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If you’re passionate about travel rewards, then high-end travel credit cards like the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are probably on your radar.
However, as you compare the American Express Gold versus the Platinum, you may find that one of these cards provides better rewards for your lifestyle. The Amex Gold is perfect for foodies and shoppers who like to eat out and do a lot of everyday shopping, with 4X points on U.S. restaurants and on U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points). By contrast, the American Express Platinum should appeal to travelers, especially those who fly regularly and can take advantage of 5X points earnings on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights per year.
While the two options are similar in many ways, the Amex Gold will cost you $445 less each year in annual fees, and you’ll also get access to a broader range of bonus categories.
The Platinum Card from American Express, on the other hand, offers a long list of travel perks and generous rewards on qualifying flights and hotel purchases. So, which travel credit card offers a better value for your money? Let’s find out.
|Cards||American Express Gold Card||The Platinum Card from American Express|
|Welcome bonus offer||60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months of card membership||80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months|
|Intro APR||None; 19.74% to 26.74% variable APR||None; 19.74% to 26.74% variable APR|
American Express Gold vs. Platinum highlights
Both of these rewards cards let you earn points in the valuable American Express Membership Rewards program, yet their unique earning rates and cardholder perks set them apart. The following benefit comparisons can help you figure out whether the American Express Gold Card or Platinum Card from American Express is better for your wallet.
Welcome bonus winner: Amex Platinum
The Platinum Card from American Express edges out its golden cousin with an offer of 80,000 rewards points for spending $6,000 in your first six months, worth $800 when redeemed through American Express Travel (or an estimated $1,680 if you take advantage of a high-value transfer partner, according to Bankrate’s latest points valuations).
The Amex Gold Card, on the other hand, offers 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first six months, worth $600 when redeemed through the Amex portal (or an estimated $1,260 according to the same valuations). That being said, the $4,000 spending requirement for the Amex Gold Card is easier to reach if you don’t spend a lot of money each month.
Rewards rate winner: Amex Gold (at least for most people)
While the Platinum Card from American Express lets cardholders rack up 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare as well as flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), what gets the Amex Gold over the line is its broader bonus categories. Unless you’re a frequent traveler, you’re likely to earn a healthier overall rewards rate for your normal spending with the Amex Gold, which offers bonus points for dining out and groceries in addition to flight purchases.
The year-round rewards rate of 4X points at U.S. supermarkets is particularly generous, and that’s especially true when you realize this rate applies to your first $25,000 spent on qualifying grocery purchases each year (then 1X points). If you’re a foodie who spends a lot on specialty foods or you have a big family, it’s easy to see how the Amex Gold Card could provide a bigger payoff. The fact that this rate also applies to restaurants, including takeout and delivery, is another major plus.
Annual fee winner: Amex Gold
Given that the Amex Gold Card’s annual fee is $445 cheaper, it’s not a huge surprise that it finishes first here. The reality is that not everyone can justify paying an annual fee of $695 for a card. Considering all the perks the Amex Gold Card gives you for an annual fee of $250, this card could make more sense for many consumers.
If the annual fees remain the same, you’ll pay $2,225 more for the American Express Platinum card over the next five years. But when you do a side-by-side comparison of American Express Platinum versus Gold, you see these two cards share many of the same core benefits, with the Platinum including several valuable appealing add-ons. Deciding which card is best for you may depend on which provides more value based on whether you’d get sufficient value for the additional features to justify the higher annual fee.
Annual credits winner: Amex Platinum
To start, the Amex Gold offers up to $120 in annual Uber Cash. Simply add your Gold Card to your Uber account and automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. (totaling up to $120 per year).
You’ll also get up to $120 in dining credits. Upon enrollment, you’ll earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with your Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and participating Shake Shack locations. Lastly, you can get up to a $100 on-site credit for qualifying activities like dining or spa treatments when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel and stay at least two nights (qualifying activities vary by property). This brings the annual credit value to $340 a year.
The Platinum Card, on the other hand, is one of the best cards with annual credits. The card offers up to $200 in Uber cash for your U.S. rides each year after you add the card to your Uber app ($15 each month plus a bonus of $20 in the month of December). You’ll also be able to take advantage of up to $200 in airline fee credits, which can be used on baggage fees and more on one qualifying airline of your choosing.
Additionally, you’ll get up to $200 in credits for prepaid hotel bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties via American Express Travel using your Platinum card (per two or more consecutive night stays with a brand in The Hotel Collection). The card also offers a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or an $85 credit for TSA PreCheck.
Another money-saving perk from Platinum is its shopping credits for up to $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue with required enrollment. Further, you can cover the cost of a Clear membership with up to $189 in statement credits annually, enjoy up to $300 in Equinox credits to spend across eligible Equinox memberships and take advantage of up to $240 in digital entertainment credits when you enroll and use your card to subscribe to one or more of the following: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times.
New to the card, you’ll get up to $155 (plus applicable taxes) per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95 plus applicable taxes) each month you pay your Walmart+ membership with your card. There’s also up to $300 in credits you can now receive for each eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike purchase made using your card (through Amex’s provided link).
With all of these credits in mind, the Amex Platinum can deliver value well beyond the cost of its annual fee, and it takes the cake in this category of our American Express Gold versus Platinum comparison.
