American Express Gold vs. Platinum: 5 Key Differences to Consider

The American Express Gold and Platinum cards offer some similar perks — but differ in several important ways.
Last updated Sep 24, 2020 | By Kat Tretina
Young couple comparing American Express Gold and Platinum cards

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If you’re looking for a premium rewards card, the American Express Gold and American Express Platinum cards are top choices from American Express credit cards. Both options are charge cards, so you'll pay your balance each month and won't have interest payments like you would with credit cards. And both come with some luxurious benefits that enhance your cardmember experience.

In this Amex Gold vs. Platinum comparison, you’ll learn about each card’s rewards, benefits, and fees so you can make an informed decision.

Amex Gold vs. Platinum

American Express Gold Card The Platinum Card from American Express
Annual fee $250 $550
Welcome bonus Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Earning rate 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Redemption rate Up to one cent per point Up to one cent per point
Credits
  • $100 airline fee credit
  • $120 dining credit
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $200 Uber credit
  • Up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue statement credit
Airport lounge access None Access to the Global Lounge Collection, a network of more than 1,200 airport lounges
Hotel perks Book The Hotel Collection with AmexTravel.com to get a $100 hotel credit and room upgrades, when available
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program offers an average of $550 in free benefits, such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, and a $100 property credit
  • Book The Hotel Collection with AmexTravel.com to get a $100 hotel credit and room upgrade, when available
Rental car perks Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Complimentary membership in premium car rental programs
Foreign transaction fee None None
Authorized user fee No fee for up to five additional cards; six or more cards are $35 each
  • $175 total for up to three additional cards; four or more cards are $175 each
  • No fee to add an authorized user Gold Card

5 key differences between the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum

The American Express Gold Card and the Platinum Card from American Express are popular choices for rewards card enthusiasts, and they both allow you to transfer your points to travel partners. But there are some distinct differences you should be aware of before you submit a card application.

1. Credits

With both the American Express Gold and Platinum cards, you’ll get some valuable credits, which can help offset the cost of the cards’ annual fees.

With the American Express Gold Card, you can get up to $220 worth of credits:

  • $100 airline fee credit: Select one qualifying airline each year and receive up to $100 in statement credits to cover the cost of incidental fees, such as checked baggage fees or inflight meals.
  • $120 enhanced dining credit: Earn up to $10 a month in statement credits when you use your card to pay for meals through GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed, and select Shake Shack locations.

When it comes to credits, the Platinum Card from American Express is the clear winner. The Platinum Card offers far more value, allowing you to earn up to $380 more in statement credits:

  • $200 Uber credit: You can enjoy $15 in Uber credits each month plus a $20 bonus in December.
  • $200 airline fee credit: Like the Gold Card’s airline credit, you can use this credit to cover the cost of incidental charges, like inflight refreshments. However, the Platinum Card gives you double the value.
  • $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit: Breeze through airport security by signing up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and you’ll get up to $100 as a statement credit.
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit: If you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue or Saks.com, you can get up to $100 in statement credits for purchases you make.

2. Earning rates

With the American Express Gold Card, you can earn points according to the following structure: 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases.

The Platinum Card from American Express offers a different rewards structure: 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

If you travel often, you can likely earn more rewards by signing up for the Platinum Card than with the Gold Card. However, if you spend more money on dining out or at the supermarket, it may make more sense to opt for the Gold Card because you’ll earn a higher rate of return on those purchases.

3. Welcome offer

With the American Express Gold Card, you can receive a hefty welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. If those points are worth one cent each, the bonus is worth $350. That valuation gives you a 17.5% return on spend.

With the Platinum Card from American Express, you can earn 60,000 membership rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. That’s equal to about a $600 value. While you’ll get a larger bonus with the Platinum Card, you actually achieve a lower return on spend; you’ll get just a 12% return. In that regard, the Gold Card bonus could actually be more valuable.

4. Premium travel perks

Each card offers some premium travel benefits, but there are a few key differences.

Lounge access

Unfortunately, the American Express Gold Card doesn’t give you access to any airport lounges. However, the Platinum Card from American Express does. You’ll gain access to the Global Lounge Collection, a network of over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries.

Hotel benefits

The Gold Card allows you to enjoy The Hotel Collection. Through this program, book a stay at participating properties through AmexTravel.com for at least two nights and get a $100 hotel credit and room upgrades, when available.

With the Platinum Card, you get the same benefits through The Hotel Collection. But you also can use the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which offers a $550 total average value in free perks when you stay at an eligible hotel. Benefits may include:

  • Free breakfast for two
  • Room upgrades when available
  • Property credit valued at $100
  • Guaranteed late check-out
  • Early check-in when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Car rentals

Both the Gold and Platinum cards give you secondary car rental loss and damage insurance. But with the Platinum Card, you’ll also get premium membership to car rental programs like Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and the National Emerald Club. With your premium membership, you can qualify for upgrades and special discounts.

5. Fees

When it comes to fees, the big difference between the cards is their annual fees. The Platinum Card’s fee is more than double the cost of the Gold Card.

Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, making them good choices for traveling abroad.

If you plan on adding an authorized user to your account, it’s important to keep additional user fees in mind. With the Gold Card, there’s no annual fee for up to five additional cards. If you have to add six or more users, you’ll pay $35 for each additional card.

With the Platinum Card, you have the option of adding a complimentary Gold Card to your Platinum account; the person who you designate as a cardmember can earn rewards. However, the Gold Card you get as an authorized user is quite different than the actual American Express Gold Card. You’ll earn points at the same rate as the Platinum Card, but you won’t get benefits like access to airport lounges or Uber credits.

However, if you want to add additional users at the Platinum level, it will cost you $175 for the first three cards each year. For each card you add after that, you’ll have to pay $175 per card.

Which card is best for you?

If you can’t choose between the American Express Gold Card and the Platinum Card, it’s important to keep your spending habits in mind.

The Platinum Card from American Express likely makes the most sense for frequent travelers. If you fly or stay at hotels several times a year, it might be one of the best travel credit card options. You can take full advantage of all the offered credits, helping to offset the hefty annual fee. But if you travel only occasionally, you won’t be able to enjoy the full value of those credits, possibly making the extra cost not worthwhile.

If you’re looking for more of a general rewards card rather than a travel card, the American Express Gold Card may be a better choice. You’ll earn more points on everyday expenses, such as grocery store purchases or dining out. With a lower fee, you could more quickly recoup your costs and enjoy your rewards.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply