American Express® Gold Card vs. Platinum Card® from American Express: A choice between points and perks

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In a Nutshell

Despite its high annual fee, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers frequent travelers the chance to get a lot of value from its premium perks and benefits. But if you’re looking to earn rewards on popular categories like dining and U.S. supermarkets, the American Express® Gold Card could be the more valuable choice.

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American Express offers plenty of potential value in two of its most popular rewards credit cards. But the best card for you is likely going to come down to your personal preference.

Your pick might depend on this question: Do you want points or perks?


American Express® Gold Card: Best for everyday spending

If you’re looking to earn rewards on everyday spending, you may want to choose the American Express® Gold Card. With this card, you’ll earn four Membership Rewards® points (one base point and three additional points) per $1 spent on purchases at restaurants worldwide.

You can also earn the same rate of four points (one base point and three additional points) for each $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then one point per $1). The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t offer bonus points in either of these everyday spending categories.

If we consider its exclusive dining credit at participating restaurants and restaurant delivery services (presented as statement credits of up to $10 each month for a total of $120 per year), the American Express® Gold Card could be a great option for someone who tends to spend more throughout the year on dinner and movie nights than on exotic trips. Plus, with its lower $250 annual fee, the upfront cost might be more palatable. 

Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for luxury travel perks

If you value convenience and style while traveling, you might want to opt for the Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll pay a much higher annual fee of $550 per year, but with a number of premium travel benefits as a return.

The card offers several credits that many might find useful, including …

  • An Uber Cash credit of $15 per month, plus up to $35 in December, totaling $200 per year
  • A $200 annual airline fee credit to use for incidental air travel fees at one qualifying airline of your choice
  • A $100 statement credit for Global Entry — or $85 credit for TSA PreCheck — every four years
  • The option to enroll in Gold Elite status with both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy

And the perks don’t end there. The Platinum Card® from American Express also offers complimentary access to airport lounges through the Global Lounge Collection and complimentary benefits at hotels that participate in the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Plus, you’ll earn five points per $1 spent on purchases for flights booked either through AmexTravel.com or directly with an airline, and hotels booked through AmexTravel.com.

Comparing the American Express® Gold Card and Platinum Card® from American Express

Feature American Express® Gold Card Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual fee $250 $550
Welcome bonus OK Great
Bonus rewards rates Excellent Excellent
Travel perks Lacking Excellent
Shopping and dining perks Good Lacking

So which of these two premium American Express cards offers the best bang for your buck? It really all boils down to your spending patterns and preferences. To help you decide, let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits that each card offers, and which looks best in each category.

Annual fee: American Express® Gold Card

Here’s why: You’ll pay $300 less in annual fees by going for the American Express® Gold Card.

Neither of these cards is a budget option because of their annual fees, and not everyone wants to pay an annual fee of hundreds of dollars even if they could afford it. But between the two cards, we think the American Express® Gold Card is by far the more affordable choice in terms of upfront cost. Remember, it has an annual fee of $250 compared with the $550 fee of the Platinum Card® from American Express.

The Platinum Card® from American Express might justify that higher annual cost for some by offering more luxury benefits — more on that later. But if minimizing the annual fee is a top priority for you, then the American Express® Gold Card is the clear choice.

Welcome bonus: Platinum Card® from American Express

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 25,000 more bonus points than the American Express® Gold Card — and the spending requirement isn’t all that much higher.

While both cards offer generous welcome bonuses, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers much more potential value. Cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the card.

The American Express® Gold Card, on the other hand, will give new cardholders 35,000 points after spending at least $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening. So the Platinum Card® from American Express offers 25,000 more bonus points with a minimum spending requirement of only $1,000 more.

Bonus rewards rates: American Express® Gold Card

Here’s why: American Express® Gold Card offers cardholders the ability to earn rewards on everyday expenses at restaurants around the world and supermarkets in the U.S.

