American Express Gold vs. Platinum

If you’re passionate about travel rewards, then high-end 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 Amex Gold vs. Amex Platinum, you may find that one of these cards will leave you considerably better off. 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.

Comparison overview

 

Cards American Express® Gold Card The Platinum Card® from American Express
Welcome bonus Earn a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first six months Earn a 100,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 in the first six months
Rewards rate
  • Earn 4X points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4X points on Uber Eats purchases
  • 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X)
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 2X points on rental cars booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X points on everything else
  • Earn 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months of card membership
  • 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)
  • 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel
  • 1X points on everything else
Intro APR No introductory APR No introductory APR
Bonus credits $340 (all credits recur annually) $1,974
Annual fee $250 $695

American Express Gold vs. Platinum highlights

Both of these rewards credit 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 which option might work better for your goals and needs.

Welcome bonus winner: Amex Platinum

The Platinum Card from American Express edges out its golden cousin with an offer of 100,000 rewards points (worth up to $2,000 according to valuations from The Points Guy) for spending $6,000 in your first six months. The Amex Gold Card, on the other hand, offers 60,000 points (worth up to $1,200 according to the same valuations) for spending $4,000 in the first six months. 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.

It’s also worth noting that Amex has launched preapproved offers through CardMatch for both its Platinum and Gold cards. This tool can match you with preapproved or prequalified credit card offers that match your credit profile. CardMatch welcome bonus offers could go up to 125,000 or even up to 150,000 Membership Rewards points for the Platinum card. For the Amex Gold, the bonus could be boosted up to 75,000 points.

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 leave you ahead. 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 comes out the winner here. The reality is that not everyone can justify paying an annual fee of $695 for a credit card. Considering all the perks the Amex Gold Card gives you for an annual fee of $250, this card could make considerably more sense.

Annual credits winner: Amex Platinum

To start, the Amex Gold offers up to $120 in 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, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. 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 credit 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 the Uber app ($15 each month plus a bonus of $20 in the month of December). You’ll also be able to take advantage of the up to $200 in airline fee credits, which can be used on baggage fees and more on one qualifying airline of your choosing.

In addition, 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 and a $100 credit on qualifying hotel purchases (per two or more consecutive night stays with a brand in The Hotel Collection). The card also offers up to $100 in credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits with required enrollment.

Further, you can cover the cost of a Clear membership with up to $179 in statement credits annually, enjoy up to $300 in Equinox credits to spend across qualifying Equinox services 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 vs. Platinum comparison.

Travel perks winner: Amex Platinum

When debating the benefits of the Amex Platinum vs. 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 $429). This card also lets you enter American Express 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 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 vs. Platinum. In this example, we’ll set the value of American Express Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, according to The Points Guy’s November 2021 valuation.

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 4 points for every dollar in these categories, which comes out to 2,800 points or $56 ($700 x 4 points each = 2,800 points x 0.02 cents = $56). Say you spend another $600 on non-category purchases, such as gas, shopping and your cell phone bill. At 1 point per dollar spent, you’ll earn another 600 points in non-category spending, which equals $6. In this example, you’ll earn a total of $62 for the month, with earnings coming from everyday consumer purchases.

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. After the first six months of opening your account, you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend at restaurants, so the $200 you spend dining out will deliver 200 points at 2 cents each, or $2. Similarly, the $500 you spend on groceries and the $600 towards non-category spending also yield 1 point per dollar. That means you’ll earn 1,100 points or $22 in this instance. In all, your total in monthly rewards earnings equals $24, which is $38 less than what you’ll earn with the Amex Gold card.

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 $24. 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 $40. Adding the flight to the examples above, the Amex Gold earns $86 total in rewards while the Amex Platinum card delivers $44 to your pocket.

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 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.

Additional benefits

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.

Redemption options

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 score between 670 and 850.

Why should you get the Amex Platinum?

If you travel often and want to be as comfortable as possible, then the Platinum Card is the better choice. This travel credit card’s range of luxury perks is so extensive you can expect red carpet treatment wherever you go. Meanwhile, the rewards rate for flights and hotels is outstanding, too.

Additional benefits

Access to airport lounges, hotel benefits like room upgrades and daily breakfasts, credits for Uber rides, personalized travel assistance, rental car insurance, return protections—the Platinum Card’s list of perks seems endless.

Finally, keep in mind that this card has more travel protections overall. As a cardholder, you’ll qualify for trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance and car rental insurance coverage.

Redemption options

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
  • Point 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.

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 credit card like the 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 credit card (or combination of cards) to suit your needs.