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How to maximize the Amex Gold in 2020

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 10/22/2020 The Points Guy
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When you used to think about the top benefits of your favorite credit cards, you may have imagined things like lounge access and travel credits as the most valuable. But 2020 has changed what tops that list for a lot of people — including myself. However, there is one card in my wallet that has remained a favorite, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Express® Gold Card is a solid option for travelers, earning valuable Amex Membership Rewards points and offering perks such as a $100 airline fee credit and access to The Hotel Collection. But even while I’ve been staying at home more and traveling less, this card has continued to be a valuable addition to my wallet.

Here’s a look at how I’ve been maximizing my Amex Gold card in 2020.

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4x on dining and U.S. supermarkets

I may be spending less on airfare this year, but two of my top spending categories are dining and groceries.

The Amex Gold earns 4x points on worldwide dining and the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year. That’s an 8% return (according to TPG valuations) on two of the categories I spend the most in each month.

For example, I’ve averaged about $250 per month on groceries and another $150 on other dining expenses per month throughout 2020. That equates to about $380 in rewards value each year on those two spending categories alone.

Related: Best cards for takeout and food delivery 

a woman standing in front of a store: (Photo by d3sign / Getty Images) © The Points Guy (Photo by d3sign / Getty Images)

$120 dining credit

Hands down my favorite perk with the Amex Gold is the dining credit.

Each month, you get up to $10 in statement credits when you spend on Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed. While $10 isn’t lucrative, that does cover one Shake Shack to-go order for me each month, which I definitely take advantage of. There’s a Shake Shack just down the street from my apartment, and it’s my cheat meal go-to.

Video: How to ask for a pay raise at work (USA TODAY)

Of course, while we’re all staying at home, the fact that GrubHub and Seamless are included as options is great too.

Related: How I get free lunch twice a month with this one card

Amex offers

This perk isn’t specific to the Amex Gold, but it is another way to maximize your card in 2020.

American Express targets offers to you (though oftentimes there is a lot of overlap in available offers between cardmembers and accounts) that allow you to earn additional rewards on purchases that otherwise may not have qualified for bonus points. I personally check my Amex Offers weekly — it’s part of my Sunday routine as I plan for my week.

Since I’ve been doing more online shopping this year and shopping at merchants that may not normally earn rewards, using Amex Offers has helped me capitalize on purchases that I normally would have had to forgo rewards for. The value I’ve gotten from Amex offers in 2020 has ensured that my Amex cards have remained valuable to use even if I’m not traveling as much.

Related: How to get more Amex Offers to show on your account

a close up of a sign: (Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

Referring friends and family members

Another benefit that isn’t exclusive to the Amex Gold card that I’ve been able to use this year to earn points is referring friends. American Express allows you to refer friends and family members to any Amex card to earn bonus points once they are approved. I’ve been able to boost my Membership Rewards account with a couple of referrals this year, which has been helpful since my overall spending has gone down — meaning I haven’t been earning at quite the same rate as in a normal year.

Don’t forget that there is a special Refer-A-Friend program going on in October 2020. Not only do cards have targeted referral bonuses available, you’ll also get 3x more points on every purchase for three months if your friend applies before Oct. 28, 2020, and gets approved. That would mean 7x points on U.S. supermarkets and dining, 6x on eligible flights, and 3x on all other purchases for those three months.

Related: Make the most of Amex’s October refer-a-friend offer with these credit cards

Bottom line

The American Express Gold Card is one of the best cards on the market for earning rewards.

It has a lot of the elements of a premium credit card — high earning potential and annual statement credits, for example — without a $500+ annual fee. Instead, you’ll pay $250 per year (see rates and fees).

This year may have thrown a wrench in many people’s plans, both for earning and redeeming rewards, but the Amex Gold is a card that will serve you well in the short-term and also in the long-term once travel is back on our calendars.

Want to learn more about the Amex Gold? Check out our full card review. 

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy

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

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