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Is the Amex Gold Card's $250 annual fee worth the cost? Here's how to know

The Amex Gold Card is a premium card with a $250 annual fee. Here are the best card member perks that can make it worthwhile.

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The American Express® Gold Card is a great card for dining out, ordering takeout and traveling, but it comes with a relatively high $250 annual fee. (See rates and fees.)

Cardholders can make up the cost with up to $240 in food-related credits every year and a $100 credit on eligible hotel stays, but paying $250 for a card isn't within everyone's budget.

If you order food for pickup or delivery with popular services like Uber Eats, GrubHub and Seamless at least twice a month, you can easily recoup the card's annual fee. Alone, the food-related credits effectively reduce the card's $250 annual fee to $10 — all with little work done on your part — and its additional perks only raise the value.

Ahead, we break down the benefits and credits of the Amex Gold card so you can decide if the $250 annual fee is worthwhile.

Value of Amex Gold card benefits

In order to recoup the Gold card’s $250 annual fee, you’ll need to take advantage of the card’s benefits. We crunched the numbers to find out how much each perk is estimated to be worth.

  • Up to $120 per year in dining credits: Receive a $10 statement credit every month for purchases made with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations (after a one-time enrollment).
  • Up to $120 per year in Uber Cash: Up to $120 per year ($10 in Uber Cash every month) that you can apply toward U.S. Uber Eats orders and Uber rides in the U.S. Add your Gold card as a payment method in your Uber account to benefit.
  • Complimentary year of Uber Eats Pass ($119 value): Uber Eats Pass membership provides unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants (taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward order minimum). Also benefit from no delivery fees on grocery deliveries over $30 in select markets. After the complimentary year, you’ll be auto-billed at the then-current monthly rate (currently $9.99 per month). Enrollment required by 12/31/21. Learn more about the Uber Eats Pass benefit.
  • Up to $100 credit at eligible hotels and resorts: When you stay a minimum of two consecutive nights at a property in The Hotel Collection, you’ll receive a $100 credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities.

Additionally, Amex provides shopping offers, known as Amex Offers, at a variety of retailers, like restaurants, hotels and department stores. These offers let you receive a statement credit or points on eligible spending after you activate. The value varies by card member, so it’s not simple to estimate how much you can earn per year. Combined, however, Amex card members have saved over $931 million since January 2010.

Alternatives to the Amex Gold card

If you’re not eager to pay $250 for the Amex Gold card, consider alternative cards, like the American Express® Green Card or the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, that are more affordable. The Green card is geared toward restaurant, transit and travel rewards, while the Cash Magnet is an easy-to-use cash-back card.

And if the annual fee doesn’t bother you, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers luxurious travel perks, including up to $200 in annual Uber Cash and up to $200 in annual airline fee credits.

No annual fee and cash back

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases within your first 6 months of card membership.

  • Annual fee

    None

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    14.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

More manageable annual fee

American Express® Green Card

Information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel, transit and at restaurants worldwide and 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $150

  • 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, terms apply.

Luxury travel benefits

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of card membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Bottom line

If your food delivery bills are high, the Amex Gold card can help you save on eligible orders through the dining credit and Uber Cash perk. And if you plan on traveling later this year, booking a stay at The Hotel Collection can help you save up to $100 per eligible trip.

But if you prefer meal-prep over takeout or don't plan on using the Amex Gold's food-centric credits, you would need to maximize the card's rewards program to offset the annual fee. This requires more work and even more spending — approximately $6,250 to $25,000 in purchases is required to offset the annual fee, depending on the categories you spend in.

The quickest way to recoup the Amex Gold's annual fee is to spend a combined $6,250 at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.

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

For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet, click here

For rates and fees of the Platinum card from American Express, click here

For rates and fees of the American Express Green 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.