High-Value AmEx Card Offers for Travelers

These AmEx consumer cards each offer benefits that more than justify their annual fees.
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Written by Ramsey Qubein

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American Express has lots of great travel-related cards with partnerships, including Delta Air Lines, Hilton and Marriott, among others. But, if you’re looking for primary American Express-branded cards that can elevate the travel experience, there are two worthy contenders.

Among the many American Express travel card offers, these carry substantially different annual fees, and the benefits they provide correspond with that cost. Let’s take a look at the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express to see how they compare.

The American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express® Gold Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome bonus

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. Terms Apply.

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. Terms Apply.

Annual fee

$250.

$695.

Membership Rewards points earned

Up to 4x.

Up to 5x.

Bonus points earned

  • 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com.

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery services in the U.S.).

  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year).

  • 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com (up to $500,000 per year).

  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.

  • 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Lounge access

None.

American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Priority Pass Select (but excluding airport restaurant benefits) — enrollment required; Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta); The Centurion Lounge and several others.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/Nexus credit

None.

Up to $100.

Statement credits

$240.

Over $1,500.

Statement credit point value

0.6 cents.

0.6 cents.

AmEx travel portal value

1 cent for flights; 0.5-0.7 cents for hotels and cruises.

1 cent for flights; 0.5-0.7 cents for hotels and cruises.

Transferable points

Yes.

Yes.

Travel insurance

Trip delay, baggage and car rental insurance.

Trip cancellation, interruption and delay, baggage, and car rental insurance.

Foreign transaction fees

None.

None.

Terms apply.

While there’s a wide gap between the cards’ annual fees, there are also several key differences among the earning rates and benefits that these cards offer. Let’s get into the details between these two cards to help you decide which works best for you.

A closer look at AmEx welcome offers

Welcome bonus

Looking at the current AmEx travel card offers, The Platinum Card® from American Express takes the lead with a hefty welcome bonus: 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. Terms Apply.

The cheaper American Express® Gold Card, meanwhile, has a smaller introductory offer: 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. Terms Apply.

While you’ll need to spend more to meet the minimum spend requirement with The Platinum Card® from American Express, the high welcome bonus may be what makes this card worth it for you.

Terms apply.

Annual fee

The annual fee for The Platinum Card® from American Express is almost three times that of the American Express® Gold Card. However, at $695 versus $250, respectively, there are a lot more benefits for the extra outlay in cash.

If you take a look at The Platinum Card® from American Express statement credits alone (including the $200 airline credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 Uber Cash and $400 total in statement credits with Equinox and Saks Fifth Avenue), you’ll get back more than the annual fee for holding the Platinum version of the card. Enrollment required. Terms apply.

If you use most of the statement credits from the card, you could actually save money you otherwise might have spent.

The American Express® Gold Card is much less expensive with an annual fee of $250. It comes with $240 worth of credits to use toward dining, but not everyone may take advantage of these. This is a great card if you order food delivery and take rideshares enough to recoup almost all of the annual fee.

The real value in the American Express® Gold Card comes in the bonus points earned on certain categories like U.S. supermarkets, flights and restaurants. If you can put the bonus points you earn to good use but don’t need the extras of The Platinum Card® from American Express, this could be a good option.

Terms apply.

Redeeming Membership Rewards points

Both of these cards earn American Express Membership Rewards points that can be used to redeem for travel within the AmEx travel portal. One point is equal to 1 cent when redeeming for airfare, or between 0.5 and 0.7 cents when redeeming for a cruise or hotel redemption.

You can also transfer them to one of the AmEx hotel or airline partners at varying ratios depending on the program. Many airlines transfer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that one AmEx point equals one mile in a frequent flyer program.

Terms apply.

Other perks that are the same

There are a few other perks that are similar across both cards:

  • No foreign transaction fees. If you travel frequently overseas, you won’t need to worry about being charged a foreign transaction fee when you use your card to make a purchase.

  • Travel insurance. While you’ll get added insurance benefits with The Platinum Card® from American Express, both cards offer protections while you travel. Trip delay, baggage and rental car insurance comes with both cards.

Terms apply.

Benefits unique to the American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card
NerdWallet rating 

With a mid-level annual fee, this card is not heavy on luxurious perks, but it does have some sweet bonus categories for earning points. Travelers might miss having lounge access and a credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, but it is a solid card for plumping up your Membership Rewards balance.

Bonus points

This card will reward you with 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including delivery and takeout within the United States. If you like dining out or ordering in, this card piles on the points while you pile up your plate.

