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Bank of America Checking, Savings, CD, and IRA Account Reviews

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Bank of America checking account options

Bank of America Interest Checking® Account

Bank of America’s Interest Checking® Account offers a minuscule amount of interest and a few extra perks in exchange for a higher monthly fee.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.01%

$0 - $50,000

0.02%

$50,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25 (waived if you meet certain requirements, detailed below)
  • ATM fees: No fee for using Bank of America ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM in the United States, you’ll pay $2.50 per transaction (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on). If you use a foreign ATM, you’ll pay $5 per transaction, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee and any surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: If you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client, you won’t be charged the out-of-network ATM fees in the United States. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients will receive one surcharge fee refund per month, and Platinum Honors clients will receive unlimited surcharge fee refunds.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 per item

This checking account earns a minuscule amount of interest while charging a higher monthly fee than their Core Checking account. But, you can also get the monthly fee waived by doing one of the following:

  1. Keeping a combined balance of at least $10,000 in all of your Bank of America accounts.
  2. Enrolling in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program and earn at least a Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors tier.

The Interest Checking account also has a few other perks. If you do opt-in to the overdraft protection and have a linked savings account set up, any transfers to cover overdrafts are done free of charge (with the Core Checking account, this normally costs $12 per transfer). You’ll also get free checks, and you can choose to enroll in the BankAmeriDeals cashback rewards program and the Keep The Change savings program.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Interest Checking® Account. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. A credit check may be performed during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Bank of America Core Checking® Account

This fee-heavy, no-interest-earning account isn’t one our favorites.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (unless you meet requirements, detailed below)
  • ATM fees: No fee for using Bank of America ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM in the United States, you’ll pay $2.50 per transaction (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on). If you use a foreign ATM, you’ll pay $5 per transaction, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee and any surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: If you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client, you won’t be charged the out-of-network ATM fees in the United States. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients will receive one surcharge fee refund per month, and Platinum Honors clients will receive unlimited surcharge fee refunds.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 per item

This is Bank of America’s go-to checking account for most people. Sadly, it doesn’t earn any interest and charges a monthly fee to boot. Check out our roundup of other great low-fee checking accounts. Still, it’s fairly easy to get this fee waived in one of four ways:

  1. Have at least one monthly direct deposit of $250
  2. Keep a daily balance of $1,500 in your account
  3. Enroll in their Preferred Rewards program and reach a Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors tier
  4. Be a high school, college or vocational program student under age 24

When you opened a bank account before the 2008 financial crisis, it was common to be automatically enrolled in an overdraft program. Bank of America’s overdraft program works like this: If you don’t have a linked savings account and you overdraw your account, you’ll face a $35 overdraft fee per item, up to four times per day. If you do have a linked savings account, they’ll charge you a $12 transfer fee to cover the cost. Now, due to new federal regulations, you need to manually opt into this program when you open an account. If you don’t, you’ll instead face a $35 non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee for each item, which is basically the same as the overdraft fee anyway.

Although this is a fee-heavy account, it does come with a couple nice features. Their Keep The Change program automatically rounds up your purchases and deposits the difference into your savings account. You can also earn cashback rewards by shopping at certain retailers through the BankAmeriDeals program.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Core Checking® account. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. Bank of America may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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How Bank of America’s checking accounts compare

This bank’s checking accounts, like accounts at most big banks, offer low interest rates and high fees, especially compared with the best online checking accounts out there. Only one of their checking accounts does offer interest, and it’s such a low rate that you’ll probably even forget it does offer interest. The monthly maintenance fees for these accounts are quite high, and while it is possible to skirt them rather easily, that still means you need to be on your toes to make sure you meet the requirements each month.

The one thing that we actually do like with these accounts is Bank of America’s Keep The Change feature, which rounds up your purchases and deposits the difference into your savings account. This is a unique feature for bank accounts and can really help you save more cash, but it’s also possible to find apps that do the same thing that don’t come with these restrictive accounts.

Bank of America’s savings account options

Rewards Savings

This savings account rewards you with a monthly fee and a super low interest rate.

