AmEx Gold Will Soon Earn 4X Points at Restaurants Worldwide

The American Express Gold Card previously earned bonus rewards at “U.S. restaurants” (among other categories), but AmEx is removing that qualifier.
Robin Saks Frankel
Kenley Young
By Kenley Young and  Robin Saks Frankel 
AmEx Gold Will Soon Earn 4X Points at Restaurants Worldwide

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The American Express® Gold Card is going global for foodies.

American Express® Gold Card
NerdWallet rating 

The card has been earning bonus rewards at “U.S. restaurants” (among other categories), but as of June 6, 2019, AmEx is making that restaurants worldwide.

That means dining purchases both in the U.S. and abroad will be eligible to earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent.

The card will also continue to earn:

  • 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar).

  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on

  • 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

“We know dining is a top interest category for our Gold Card members, and we know they're avid travelers," said Sabrina Sodja, vice president of U.S. consumer premium products, American Express. "We want to make sure they're getting value in all the ways they want to — dining in, dining out, and dining abroad."

The annual fee will remain $250, according to Sodja.

What this means for cardholders

The new “worldwide” language is a departure from other American Express cards with bonus categories, which typically apply only to “U.S.” purchases. Indeed, that qualifier remains for the card’s “U.S. supermarkets” category.

It's welcome news for international travelers for whom dining is a big expense, especially since the American Express® Gold Card also charges no foreign transaction fees. Typically, this would make a good combination of features for a travel-buddy card.

But keep in mind that American Express is less widely accepted abroad than Visa or Mastercard, and that some competing travel cards — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — already earn bonus rewards on international purchases.

Bonus rewards problems

It’s also worth noting that some American Express® Gold Card customers have been reporting inconsistent bonus rewards even on domestic dining. The primary issue seems to be purchases made via "third-party payment processors" such as Square or Toast. AmEx, in its terms and conditions, lists this as a possible hindrance to earning bonus rewards and has acknowledged the issue in interviews.

In March 2019, the issuer told NerdWallet that it was working on the problem and that cardholders “should expect to see significantly more eligible spend bonused at U.S. restaurants when they pay through a third-party processor.”

As for whether this hiccup will extend to restaurants abroad, an AmEx spokesperson said eligible purchases at restaurants through all third-party processors like Square and Toast, globally, would all count toward the 4X points.

AmEx also confirmed that spending through dining services UberEats and Seamless were also eligible for 4X the points.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

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