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A comparison between two standout travel credit cards, the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, is the rare case where it’s hard to pick a clear winner. If you're more interested in the perks, the Platinum is a dream for the high roller who wants to travel in style. But the Gold is a better earner and worthy travel companion, too, offering 4x points on dining worldwide (and at U.S. supermarkets). Terms apply.
Here’s a guide to help you decide what card to get — and when it makes sense to get both.
American Express® Gold Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Why you’d want The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum is a bonafide premium travel credit card for the bonafide traveler. Its annual fee is among the highest compared to cards in its class, but in exchange, cardholders receive several superior travel perks that make flights, stays and car rentals a luxe experience.
Airport lounge access
Don't want to wait at the gate with the masses? The Platinum Card® from American Express has you covered. Cardholders can enjoy complimentary snacks, drinks, Wi-Fi and even a hot shower with access to more than 1,400 airport lounges around the world. That includes the exclusive American Express Centurion lounges, which only Platinum and Black card holders can enter. The American Express® Gold Card, on the other hand, won’t grant entry into any lounge.
Unlike the American Express Gold Card, the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers cell phone protection up to $800 per claim, or $1,600 (two claims) per 12-month period when you charge the bill on your card and pay a $50 deductible. (Insurance is underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.)
Nothing says traveling in luxury like room upgrades, VIP treatment and the ability to skip the line. The Platinum Card® from American Express gives its cardholders these automatic status boosts:
Marriott Gold Elite: 25% more points, potential room upgrades and late checkout.
Hilton Honors Gold: 80% more points, daily food and beverage credit and possible room upgrades.
Avis Preferred Plus: Free one-class car upgrades, expedited service.
Hertz President's Circle: Guaranteed upgrades, dedicated customer service.
National Executive Elite: Guaranteed free upgrade when you rent at the midsize rate, guaranteed car within 24-hour notice and private airport delivery.
Help scoring tickets to world-class sporting events, reservations at posh restaurants and seats at the hottest concerts can be yours with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Just call the number on the back of your card to connect with a Platinum Concierge, who can help with everything from sending flowers to navigating travel disruptions. Access to such in-demand experiences pairs nicely with the card’s Platinum Travel Service that can create custom trip itineraries.
Why you’d want the American Express® Gold Card
Smaller annual fee
The American Express® Gold Card costs about $400 less in annual fees than The Platinum Card® from American Express, a significant difference. Sure, the Gold still isn’t cheap, but it can pack tremendous value.
Both cards have Uber Cash credits, too. The Gold’s is worth up to $120 (doled out in monthly increments of $10) while the Platinum’s is up to $200. But, if you’re able to get the full value of the American Express® Gold Card Uber credit — which you can do pretty easily by calling an Uber or ordering from Uber Eats every month — you’ll nearly cut the Gold’s annual fee in half.
To get the credits, the AmEx Gold Card must be added as a payment method in the Uber app, and credits are only awarded for U.S. Uber rides and Uber Eats orders. Terms apply.
The American Express® Gold Card is a rewards powerhouse — not just compared to The Platinum Card® from American Express, which earns a paltry 1x points on most purchases, but compared to many other rewards cards. It boasts a whopping 4x rewards rates on the popular spending categories of restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year; 1x thereafter). It ranks on NerdWallet’s lists of best credit cards for groceries and restaurants. Terms apply.
If your household spends $12,000 a year on groceries and dining, you’d earn 48,000 Membership Rewards by putting all of those expenses on the Gold card. If you're willing to put in a little effort to transfer and redeem points with travel partners rather than with AmEx directly, you can reap outsized value. NerdWallet values American Express Membership Rewards at 2 cents each when transferred to partners to book travel.
Why you’d get both
If you can afford two high annual fees, consider getting the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. For the dedicated traveler, they make a perfect pairing. You’ll get all of the travel perks from the Platinum and big rewards rates on everyday spending categories with the Gold. Ultimately, the Gold can help you rack up Membership Rewards to pay for travel, while the Platinum can make the actual travel experience more enjoyable.