The Amex Gold and Platinum cards both earn valuable Membership Rewards and come packed with perks for frequent travelers – but which is best 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.
Two of the most popular credit 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, points earning and redemption options and comparing which card might be right for you.
See related: Which cards earn American Express rewards points?
American Express Gold vs. American Express Platinum
|Welcome bonus||60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months||60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months|
|Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)||$707||$797|
|Airport lounge access||None|
|Other travel benefits|
One area where the American Express Gold card shines in this comparison is in earning points. The Platinum card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights and hotels, as long as you book with the airline or American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. 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 worldwide restaurants 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 with high bonuses in both of them.
Cardholders of both the American Express Gold card and the American Express Platinum card can redeem Membership Rewards points in exactly the same ways. They can both transfer to American Express’s wide variety of hotel and airline transfer partners. Both cards also can redeem points to book travel through amextravel.com or as gift card purchases or statement credits.
For more inspiration on how to redeem your Membership Rewards, check out our guide on the best ways to spend American Express points.
There is no question that the perks on the American Express Platinum card are better and more extensive than those on the Gold card. The annual airline incidental reimbursement is twice as high, and the Platinum card also comes with monthly Uber credits. For frequent travelers, the airport lounge access, hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott and Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit will come in handy.
See related: Guide to American Express lounges
However, while the initial welcome bonus on the Platinum card is the same as the bonus on the Gold card, it does requires more initial spending in half the amount of time.
The only bonus perk that the Gold card has that the Platinum card does not is the up to $10 in monthly dining credits. Nevertheless, whether the enhanced perks of the American Express Platinum card make up for its higher annual fee is something that will depend on your specific spending and travel habits.
Annual fee and authorized users
The annual fee on the American Express Gold card is a fairly substantial $250, and the fee is not waived for the first year. The annual fee on the Platinum card comes in at $550 – one of the highest annual fees of any credit card. But there’s no denying that the Platinum card also comes with many perks to help offset the high 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). On 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.
This is an important callout, as authorized users on the Platinum card get their own airport lounge access, Gold status with Hilton and Marriott as well as access to American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Collection. Authorized users do not get the $200 airline credit or any of the other perks that the primary cardholder gets.
See related: Amex Platinum authorized user perks
The American Express Gold card is definitely more accessible for more people, with its much lower annual fee. But if a $550 annual fee doesn’t faze your budget, take a look at the perks that come with the American Express Platinum card to see if you’ll get enough value to offset the higher cost.
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 and groceries, the Gold card might be for you.
Or consider that both cards earn valuable Membership Rewards points, and American Express easily lets you combine points earned on different cards. So, you might even find value in having both cards in your wallet.