Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold
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Premium American Express products like the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express have almost become a signal of affluence. They’re shiny, they’re heavy, they’re metal — and they’re not cheap to own.
But here’s a secret: You don’t actually have to be well-to-do to open the best American Express cards. If you’ve got a credit score above 700 and you’re responsible with your finances, Amex will have no problem forking over either of these cards. And if you know how to squeeze the value from their ongoing benefits, you’ll save hundreds every year — potentially thousands if you’re a frequent traveler.
Before we jump into a comprehensive comparison, it’s worth noting that the Amex Gold Card has an all-time high bonus of 60,000 Amex points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of account opening. That’s 25,000 points higher than the standard bonus! And the Amex Platinum is also offering an increased bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
With both of these cards offering bigger welcome bonuses, this competition is sure to be heated.
Amex Platinum and Amex Gold comparison
Both the Amex Gold and the Amex Platinum serve different lifestyles, though they’re a great team in your wallet if you’ve got both. They both earn Amex Membership Rewards points, which we consider to be the single most valuable flexible points currency in existence. Read our points valuations to learn more.
|Feature||American Express Gold Card||The Platinum Card from American Express|
|Welcome bonus||60,000 Amex points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening||100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. |
Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card 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.
|Annual credits||Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash (up to $10 in Uber Cash per calendar year)|
Up to $120 dining credit (enrollment required)
Complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership (worth $119; based on the $9.99 monthly price over 12 months). Enrollment required by 12/31/21.*
|Up to $200 annual Amex Platinum airline credit for incidental expenses on your selected airline|
Up to $200 in U.S. Uber Cash per calendar year
Up to $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100)
Enrollment required for select benefits.
|Earnings rates||4x Amex Membership Rewards points at restaurants|
4x Amex Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases – then 1x)
3x Amex Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
|5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.|
5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
1 Amex Membership Rewards point per dollar on everything else
|Annual fee||$250 (see rates and fees)||$695 (see rates and fees)|
|Additional travel perks||Rental car insurance|
Trip Delay coverage
|Comprehensive airport lounge access|
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Elite status with Hilton and Marriott
Elite Status with Hertz, National, and Avis
Welcome offer (Winner: Amex Platinum)
The Amex Gold and Amex Platinum are offering 60,000 and 100,000 Amex points, respectively, after meeting minimum spending requirements. We estimate Amex points value is around 1.8 cents each, making the Amex Gold’s bonus worth potentially $1,080 and the Amex Platinum’s bonus worth $1,800. And they can be worth exponentially more if you know how to use Amex points properly!
Given that the time frame for meeting the minimum spending requirements are the same across both cards (six months), even though the minimum spend requirement for the Amex Platinum is slightly higher, the Amex Platinum is the winner here.
The sleeper perk here is the 10x points at restaurants and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases. It’s almost good enough to be a standalone welcome bonus, in my opinion.
Annual credits (Winner: Tie)
The Amex Platinum offers statement credits of a much higher dollar amount than that on the Amex Gold. However, they’re a bit harder to use than those on the Amex Gold – and the Amex Platinum charges a much higher annual fee for the privilege of receiving these peripheral credits.
Take a look at the Amex Gold credits:
- Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash. These come in monthly up to $10 in Uber Cash. Card must be added to the Uber app to receive Uber Cash benefit.
- Up to $120 dining credit, also in the form of up to $10 monthly credits (enrollment required)
- Complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership (worth $119)
- Terms Apply
Relatively easy to use, though the $10 per month dole-outs are a bit frustrating. Now here are the Amex Platinum credits:
- Up to $200 annual Amex Platinum airline credit for incidental expenses on your selected airline
- Up to $200 in U.S. Uber credits per calendar year ($15 per month, except December when you’ll receive $35)
- Up to $100 in credit for Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 every six months)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100, once every four years)
- $20 per month in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (through December 2020)
- Up to a $200 statement credit on qualifying purchases made through Amex Travel
- Terms Apply
As you can see, there’s more value up for grabs – but it comes from Saks Fifth Avenue, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit that you’ll receive once every four years, and a streaming/wireless/phone credit that you’ve only got two more months to take advantage of.
Weigh the annual fees of both cards, and we call this one a draw.
Ongoing earning rates (Winner: Amex Gold)
If we were comparing the standard offers between these two cards, the Amex Gold would be a blowout in this category. But the latest offer on the Amex Platinum makes the winner of this category slightly harder to determine.
