Trip Astute has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Trip Astute and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
The revamped American Express Gold Card was all the rage last year, so I know a lot of you applied for the card, especially to take advantage of some of the promotional benefits (and the special Rose Gold color). Since I’ve been so focused on Chase cards for the past few years, I wanted to share some things that you might miss if you’re new to the Membership Rewards program. I did a similar post/video on maximizing the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, so I thought would explore how to maximize your AMEX Gold benefits and perks.
And if you don’t already have the Amex Gold Card and want to get in on the action, you can learn more about it here.
Some of these recommendations might seem obvious to experienced points collectors, but I’m hoping they serve as good reminders. I tried to include some obscure tips as well that should be useful for those of you who are veterans in this hobby.
1. Add the card to your account:
Most times when you activate a new American Express card, it should automatically appear in your profile alongside any other Amex cards that you have. However, some people have reported that their activated card was listed under a new profile. If this happens, you’ll want to click on the Add Another Card option under your profile. This will allow you to see all your American Express cards under one login and dashboard.
2. Enroll your preferred airline for the $100 fee credit:
American Express allows you to designate your preferred airline every January. Once you select your preferred airline, you can get up to $100 a year in credits for incidental fees. This can be a bit confusing for those new to the program. If you’re used to the travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then you’ll find this airline credit much more restrictive. The $100 airline incidental fee credit from Ameican Express covers fees OTHER than your ticket. Things like change fees, baggage fees, in-flight snacks and drinks, and airline lounge passes.
For example, wifi on the plane might not trigger the credit if it’s not charged by the airline. In many cases, the in-flight wifi is from a company like Gogo. This means that you’ll get a charge from Gogo instead of the airline, which won’t be eligible for the credit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that gift cards are technically NOT eligible for the bonus. However, a few airline gift cards that are purchased directly from the airline still seem to trigger the credit. As of January 2019, people are reporting that the credit does appear for
American, Delta, and Southwest gift cards. This might change, so I wouldn’t bank on it. I recommend using it for any fees that you might incur from the airline, like change fees or even food and drinks on the plane.
Lastly, you should take advantage of this benefit twice during your first year of card membership. Make sure you’re using your airline credit before the end of the year. If you’re in your first year of card membership, make sure to use it early the following year. This is especially important if you’re unsure whether you’re going to keep the card for another year
3. Enroll and use your monthly dining credit:
The American Express Gold Card gives you a $120 dining credit. The catch is that you can only use up to $10 per month of the credit. Also, you can only use it on the following restaurants and food delivery services:
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Participating Shake Shack locations
On that note, be careful of
4. Add your card to dining rewards programs:
Since the American Express Gold Card earns four membership rewards points per dollar on dining charges, it makes sense to use it as your dining card. Though if you’re like me, you’re used to using a Chase Sapphire Reserve and may have enrolled your Sapphire card or Freedom card in the dining rewards programs. For example, I use the United MileagePlus Dining Rewards program and completely forgot to add my American Express Gold card until recently. Don’t lose out on points by forgetting to add your Gold Card, especially since it’s likely your new dining out card.
5. Enroll in ShopRunner:
Your American Express Gold Card comes with a complimentary membership to ShopRunner. ShopRunner is similar to Amazon Prime shipping service, but for other online businesses. You get unlimited and free two-day shipping from over 100 retailers.
Make sure you enroll in this benefit since it’s won’t be active until you click the Enroll Now button and complete the process.
6. Check AMEX Offers:
One of the most underrated features with all American Express cards is the Amex offers. We use these all the time! I appreciate the way that American Express has implemented this bonus too. You don’t have to use a special portal in order to qualify for the offer. All you have to do is add the offer via the American Express app or
7. Shift your spending:
If you have the Amex Gold Card, then you’re probably using it for dining out and groceries. I know it’s hard for me to remember which card to use at times. This is similar to my rotating bonus categories cards, where I often can’t remember which card to use and rely on my phone’s reminder wallpaper.
Since dining out and groceries tend to make up most of my daily expenditures, I moved my Amex Gold Card to the front of my wallet. I also made it my default card in Apple Pay. Everyone has a different system and method for remembering. Though I recommend doing something to help you remember so you don’t miss out on the bonus categories.
One more thing about
8. Confirm your welcome offer:
If you’re like me, you can get paranoid about your welcome offer, especially if you didn’t get an automatic approval when applying. If this is the case with you, I suggest using American Express’ chat functionality to confirm your welcome offer. American Express’ chat function is very robust and functional, making it easy to get information or request account changes.
I recently used American Express’ chat function to downgrade my Blue Cash Preferred to the Blue Cash Everyday card since I’m using my Gold Card for groceries. I was amazed that I was able to request the change via chat.
9. Refer your friends:
Since this is a dining out card, you’ll likely have friends who ask about it when paying your bill at a restaurant. I recommend taking advantage of American Express’ referral system. Your friends will get more Membership Rewards points in their welcome offer than the standard posted offer. Also, you’ll get a generous referral bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points.
As of January 2019, the standard welcome offer for the American Express Gold Card is 35,000 points after spending $2000 within three months of account opening. However, you can get your friend 40,000 points by extending your referral.
Keep in mind that you can only earn up to 55,000 Membership Rewards points every year through referrals. Also, the welcome offer can change at any time. Though if you have friends and family who are interested, it’s a great way to get rewarded for referring them to American Express.
Do you have any other tips for maximizing the American Express Gold Card? If so, please share in the comment section below. Also, if you recently got this card, let me know what you think of it.
If you’re interested in applying for a new credit card, we encourage you to compare credit card offers. We do get a commission if you use our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it helps us to continue building content for our site and channel.