Is The Amex Gold Still Worth It In 2021 And Going Into 2022?
Today we’re going to break down that trusty old credit card the Amex Gold credit card (or should I say charge card, I don’t know if it’s a credit card or a charge card, it’s kind of trying to be both right now.) I’ve had this card for several years, and my annual fee is due at the end of October 2021. I’ve been trying to decide whether I should keep it another year or not.
I did phone up Amex to see if I could get a retention offer. They wouldn’t give me anything, and even reminded me how great of a deal I’m getting by saying:
“..the best for dining, four points at restaurants and four points in US supermarkets for the first $25,000 spent per calendar year at supermarkets, I don’t see an incentive currently.”
Let’s add up all the AMEX Gold benefits and see if it’s still worth it in 2021, and going into 2022
We’ll be adding up:
– all the benefits
– all the points I earned
– looking at how you could spend them
– compare it to the competition
– and do the calculation for an existing and a new cardholder, someone applying for it now.
What You Can Earn
First of all, for new card members, here is the value that you can get out of the card if you apply for it before the end of 2021:
– a welcome bonus of 75,000 points, which is worth around $1,500, if you transfer that to airlines and redeem it for business class flights.
– 12 months worth of the Uber Eats pass as long as you apply before the end of the year. And you activate it before the end of the year as well. Now this is worth $119, that’s the price you would pay if you got an Uber Eats pass yourself, it’s about $10 per month. But whether you actually get that value out of it really depends how much you use Uber Eats.
TIP: For current card members who signed up for Uber Eats pass about a year ago when it first came out, if you don’t want to continue, if you don’t want to get charged every month, do remember to go into your Uber Eats app and deactivate your Uber Eats pass, otherwise, you’ll start getting charged $10 per month. Of course, if you find it valuable, then you may want to go on using it. But that’s just a heads up, a public service announcement.
– $120 Uber credit, which is separate from the Uber Eats pass. This is just a credit, it’s $10 per month, you can use it for Uber rides or for Uber Eats.
– $120 dining credit which is valid at these restaurants:
The Cheesecake Factory
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Especially notable, seamless, and Grubhub, which obviously aren’t restaurants, they’re delivery services, but pretty much every restaurant is on there and you don’t have to get it delivered, you can go and pick it up from the restaurant. If you use it through GrubHub and Seamless, you have access to almost every restaurant, at least for takeout.
The first year total value is thus $1,859
Now, we minus the $250 annual fee and that brings us to $1,609.
If you want to be really conservative and value the points at just one cent per point, it’s $1,109 Minus the 250 annual fee, that takes us to $859. Still a pretty big game.
What I Earned
Now let’s look at how much value I actually got out of the card this year.
– 24,493 points from spending since the beginning of 2021. I know I should be going by cardmember year but Amex gives you the data per calendar year and it’s only two months difference. So we’ll just go with it. I got a lot of points from restaurants, spent less from supermarkets because I’ve been making the most of the Freedom Flex. (First year 5x bonus and also the 5x quarterly category on supermarkets on the freedom and the freedom flex.)
- 55,000 points worth of referrals I did on the card. When you sign people up with your link, it comes to 79,493 Points. The value of that is $1,588 at two cents per point.
Other Amex Gold Earnings
- $120 Uber credit
- $120 dining credit.
I basically have used the two every month, so that’s $240 in savings, two times 120.
- Uber Eats pass which is valued at $119. If we have a look at my Uber Eats app, you’ll see the value I got out of it in October is $2.74 in savings, so I’m just going to multiply that by 12 and it comes to $32.88.
- I used $59 worth of the $100 airline credit for Admirals Club access at LAX. This benefit is going away for current card members after 2021 so make sure you use it up. New card members do not get it at all.
- Amex offers, although I’ve saved a lot of money over the years with Amex offers, especially on other cards this year and the Amex gold. I actually only used one Amex offer and saved 84 cents. Now that’s not totally accurate because there were a few other offers that deposit points into your account that I did use and they don’t show up here. It’s hard to track, but an actual Amex offer that saves me money, that’s it, 84 cents.
TIP: Don’t miss out on Amex offers. For example, on the Amex platinum just a couple days ago, I was able to use an Amex offer to get $50 back for spending over $250 at Goodyear tires for getting winter tires for my jeep, so it can be really lucrative. There’s also another Amex offer on the Gold and Platinum for five points per dollar at Amazon right now. If you want your Amex offers activated automatically, you could check out Max rewards gold, that’s the premium version of max rewards, it activates all your Amex offers for you, so you never miss a deal. And you can get a free month of their service with my link, code: shifu. You can also use Max rewards to keep track of the cards that have things like dining credits. If you go to the dining credit section, you’ll be able to click in and you can see all the cards that have a dining credit so that you don’t forget to use them.
You can download Max rewards and get a free month of Max rewards gold with my link here, using the code: shifu. Or you can just download the free features and check it out. There are many free features on the app.
All that brings us to a grand total of the value that I’ve got out of the AMEX Gold in 2021 of $1,919.88, then you minus the $250 annual fee, and you get $1,669.88.
Now, I know that some of that value came from referrals worth 55,000 points. To be honest, throughout the whole year, on my account, it’s been showing 30,000 points per referral. So I think for the average person who’s serious about earning a lot of points on credit cards, you could at least refer one or two people to max it out. I don’t think that’s going to be too difficult to do when it’s 30,000 points per referral. And if you’re wondering what referral offer is showing in my account, it is:
You can earn plus four membership rewards points per dollar spent on eligible purchases for three months on up to $25,000 when you refer a friend by December 1, and they get approved. So if you max it out and spend $25,000 In three months, you would end up with 125,000 points, at least. It depends which categories you spend it in. For me, if I referred someone and they got approved, and I went on to pay my taxes with this card in early 2022, I could end up with 125,000 points, which is worth $2,500 at two cents per point. Now if we account for a 2% fee for paying taxes with a credit card, which is what it costs if you do it through the IRS website. That’s $500. Thus, 2500-500 is still $2,000 profit.
Will I be keeping the card into next year? Absolutely yes! The two dining credits take my annual fee down effectively to $10 straightaway, and the 4 points per dollar at supermarkets is really valuable, especially now the Freedom Flex 5 points but our supermarkets introductory offer is ending for me, that ends just about around this month.
Alternatives to the AMEX Gold for supermarkets: If you want cashback, the Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cashback on up to $6,000 in spending at supermarkets per year. That’s actually a really good deal if you want cashback. In the past, you could do a similar thing with the AMEX Gold because it’s four points per dollar at supermarkets. You could actually end up with 5% cashback if you cashed out through the Charles Schwab card because it’s 1.25 cents per point in value. But now that has gone down to 1.1 cents in value, so it’s only 4.4% cashback at supermarkets if you redeem for cashback. For me, this is also easily the best card I have for restaurants to spend as well at 4x per dollar. If you’re redeeming for cashback that would be 4.4% that is above other dedicated dining cards like the Capital One saver which is 4% cashback at restaurants. The City Prestige however, does earn 5 points per dollar at restaurants which is probably the highest of any credit card right now. However, it’s not available to new applicants so if you are grandfathered in, to that card, enjoy using it at restaurants, otherwise, probably Amex Gold is your best bet.