American Express Just Created The Ultimate Restaurant Card

by Chris Dong

Last week’s rumor becomes today’s breaking news. Today, American Express officially announced a rebrand of their Premier Rewards Gold Card — now simply American Express Gold — with a host of exciting new benefits. Also, there’s a rose  gold colored card (offered expired no longer available).

Significantly, American Express is blowing away just about every other card on the market in rewards on two major spending categories: four points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and US supermarkets.

Offsetting the card’s $250 fee (See Rates & Feesis a $120 worth of annual dining credits, dished out in $10 per month statement credits at Shake Shack locations, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Grubhub or Seamless. There’s a nice 35,000 point intro bonus after new cardholders spend $2,000 in three months.

This card now becomes the most lucrative for frequent restaurant-goers and grocery-shoppers, with an amazing return on spend. Not only are these purchases earning four points per dollar, redeemable for travel at 1.25¢ each, Membership Rewards points which can be transferred to 17 airline frequent flyer programs and three hotel partners.

This redesign is a clear attack on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only are you getting one more point per dollar spent on dining worldwide (4x vs. 3x),  but also groceries at US locations receive a whopping three more points per dollar spent (4x vs. 1x).

And including Grubhub/Seamless in the dining credit is a huge win in attracting urbanites who are more likely to use delivery food services.

American Express Gold Card 4x points on restaurants

Existing Card Benefits

  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines and at amextravel.com
  • $100 airline fee credit for incidental items like baggage fees on one selected airline
  • $75 hotel credit plus a room upgrade upon check-in (when available) when booking a stay of at least two nights at hotels as part of Amex’s Hotel Collection
  • Amex’s “Personalized Travel Service” that can assist with bookings over the phone

What’s the Welcome Bonus & Annual Fee?

There’s a publicly available offer for 35,000 Membership Rewards points with the purchase of $2,000 within the first three months.

There is a $250 annual fee, up from $195, which is not waived for the first year. The increase is understandable considering the new benefits that this card offers. If you can make use of it, the $120 dining credit alone makes the slight increase worthwhile.

Who’s Eligible?

Although rebranded as the American Express Gold Card, this won’t be considered a new product, and anyone who has owned the Premier Rewards Gold card in the past won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus. However, with the added benefits, it may be a worthwhile addition even without a welcome bonus. On paper, $220 of the $250 is covered by both the dining and airline credits. Additionally, Amex is luring in the millennial crowd with a subtle-yet-gorgeous rose gold card available through 1/9/19.

The Upshot

While the Gold card seems to be marketed towards a younger crowd that values domestic eats over international travel, it can be a valuable addition for anyone that wants a stellar return on dining out and groceries. American Express might have a real winner on its hands here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 comments
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4 comments

Ryan October 4, 2018 - 6:00 pm

Looks stupid. The credits aren’t real. I don’t eat at shake shack. Gross. Overrated millennial burger joint

Reply
Darin October 4, 2018 - 10:35 pm

Your post is lazy. The dining credit works for Seamless and GrubHub, which offer a variety of dining options. I could see if you don’t use those services, then no this may not be an added benefit for you.

Reply
Hari October 5, 2018 - 7:46 am

What bothers me is the limitation on US restaurants… why bother advertising no FX fees if you have no incentive to use it outside the US? It just seems kind of contradictory on AmEx’s part. It’s great for people who are in the US and don’t plan on traveling with the card, though.

Reply
mojo October 5, 2018 - 9:23 am

I’ve had the Gold card for many, many years. And I will be keeping it. And I am happy with these new category points-earning increases on it.

That said, it is decidedly NOT the “Ultimate” restaurant card. If it was, then the $x wouldn’t be limited to USA restaurants.

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