The Most Underappreciated Yet Rewarding Card for Accumulating Transferable Points
Posted by Gary Leff on January 23, 2024
While American Express cards, particularly the Platinum card, are often the topic of conversation due to their benefits like lounge access and statement credits, it’s important to consider other options. I always recommend using the Platinum card for airfare expenses only as it offers just one point per dollar spent.
One of the most versatile points currencies is Membership Rewards, thanks to its impressive collection of points transfer partners. If you’re looking to quickly accumulate points, the American Express® Gold Card should be on your radar.
The Gold Card allows you to earn:
- 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
- 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
The Gold Card is a must-have for those who frequently dine out or shop for groceries. For instance, my spouse finds it particularly useful in accumulating points for our family. She uses the Platinum card only for its privileges, not for earning points.
The Gold Card comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) but also offers two sets of statement credits:
- $120 Uber Cash: By adding your Gold Card to your Uber account, you can get $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
- $120 Dining Credit: You can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
Also, there’s a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. However, I don’t consider this in the card’s value proposition.
The Gold Card’s real value lies in its ability to earn points faster than the Platinum card, and subsequently using those points with partners including:
- Star Alliance: Air Canada; ANA; Avianca; Singapore Airlines
- oneworld: British Airways; Cathay Pacific; Iberia; Qantas; Qatar Airways
- SkyTeam: Aeromexico; Air France KLM; Delta; Virgin Atlantic
- Non-alliance: Aer Lingus; Emirates; Etihad; Hawaiian Airlines; JetBlue
- Hotel: Choice; Hilton; Marriott
Although American Express often organizes transfer bonuses, I seldom leverage them due to the value I find in maintaining the flexibility of transferring points as needed. However, the Gold Card’s real appeal is its fast-earning potential of a currency with option value.