The American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are 2 heavy hitters in the world of points and miles, with many award travel enthusiasts carrying one, or both, of the cards in their wallets. But if you’re someone who prefers to carry one card, you might be wondering which Membership Rewards card is a better fit for you?
In this post, we will provide a benefits comparison of both cards to help you determine which is best for you, along with answering how you can go about upgrading your Amex card and who should consider upgrading.
Amex Gold Card vs. Amex Platinum Card
Make no mistake, the Amex Gold card and Amex Platinum card are both fantastic, but very different, travel rewards cards. Here is a breakdown of the top benefits of each card.
Amex Gold Card Benefits
The Amex Gold card has strong earnings at supermarkets and restaurants with a variety of ways to earn/redeem rewards and plenty of travel benefits — all without a premium annual fee!
Our favorite benefits include:
- 4x points per $1 at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 4x points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x thereafter
- 3x points per $1 on flights purchased directly with airlines or at Amex Travel
- Access to the American Express Hotel Collection
- Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations
- Terms Apply
The Amex Gold card aims to help keep you covered by offering travel insurance benefits like baggage insurance coverage, trip delay insurance, and rental car insurance, along with purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
Bottom Line: Spend a lot of money on dining and at supermarkets? The Amex Gold card will help you rack up Amex Membership Rewards points faster than any other card.
Amex Platinum Card Benefits
The premium Amex Platinum card is packed with $500+ in statement credits, considerable 5x points travel earnings, and access to thousands of airport lounges worldwide.
Here are our favorite earnings and benefits that the card features:
- 5x points per $1 spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with Amex Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel
- $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 annual Uber Cash credit
- Access to over 1,300 airport lounges, including Amex Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta the same day
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Amex International Airline Program
- Avis, Hertz, and National rental car elite status
- And much more!
- Terms Apply
The Amex Platinum card also takes the level of protection you receive to another level by offering travel insurance benefits like rental car insurance, trip delay protection, and trip cancellation protection, plus purchase benefits like return protection, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection.
Bottom Line: The Amex Platinum card offers some of the very best travel and lifestyle benefits of any rewards card on the market.
Here is a head-to-head comparison of the Amex Gold card and Amex Platinum card to help you determine which card is a better fit for you.
|Benefit||Amex Gold Card||Amex Platinum Card|
|Dining purchases ||4x||1x|
|$120 annual dining credit||X||–|
|Rental car insurance||Secondary: $50,000||Secondary: $75,000|
|Foreign transaction fees||$0||$0|
|Baggage insurance||$1,250 per person||$3,000 per person|
|Trip delay insurance||$300 per trip||$500 per trip|
|Purchase protection||$10,000 item/$50,000 year||$10,000 item/$50,000 year|
|Extended warranty protection||X||X|
|American Express Hotel Collection||X||X|
|American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts||–||X|
|$200 airline fee credit||–||X|
|$200 annual Uber credit||–||X|
|$100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit||–||X|
|Airport lounge access||–||X|
|Hotel elite status||–||X|
|Rental car elite status||–||X|
|Amex International Airline Program||–||X|
|TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit||–||X|
As you can see, the strength of the Amex Gold card is that it has a much lower annual fee than the Amex Platinum card and is significantly better at earning points if you’re someone who regularly spends money on dining and groceries.
On the other hand, the main appeal of the Amex Platinum card is that it is absolutely loaded up with fantastic benefits like access to 6 different airport lounge networks, hotel elite status, a variety of annual credits, and many more perks that frequent travelers are sure to love.
Bottom Line: Are the added benefits of the Amex Platinum card worth the additional $300 in annual fees? Well, that is for you to decide, and if you need extra help doing so, we’ve got you covered in our ultimate guide to the Amex Platinum card vs. the Amex Gold card.
How To Upgrade Your Amex Gold Card
Requesting an upgrade with your Amex Gold card is a very straightforward process, and you have 2 options for doing so. The first is by calling the customer service number on the back of your Amex Gold card and telling the representative that you’d like to upgrade to the Amex Platinum card. Your second option is to use the chat feature on the American Express website, though be advised that they might still ask you to call the customer service line to finalize the upgrade.
Who Should Upgrade Their Card?
We’ve outlined the benefits of each card and explained how to go about asking for an upgrade, but should you actually do it? Here are a few tips to help you make that decision.
1. You’ve Had the Amex Gold Card for More Than 1 Year
Due to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, credit issuers are not able to increase the annual fee of a cardmember if their account is less than 1 year old. So if you haven’t had your Amex Gold card open for at least a year, you will not be eligible to upgrade it to the Amex Platinum card.
2. You’ve Previously Earned a Welcome Bonus for the Amex Platinum Card
Traditionally, when you upgrade to a new card, you are not eligible for the public welcome bonus that the card currently offers. So if you’ve never received a welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum card before, you’d be much better off just applying for the card outright as the welcome bonus is often worth more than $1,300 in travel based on our valuations.
If you’ve already received a welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum card, though, then you would not be forfeiting any points should you decide to upgrade your Amex Gold card.
3. You’ve Been Extended an Upgrade Offer
Occasionally, American Express will send cardmembers an offer to upgrade their card and receive a bonus for doing so. We’ve seen offers as high as 60,000 Membership Rewards points (valued at $1,320) to upgrade from the Amex Gold card to the Amex Platinum card. So if you’ve received such an offer, that would be a great reason to upgrade.
Hot Tip: You’re still eligible for upgrade offers even if you have already received a welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum card. However, if you accept an upgrade offer and you’ve never had a welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum card, you’ll no longer be eligible to receive one should you decide to apply for the card outright.
4. The Amex Platinum Card is a Better Fit for You
If you’ve weighed the benefits of each card and decided that the Amex Platinum card is a better fit for you, then it might make more sense to ask for an upgrade. But just make sure you don’t leave any Membership Rewards points on the table if you do so.
5. You Don’t Want To Add a Hard Pull to Your Credit
When you ask for an upgrade on an Amex card, American Express does not perform a hard pull, meaning you will not receive a new inquiry on your credit report, and it will not impact your 5/24 status for those who are trying to stay eligible for certain Chase cards.
Ultimately, while the process of upgrading your Amex Gold card to the Amex Platinum card is an easy one, the decision on whether or not it makes sense to do so is a lot more situational. On one hand, upgrading might offer you a nice bonus without adding an inquiry to your credit score. On the other, you might be forgoing the large boost of Membership Rewards points you could have received from the welcome bonus by applying for the card outright.
Either way, you should do whatever makes the most sense for you. You might even decide that is worth holding both the Amex Gold card and Amex Platinum card so that you can take advantage of the point-earning and luxury travel benefits of both cards!
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.