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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of American Express® Gold Card / Rose Gold Card and
United℠ Explorer Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Trip Protections
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Earns Transferable Points
Annual Statement Credits
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
No Fees for Authorized Users
Metal Card
Amex Offers
Free Checked Bags
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Concierge Services
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
Free Access to Credit Score
Annual Fee
$250 (Rates and fees)
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Balance transfers fees
-
Best Multiplier
4x Groceries

4X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on U.S. Supermarkets* (up to $25,000 a year; 1X thereafter)

4x Dining Out / Food Delivery

At restaurants worldwide and on takeout delivery within the U,S.

3x Airfare

Booked directly with the airline or via AmexTravel.com

1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.017
Bonus Offer
Earn 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 in 6 months. Terms apply.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.48) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The American Express Gold Card (and the Rose Gold version of the Amex Gold Card) is one of my favorite credit cards on the market.

While many cards have more bonus categories or more features, the simplicity of a card that earns 4X American Express Membership Rewards points on both dining and at U.S. supermarkets, given how much of my monthly spend is in one of these two categories, makes it an easy top-of-wallet choice. 3X on airfare is also nice.

dining-american-express-gold-card-rose-gold-card

It helps that I have no problem at all using the included credits, living in a major metropolitan area. In fact, I’ve generally used both of the included credits at GrubHub and Uber Eats by the fifth of each month!

While I wouldn’t make it my only credit card, it definitely complements other cards nicely. If you already have the American Express Platinum Card, for example, you’d be better off using the Platinum card for its many benefits and 5X on airfare, but using your Amex Gold Card for your groceries and restaurant expenses.

Keep in mind that all of your American Express Membership Rewards points accrue to one master account. As long as you have at least one card open that earns Membership Rewards points, your points will never expire.

This includes no-annual fee cards like the Blue Business Plus.

Rates and Fees for the American Express® Gold Card

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Earns Transferable Points
yes
Annual Statement Credits
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Metal Card
yes
Amex Offers
yes
Free Checked Bags
no
Airport Lounge Access
no
Priority Boarding
no
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
no
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
Concierge Services
no
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
no
Free Access to Credit Score
no
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
2x Airfare

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Hotels
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.012
Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 United MileagePlus Miles after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus Annual Fee waived for the first year. Offer ends March 13, 2024.  

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.05) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The United Explorer is one of the best credit cards out there for occasional United flyers. That’s because you’ll get useful perks, such as free first checked bags, priority boarding privileges, a 25% food and beverage discount on board United operated flights, and even get a taste of airport lounge access with two anniversary United Club passes. Plus. the annual fee is waived the first year, then just $95 thereafter.

Consider this scenario: Even if you only fly United a couple of times per year, the Explorer Card is worth it for the free checked bag benefit alone. Keep in mind, this applies to the primary card holder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you use the card to pay for your ticket. At $35 for one checked bag, and $140 for a round-trip flight for two people, it’s easy to get value that exceeds the card’s annual fee.

In addition to the sign-up bonus earned after account opening, the United Explorer card earns a decent 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, 2X miles on dining, including eligible delivery services, 2X miles on hotel stays when booked with the hotel and 1x miles on all other purchases. Also, the card helps to fast track your United elite status goals with 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases (up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year). These PQPs can be applied toward your Premier status qualification — up to the Premier 1K level.

And don’t forget the ability to earn PQPs towards elite status from spend. You’ll earn 25 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $500 you spend on purchases – up to 1,000 PQPs per year.

If you’re in need of extra miles besides flying on United flights, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the United Mileage Plus program at a 1:1 ratio to help you top up your miles balance.

While the United Explorer card is a fantastic option for the occasional United flyer, those that travel more often with the airline might want to consider other options, including United’s other, more premium, credit cards.

In more simple terms, the Explorer card fits the “occasional United flyer” once or twice per year mold, while the $250-per-year United Quest fits the “semi-frequent United flyer.” Then, there’s the United Club Infinite Card for the “frequent United flyer.” If you’re looking for a United Club membership and need more than just two one-time passes, you’ll probably be better off with the United Club Infinite Card, which comes with a full United Club membership but also charges the highest annual fee of the United cards at $525.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Earns Transferable Points
no
Annual Statement Credits
no
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
No Fees for Authorized Users
no
Metal Card
no
Amex Offers
no
Free Checked Bags
yes
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Priority Boarding
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Concierge Services
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes

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