Should I Get the Amex Gold?
The American Express Gold card is one of those cards that tempts folks to apply before they're ready for that card. It's a question we see often in the ToP Facebook group: should I get the Amex Gold? I am not sure if it’s because of the look of the card, the welcome offers or for the benefits. Whatever the reason, people just seem to be attracted to it, marketing at its best, I suppose. However, grabbing this card when first starting out is often a mistake. In fact, there are multiple reasons why you should hold off on getting the Amex Gold when just starting out in miles and points.
Reason 1: You’re Under Chase 5/24
So you’re just starting out in miles and points and you want the beautiful, fancy Amex Gold (or Rose Gold) card. We get it! But because of the Chase 5/24 rule, you really should hold off when you are just starting out. With the Chase 5/24 rule, Chase will not approve you for a credit card (personal or business) if you have opened five or more cards in the past 24 months. That is true of cards from ALL banks, not just Chase, which includes American Express.
The Amex Gold card is a personal card, so it will add to your 5/24 count. It’s important to start with Chase while you are under 5/24, as they have some of the best credit cards for earning points. This includes the one most people should start with: the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Other banks, such as American Express, do not have the 5/24 rule and you can get their cards later. Because of that, there is really no need to start with the American Express Gold. You can just as easily be approved for an American Express Gold card when you are over 5/24.
Reason 2: A Welcome Offer on a New Card Beats 4x
Among some of the most popular reasons to get an American Express Gold is its bonus earning categories. The Amex Gold earns 4x points on both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. However, a card that has a great multiplier still isn't going to beat even a good, much less great, welcome offer.
Ideally, and especially when just starting out, you should always be working on a welcome offer to maximize the return on your spend. This is because a welcome offer on a new credit card is its own big category bonus on that initial spend. Take a Chase Sapphire Preferred for example. The welcome offer on that card is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for $4,000 in spend. That is like earning a 15x multiplier on ToP of what you already are earning on those transactions!
So, while earning 4x on restaurants and groceries is fantastic, it is important to focus on welcome offers. You will consistently earn a large multiplier every time that you are working on a welcome offer. The points earned on welcome offers will help you to travel on points longer and further.
Reason 3: There is a Business Version of the Gold Card
The third reason not to jump for an American Express Gold card is because there is an American Express Business Gold card with similar benefits, and a (usually) bigger welcome offer. Not sure if you are business card eligible? Give our business eligibility guide a read, as almost everyone is eligible for business cards.
One of the most compelling reasons we hear for wanting to get the American Express Gold card is for the high welcome offer. The Business Gold Card has had offers that are as high, if not higher, than the personal Gold. Heck, there is even an all-time high 150,000-point Amex Business Gold offer going around right now. It's important to mention that the minimum spending requirement is usually $4,000 larger as well.
The Business Gold card also earns 4x rewards on your ToP 2 categories of eligible business spend, and one of those categories is restaurants, just like the personal Gold. The American Express Business Gold card does not add to your Chase 5/24 count since it is a business card, making it a wise choice while under 5/24. If you can meet the higher minimum spend on the business version, consider that card instead.
Reason 4: All that Glitters Is Not Gold
There is definitely some shiny-object syndrome that comes into play when we talk about premium credit cards. The Gold card is shiny and looks prestigious; but is it worth the annual fee that it commands? At a hefty $250 annual fee, many would argue that it is not worth it. There are plenty of credits that come with that card, but it begs the question: is the Gold card a glorified coupon book?
The card's most popular credits, Uber and select food/dining merchants, can usually require spending more money in order to earn the credit. This makes the credits worth less than they appear. With plenty of low or no-annual fee options available that offer similar, if not better value, it's hard to justify the cost of holding the American Express Gold card long term if you're not maximizing the earning categories.
Reason 5: Amex Gold Card Family Rule
American Express recently introduced new family rules for the Amex Gold card. The new rules state that if you have a personal Platinum card of any kind, you are not eligible to receive a welcome offer on an Amex Gold card. Due to these changes, you might not be eligible for the offer.
This again makes the Amex Business Gold and Business Platinum cards better options, since they not subject to any family rules and do not affect your 5/24 count.
Should I Get the Amex Gold: ToP Thoughts
The American Express Gold card has a lot of marketing behind it trying to convince you to grab one, and you should in good time. If you are under Chase 5/24, however, it just isn’t worth it. It's a fantastic long-term earning card that you can grab AFTER you have moved on from Chase. The benefits that the card offers can be duplicative, hard to use, or just not helpful depending on your personal situation. Membership Rewards are valuable points, but with multiple business options available there is little reason to start with the personal Gold. There is a whole slew of cards we would recommend before this card, so take a look at that list before making a decision.
Should you get the Amex Gold? Yes, eventually … but timing is key. It shouldn't be considered when starting out and while you are under Chase 5/24.