Tier

APY

Standard

0.03%

Gold

0.04%

Platinum

0.05%

Platinum Honors

0.06%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 (waived if you meet certain requirements, detailed below)
  • ATM fees: No fee for using Bank of America ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM in the United States, you’ll pay $2.50 per transaction (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on). If you use a foreign ATM, you’ll pay $5 per transaction, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee and any surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: If you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client, you won’t be charged the out-of-network ATM fees in the United States. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients will receive one surcharge fee refund per month, and Platinum Honors clients will receive unlimited surcharge fee refunds.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 per item

This is Bank of America’s basic savings account, and an option if you’re just looking for a basic, no-frills place to store your cash. Once again, this account comes with a monthly fee that you should be able to skirt around in one of three ways:

  1. Keep at least $500 in this account
  2. Link up your Bank of America Interest Checking® account
  3. Enroll in the Preferred Rewards program and earn at least a Gold, Platinum or Platinum honors tier.

It shouldn’t be too difficult, but remember to keep these rules in mind should you want to drain your savings account and use the cash.

In addition to the monthly maintenance fee, you’re also limited to six transfers and withdrawals per month, as per Federal Regulation D. If you go over that amount, Bank of America will charge you $10 per transaction, up to $60 per month (however, if you’re enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program or keep at least $20,000 in your account, this fee will be waived).

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Rewards Savings account. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. A credit check may be performed during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Minor Savings Account

A low-fee alternative to teach your children how to save.

Tier

APY

Standard

0.03%

Gold

0.04%

Platinum

0.05%

Platinum Honors

0.06%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: No fee for using Bank of America ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM in the United States, you’ll pay $2.50 per transaction (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on). If you use a foreign ATM, you’ll pay $5 per transaction, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee and any surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: If you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client, you won’t be charged the out-of-network ATM fees in the United States. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients will receive one surcharge fee refund per month, and Platinum Honors clients will receive unlimited surcharge fee refunds.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 per item

If you’re looking to teach your kids about savings, this account is one option. Thankfully, Bank of America waives or lowers many of the fees associated with this account. For example, while you’d normally be charged a $10 fee for going over six withdrawals or transfers per month, the bank will only charge kids and teens $1 per occurrence, up to $6 per month, and only if they have less than $300 in their account. Another nice perk is that you, as a parent, can make automatic transfers into your child’s account.

Once the child reaches age 18, the account automatically converts into a regular Rewards Savings account with higher fees and requirements, so be prepared.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Minor Savings account. The account will be jointly owned by your and your child, and so you will both need to provide some basic personal information, such as your names, social security numbers, and addresses. A credit check may be performed during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Custodial (UTMA) Savings Account

This custodial account operates under the rules of the Rewards Savings account.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.03%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8
  • ATM fees: No fee for using Bank of America ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM in the United States, you’ll pay $2.50 per transaction (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on). If you use a foreign ATM, you’ll pay $5 per transaction, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee and any surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: If you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client, you won’t be charged the out-of-network ATM fees in the United States. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients will receive one surcharge fee refund per month, and Platinum Honors clients will receive unlimited surcharge fee refunds.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 per item

This savings account is meant for parents to save for their children’s expenses after they become adults, such as college, living expenses or a home down payment. Bank of America’s UTMA savings account works exactly like their Rewards Savings account, with one twist: it falls under UTMA regulations.

This means that the account is technically owned by the child, but the parent acts as a custodian and manages the account for them until they’re 18 or 21 (depending on the rules of the state you live in). After this point, the now-adult can access the money and do whatever they want with it, and you’re no longer in charge of the account.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Custodial Savings account. Both you and your child will be listed on the account, and so you will both need to provide some basic personal information, such as your names, Social Security numbers and addresses. Bank of America may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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How Bank of America’s savings accounts compare

There’s no two ways about it: these savings accounts, on the whole, offer high fees and very low interest rates. If you’re banking on these savings accounts for your next vacation, it’ll be quite some time before you find yourself sipping mai tais on a Hawaiian beach. If you’re looking to earn more money with your savings account, a better option would be one of these top online savings accounts.