Usually, the Amex Platinum isn’t great for regular spending. It’s got great travel perks (we’ll cover those shortly), but it’s got surprisingly poor earning rates:
- 5x Amex points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (this will be capped for up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year beginning January 1, 2021)
- 5x Amex points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
- 1x Amex point per dollar on everything else
That said, with the latest offer the Amex Platinum, new cardholders will get:
- 10x Amex points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership
That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point cardholders normally earn for these purchases. With that, the Amex Platinum definitely becomes more enticing. But given that this earnings rate is only valid for the first six months you hold the card, the Amex Gold still edges out the Amex Platinum in the ongoing spending category.
And sure, earning 5 points per dollar for airfare is great. However, if you collect hotel points, you won’t be reserving hotels through the Amex Travel Portal, because you won’t earn points or elite night credits, and you won’t have any elite status recognized. Because of this, the category to most of us in the miles and points community is largely worthless.
With the Amex Gold, on the other hand, you’ll earn:
- 4x Amex points at restaurants
- 4x Amex points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases – then 1x)
- 3x Amex points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
That is one of the most generous suites of bonus categories in the game. And as you can see, it’s great for foodies. It’s much more practical for everyday spend.
Additional travel perks (Winner: Amex Platinum)
If the plethora of annual statement credits isn’t enough, here is where the Amex Platinum justifies its annual fee. With the card, you’ll receive:
- The best airport lounge access by far – The single greatest lounge membership you can buy costs $429 per year. The lounge access you‘ll receive with the Amex Platinum puts that membership to shame. If you value lounge access, this perk alone could be worth the card’s annual fee.
- Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts – This benefit could (and probably will) save you hundreds of dollars every time you pay for an upscale hotel. You’ll often get $100+ in hotel credits (think spa, food, drink, etc.), room upgrades, late checkout, and sometimes even a free night!
- Rental car and hotel elite status – Earn bonus points, receive vehicle upgrades when available, enjoy priority rental lanes, and more.
The Amex Platinum also has the benefits of the Amex Gold Card, like rental car insurance and baggage insurance – nothing to rejoice about.
Annual fee (Winner: Amex Gold)
With the Amex Gold, you’ll pay $250 per year (see rates and fees). But here’s another snapshot at its benefits:
- Up to $440 in statement credits between now and 2022
- $119 complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership
- 4x Amex points (equivalent to 7.2% return based on our points valuations) for common purchases like groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x) and on dining at restaurants.
That’s effortlessly $600 in value (probably much more) for paying one annual fee – not to mention the 60,000-point intro offer.
The Amex Platinum comes with a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it comes with:
- More than $700 annually in statement credits
- Airport lounge access worth AT LEAST $429
- Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts – we’ll peg this at $100 per year, assuming you buy at least one nice hotel night per year
That’s potentially $1,200 in savings each year. However, the undeniable fact, regardless of the math, is that a $695 annual fee is really difficult to swallow for most. If you want a less intimidating annual fee, the Amex Gold is for you.
Who should apply for the Amex Platinum
Travelers who are after a premium experience while traveling will much prefer the Amex Platinum. From getting free TSA PreCheck to speed through airport security to relaxing in fancy airport lounges with free food and alcohol, it’s the obvious winner for someone who wants to travel like they’re wealthy, even if they aren’t.
That said, some aspects of the card are designed for people who aren’t afraid to splurge.
Who should apply for the Amex Gold
The Amex Gold is constructed for a more regular lifestyle. You don’t have to be traveling all the time to maximize the benefits of the Amex Gold. You can buy groceries and eat out normally all year long, and by the end of the year you’ll have earned hundreds of dollars in points that you can blow on an annual trip.
Bottom line (Overall winner: Amex Gold)
If you’ve got the Amex Platinum vs Gold question on your mind, first examine your lifestyle.
In the majority of important categories, the Amex Gold outperforms the Amex Platinum. The card makes it easy to earn points, it’s got statement credits that are useful whether or not you’re traveling, and its annual fee is far more digestible than that of the Amex Platinum.
However, if you’re a frequent traveler, the Amex Platinum will easily save you hundreds (and hundreds) more than you’ll spend on the annual fee.
But here’s the thing – these cards actually complement each other well. If you’re a frequent traveler, you should seriously consider holding both the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum.
Let us know which card best serves you! And subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card comparison posts like this delivered to your inbox once per day.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
*Click here for Uber Eats terms and conditions.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)