At first glance, it may appear that the Platinum Card® from American Express offers a better rewards-earning potential. After all, the card offers five points per $1 spent on flights booked directly through the airline or through AmexTravel.com, and prepaid hotels booked directly through AmexTravel.com, which stands out as a higher rate than what the American Express® Gold Card offers on any of its bonus categories.

But the American Express® Gold Card wins in our eyes by offering bonus points for purchases made in common expense categories, such as restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets. You’ll earn four points per $1 spent on purchases in both of these categories (with a cap of $25,000 in spending at supermarkets every calendar year, then one point per $1), while also earning three points per $1 spent on purchases for flights booked directly through the airline or through AmexTravel.com.

If you travel once or more per month, you could rack up some serious points each year with the Platinum Card® from American Express. But if you take only a few trips per year, you might end up earning more with the American Express® Gold Card.

Travel perks: Platinum Card® from American Express

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers several exclusive airline and hotel perks. And you can also get a valuable credit with Uber.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is well known for the luxury travel perks that it offers. Here are some of those benefits that you’ll get.

  • Annual $200 airline fee credit for use toward incidental fees at one qualifying airline of your choice
  • $100 Global Entry fee credit (or $85 TSA PreCheck credit — not both) every four years
  • Option to enroll to receive Gold Elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
  • Global Lounge Collection gives you access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide — which includes Centurion Lounges and the Delta Sky Club (available when flying Delta)
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts Program offers complimentary benefits at more than 1,000 hotels

Cardholders are also given exclusive access to a perk called Uber Rides with Platinum. With this program, you get to enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 per year in Uber Cash ($15 per month, with a $20 bonus in December that gets added onto that $15).

If you choose the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll get a lower $100 airline fee credit (with the same restrictions) and a few other perks. The benefits simply don’t compare to the potential value offered by the Platinum Card® from American Express.

But keep in mind that the actual value of these perks will depend on whether you use them. For example, if you don’t mind going without Global Entry or lounge access, you might have less interest in the Platinum Card® from American Express. And if you take advantage of a benefit just because it’s there, you might end up spending more than you would otherwise.

Shopping and dining perks: American Express® Gold Card

Here’s why: The monthly dining credit for the American Express® Gold Card offers more flexibility than the shopping credit for the Platinum Card® from American Express.

If you like eating out or ordering in, the American Express® Gold Card might be hard to pass up. Not only do you earn four points per $1 spent on purchases at restaurants worldwide, but you can also receive up to $120 in dining credits. And cardholders receive up to a total of $10 per month in statement credits for purchases at …

  • Grubhub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Boxed
  • Shake Shack (participating locations)

You won’t get any dining credits with the Platinum Card® from American Express. Instead, its top shopping perk is Shop Saks with Platinum, which makes you eligible to earn up to $100 in statement credits per year for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue stores or online at Saks.com.

While the Saks credit is nice, you’re out of luck if you’re not a fan of the store. And even though the American Express® Gold Card’s dining credit is limited to a few restaurants and delivery apps, it offers more flexibility and a larger potential credit.

Other things to consider about these two cards

We’ve compared the American Express® Gold Card and Platinum Card® from American Express on the merits of the rewards and perks they offer, but there’s more to consider beyond the perks. It’s possible that neither is the ideal card for you.

You’ll want to consider each cards’ redemption options. With American Express Membership Rewards, you can redeem your points for statement credits, merchandise or travel, and you can also transfer to participating travel partners. Having the option to transfer your points to participating travel partners can be a particularly useful way to get value from your rewards. So it may be a good idea to compare the list of Amex’s travel partners with those from other popular programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

And one final thing to know about these cards: The American Express® Gold Card and Platinum Card® from American Express are both charge cards, which means you’ll be expected to pay off your statement balance each month. So if you think you’ll need to carry a balance, you may be better off with another card. In fact, these charge cards will only allow you to carry balances if you use the Pay Over Time feature, which comes with its own rules and fees.

Not sure either card is for you? Consider these alternatives.