AmEx Gold Card carriers get bigger perks, higher fee
The middle child of American Express’ suite of charge cards, the Gold Card, is getting a major upgrade this fall, but its bigger perks come with a higher fee.
It’s the latest move by American Express to keep and grow its card member base in the face of increased competition. But it also refreshes a product that industry experts have said was too expensive for the perks it offered.
The Gold Card has, for some time, sat between the sub-$100 annual fee cards like Chase’s Sapphire Preferred, Citi’s ThankYou Premier Card and the super-premium cards like the Platinum Card or Sapphire Reserve, which grant airport lounge access or have big travel credits. Its positioning on the annual fee scale gave the Gold Card little direct competition, and made it popular with those looking for some perks but not looking to spend $500 just for the privilege of using a credit card.
AmEx is pitching the Gold Card at customers who want to travel and dine like its Platinum Card customers, but don’t need the airport lounge access or travel internationally as much as higherspending customers, said Rachel Stocks, who runs AmEx’s Gold and Platinum Card products.
“It’s a staple product for us for years, and we wanted to add more value to it,” Stocks said.
The new perks are coming with a higher cost. AmEx is increasing the annual fee on the card from $195 to $250. Those who have a Gold Card already will not see their annual fee increase until after April 2019, AmEx says. The last time AmEx increased the fee on the Gold Card was in 2015.
Those who like to order in, or dine out, will get a big benefit from the new card. Users will get four Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on dining, which is up from two points per dollar.
The card will come with a
$10 a month ($120 a year) credit when customers spend money at Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and online ordering apps Seamless and GrubHub.
“AmEx is going hard at the dining market with these changes,” said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with Creditcards.com, an affiliate of Bankrate.com. “But I think the annual fee is pretty steep for what you’re getting.”
AmEx is also offering four points per dollar spent at supermarkets, up to $25,000 a year. The company’s Blue Cash Preferred card, however, gives 6 percent cash back on supermarket spending.