American Express® Gold Card vs. Platinum Card® from American Express
Which card is best for you?
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If you enjoy the cache that comes with carrying an American Express card and don’t mind paying off your balance in full each month, The Platinum Card® from American Express and its less expensive sibling, the American Express® Gold Card, are worth a closer look.
American Express’ premier charge cards – which require you to pay your balances in full each month – don’t offer nearly as much rewards value as some of their competitors. However, the cards’ high-end perks, such as airline fee credits and resort hotel benefits, and excellent customer service can more than make up for their high annual fees.
Comparing the AmEx Gold and AmEx Platinum
The American Express Platinum card showers cardholders with a $200 airline fee credit, up to $200 in Uber credits, a $75 resort credit for select hotels, a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, free access to some of the best airport lounges worldwide, complimentary Wi-Fi, premium travel insurance and more. It also offers a 24/7 platinum concierge service that can help you score hard-to-get restaurant reservations and premium concert tickets – a valuable perk that has earned a loyal following amongst affluent cardholders. In addition, cardholders get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on general purchases.
Meanwhile, the less expensive American Express Gold card offers cardholders a $100 airline fee credit, a $75 resort hotel credit and quality travel insurance, among other premium benefits. In addition, cardholders get 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 annually), 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Choosing between the two comes down to how much you’re willing to spend for luxury perks and what specific benefits you’re hoping to get from your credit card. The Platinum card, for example, offers significantly more freebies and high-end benefits than the Gold card, making it one of the most popular premium cards on the market. But it’s not only substantially more expensive, it also doesn’t offer as much value on everyday purchases.
Here’s what else we found when comparing the two cards:
American Express Gold vs. American Express Platinum
American Express® Gold Card
Platinum Card® from American Express
|Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)||$682||$797|
|Who should get this card?||
Best for someone who doesn’t want a large annual fee: Gold card
The most obvious difference between the Gold card and the Platinum card is the amount of investment they each require to own them. The Platinum card charges one of the highest fees in the industry, asking cardholders to pay $550 a year for the privilege of carrying it. Unlike many premium credit cards, the Platinum card doesn’t waive its fee in the first year either, so you’ll need to account for the initial hit to your balance when you’re calculating how much value you’ll earn in your first year.
The annual fee for the Gold card isn’t cheap either. The card charges $250 a year, which is significantly more expensive than many of its premium card competitors. Still, the card is a more affordable investment than the Platinum card if you’re set on an American Express charge card.
Best for someone who wants a big introductory bonus in the first year: Platinum card
The Gold card offers 35,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, which is nearly half of what’s offered by the Platinum card. Valued at roughly $385, the Gold card’s introductory bonus is still relatively generous for a mid-tier rewards card.
However, the Platinum card’s huge 60,000-point bonus – which is worth as much as $714 in free travel or other rewards – blows away the Gold’s card offer. The Platinum card’s bonus is large enough to not only wipe out the card’s annual fee in the first year, but it also leaves $164 worth of rewards points to play with. When you account for the card’s numerous other freebies – such as a larger airline fee credit, an Uber credit and other complimentary perks – the Platinum card comes out well ahead in the first year.
Best for moderate spenders: Gold card
The Gold card’s introductory bonus is much more accessible than the Platinum card, so if you don’t want to charge a large amount up front, you’d be better off with the Gold card.
The Gold card requires $2,000 in spending in the card’s first three months to earn the welcome bonus. The Platinum card, by contrast, requires $5,000 in spending to earn the card’s bonus, which is a lot to charge in three months – particularly since you’ll also be incurring a $550 annual fee for using the card.
Since the Platinum card is a charge card and requires you to pay off your balance in full each month, you’ll need to be able to repay an average of $1,667 a month for three months – in addition to the card’s $550 annual fee.
Monthly spend required to earn an introductory bonus
|Gold card||Platinum card|
|$2,000 ÷ 3 months = $667||$5,000 ÷ 3 months = $1,667|
Best for someone who wants to earn rewards for everyday spending: Gold card
Unlike the Platinum card, the American Express Gold card awards bonus points for modest, everyday purchases, such as dining in and eating out. In addition to 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and amextravel.com, the Gold card offers 4 points for per dollar spent on purchases made at U.S. restaurants and 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually).
The Platinum card, on the other hand, only offers bonus points on big-ticket purchases, such as flights and hotel reservations. If you aren’t a heavy traveler, you won’t get much value out of the Platinum card – especially when you account for the card’s annual fee.
Average rewards earned on $8,000 yearly restaurant and grocery spend
|Gold card||Platinum card|
|$8,000 x 2 points x 1.19 cent average point value = $380||$8,000 x 1 point x 1.19 cent average point value = $95|
Best for frequent travelers: Platinum card
The Platinum card is ideally suited for heavy travelers. If you spend a lot of time in airports, you’ll almost certainly gain enough value from the Platinum card’s complimentary benefits to more than make up for the card’s annual fee – especially if you also typically travel to your hotels and other roadside destinations by taxi.
The Platinum card not only offers substantially more points on airline and hotel purchases. It also offers a bevy of high-end travel perks, such as premium airport lounge access, that make it a favorite of affluent travelers. The value of the card’s fee credits alone – including its airline fee credit, Uber credit, Boingo Wi-Fi membership, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck pass and resort credit – surpass the card’s annual fee.
Estimated value of free travel benefits (not including insurance)
|Gold card||Platinum card|
|$100 airline fee credit + $75 hotel credit = $175||$200 airline fee credit + $200 Uber credit
$75 hotel credit +
$100 Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit + $399 Priority Pass membership = $974
The Platinum card also offers significantly more rewards for airline and hotel purchases. For example, Platinum cardholders get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline or American Express Travel and 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. That perk alone could translate into a huge pool of membership rewards points if you travel regularly. If you often fly internationally, for example, you could easily earn well above the card’s annual fee just by using your card to book your hotels and flights.
Gold cardholders, by contrast, earn 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline.
Average rewards earned on $8,000 yearly airline spend
|Gold card||Platinum card|
|($8,000 x 3 points) x 1.19 cent average point value = $286||($8000 x 5 points) x 1.19 cent average point value = $476|
Platinum cardholders also get access to a number of complimentary benefits at participating hotels, such as free breakfast, late checkout, free room upgrade when available, early check-in and free internet access. In addition, cardholders are awarded a free upgrade to Starwood Preferred and Hilton Honors Gold statuses, which gives cardholders even more privileges and special perks at Starwood, Marriott and Hilton hotel properties.
Best for someone who wants the best of everything: Platinum card
A pioneer in super premium credit cards, the Platinum card has earned a reputation for being one of the most spoiling cards you can get these days, short of an American Express Centurion card.
In addition to all the other high-end freebies the Platinum card offers, American Express also gives Platinum cardholders access to its well-known 24/7 platinum concierge service. Cardholders can use the concierge service for everything from getting expert advice on luxury gifts to securing hard-to-get tickets at the most exclusive events and restaurants. In addition, the Platinum card offers invitation-only access to customized “once in a lifetime events” and fine-dining experiences, preferred seating at popular concerts and sporting events and other exclusive perks.
While the Gold card offers similar travel insurance and assistance benefits and hotel perks, including a $75 resort credit, but it doesn’t offer nearly as many spoiling experiences.
Which card should you choose?
The American Express Gold card is more accessible than the Platinum card. But if you can afford to pay a $550 fee each year, you’ll get more value overall with the Platinum card. For cardholders who travel enough to take advantage of the card’s benefits, the Platinum card offers more than enough comfort and luxury to make up for its price tag.
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