The Amex Gold and Platinum cards both earn valuable Membership Rewards and come packed with perks for frequent travelers – but which is better for you?
American Express has several different credit cards that can give valuable rewards to travelers. Some Amex cards are co-branded with another hotel or airline partner, but the issuer also has top-notch travel credit cards in its own currency.
Known as Membership Rewards, American Express’s proprietary rewards currency can be quite valuable in the hands of the right spender.
Two of the most popular cards offering Membership Rewards are the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. In this article, we will compare the two cards – looking at their perks and points earning and redemption options and comparing which card might be right for you.
American Express Gold vs. American Express Platinum
|Welcome bonus||60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first six months||100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months|
|Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)||$707||$797|
|Airport lounge access||None|
|Other travel benefits|
*Uber Cash benefit applicable to U.S. Eats orders and rides only. Must add Gold Card to the Uber app in order to receive the Uber Cash benefit.
One area where the American Express Gold card shines in this comparison is earning points on everyday expenses. The Platinum card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights and hotels (on up to $500,000 in combined purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), as long as you book with the airline or American Express Travel. If your spending habits include a lot of booked travel, the Platinum card is a great option.
But the Gold card’s 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point) is one of the best spending category bonuses around. Dining and groceries are two of the top spending categories for many people, and the American Express Gold card delivers high bonuses in both of them.
American Express Gold and Platinum cardholders can redeem Membership Rewards points in exactly the same ways. These rewards can be transferred to American Express’s wide variety of hotel and airline transfer partners. You can also redeem points to book travel through American Express Travel or for gift card purchases or statement credits.
For more tips on how to redeem your Membership Rewards, check out our guide on the best ways to spend American Express points.
The American Express Platinum card’s perks are better and more extensive than those on the Gold card. The Platinum card offers up to $200 of annual airline incidental reimbursement, up to $200 in statement credits on select prepaid hotel bookings, a $155 Walmart+ statement credit that covers the full cost of a monthly membership ($12.95 per month, plus applicable taxes) and annual credits for digital entertainment, Saks Fifth Avenue, Equinox and the SoulCycle At-Home Bike through Equinox+.
The Platinum Card also comes with more monthly Uber Cash – up to $200 per year compared to the Gold card’s potential $120 annually. For frequent travelers, the airport lounge access, elite status with Hilton and Marriott and statement credits for Clear and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck can come in handy.
Unlike the Platinum, the Gold card offers up to $10 in monthly dining credits and an alternative Rose Gold card design. However, the ongoing dining credits perfectly complement the Amex Gold’s monthly Uber Cash, 12-month complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership (must enroll by Dec. 31, 2021) and 4X points on Uber Eats orders – making it a great option for food delivery. The Amex Platinum carries a higher monthly Uber Cash allowance and provides the same Uber Eats Pass perk, but it doesn’t earn rewards on Uber’s services.
Nevertheless, whether the enhanced perks of the American Express Platinum card are worth its higher annual fee will depend on your specific spending and travel habits.
Annual fee and authorized users
The American Express Gold Card’s annual fee is $250, and it’s not waived in the first year. The annual fee on the Platinum card comes in at $695 – one of the highest on the market. But the Platinum card also comes with many perks to help offset the annual cost.
Also worth noting is that there is no additional fee to add authorized user cards on the American Express Gold card (up to five additional cards, then $35 annually for six or more). For the Amex Platinum, you can add up to three authorized users for a total of $175 per year and then an additional $175 annual fee for any following authorized user.
Authorized users on the Platinum card get their own airport lounge access, Gold status with Hilton and Marriott and access to American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts and The Hotel Collection. Authorized users do not receive the $200 airline credit or any of the other perks the primary cardholder gets.
The American Express Gold card is more accessible, with its much lower annual fee. But if a $695 annual fee doesn’t faze you, take a look at the Platinum card’s perks to see if you’ll get enough value to offset it.
If you travel frequently and don’t already have hotel elite status or a Priority Pass lounge membership, you may see value in the Platinum card. If you’re a foodie who spends a lot on restaurants, groceries and Uber Eats deliveries, the Gold card might be for you.
Both cards earn valuable Membership Rewards points, and American Express lets you combine points earned on different cards. So instead of choosing between the Amex Gold and the Platinum, you may find value in having both cards in your wallet.