Bank of America’s CD rates

Featured CD account

Earn a slightly higher interest rate on a short-term CD by bringing 10x the cash to the table.

Term

APY

12 Months

0.07%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $0.01
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ worth of interest on the amount that you withdraw.

If you’re looking for a shorter-term commitment and want to earn a slightly higher rate, you might consider Bank of America’s Featured CD. Still, you won’t earn much more; the interest rate on this featured CD barely edges out their regular 12-month CD, which itself pays out a very small amount of interest.

You also need to pony up a higher amount of cash for this minuscule interest rate increase: You’ll need at least $10,000 to open this CD, whereas you can open a normal CD with as little as $1,000.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for the Featured CD. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. Bank of America may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Standard Term CD account

The ability to choose your own CD term with a low opening deposit requirement makes this a great choice for people looking for flexibility.

Term

APY

28-179 Days

0.03%

6-11 Months

0.03%

12-17 Months

0.05%

18-23 Months

0.07%

24-35 Months

0.10%

36-47 Months

0.55%

48-59 Months

0.65%

60-119 Months

0.75%

120 Months

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $0.01
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs under 90 days, you’ll pay either all interest earned on the amount withdrawn, or 7 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn (whichever is more).
    • For CDs between 90 days up to 12 months, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs between 12 months up to 60 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs over 60 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.

We like Bank of America’s CDs because they offer a ton of flexibility. You can choose any term length you want, from one month to 120 months. You only need $1,000 to open a CD, which is much lower than many other CDs at other banks. You’ll be able to choose how you get paid interest: you can have it reinvested back into the CD, deposited into your linked checking or savings account or have a check mailed to you every so often.

However, it’s not all roses and sunshine. The biggest thing that counts — the interest rate — is actually quite low with this account.

When your CD matures, it’ll be automatically rolled over into a new CD account with the same term length. Don’t worry, though: you have a short seven-day grace period where you can make any changes to the CD, including adding more money, changing the term length or withdrawing the cash.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Standard Term CD. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. A credit check may be performed during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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How Bank of America’s CD rates compare

While Bank of America does offer some pretty nifty features for their CDs (such as flexible term lengths and low minimum deposit amounts), we still can’t get over the fact that the interest rates offered on these CDs are much, much lower than the CDs that you can get elsewhere. These low rates could be worth it if you’re trying to pull off a creative CD ladder structure with odd term lengths, but if you’re looking for the highest interest rates out there, we suggest giving these CDs a pass.

Bank of America’s IRA rates

Featured CD IRA

This account is basically a copycat of Bank of America’s Featured CD, but within an IRA framework.

Term

APY

12 Months

0.07%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $0.01
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs under 90 days, you’ll pay either all interest earned on the amount withdrawn, or 7 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn (whichever is more).
    • For CDs between 90 days up to 12 months, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs between 12 months up to 60 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs over 60 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.

Bank of America’s Featured IRA CD works exactly like their regular Featured CD, except that it operates within the framework of an IRA. Strangely, it requires a slightly smaller minimum opening deposit ($2,000) compared with the regular Featured CD, which requires at least $10,000 to open.

But, assuming you can manage that hurdle, you’ll still have the same options for dealing with interest payments and CD renewals. You can choose to have interest added onto your CD balance, or paid out to you via deposit into a linked Bank of America account or a check. When your CD matures, it’ll automatically roll over into another Featured CD, and you’ll still have a seven-day period where you can make any changes to your account, including withdrawing the cash.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for a Bank of America’s Featured CD IRA. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. A credit check may be performed during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Standard Term IRA CD

Bank of America also offers their regular Standard Term CDs in IRA form.

Term

APY

6-11 Months

0.03%

12-17 Months

0.05%

18-23 Months

0.07%

24-35 Months

0.10%

36-47 Months

0.55%

48-59 Months

0.65%

60-119 Months

0.75%

120 Months

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $0.01
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs under 90 days, you’ll pay either all interest earned on the amount withdrawn, or 7 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn (whichever is more).
    • For CDs between 90 days up to 12 months, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs between 12 months up to 60 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs over 60 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.

