Does it make sense to hold an Amex Platinum and Amex Gold Card?
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information.
When Amex announced in 2018 that it was revamping the American Express® Gold Card, it instantly became one of the top cards in terms of return on spending. With 4x Membership Rewards points on dining at restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1x) and 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, you are able to rack up some serious points over the course of a year.
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Many of those who already have The Platinum Card® from American Express may be eyeing those bonus categories as a great complement to what’s already their wallet.
As TPG contributor Ethan Steinberg explained here, you can pair three Amex cards (the Platinum and Gold cards, plus The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express) to really maximize your rewards on just about every bonus category and everyday, non-bonus spending. But to specifically address the issue at hand, is it logical to hold both the Gold card and the Platinum card, especially with their serious annual fees? While that partially depends on your travel habits and spending patterns, there is one case where it can definitely make sense: if you can maximize the credits for each card.
The Amex Platinum carries a hefty $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it also offers a ton of benefits. This includes up to $500 in annual credits, broken down as follows:
- Up to $200 in airline incidental fee credits.
- Up to $200 for Uber rides ($15 per month plus an extra $20 in December) that can also be used for Uber Eats, along with Uber VIP status.
- Trip delay and cancellation insurance.
- An up-to-$100 statement credit for Global Entry or an $85 credit for TSA PreCheck every 4 to 4 1/2 years (depending on which application fee is charged to your card first)
- Up-to-$100 Saks credit, split into two $50 statement credits to use January-June and July-December.
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Airspace and Escape lounges, along with Delta Sky Clubs on same-day flights.
- Complimentary Gold status with the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs.
- Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
- An extended warranty for purchases.
- Purchase protection.
- Return protection.
- Cellphone protection (starting April 1, 2021).
Again, if you’re able to fully take advantage of all the card’s credits, that lowers the Platinum’s effective annual fee to $50.
And for a limited time, you’ll also receive a monthly $30 PayPal credit between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021. So for this year only, your annual fee can theoretically be offset by another $180 in easy-to-use credits.
Because the dining credit covers delivery services like Grubhub and Seamless, you’ll have a whole host of options in most major U.S. cities. The face value of the dining credit drops your effective annual fee to $130.
There’s also a relatively new Uber credit, where you can receive up to $120 in Uber Cash annually ($10 per month). This cash can be used toward U.S. Uber rides or even Uber Eats, which most every cardmember will be able to enjoy.
So if you can maximize the credits on both cards, you’re looking at a total, out-of-pocket expense of $60 in annual fees — not including any limited-time credit opportunities. That pays for incredible lounge access and an amazing combination of category bonuses that may be the best in the credit card industry.
This also fails to account for the fact that the American Express Gold Card currently has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening.
Here’s a quick chart that compares the two cards’ earning rates, with the more lucrative option in bold:
|Category bonus||The Platinum Card from American Express||American Express Gold Card|
|Flights booked directly with the airline or via Amex Travel||5x (10% return)**
(on up to $500,000 in combined purchases per calendar year)
|U.S. restaurants||1x||4x (8% return)**
(at restaurants worldwide)
(on up to $15,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months of card membership)
|4x (8% return)**
(on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x)
|Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel||5x (10% return)**||1x|
|Everything else||1x (2% return)**||1x (2% return)**|
**Return percentage based on TPG valuation and not provided by the issuer
That’s a pretty potent combination!
For some, the Amex Gold’s lower annual fee, dining credit, Uber Cash and great bonus categories may even be a better fit than their Platinum card. But for those who do decide to hold onto both cards and maximize each product’s travel credits, they’ll be paying a reasonable amount of effective annual fees for two cards that truly reward spending and dole out fantastic travel benefits.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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