Amex Platinum vs. Amex Gold: Which one is right for you?
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
There can be a pretty massive jump between premium and entry-level rewards credit cards. Many of the best travel rewards credit cards return outsize welcome offers, bonus categories and luxury perks. But of course, that all comes at a cost in terms of the annual fee.
There are cards with a sub-$100 annual fee that allow you to access the world of travel rewards without a large financial commitment. Naturally, those come with fewer perks and benefits than the super-premium rewards cards that come with long lists of perks and $500+ fees to go along with it.
The Amex Gold Card in sleek Rose Gold metal is back by popular demand for new cardholders. It offers benefits that go well beyond its flashy look with perks and fees that fit in the middle of the two extreme ends of the spectrum.
If you’re looking for that perfect in-between sweet spot for your wallet, we’re going to compare the mid-tier Amex Gold to the premium The Platinum Card® from American Express. This comparison will hopefully help you determine which card is best for you.
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The Amex Platinum and Amex Gold are two of the best American Express cards. Luckily, both cards currently have elevated welcome offers to eligible new cardholders. So, let’s take a closer look at the current offers on both cards.
Amex Platinum welcome offer
Premium cards reign supreme with the welcome bonuses they offer to entice customers to pay a sizable annual fee ($695 in the case of the Amex Platinum; see rates and fees). The Amex Platinum is no exception, as it currently offers a two-part publicly available welcome offer. New cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six 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.
TPG’s valuations peg the value of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, making the 100,000-point bonus worth $2,000. However, if you spend $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you “shop small” in your first six months, you’ll earn 250,000 points on these purchases. These 1250,000 points are worth $5,000 based on TPG’s valuations. So, the two-part offer can be worth up to $7,000 in total.
You might be able to snag an even better bonus on the Amex Platinum using the CardMatch tool. For example, it’s not usual for consumers to find 100,000-point Amex Platinum offers (after meeting minimum spend requirements) through CardMatch. However, CardMatch offers are subject to change at any time.
Amex Gold welcome offer
Meanwhile, new applicants for the Amex Gold can receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $1,200 per TPG’s valuations) after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.
But, Amex has targeted some readers for an even higher offer through the Amex website and CardMatch tool (note that these offers are subject to change at any time). Given Amex’s once-in-a-lifetime policy for welcome offers, it’s worth checking before you apply to make sure you have the best deal available.
Which card has the better welcome offer?
The Amex Platinum is the clear winner here. Whether you snag an elevated offer through CardMatch or you apply for the two-part public offer, there’s a lot of value to be found.
Earning with the Amex Platinum
The public welcome offer on the Amex Platinum offers 10x points for the first six months on eligible purchases. But, describing the standard bonus categories on the Amex Platinum is a short and simple task — and not necessarily in a good way.
Specifically, there are only two bonus categories to speak of: 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. You’ll earn 1x points on all other purchases.
The 5x return is a substantial benefit, as it equates to a 10% return based on TPG’s valuations. But the lack of other bonus categories and limitations on what earns 5x means that the Amex Platinum doesn’t stack up well on the earnings front, especially against other premium cards.
Earning with the Amex Gold
Meanwhile, bonus categories are where the Amex Gold Card excels:
- 4x on dining at restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
- 4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x)
- 3x on airfare purchased directly from the airline or through American Express Travel
- 1x on other eligible purchases
Earning 4x at restaurants, which amounts to an 8% return, makes the Amex Gold one of the best cards for dining at restaurants. In particular, getting an 8% return on dining tops the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has historically been a favorite for dining purchases with its 3x earning (6% return). But, the Amex Gold Card isn’t quite on top for dining because the Citi Prestige® Card offers 5x earning on dining (8.5% return).
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Amex Gold is also one of the best cards for groceries at U.S. supermarkets. But, the $25,000 calendar year cap isn’t ideal, nor is this bonus category’s restriction to supermarkets in the U.S. However, strong earnings on airfare, dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets are still worth getting excited about for most of us.
Which card has better earning?
