Everything You Need to Know About the American Express Gold Card

FT Contributor
A close up of an American Express Gold Card.

You may decide to apply for a credit card if there’s a large purchase you need to make that you can’t afford to pay for right now. Credit cards allow you to complete these big purchases, then pay off the balances over time or at a later date. If you’re a responsible consumer, you can also use a credit card as a tool to build your credit and increase your credit score.

There are many credit card companies offering different types of cards with various features and benefits. American Express is a well-known credit card company that offers several different types of cards to consumers, including the American Express Gold Card.

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American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card is a premium credit card with strict user requirements, including a good credit score. Cardholders benefit from this credit card because it offers high rewards points on dining, grocery purchases, and travel. Due to this attractive perk, the American Express Gold Card is a popular credit card with consumers.

Card Details

It’s important to review the details associated with a credit card before applying. The American Express Gold Card provides bonus incentives when you sign up, including an extra 35,000 membership rewards points if you use your card to make at least $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.

To qualify for the American Express Gold Card, you must have a good credit score of at least 700. If you successfully sign up to be a cardholder, you’re responsible for paying a $250 annual fee. Most transactions must be paid off at the end of the billing cycle. However, transactions that are over $100 may be eligible to be paid down over time with approval through American Express. These “pay over time purchases” are subject to an annual percentage rate (APR) between 17.49% and 24.49%, depending on the current market.

If you make a late payment or your payment is returned to your bank, a 29.99% APR is applied to your balance. This APR is applied to the remaining balance for at least the next six months. Late or returned payments are also subject to a $39 one-time fee.


One of the most appealing benefits of the American Express Gold Card is the rewards program. Cardholders can earn four points for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and supermarkets in the U.S., up to $25,000. They earn triple the number of reward points when they use the Gold Card to book flights directly through airlines or through the American Express travel site.

On all other Gold Card purchases, cardholders earn one reward point for each dollar they spend. Cardholders can cash these points in for flights, statement credits, gift cards, donations to charities, or hotel stays.

Pros and Cons of the American Express Gold Card


In addition to the rewards program, the American Express Gold Card is associated with other benefits, including no foreign transaction fees. As a cardholder, you also receive up to $100 each year in airline fee credits from one airline of your choice.

Cardholders can also receive a $10 dining credit per month through an eligible dining partner, such as The Cheesecake Factory or Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. American Express Preferred Seating provides cardholders with access to premium seating for select music, cultural, and sporting events.

The generous rewards points welcome bonus makes the Gold Card an attractive option for consumers. These rewards points are transferable to reward partners. Cardholders also enjoy membership in The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, which provides exclusive discounts on hotels and car rental. Additionally, cardholders have exclusive access to ticket presales for many local events, including concerts and Broadway shows.


To qualify for the American Express Gold Card, you must already have a good credit score, which can be a deterrent for many consumers. The $250 annual fee may also be a turn-off, especially if you don’t think you’ll earn enough rewards points to offset this fee.

Some cardholders claim that the system used to redeem rewards points is grueling and complicated, making it hard to cash in on your benefits. It’s also important to note that American Express isn’t as widely accepted at retailers as other credit cards, such as Visa or Mastercard.

Applying for the American Express Gold Card

To apply for the American Express Gold Card, you must visit the American Express website and begin an application or call the company and ask to apply for the card. You’ll provide your contact information and Social Security number. With this information, the company runs a credit check to ensure you qualify for the card.

If you qualify, the Gold Card is issued and sent to your mailing address. After you follow the activation instructions provided, you can begin to use the credit card to make purchases.

Credit Needed to Apply for the American Express Gold Card

To qualify for the American Express Gold Card, you must have a credit score of 700 or higher. Know your credit score and ensure it’s adequate before applying for the card.

Checking Your Credit Score

You can check your credit score for free once a year through one of the three major credit bureaus:

  • Equifax;
  • Experian;
  • TransUnion.

If you find an error on your report, dispute it with the bureau immediately to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect your credit score.

What to Do if You’re Denied a Credit Card

You may be denied a credit card if your credit score isn’t high enough. Focus on building a positive credit history by paying your bills on time, making a plan to pay off existing debt, and sticking to a strict budget. Over time, your credit score will increase and you can attempt to apply for a card again.

No matter which credit card you choose to apply for, it’s important to research all credit card options first. Choose the card you feel you’ll benefit the most from and be sure you know about the fees, terms, and interest rates before signing up.

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