aware of.
For instance, rentals in Australia, Italy and New Zealand are not covered, certain types of ATVs, limousines, and exotic cars are excluded, and coverage only applies for the first 30 days of the rental. This also does not insure against injury to you, your passengers or others, or against property damage.
**Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
Related: Best cards for car rental insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty
The Amex Gold Card also comes with a variety of purchase protections. For example, if you drop your recently bought (in the last 90 days) phone, you may be eligible for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per calendar year to replace lost, stolen or damaged items.***
You’ll also enjoy extended warranty protection when you use your Gold Card for a purchase. You can get up to one extra year added to a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less. Terms and conditions apply.***
***Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
Related: Review of the Amex Gold
You might not be aware of other perks, such as free 2-day shipping when you enroll with Shoprunner and preferred seating at concerts. Many of the perks listed here are not unique to the Amex Gold Card and probably won’t tip the scale one way or another to decide whether this card is right for you.
They really act as a secondary reward; if you make a financial commitment to American Express, they’ll reciprocate and help you out when your travel plans go off the rail or your expenses unexpectedly surge for a month. Most of these perks will sit quietly in the background, and if you’re lucky, you’ll never need them. But if and when things go wrong, knowing what you’re entitled to can help save you a nice chunk of change.
Apply for the Amex Gold with 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on the card in the first six months of card membership.
Check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a 60k-75k-point Gold Card offer. These offers are subject to change at any time.
However, you might be able to earn a higher welcome offer through a friend or loved one’s referral link through June 7.
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson and Chris Dong.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, please click here.