Although the Amex Platinum’s single bonus category earns more points than any of the Amex Gold bonus categories, I’ll take three strong bonus options over one valuable (but highly restrictive) one any day. So, the Amex Gold wins here.
I’ll keep this section short and sweet, as there aren’t any noteworthy redemption differences between the two cards. Both cards earn the same transferable Membership Rewards points. However, if you have either of these cards or any other Membership Rewards points-earning card, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the best uses of Amex points.
Which card is better when redeeming?
It’s a tie since both cards offer the same redemption options.
Perks and credits
The Amex Platinum and Amex Gold are two of the best rewards cards. So, both cards offer valuable perks and credits. But Amex designed the benefits and credits on each card for different types of consumers. So, let’s take a closer look at the perks offered by each card.
Amex Platinum perks and credits
First, the card offers up to $500 in annual statement credits, including:
- Up to $200 airline incidental credit — Not valid for the purchase of airfare, but you can use this credit for incidental charges like seat selection, bag fees, lounge access, etc.
- Up to $200 in annual Uber cash(for U.S. services) — Up to $15 a month with a $20 bonus in December when you add your card to your Uber account.
- Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit — $50 valid for purchases made between January and June, and another $50 for purchases made between July and December.
- Enrollment required for select benefits.
I don’t put as much weight into the last credit since I would never otherwise shop at Saks. But I take the first two credits at face value.
Amex Platinum cardholders also get 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass*, valued at $10 per month — but only if you enrolled by Dec. 31, 2021. Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, at then-current monthly rate.
And many other Amex Platinum perks also provide significant value. For example, you’ll get airport lounge access with the Amex Platinum. Specifically, you’ll enjoy Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex’s ever-growing collection of Centurion Lounges and access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta. Plus, you’ll also get access to other lounges, including Airspace and Escape lounges. In short, the Amex Platinum is one of the best cards for airport lounge access. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Amex Platinum cardholders can also enjoy Gold Elite status with Marriott and Hilton, premium concierge services (enrollment required) and a host of other lesser-known Amex Platinum benefits. And keep an eye on your mailbox because American Express has mailed out luxury gifts to select cardholders in the past. Although you will have to pay the $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) upfront at the beginning of your account year, all these perks make it easy to see how the Platinum Card can be worth its annual fee.
Amex Gold perks and credits
The Amex Gold is one of the best-looking cards on the market, especially if you get the Rose Gold metal version. Granted, it has a much shorter list of benefits than the Amex Platinum. But, the Amex Gold’s perks still add a ton of value to the card.
First off, cardholders can enjoy up to $240 in annual statement credits, including:
- Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash — Up to $10 in Uber Cash each month once you add your card to your Uber app.
- Up to $120 in annual dining credits — Up to $10 a month at the following merchants: Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
- Enrollment required for select benefits.
If you’re capable of maxing out these benefits, this will leave you with an out-of-pocket cost of $10 a year after considering the card’s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). And, here are four of my favorite lesser-known perks of the Amex Gold.
Like the Amex Platinum card, Amex Gold cardholders will also get 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass if they enrolled by Dec. 31, 2021.
Which card has better perks and credits?
The Amex Platinum Card undeniably has more bells and whistles and offers more substantial value over time. But, you have to pay up to get those benefits. Although I give it the edge for its Global Lounge Collection, it’s very much a personal decision. After all, the Amex Gold might offer you better and more relevant benefits.
There’s absolutely room for both of these cards in your wallet. In fact, the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum complement each other very well in the Amex Trifecta. If you need more information, check out our Amex Platinum review and Amex Gold review.
But, if you only want to pay up for one annual fee, you can frame the question as follows. Do you want higher bonus earning rates on a wider variety of categories? Or, do you want valuable perks that will add a splash of luxury to your upcoming travels? If the first option sounds like you, then the Amex Gold is the right card for you. But, if the second scenario resonates with you, then you’ll likely want to choose the Amex Platinum.
Have you decided on one (or both) cards? Here are the official application links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (100,000-point) and American Express® Gold Card (60,000-point bonus offer)
Additional reporting by Katie Genter and Summer Hull.
*For Uber Eats Pass terms and conditions, click here.
Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 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.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees