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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card from American Express: Which Card is Best for You?

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The American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the best travel cards on the market. Both cards make valuable additions to any frequent traveler’s wallet and complement each other with distinct perks.

The American Express® Gold Card is geared toward frequent diners and foodies. You can rack up rewards on food and drink purchases for a reasonable annual fee, but you won’t have extensive travel benefits. In contrast, The Platinum Card® from American Express is meant for frequent travelers looking for luxury perks and valuable credits to improve their travel experience.

These two popular Amex cards can work together nicely to provide elevated travel and dining rewards and useful credits. But if you don’t want to pay two annual fees, you can pick the one that best fits your lifestyle based on where you spend the most and how much you travel.

The Platinum Card® from American ExpressAmerican Express® Gold Card
Annual fee
  • $695
  • $250
Rewards rate
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.
Welcome offer
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Lounge access
  • Access to 1,400+ airport lounges, including Centurion, Delta SkyClub and Priority Pass networks**
  • None
Travel and shopping credits
  • $1,300+ worth of credits
  • $300+ worth of credits

**Enrollment required.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

The American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the best Amex cards. Both are great choices for people looking to earn valuable and flexible American Express Membership Rewards® points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. Both travel cards are geared toward serious travelers.

However, these two American Express cards differ in their annual fees, rewards and perks. If you’re choosing one card, the best fit will depend on your lifestyle, how much you’re willing to pay annually and the perks you seek.

Choose the American Express® Gold Card if …You’re a frequent traveler and foodie who loves to dine out, get delivery or cook at home, and you either don’t travel quite enough to need a full suite of high-end travel perks, or you have access to those benefits through another card. The American Express® Gold Card will work best for you if you prioritize great dining, travel and purchase protection perks but don’t want to pay the huge annual fee on a fully loaded premium travel card.

Choose the The Platinum Card® from American Express if …You’re a very frequent traveler who wants premium travel perks such as airport lounge access, flexible travel credits, trusted traveler application fee credits and bonus points on flights and hotels. The Platinum Card® from American Express will work best for you if you have other travel cards in your wallet to cover everyday spending categories like restaurants, groceries and drug stores. You should also be sure that you’ll get more than enough value from the perks to make up for the high $695 annual fee.

Each of these two powerhouse Amex cards has pros and cons that need to be weighed carefully against the annual fee as well as your needs and spending and travel patterns. While both cards charge significant annual fees, each one offers a slate of valuable perks and benefits, as well as rewards earning bonus categories. These pluses may outweigh any minuses and even trump the annual fee for you, depending on your lifestyle and preferences.

For each card, it’s important to look at which benefits you’ll actually use, how frequently you’ll realistically use them and what they’re worth to you in cash.

American Express® Gold Card pros and cons

ProsCons

 Excellent rewards on food. The card offers a much higher rewards rate on restaurants compared to other travel cards.

 Solid welcome offer. You'll get a large number of points, with more time than usual to meet your threshold.

 Dining credits. Get up to a $120 annual dining credit ($10 monthly) and up to $120 Uber Cash each year ($10 monthly) that can be used for Uber eats and rides in the U.S. (enrollment required).

 Travel and shopping coverage. Get a solid suite of travel insurance1, plus purchase1 and extended warranty protection.1

 Annual fee. The $250 annual fee, while lower than the cost of many premium travel cards, is still pretty high.

 Mediocre travel perks. Lacks premium travel benefits, such as airport lounge access and TSA PreCheck/Global Entry.

 No low APR offer. Does not offer an introductory 0% on balance transfers or purchases.

 Poor value for cash back. You'll get great value only if you redeem for travel.

The Platinum Card® from American Express pros and cons

ProsCons

 Excellent welcome offer. This card's welcome offer is extremely flexible and valuable, although it has a high spending threshold.

 Great rewards on travel. You'll earn points very quickly by using this card for travel purchases.

 Luxe travel perks. Get luxury airport lounge access, a flexible travel credit**, trusted traveler program credit** and more.

 Many extra benefits. The card includes complimentary hotel elite status**, rental car benefits, excellent travel insurance1 and more.

 Very high annual fee. The $695 annual fee is one of the highest on the market, though it is balanced out by premium travel perks that can make it more than worth the cost.

 Few bonus categories. The card does not have rewards bonus categories for everyday spending outside travel.

 No intro APR offer. The card does not offer an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers or purchases.

**Enrollment required.

The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card have very different rewards structures, but both earn valuable Amex Membership Rewards® points. You’ll get flexible rewards that offer maximum value when transferred to one of Amex’s 21 airline and hotel transfer partners.

The American Express® Gold Card is more rewarding for dining purchases, while The Platinum Card® from American Express heavily rewards you for travel. If you’re willing to pay both annual fees, these cards pair well together as part of a rewards-earning strategy for any food-loving traveler who wants to focus on amassing a large quantity of Amex Membership Rewards® Points.