This account is also another copycat of Bank of America’s regular Standard Term CDs, but within an IRA account. If you open up one of these accounts, you’ll also get a seven-day grace period where you can make any changes to the CD after it matures. Otherwise, it’ll continue on as a rollover CD, with the same term length as before. You can also choose to have interest deposited back into the CD account, or paid out to you via check or electronic deposit into a linked Bank of America account.

Because these CDs are so flexible, it’s easy to choose a term that might fit better with your retirement savings plan. For example, if you just need a place to store your retirement funds for, say, 30 months (not 24 months or 36 months — two common CD terms), these Standard CD IRA accounts allow you to choose that term length. It’s an odd situation for sure, but if you do find yourself in this spot, these CD IRAs allow you that degree of flexibility.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for Bank of America’s Standard Term CD IRAs. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. Bank of America may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Variable Rate CD IRA

This CD IRA may — or may not — offer higher rates than their regular Standard Term CD IRAs.

Term

APY

18-23 Months

0.03%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $0.01
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs under 90 days, you’ll pay either all interest earned on the amount withdrawn, or 7 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn (whichever is more).
    • For CDs between 90 days up to 12 months, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs between 12 months up to 60 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.
    • For CDs over 60 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.

Theoretically, you should be able to earn a slightly higher interest rate by choosing a variable rate. However, sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. As of the time of this writing, the interest rates offered on regular 18-23-month Standard Term CD IRAs is double that of these Variable Rate CD IRAs.

If interest rates should rise, it may be beneficial to open one of these CDs, which also automatically roll over, disperse interest and have the same policies toward a grace period as regular CDs. But, keep in mind that this bank can change — or not change — the interest rate on this CD at any time, making it a bit of a gamble. Right now, it looks like their Standard Term CD IRA is winning in the rate department.

It only takes a few minutes to apply for a Bank of America Variable Rate CD IRA. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. The bank may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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How Bank of America’s CD IRA rates compare

Just like with their other accounts, Bank of America offers very low rates. If you’re hoping to grow your money as much as possible within an FDIC-insured environment, you might be better off choosing one of the current top IRA CDs. But, just as with their regular non-IRA CDs, we can still see how someone could find these CDs useful, especially if you need an IRA CD with a weird term length. But, fortunately, those cases are probably very rare, and you’re likely better off choosing a higher-interest-earning IRA CD.

Money Market IRA

Bank of America’s Money Market IRA lets you add more money at any time.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100

Even though Bank of America offers a wide range of CD terms, you still might prefer to keep your retirement savings in something a little more liquid in case you need to access it on short notice. If that’s the case, you might consider their Money Market IRA, which works similarly to a savings account. However, unlike their savings account, you can’t use this account to make withdrawals by check, debit card or draft.

You’ll have to call the bank to hear the rates associated with this account as well as to open this account. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to apply for a Bank of America Money Market IRA. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your name, Social Security number and address. Bank of America may perform a credit check during the application process, which should take 1-2 days. If approved, you’ll need to send in a signature form, and then you can fund your account.

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Overall review of Bank of America’s products

Bank of America does offer some truly neat features that we like, such as their many options for different CD term lengths. If you’re looking for weird CD term lengths, Bank of America is right for you. We also like their Keep The Change feature, which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference in your savings account.

But for most people (probably including yourself), you want to earn the best rates and pay the lowest fees possible. If that’s the case, we recommend another bank, because Bank of America’s products are consistently outperformed by other banks that offer higher rates and lower fees.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

American Express Green Card Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The iconic American Express® Green Card has undergone a fresh makeover. Thanks to a revamp that rolled out in October 2019, the American Express® Green Card is now a compelling choice for those who want rewards and perks for travel, but aren’t ready to shell out for a premium travel card with an annual fee in the $500 range. This card does charge a $150 annual fee, but if you take full advantage of the annual credits you get for having it, you can mitigate the cost of the annual fee.

