Why I’m keeping the Amex Gold another year


Two days before Nick posted that he was considering dumping the Amex Gold card for the Capital One SavorOne, I made my own decision about the Amex Gold Card.  I’m keeping it for one more year.  A retention offer makes it a keeper.  For now.

For many or most, the Amex Gold Card is well worth its $250 annual fee.  In exchange for that annual fee, you get a card that earns 4x for dining worldwide, 4x at U.S. grocery stores on up to $25K spend per year, and 3x on flights.  Plus, the card offers $120 in Uber / Uber Eats credits ($10 per month) and $120 in “dining” credits: $10 per month back when using the card at participating dining partners (Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory).

Those who can get good value from the card’s 4x categories and from the Uber and dining credits can do very well with the Gold Card.  For me, though, it’s not worth the annual fee.  For starters, the 4x categories don’t interest me.  I earn 5x ThankYou points for dining with my Citi Prestige card (no longer available to new applicants), and 5x ThankYou points for grocery spend with my multiple Citi Custom Cash cards.  And while I value the $10 monthly Uber credits, I haven’t used the $10 monthly dining credit in ages and so that’s of no value to me either.

Due to the considerations above, I opened an online chat with Amex during regular business hours and said that I wanted to cancel the Gold card.  I was transferred to a specialist who eventually said that I was qualified for either of two retention offers:

  1. Earn 30,000 points after $3K spend in 3 months; or
  2. Earn $200 after $3K spend in 3 months

Obviously I went for the points.  Since I have the Schwab Platinum card which allows cashing out points for 1.1 cents each, it was completely obvious that I should pick the first retention offer.  At a minimum 30K points is worth $330.  In practice I should be able to get more value than that by transferring to airline partners or using with my Business Platinum to pay for select airfare in order to get its 35% points rebate (making points worth slightly more than 1.5 cents each).

My retention offer was enough to convince me to keep the card for another year.  I’ll probably drop it next year, though, when the annual fee comes due again.  It’s not common for Amex to offer a retention bonus two years in a row for the same card; so, unless things change, I really will dump the card then.

Please don’t take my decision to cancel the card next year as advice for you.  The Gold card isn’t right for me long term, but for many or maybe most people it’s a terrific choice.

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