If you prefer cooking at home, you’ll still earn 4x points when shopping at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year).

Frequent travelers who book flights directly with airlines or through the AmEx travel portal will also earn 3 points per dollar spent.

Terms apply.

Dining and travel credits

In addition to bonus points for dining, this card comes with a $10 statement credit per month to be used toward your Uber account for Uber Eats or Uber rides. You’ll also receive a $10 monthly statement credit for orders through Grubhub or dining at eligible restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory and select Shake Shack locations when paying with the card.

If you prefer good beverages over good eats, you can choose to use the $10 monthly dining credit credit at wine.com instead.

Enrollment required. Terms apply.

Benefits unique to The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet rating 

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with lots of perks that the American Express® Gold Card does not.

American Express Global Lounge Collection

With access to more than 1,400 lounges in the program, you’re sure to find some respite with drinks, snacks or other amenities when traveling through the airport. For starters, with The Centurion Lounge you’ll be able to have full meals with an open bar before your flight.

This benefit comes with Priority Pass Select membership, which gives access to affiliated lounges around the world, plus the opportunity to bring a guest with you. Enrollment required. Cardholders can also access Delta SkyClub lounges when flying Delta. Other lounges in the program include Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges and more.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Lounge access is changing in 2025. Starting Feb. 1, 2025, cardmembers will receive six visits to Delta Sky Clubs per program year. However, members can earn unlimited access after spending $75,000 in a program year. Unlimited access remains through Jan. 31 of the following year. Spend tracking begins Jan. 1, 2024.

Terms apply.

Travel credits

Annually, cardholders receive a $200 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings through the American Express Travel website. These stays include elite-like benefits like late check-out, property credits, complimentary breakfast and room upgrades.

Cardholders also receive a $200 airline credit to apply to incidental expenses like checked bags and in-flight purchases. Enrollment required. You can also use up to $200 in credits toward Uber ($15 each month, plus a $20 bonus in December), a $189 credit toward Clear membership and up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Terms apply.

Shopping credits

You’ll really hit the jackpot in this category if you max out all of the credit opportunities. Each year, card members are rewarded a total of $240 in digital entertainment credits to use toward streaming services like Hulu and Disney+, among others. Enrollment required.

Twice a year, there’s a $50 statement credit toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue. Enrollment required. There’s also $13 for Walmart+ and $25 for Equinox membership given as monthly statement credits.

Terms apply.

Hotel and car rental elite status

With this card, you will receive complimentary Gold-tier status in both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy (enrollment required). Gold status with both programs offer bonus hotel points and on-site privileges like upgraded room types.

Cardholders can also earn elite status with several car rental companies. These include Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive.

Terms apply.

Travel insurance

In addition to the travel protections offered by the American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express has added travel insurance for trip cancellation and trip interruption.

Terms apply.

AmEx transfer partners

AmEx has a total of 15 hotel and airline loyalty program partners to which you can transfer points:

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus (1:1 ratio).

  • AeroMexico (1:1.6 ratio).

  • Air Canada. (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France/KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • ANA (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • British Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Cathay Pacific (1:1 ratio)

  • Delta Air Lines (1:1 ratio).

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Iberia Plus (1:1 ratio).

  • JetBlue Airways (2.5:2 ratio).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Qatar Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways (1:1 ratio).

Hotels

  • Choice Hotels (1:1 ratio).

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts (1:2 ratio).

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (1:1 ratio).

For details on transfer ratios, see AmEx's website.

Choose the right American Express travel card offer for you

There are several American Express cards in the company’s portfolio, but two of their Membership Rewards earning consumer cards stand out. Both the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are rich in benefits, although there are notable variances between them.

The American Express® Gold Card has a lower annual fee and fewer benefits than its Platinum counterpart. However, the former has several bonus-point-earning opportunities and built-in statement credits.

If you want outsized value from a travel card though, The Platinum Card® from American Express can actually reward you with a lot more if you maximize all of its perks. With bonus points on travel spending, elite status benefits and more than $1,500 in statement credits, the $695 annual fee gets quickly erased. Terms apply.

Membership Rewards is a versatile points program with flexible points that can bring great value when compared to more restrictive airline and hotel miles and points. Both of these cards are worth considering, so be sure to factor in their differences to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Terms apply.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

  • The maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g., plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • 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.

Insurance Benefit: Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply.

  • 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. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $300 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 12 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Eligible Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a Common Carrier Vehicle ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible Account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on Baggage and up to $500 for checked Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • 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.

Insurance Benefit: Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply.

  • 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. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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