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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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.

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).

And the American Express® Gold Card offers up some additional dining perks. You’ll get credit at participating restaurants and restaurant delivery services (as statement credits of up to $10 each month for a total of $120 per year) as well as an automatic $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. each month, up to $120 per year, after adding the card to your Uber account.

The American Express® Gold Card could be a great option for someone who tends to spend more throughout the year on dinner and delivery 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 $695 per year, but with a number of premium travel benefits as a return.

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

  • Uber Cash credits 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 every four years — or an $85 credit for TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years
  • The option to enroll in Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status with Hilton Honors

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 with American Express Travel or directly with an airline on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then one point per $1, and five points per $1 spent on hotels booked with American Express Travel.

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 $695
Welcome bonus Great Great
Bonus rewards rates Excellent Excellent
Travel perks Lacking Excellent
Shopping and dining perks Good Fair

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 $695 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 a higher welcome bonus than the American Express® Gold Card.

With the Platinum Card® from American Express, cardholders can earn 100,000 points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of opening the card.

The American Express® Gold Card, on the other hand, will give new cardholders 60,000 points after spending at least $4,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening.

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 and U.S. supermarkets.

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 with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year, and on prepaid hotels booked directly through AmexTravel.com, which stands out as a higher rate than what the 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 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 is well known for the luxury travel perks that it offers.

If you choose the American Express® Gold Card, 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.

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.

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

We’ve compared these two cards 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.


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.