Is the American Express® Gold Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The American Express® Gold Card is a competitive card when it comes to dining and grocery shopping, and it also offers a handful of other benefits that make it stand out in the premium card market. Is the American Express® Gold Card worth getting? We created a calculator to see if the card fits your spending habits.

American Express® Gold Card Calculator

Ask Sebby crunches the numbers for you to calculate the Expected Value of the Gold Card. For the expected value of points, we calculate the approximate dollar value based on the numbers you enter in the calculator.

How to use the calculator:

  1. Access the calculator here: http://bit.ly/2OZR5QU

  2. File -> “Copy” or “Save As” to make a copy for yourself

  3. Only input values in the YELLOW cells. The other cells have formulas in them, and messing with the formulas can corrupt the calculations.

Airline and Dining Credits

In the credits section above, enter the percent in which you value each credit. For example, if you’re able to fully utilize each credit, then you might enter 100%. However, if you don’t value the dining credits or don’t plan on fully utilizing them, then you might enter 50%.

The American Express® Gold Card comes with a $100 airline incidental fee credit (per calendar year) that can be used for checked bag fees or in-flight meals. Depending on the airline carrier you choose like Delta, American Airlines, or Southwest, the credits can be easier to use.

Earn up to $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with the Gold Card at participating partners. If you maximize the $10 statement credit each month, you’ll receive an annual savings of $120.

Participating partners:

  • Grubhub

  • Seamless

  • The Cheesecake Factory

  • Ruth's Chris Steak House

  • Participating Shake Shack locations. Excludes Shake Shack locations in ballparks, stadiums, airports and racetracks.

Cost

The American Express® Gold Card has a $250 annual fee, and it is NOT waived in the first year.

Depending on how you value the airline and dining credits, the effective annual fee is also reflected in this section.

Spending Multipliers

For each of the spending multiplier categories, enter the value you spend per year. The default numbers shown in the calculator are based on the U.S. averages.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends $4,363 on food at home (groceries), and $3,365 on food away from home (dining out) per year.

Purchases at U.S. Supermarkets earn 4X points on up to $25,000 per the calendar year and earn 1X afterward.

Value of Points

Place an “x” in ONE of the yellow boxes in this section on how you plan to redeem the points.

The “Simple Methods” are methods that don’t require extra legwork to redeem points. Cashing out points as a statement credit is the worst value.

The “YMMV Methods” are ones that will vary for everyone, depending on the gift cards you choose or which transfer partners you use.

When you use transfer partners, you can get up to 2 cents per point in value, but it requires transferring points to an airline.

Expected Value (Year 2,3, etc.)

Tying it all together, based on the values you entered in the calculator, the number at the end is your expected value from the Gold Card in Year 2 and onward.



Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.