Travel perks winner: Amex Platinum
When debating the benefits of the Amex Platinum versus Gold, the Amex Platinum easily comes out ahead in terms of travel perks based on a few factors. It starts with the fact that you get Priority Pass Select airport lounge access (worth up to $429). This card also lets you enter Amex Centurion Lounges, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta.
Other travel benefits you get with the Amex Platinum include Gold Elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs and access to the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Of course, you’ll also get up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or $85 for TSA PreCheck and up to $200 in airline fee credits for incidentals, as previously mentioned.
Finally, the Amex Platinum also comes with its own VIP concierge service.
Which card earns more?
Deciding whether the Amex Gold or Amex Platinum will earn you the most money depends on your regular spending habits. Let’s compare potential rewards earnings you might earn in a month with the Amex Gold Card versus Platinum.
American Express Gold vs. Platinum spending example
Say you use your American Express Gold Card and spend $200 dining out and another $500 on groceries. You’ll earn a cash back rate of 4X points for every dollar in these categories, which comes out to 2,800 points or $28 ($700 x 4X points each = 2,800 points x 0.01 cents = $28). Say you spend another $600 on non-category purchases, such as gas, shopping and your cellphone bill. At 1X points per dollar spent, you’ll earn another 600 points in non-category spending, which equals $6. In this example, your rewards come from everyday consumer purchases and are worth $34 when redeemed for travel through the Amex travel portal, or $71.40 with the right high-value transfer partner, according to our latest points and miles valuations.
Using the same purchases and dollar amounts, here’s what your earnings might look like if you used the American Express Platinum for these expenditures. You’ll earn 1X points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, so the $200 you spend dining out will deliver 200 points, or $2. Similarly, the $500 you spend on groceries and the $600 towards non-category spending also yield 1X points per dollar. That means you’ll earn 1,300 points, or $13 in this instance.
But what happens if we throw a $400 round-trip airline purchase into both scenarios? With the Amex Gold card, you’ll earn 3X points if you book your flight directly with the airline or via AmexTravel.com. That means you’ll earn 1,200 points, or $12. By contrast, the Amex Platinum card earns 5X points when you book directly with the airline or through AmexTravel.com, so your ticket purchase will yield 2,000 points, or $20. Adding the flight to the examples above, the Amex Gold earns $46 you can redeem through the Amex travel portal (or $96.60 with the right transfer partner) while the Amex Platinum card earns $33 when redeemed through the Amex travel portal (or $69.30 with the right high-value transfer partner).
The American Express Gold card earns more rewards when used for everyday spending, while the American Express Platinum card packs a bigger punch when you use it for travel purchases. Keep in mind that both of these cards earn valuable Membership Rewards points, and Amex allows you to combine points earned on different cards. As such, you may decide it’s worthwhile to stash both of these rewards credit cards in your wallet rather than choosing between them.
Why should you get the Amex Gold?
The Amex Gold Card may be worth it as it offers an exceptional rewards rate in everyday categories, so you can build points quickly even if you’re not a frequent traveler. This card is ideal for foodies and those with big grocery and dining budgets as a result, but there are other reasons to consider signing up.
The Amex Gold Card comes with useful benefits like dining credits, 90 days of return protection and a free ShopRunner membership that gets you free two-day shipping at participating stores. If you book a hotel through The Hotel Collection, you can also enjoy free room upgrades and up to $100 in hotel credits. As a cardholder, you’ll also receive secondary auto rental coverage and baggage protection with coverage provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage.
Like the Amex Platinum card, the American Express Gold card earns Membership Rewards points. You can transfer your points to any American Express airline or hotel partner.
Alternatively, you can redeem points to book travel arrangements through American Express Travel. You can also use points for statement credits, gift cards, charitable donations or to shop through American Express partner retailers.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify, which typically means having a FICO credit score between 670 and 850.
Why should you get the Amex Platinum?
If you travel often and want to be as comfortable as possible, the Platinum Card is the better choice. This travel card’s range of luxury benefits is so extensive that you can expect red-carpet treatment wherever you go. Meanwhile, the rewards rate for flights and hotels is outstanding, too.
Access to airport lounges, hotel benefits like room upgrades and daily breakfasts, credits for Uber rides, personalized travel assistance, rental car insurance and return protection — the Platinum Card’s list of perks seems endless.
Finally, keep in mind that this card has more travel insurance and protections overall. As a cardholder, you’ll qualify for trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance and car rental insurance coverage.
Since both the Amex Platinum and Amex Gold earn Membership Rewards points, the redemption options are the same. You can use your points for the following rewards:
- Statement credits
- Travel bookings
- Points transfers to American Express airline and hotel partners
- Gift cards
- Shopping with retailers such as Amazon or at the online Amex shopping mall
- Charitable donations
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify, which typically means having a FICO score between 670 and 850. Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your odds of approval and snagging more attractive terms.
The bottom line
If you love a VIP experience and globe trot regularly, then the Amex Platinum is a fantastic option. But if you’re not overly fussed about luxury travel or only travel a few times each year, the Amex Gold offers better value as well as more rewards-earning opportunities.
If you can’t decide between these two American Express credit cards, you can also consider getting both. With both the Amex Platinum and Amex Gold in your wallet, you can have access to the top travel perks on the market along with enough bonus categories to let you rack up as many American Express Membership Rewards points as possible.
Many consumers even sign up for an Amex cash back card, like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, in order to earn optimal rewards with what is known as the Amex trifecta. No matter what you decide, there’s an American Express card (or combination of cards) to suit your needs.