• Both the Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card offer valuable rewards on purchases, along with large welcome bonuses and useful benefits.
  • Both cards also have a few annual statement credits that can offset their annual fees.
  • Given the similarities, we’ve laid out the differences to help you pick the best card for you.

American Express refreshed and relaunched its Gold Card in late 2018, giving it new benefits and rewards – many of which are dining-focused – in an effort to make it a stronger competitor in an increasingly crowded credit card market.

That relaunch followed a refresh of the Amex Platinum Card, which also brought improvements and new benefits like 5x point earnings on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex.

What’s the difference between the Amex Gold and the Amex Platinum?

AmEX Platinum vs. AmEx Gold Chart

Foto: sourceAlyssa Powell/Business Insider

Both cards have tangible benefits like annual statement credits that make up for the annual fee, but there are some pretty significant differences between them. The Amex Platinum is the more premium of the two cards – it has a $550 annual fee compared to a $250 annual fee for the Amex Gold. The Platinum Card offers more luxury travel benefits, like airport lounge access and monthly statement credits for Uber, while the Amex Gold’s perks and bonus categories are more geared toward dining.

Read on to learn more about the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum and to see which is better for you.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold: Bonus categories

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Foto: sourceAmerican Express

The Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum Card earns a massive 5 points per dollar spent on airfare, as long as you book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, and on prepaid hotel stays booked through Amex Travel. It earns 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Travel website (and Business Insider e-commerce partner) The Points Guy subjectively values Amex Membership Rewards points at 2¢ each, so that means a whopping 10% of value back on the bonus categories.

While other credit cards offer a wider array of bonus categories, 5x points is a fantastic earning rate, and if you book your own travel frequently, the points will add up quickly.

The Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card offers 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, 4x points back at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year – 1 point per dollar for anything beyond that), and 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel. It earns 1x point on everything else.

The Amex Gold Card’s restaurant category is broad – I’ve gotten the category bonus at restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes. The supermarket category excludes big-box stores where you might buy groceries, like Target or Walmart, but includes most dedicated US supermarkets.

Using The Points Guy’s valuations, you get a huge 8% of value back on those two top bonus categories from the Gold Card. This makes it one of the best available cards for dining.

Both cards have annual fees, but thanks to a few statement credit benefits, the effective fees are lower than you might think.

Foto: sourceAmerican Express

The Platinum Card

The Platinum Card has one of the highest annual fees you’ll find in a mainstream charge or credit card – $550. However, the various annual statement credits the card offers bring the effective fee down to just $50.

The first is up to a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year. Every January, you pick one airline for that credit to apply toward. While the credit doesn’t cover tickets, it covers incidental fees like checked bags, seat assignments on basic economy tickets, change fees, and more.

Second, you can get up to $200 in Uber credits each cardmember year, which is broken down into monthly chunks. Each month, cardholders receive $15 of credits to use on Uber rides or for Uber Eats. In December, that’s boosted to $35.

Finally, you can get up to $100 in shopping credits each year at Saks stores, broken into two chunks: You’ll get up to $50 during the first six months of the year, and another $50 during the second.

Since the airline fee credit is given each calendar year, you can actually collect it twice if you open your card mid-year and maximize the credit before and after January of that first cardmember year.

That would mean you’re not just making up for the annual fee, you’re actually getting more value than the fee in the first place. That’s without even considering the other benefits and rewards.

The Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card’s $250 annual fee puts it squarely in the mid-tier category, although one could make an argument that it’s really a premium card with a lower-than-premium fee.

Thanks to two annual statement credits, the effective fee is just $30 – as long as you maximize them.

The first is up to $120 each year in dining credits, broken into monthly $10 portions. These credits only apply to a few participating chain restaurants – specifically Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and some Shake Shack locations – but they also apply to popular food ordering services GrubHub and Seamless. The credits apply automatically to any qualifying purchase.

The Amex Gold also offers up to $100 in airline fee credits each calendar year. This works just like the Platinum Card’s credit, meaning it’s possible to earn it more than once each cardmember year.

Both cards have a new member bonus, although the Platinum Card’s is higher.

Foto: sourceThe Points Guy

Since both cards are part of the Amex Membership Rewards program, it’s easy to compare the welcome bonuses directly.

Platinum Card

The Platinum Card has a welcome offer of 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months. Using The Points Guy’s subjective valuations, that’s worth about $1,200.

The Gold Card

The Gold Card’s welcome bonus is 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. That’s worth about $700, based on The Points Guy’s valuations.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Both cards earn Membership Rewards points, which you can pool between your Amex cards.

Foto: sourceDavid Slotnick/Business Insider

Amex offers a few ways to use Membership Rewards points.

However, redeeming for anything aside from travel offers a poor value, usually 0.5-0.8¢ each, and is generally a poor use of points.

You can get a slightly better value by booking flights through Amex Travel, either online or by phone. Points are worth 1¢ each toward flights, but if you book a hotel or anything else, you’ll only get 0.7¢ per point.

Another option is to use points to bid for upgrades on a flight. You’ll only get 1¢ per point, but it can be a decent redemption if you want to try for an upgrade but don’t want to pay cash.

The best use and value – potentially – is to transfer points to airline frequent flyer partners and book flights that way. You might be able to get a dramatically higher value for points this way.

That’s because booking frequent flyer “award tickets” is different than buying reservations outright – you can read more about how it works here. In most cases, the cash price and the miles price of a ticket aren’t linked, so it’s possible to get exponentially increased value from your points by transferring them and booking an award ticket instead.

That means potentially being able to fly long-haul in first or business class with points, among other things.

For example, my wife and I recently flew first class to Japan and back by transferring credit card points to Virgin Atlantic, then booking flights on Virgin’s partner airline All Nippon Airways. You can read about exactly how we booked the flights here.

The only catch is that you may need to search for saver availability – which are lower-priced award tickets. This can be tricky, but there are a ton of helpful guides online. Once you have a flight in mind, if you’re having trouble figuring out how best to use your points, just do a Google search for that specific trip.

Amex’s partners include: Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Avianca, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Iberia, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Choice Hotels, Hilton, and Marriott.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

The cards come with a few other benefits and perks, too, although the Platinum Card’s are more substantial

Foto: sourceAmex

The Platinum Card

Added benefits is where the Platinum Card really shines.

One of the flagship perks is access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world.

The Platinum Card’s lounge access is more extensive than anything offered by any other card. When you have the card, you can use Delta Sky Clubs whenever you fly the airline, Amex’s own proprietary Centurion Lounges, and any airport lounge that participates in the Priority Pass network. You can also use any of 11 international Amex-branded lounges, and a handful of other random lounges, including ones that fall under the Plaza Premium, Air Space, and Escapes brands – these number more than 50.

The Gold Card

While the Gold Card doesn’t have nearly as many flashy perks as the Platinum Card, it still has a few benefits worth keeping in mind.

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Various purchase and shopping protections
  • Baggage loss and damage coverage
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership (it works like Amazon Prime in a lot of ways, at other retailers).

Bottom line

Foto: sourceAngela Pham/BFAnyc.com

No matter which card you choose, both the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Gold Card offer valuable rewards. Plus, both cards have benefits and rewards that significantly offset their annual fees, as long as you make the most of them.

However, if you’re interested in a larger welcome bonus, or benefits on top of the rewards, the Platinum Card might be the best choice.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider’s partner The Points Guy.

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