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Amex Gold card is offering its highest-ever welcome bonus worth 60,000 points—here's how you can earn it

The American Express Gold Card just increased its welcome bonus to 60,000 points. Here's how you can earn it, who's eligible and what the bonus is worth.

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American Express just launched a new welcome bonus for the American Express® Gold Card that's nearly double the prior offer.

Eligible new card members can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. If you've been considering this rewards card for a while, now is a great time to take advantage of its highest-ever welcome bonus.

While the welcome bonus offer is a nice perk, you should take into account the card's $250 annual fee when deciding whether to apply (see rates and fees). If you take full advantage of the rewards and benefits included in membership, you can recoup the annual fee every year. For instance, you'll benefit from up to $120 each year ($10 a month) on eligible dining at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory and other participating restaurants, which effectively reduces the annual fee to $130.

CNBC Select breaks down how the new and old American Express Gold Card offers compare, who's eligible to earn the welcome bonus and what 60,000 points are worth.

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery, plus, Uber Eats purchases) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Seamless and eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

New Amex Gold Card welcome bonus

  • New offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening.
  • Old offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Bottom line: The new offer is significantly better than the previous one. New card members can earn a welcome bonus that's worth 25,000 points more than the old offer and has the same $4,000 spending requirement. Plus, you can benefit from an additional three months to meet the spending requirement.

Who's eligible for the Amex Gold Card welcome bonus?

Most card issuers impose restrictions on who's eligible to earn a welcome bonus, and Amex is no different. The offer terms state:

"Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card. We may also consider the number of American Express cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility."

So if you've ever had an Amex Gold Card or Premier Rewards Gold Card, you can't earn the bonus.

What 60,000 points are worth

You can redeem American Express Membership Rewards® points in various ways, including statement credits, travel and gift cards. The value of points varies based on redemption method, so here are some examples of what the 60,000-point welcome bonus is worth, using Amex's points value calculator.

  • Pay with points at checkout: $300 (Ticketmaster), $420 (all other sites, such as Amazon and PayPal), $600 (NYC Taxi)
  • Gift cards: Up to $600
  • Statement credit: $360
  • Book or upgrade travel: $420* (prepaid hotels and cruises), $600* (flights)
  • Transfer points to frequent traveler program partners: Up to 60,000 points in the partners' program
  • Shopping with merchant partners: $300

*Note that you have to pay for travel using your Amex Gold Card through American Express Travel to get these redemption rates.

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.