Plus, the new card is made mostly out of plastic reclaimed from beaches, islands, and coastal communities — so it can be considered “green” both in color and environmentally.

Where the American Express® Green Card stands out

American Express® Green Card

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American Express® Green Card

Annual fee
$150
Rewards Rate
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent/Good

Rewards. Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours. This is an inclusive travel category, which gives you the chance to earn rewards in a lot of different ways.

CLEAR annual credit. CLEAR uses your eyes and fingerprints to confirm your identity. It can be used at a variety of airports, stadiums, and other venues. When you use this card to pay for your CLEAR membership, you can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year. However, because a CLEAR membership costs $179 a year (or $15 a month), note that you’ll still have to pay a portion of your membership costs out of pocket each year.

LoungeBuddy annual credit. When you use this card to purchase airport lounge access via LoungeBuddy, you can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year.

Additional benefits

Welcome offer. Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. If you use your points for flights through American Express Travel (a value of 1 cent per point), that’s worth $300.

Away credit. New cardmembers who apply by Jan. 15, 2020, can earn statement credits of up to $100 after making a purchase such as a suitcase or weekender bag from Away — a company that sells its travel gear online directly to consumers and aims to offer better prices than you might be able to find when shopping big-name brands in retail stores.

Baggage insurance plan. When you buy your ticket using this card, you can get coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage. Terms apply.

Where the American Express® Green Card falls short

Annual fee. The American Express® Green Card has an annual fee of $150. This is a bit more than many mid-level travel cards, which tend to charge annual fees of around $95. However, it’s worth noting that $150 annual fee for the American Express® Green Card is less expensive than premium travel cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, which charges an annual fee of $550.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee
$550
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Compare it with the American Express® Gold Card

Another American Express card that serves consumers who like to travel and dine out is the American Express® Gold Card. While the annual fee of $250 is a bit more costly than the American Express® Green Card, some cardholders might find the rewards and annual credits worth the expense. Here’s how the cards compare:

 American Express® Green CardAmerican Express® Gold Card
Welcome offerEarn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
RewardsEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Regular purchase APRSee Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
Annual fee$150$250
Foreign transaction feeNoneNone

For annual statement credits, the American Express® Gold Card offers the following:

Airline fee credit of up to $100. You can choose one qualifying airline per calendar year and receive up to $100 in statement credits to go toward incidental fees.

Dining credit of up to $120. You can earn up to $10 in statement credits each month for an annual savings of up to $120 when you pay with this card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

American Express® Gold Card

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American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Before factoring in the cards’ annual fees, you can save up to $220 each year from the American Express® Gold Card’s statement credits and up to $200 each year from the American Express® Green Card’s statement credits. Which one is better just depends whether you value credits that go toward incidental airline fees and dining purchases or credits that go toward airport security and airport lounge access. The statement credits effectively reduce the American Express® Gold Card’s annual fee to $30, while the American Express® Green Card’s statement credits can more than recoup the cost of the card’s annual fee, but leaves you to pay $79 a year to make up the yearly price of a CLEAR membership.

Read: Best Travel Credit Cards

When it comes to rewards, the American Express® Gold Card has a higher earning rate per $1 spent on dining than the American Express® Green Card. It also offers U.S. supermarkets as a rewards category, which the American Express® Green Card does not. However, the American Express® Green Card rewards a much broader category of travel purchases than the American Express® Gold Card.

The bottom line

So, is it worth having the American Express® Green Card? If you travel and dine out frequently, it’s a good choice. The annual fee is slightly more expensive than cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (with an annual fee of $95) and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (with an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that), but it offers strong value in its ongoing rewards and in its annual credits.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Glen Luke Flanagan
Glen Luke Flanagan |

Glen Luke Flanagan is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Glen Luke here

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Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

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Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards® Points earned

Through Membership Rewards®, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards® Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards® will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards® site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards® or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fee.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards® site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards® since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

*The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here