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Eligible new card members can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. If you've been considering this rewards card for a while, now is a great time to take advantage of its highest-ever welcome offer.
While the welcome 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.
4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) 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
60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
See Pay Over Time APR
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
- New offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.
- Old offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- 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.
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.
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 offer 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.
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.