American Express® Gold Card rewards

Rewards rate:Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

The American Express® Gold Card offers some of the best rewards earning rates you can find on the market for food, whether you’re dining at a restaurant, grabbing takeout or whipping up a meal at home.

The American Express® Gold Card may be a better option if you’re strictly interested in earning rewards points. While the Platinum Card® from American Express only offers a bonus on travel purchases, the American Express® Gold Card offers bonus points on categories that people tend to spend heavily on. It also offers a decent earning rate on flights booked directly with the airlines.

The U.S. supermarkets category also has a $25,000 cap on purchases each year, then you earn just 1x points. But unless you routinely spend more than $2,000 a month (or $500 a week) on groceries, you’ll likely never hit this limit.

The Platinum Card® from American Express rewards

Rewards rate: Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is best for very frequent travelers looking for high-end perks — if you don’t need such a high rate on travel, you could likely settle on the American Express® Gold Card‘s lower 3x travel rewards rate.

Unlike the American Express® Gold Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t have bonus categories outside travel. It stands out for its ultra high 5x earning rate on flights and hotels — with some major caveats.

You must book flights directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, and you must book hotels through Amex Travel. Also, the bonus rate on flights is limited to $500,000 in purchases per year.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to spend heavily on travel to earn enough rewards to cover the card’s $695 annual fee, though it offers plenty of other perks to help make up for the fee.

Both the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer valuable benefits. The American Express® Gold Card has solid travel benefits and a lower annual fee. The Platinum Card® from American Express offers luxury-level benefits, but at more than twice the cost.

The choice between these cards comes down to which benefits best fit your lifestyle. You can easily justify the higher annual fee for the Platinum Card® from American Express if you can take advantage of all its benefits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express benefits

**Enrollment required.
*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes loaded with valuable benefits, including access to Amex and partner airport lounges, and statement credits that can add up to over $1,500 a year in value. Some of the most valuable credits on the card include up to a $200 annual airline fee credit for an airline that you designate at the beginning of the year for incidentals such as checked bags and Wi-Fi, a $200 annual hotel credit for Amex Travel bookings and several trusted traveler program credits (enrollment required).

The Platinum Card® from American Express makes the most sense for very frequent travelers who will regularly take advantage of lounge access and travel and shopping credits You can easily reap thousands of dollars in value from the card each year.

Keep in mind that some of these credits have monthly allotments that can make them more difficult to use. For instance, the Uber Cash benefit comes in $15 monthly allotments ($20 in December), which means you’ll need to use Uber frequently to get the full value from it. You should check the fine print on the benefits to decide if the card is worth it for you.

American Express® Gold Card benefits

  • Good welcome offer
  • Up to $120 dining credit (up to $10 a month at select merchants)**
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash yearly (up to $10 a month) toward U.S. Uber rides and eats**
  • Solid travel insurance (car rental1, trip delay coverage1, baggage insurance1)
  • Purchase1 and extended warranty protection1
  • None foreign transaction fee
**Enrollment required.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

The American Express® Gold Card doesn’t offer nearly as many benefits or credits as The Platinum Card® from American Express.

However, it does come with a few credits, including a dining credit and a Uber Cash benefit (enrollment required). As with The Platinum Card® from American Express, some benefits have stipulations. The Uber and dining credits are awarded in $10 monthly allotments, which means you must be a frequent Uber user and you must dine frequently with the limited list of qualifying restaurants to get the full value from the credits.

The American Express® Gold Card also offers solid travel and shopping protections, meaning it can serve you well as the main travel card in your wallet.

Should I get the American Express® Gold Card before The Platinum Card® from American Express?

If you don’t have a big trip coming up soon, you should consider getting the American Express® Gold Card first to earn points that you can apply toward a future trip. If you have travel plans in your near future, consider getting The Platinum Card® from American Express first so you can earn a high rewards rate on your travel purchases and use the airport lounge access and other perks.

*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Yes, The Platinum Card® from American Express is worth it for those who travel frequently and don’t mind paying a high annual fee for a premium card with luxe benefits, such as airport lounge access and a slew of annual travel credits. But it may not be worth it for less frequent travelers or those who want to earn rewards on everyday spending.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a more premium card than the American Express® Gold Card, though it’s not necessarily better. Both cards have their pros and cons. The Platinum Card® from American Express does come fully loaded with high-end benefits that include airport lounge access, solid travel protections and valuable travel credits. However, the American Express® Gold Card offers a much better rewards earning rate on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, along with dining credits.

It may be worth having both the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express if you’re a frequent traveler who also spends a lot on dining and groceries. The Platinum Card® from American Express delivers high-level travel perks, such as airport lounge access, and a high rewards earning rate on flights booked with airlines or Amex Travel and hotels booked with Amex Travel. The American Express® Gold Card offers elevated rewards on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets plus dining and Uber Cash credits (enrollment required). If you will use all these benefits, the cards can complement each other well.

Recommended Reading

1. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.