The American Express (Rose) Gold Card Gets a New Dining and Grocery Focus
If a rewards credit card hasn’t been updated in the last couple years, it’s probably no longer competitive. The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express recently got a long-expected and significant upgrade, changing its name to the American Express® Gold Card and becoming a frontrunner for best card in the Dining and Grocery spend categories.
The Amex Gold is offering a 25,000 Membership Rewards points bonus after new cardholders spend $2,000 on it in their first three months. That equates to around $475, according to The Points Guy’s latest valuations; not a massive number of points, but also a relatively low spending threshold.
The revamped card includes a $250 annual fee, not waived the first year, but with an annual dining credit of up to $120 (doled out in up to $10 monthly increments), and a $100 annual airline fee credit, the Amex Gold easily effectively reduces its fee to $30. There’s also a limited time 20% back on Dining credit available, up to $100 in return, available until January 9, 2019, that new cardholders will be eligible for during their first three months.
The most exciting addition to the Amex Gold is the new 4x return on spending at restaurants. This matches the return available on cards like the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card, but the Amex Gold earns Membership Rewards, not straight cash back, so your return is more like 7.6% (based on The Points Guy’s latest valuations) if you spend those points on good travel redemptions. More importantly for points maximizers, the Amex Gold now beats the return on Dining spend from flagship travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express’ own Platinum card. The downside: that 4x return is only available at restaurants in the US.
Speaking of the Platinum Card, the most interesting thing about this update to the Amex Gold is how differentiated it now is from its top tier counterpart. The Gold has for most of its existence been a less rewarding Platinum with a lower annual fee, but now the two are barely related.
The Amex Gold has also added a huge 4x return on Grocery spend in the U.S. on up to $25,000/year. Its closest competition in that category is now Amex’s own Blue Cash Preferred card’s 6x return, but the Preferred is a straight cash back card, and its Grocery return drops to 1% after the first $6,000 in annual Grocery spending.
I didn’t imagine that any update to the Amex Gold could possibly interest me in it, given my current stack of flagship, high annual fee travel rewards credit cards. I also didn’t expect that any travel rewards card would ever beat the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s return rate on Dining spend, but here we are. The 4x Membership Rewards return on Dining spend practically demands a signup, and Groceries, previously a category only really maximized by the Chase Freedom during one quarter out of the year in the travel rewards space, is suddenly ripe for huge point returns.
The new Amex Gold lays the groundwork for Membership Rewards to become more of an ecosystem of synergistic credit cards, offers a great excuse for Ultimate Rewards loyalists to diversify, and is just a fantastic and unique travel rewards card in general.
Get approved for the Amex Gold by January 9, 2019, and you can get yourself a limited edition Rose Gold version. Probably should have just said that at the beginning right?
One More Thing
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