Make sure to dig into the redemption value for your specific redemption plans. If it's domestic travel, it could be that you really won't get much more value than a cash back card, especially given the annual fee. Having to buy egift cards and such to negate the fee is fine if you have the patience to do it, but don't ignore cash back cards that can provide comparable rewards that are more flexible with no need to worry about a fee. There are many dining and grocery reward cards out there, even if you have to sign up for two to maximize both of those things.
I'm not knocking the Amex Gold; it's a great card for someone who can make the best use of it. But to me that really means international travel. Other than that, even if you're getting 1 cent per point, it's 4% dining, which you can match or beat with other cash back cards with no fee. For grocery it becomes a bit more of a tossup, but still, you don't spend that much, so the reward difference isn't going to be very much.
At the end of the day just remember the card costs money to hold every year and it's not a tiny amount of money. Make sure you can overcome the fee and come out ahead vs other options. If you can, then the card makes sense.
Yes I typically fly UA, AA, or Delta depending on which offers the cheapest flights. I have frequent flyer numbers with all 3, but no airline cards. I would no doubt go through the dining credit with Grubhub, and the airline should be fine. Seat upgrades (in same class), count right? It’s mainly the value of MR points I’m concerned about. If they’re worth the $30 AF for me. If I can get more than 1cpp it would likely be worth it right?
If you are asking about the airline credit I do not know it will be triggered by buying seat upgrades in the same class. I would research that more I'm assuming you are asking about going from economy to economy plus or something like that vs just paying to select your seat in advance (which definetly would be covered by the fee). Some of this varies from airline to airline. Sometimes stuff like this gets covered but its going to come down to how they define upgrade, although people have been able to trigger the airline credit on things that do not qualify.
Is it a “waste” to use points on domestic travel? Is it possible to get more than 1cpp on them? If so I could see using MR for that
You gotta price it out because it really varies by airline, award charts, time of year flying etc. Look at the award charts for economy flights you want and then compare it to the lowest ticket prices you can get on those same flights. Keep in mind with points you need to find availability but with cash back not only can you avoid being told there is no available award space but with cash back you can use any airline not just the ones that allow point transfers. Can you get more than one cpp on domestic redemptions? Absolutely, but a cash back card may work just as well or better. People recommend business and first class international redemptions on points because its a whole lot harder to be able to book those kinda tickets in cash and beat out the value of points.
Just to clarify, upgrades are specifically excluded from the airline credit. Since I had a $142 Delta ticket trigger the credit, I tried a Main Cabin to Comfort+ upgrade on Gold and not only did I did not get the credit but I only got 3x instead of 5x MRs since I didn't use my Platinum card.
Worst case, a transfer to Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Air France/KLM would be 1.2 - 1.5 cents. With award sales and transfer bonuses, those values can go WAY up. They also go way up if you move to the front of the cabin. (JetBlue and Alaska should also be at least the same value.) I really do think Gold would be more beneficial for you from what you have stated than a 2% cash back card like Double Cash assuming that you are okay with travel rewards.
The other things to look at (maybe not right away) are whether Platinum makes sense for you to get (it's a hefty fee, but the math can surprisingly work out well for people who travel at least a few times a year) and whether it's time to choose an air alliance and grab a cobranded airline card.