American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express: Which is best for you?

The American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are similar travel rewards point cards. Purchases from specific categories come with points multipliers, and American Express Membership Rewards® points can be redeemed for everything from airfare to statement credits, partner program points transfers and even donations to charity.

Each card offers unique benefits that are best suited to specific use cases. Here’s a look at the key features of both Amex Gold and Amex Platinum, what sets them apart and the case for putting either one in your wallet.

At a glance comparison

Before digging into the details, here’s a breakdown of the basic features.

American Express GoldAmerican Express Platinum
Annual Fee$250$550
Rewards Rates4x Membership Rewards® points on restaurant purchases and in U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year), in addition to 3x points for flights booked directly or via Amex Travel.5x Membership Rewards® points on all flights and hotels booked directly with airlines or via Amex Travel.
Sign Up BonusEarn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Credits$100 statement credit per year for travel expenses on one qualifying airline.$200 in statement credits per year for incidental travel fees — such as checked bags or in-flight refreshments — that are charged to your Platinum card, and $100 in fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications
Lounge AccessNo lounge access.Access to more than 1,200 lounges across 130 countries with the American Express Global Lounge Collection.
Authorized User FeeNo authorized user fee.No authorized user fee.

Standout features

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold card offers a number of benefits for cardholders, including:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Using your card abroad carries no transaction fees.
  • Hotel Credits — Any hotels booked via American Express Travel’s Hotel Collection include a $100 credit for qualified activities or dining along with room upgrades at check-in when available.
  • Personalized Travel Service and Assistance — Book flights across the world and schedule ground transportation with American Express Personalized Travel Service, and get 24/7 emergency assistance whenever you travel more than 100 miles from home.
  • Baggage Insurance — When you purchase the entire fare of your Common Carrier ticket on your Amex Gold Card, you’re eligible for the Baggage Insurance Plan, which provides coverage of $1,250 for carry-on and $500 for checked baggage.
  • Payment Flexibility — Carry a balance with interest on any charges over $100. Pay the full amount, the minimum due or any amount in-between.

American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with value-added features such as:

  • Uber Rides — Get VIP status and up to $200 in savings on U.S. Uber rides each year.
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefit — Stays booked on your card at Fine Hotels and Resorts come with $550 worth of benefits including complimentary breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, guaranteed late checkout and complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • Platinum Travel Service — Platinum Travel counselors are available to create custom trip itineraries and offer tailored experience recommendations.
  • Gold Status with Partner Programs — Platinum cardholders enjoy Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Car Rental Privileges — Complimentary membership in premium car rental programs offers special upgrades and discounts. Additionally, if you pay for your car rental with your American Express Platinum Card and decline the offered rental collision coverage, you can be covered for vehicle damages or theft.

The case for the American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card offers a lower annual fee than Amex’s Platinum version and also comes with lower interest rates: 17.49% to 24.49%, based on creditworthiness and other factors at the time of account opening. 

And while this card’s points multiplier caps out at 4x, American Express Gold lets you earn Membership Rewards points in multiple purchase categories such as dining, groceries and airline bookings. With points worth between 0.5 and 1 dollar through the Amex rewards website, it’s possible to rack up significant rewards potential even if you’re an occasional traveler.

The case for the American Express Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum Card, meanwhile, is designed for cardholders who are constantly on the go, offering 5x reward points for booked flights and prepaid hotels. Combined with application fee and airline credits, substantial hotel upgrades and extensive use of lounges around the world, the Platinum card makes sense if travel purchases are the primary source of your credit card spending. 

Also worth noting? The Platinum Card comes with 20,000 more bonus rewards points if you spend enough in the first three months after account opening, which can help defray the costs of ongoing travel and help jumpstart your points earning. This card’s APR is 26.74% but varies with the prime rate.

In a nutshell

Both the American Express Gold Card and the American Express Platinum Card make it easy to earn Membership Rewards Points, especially if your spending aligns with bonus multiplier categories. 

If you’re a regular traveler who wants to maximize points earning from airfare and hotel bookings, opt for the American Express Platinum Card. If you’re a more general spender looking for the chance to earn points across multiple spending categories, the American Express Gold Card is a good fit for your wallet.

Doug Bonderud

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement