Platinum Card® from American Express vs. American Express® Gold Card: A choice between travel and food rewards

Two women sitting outside and laughing with green trees in backgroundImage: Two women sitting outside and laughing with green trees in background

In a Nutshell

The choice between the Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card comes down to your lifestyle: Do you spend more on everyday expenses or travel? While both cards offer lots of perks, it’s worth noting that each comes with a hefty annual fee.
Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.
Advertiser Disclosure

We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

These offers are no longer available on our site: Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card are two of our favorite cards because they both offer valuable rewards.

While one card offers more rewards for everyday purchases like restaurants and groceries, the other card features travel and lifestyle perks — potentially making them both great options to add to your wallet.

But which card is better? Let’s take a closer look to see if we can figure out which card is best for your needs.



Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for luxury travelers

The Platinum Card® from American Express will pamper you with luxury. By offering airport lounge access and all sorts of travel credits, the card will help you enjoy a much smoother trip. It also offers a number of lifestyle perks that could appeal to consumers with high-end tastes.

American Express® Gold Card: Best for everyday expenses

Whether you prefer to eat out or cook at home, if you have a big appetite you’ll love the American Express® Gold Card.

You’ll be handsomely rewarded for purchases at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Plus, you could receive nearly enough food credits to offset the sizable annual fee.

Platinum Card® from American Express vs. American Express® Gold Card

  Platinum Card® from American Express American Express® Gold Card
Annual fee $695 $250
Welcome bonus value $2,180 $1,308
Travel perks Excellent Bad
Travel purchases 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels through Amex and on flights booked with the airline or through Amex 3 points per $1 on flights booked with the airline or through Amex
Top spending category 1 point per $1 on all other purchases 4 points per $1 on groceries and dining
Lifestyle perks Yes No

What you need to know about each card

Let’s see how the Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card compare.

Annual fee: American Express® Gold Card is more affordable

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express charges a whopping $695 annual fee that could make your jaw drop. So in comparison, the American Express® Gold Card’s $250 annual fee doesn’t seem too bad.

Welcome bonus: Platinum Card® from American Express helps you earn more points

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a gigantic welcome bonus. You’ll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases during the first 6 months of card membership. Depending on how you redeem, we think it could be worth about $2,180, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations.

And though it’s lower, the American Express® Gold Card’s 60,000-point welcome bonus is nothing to shrug at. Depending on how you redeem the points, we think it could be worth up to $1,308. You’ll earn the bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 6 months of card membership.

Heads up: When it comes to credit cards, welcome bonuses can and do change, and issuers sometimes advertise limited-time offers. You’ll want to check the latest offers for any credit card you’re interested in.

Travel: Platinum Card® from American Express offers more perks

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express is famous for providing complimentary access to some of the world’s top airport lounges, making it a good choice for frequent travelers.

And with the Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn five points for every $1 spent booking flights directly with the airline or through American Express Travel. You’ll also earn five points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.

You could also score extras like a $200 airline fee credit, a $189 Clear membership credit, a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and a $200 hotel credit at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection (which requires a minimum two-night stay). Cardholders also receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold status.

The American Express® Gold Card offers three points per $1 spent on flights booked with the airline or through American Express Travel, but you won’t find nearly as many travel perks as the Platinum Card® from American Express offers.

Everyday expenses: American Express® Gold Card has dining and grocery rewards

Here’s why: American Express® Gold Card offers more long-term value.

With the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll get four points for every $1 you spend at restaurants — plus four points per $1 on the first $25,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year.

And you’ll also score a $120 dining credit, which you can use in $10 monthly increments on Grubhub and at select restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Shake Shack. Cardholders also get $120 in Uber Cash, which you can use in $10 monthly increments on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides.

Lifestyle: Platinum Card® from American Express has lots of extras

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a number of lifestyle perks that aren’t available with the American Express® Gold Card.

These include a $300 Equinox credit, a $240 digital entertainment credit, a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credit and $800 in cellphone protection.


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

If neither of these cards is a good fit for you, you might be interested in one of these other options.


About the author: Clint Proctor is a freelance writer and founder of WalletWiseGuy.com, where he writes about how students and millennials can win with money. When he’s away from his keyboard, he enjoys drinking coffee, traveling, obse… Read more.