Does it make sense to hold an Amex Platinum and Amex Gold card?

14 March 2023

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way to justify holding two cards that earn the same type of points and paying almost $1,000in annual fees to keep them both. (The Platinum Card® from American Express: see rates and fees) (American Express® Gold Card: see rates and fees)

For me (and many others), it’s entirely worthwhile.

It’s true that the price tags on The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card can look hefty — especially combined — and that they earn the same type of points. However, these cards’ earning rates and perks couldn’t be more different.

If you want to accelerate your earnings, maximize the benefits available each year and ensure that you’re protecting as many of your expenses as possible, it makes sense to hold both the Platinum and Gold cards. Here’s why.

Two cards, two bonuses

During the first year that you have a credit card, the welcome bonus is one of (if note the) most valuable benefits. And it’s possible to earn welcome bonuses on all of American Express’ cards. There’s no rule prohibiting you from earning a bonus on the Gold card because you have the Platinum card — or vice versa — so long as you meet the other application rules.

Right now, new applicants for the Amex Platinum card can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. Meanwhile, applicants for the Amex Gold card can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. However, you might be able to earn a higher sign-up bonus through a friend or loved one’s referral link through June 7.

MIXETTO/GETTY IMAGES

TPG values American Express Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece. Thus, 140,000 points are worth $2,800.

How should you use those points? Here’s a look at maximizing your Amex Membership Rewards points.

Accelerate your earnings

Beyond the welcome bonus, you’ll earn points on purchases made with your card. However, the number of points you earn with the Platinum and Gold cards varies greatly. Compare the following:

Earning rates
Amex Platinum card
Amex Gold card

Flights
5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel (up to $500,000 of these purchases annually, then 1 point per dollar).
3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel.

Hotels
5 points per dollar if booked and prepaid with Amex Travel; 1 point per dollar otherwise.
1 point per dollar.

Restaurants
1 point per dollar.
4 points per dollar (note most food delivery apps code as restaurants).

Supermarkets
1 point per dollar.
4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of annual purchases, then 1 point per dollar).

Other purchases
1 point per dollar.
1 point per dollar.

You could earn thousands of extra points each year by using the right card for each purchase. A general guide is to use the Platinum and Gold cards as follows:

Platinum card: For flights booked directly with airlines, plus flights and hotels booked with Amex Travel.
Gold card: At restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.

Related: 6 easy strategies I use to earn over 500,000 points and miles a year

Annual credits galore

In addition to earning points, both cards provide annual credits that can put hundreds or thousands of dollars back in your pocket. Note that you need to enroll in advance for most of these benefits.

THE POINTS GUY

The Amex Gold card provides the following annual credits as part of its $250 annual fee (see rates and fees):

Up to $120 in annual dining credits, given as up to $10 per month with select merchants.
Up to $120 in Uber Cash per year, given as $10 per month for rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S.

If you use these $240 in credits, that nearly covers the card’s annual fee. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Related: Amex Gold card review

Meanwhile, the Amex Platinum card provides the following annual credits as part of its $695 annual fee (see rates and fees):

Up to $200 in airline fee credits with your preferred airline.
Up to $200 in annual hotel credits for prepaid bookings with Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection.
Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually, valid on rides and Uber Eats orders in the U.S.
Up to $189 in annual Clear credit to cover your annual membership.
Up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credits, given as up to $20 per month for purchases with eligible streaming partners.
Up to $300 in annual Equinox credits on select Equinox gym or Equinox+ app memberships.
Up to a $155 in annual credits to cover the cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership.
Up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry every four years or an $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4 1/2 years (depending on which application fee is charged to your card first).
Up to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, given as up to $50 semi-annually.

Using these perks provides more than $1,500 in annual value — well above the $695 annual fee. If you can use 50% of the credits, that’s still worth more than the annual fee. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Related: Amex Platinum card review

Gain additional shopping and purchase protections

When it comes to shopping protections and travel protections, both cards offering numerous protections. However, the amount of coverage varies.

IMAGES BY TANG MING TUNG/GETTY IMAGES

Both cards have these built-in perks:

Extended warranty protection: Adds an extra year to a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. Maximum coverage is the amount charged to your card, up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per cardmember account in a calendar year.*
Purchase protection: Covers items against damage, theft or less within 90 days of purchase. There is a limit of $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per cardmember annually.*

*Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

However, other protection levels are quite different. Compare these coverage levels:

Amex Platinum card
Amex Gold card

Cellphone protection
Covered against loss or damage, up to $800 per claim and up to two claims in a 12-month period. There is a $50 deductible per claim. Coverage applies to phones on a cellphone plan paid for with your card in the previous billing period.**
None.

Return protection
Covers purchases made in the last 90 days, up to the full purchase price or $300 maximum (minus shipping and handling costs). Coverage is limited to the U.S. and its territories.#
None.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Provides up to $10,000 per trip (with a maximum of $20,000 in a 12-month period) for a trip canceled or interrupted for a covered reason.**
None.

Trip delay insurance
Up to $500 per covered trip after a delay of six hours or more; maximum of two claims in a 12-month period.**
Up to $300 per covered trip after a delay of 12 hours or more; maximum of two claims in a 12-month period.**

Travel emergency services
24/7 access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline to coordinate and assist with legal, medical, financial or other emergency services when traveling more than 100 miles from home. You must pay for any third-party services coordinated on your behalf. Emergency medical transportation may be provided at no cost if coordinated by the benefit administrator.^
24/7 access to the Global Assist Hotline to coordinate and assist with legal, medical, financial or other emergency services when traveling more than 100 miles from home. You must pay for any third-party services coordinated on your behalf.^

Baggage insurance plan
Covers up to $2,000 for checked bags and up to $3,000 total between checked and carry-on luggage. This is in excess of coverage provided by your carrier. (NY residents: $2,000 per bag limit with an aggregate limit of $10,000 across all persons on a covered trip).*
Covers up to $500 for checked bags and up to $1,250 for carry-on luggage. This is in excess of coverage provided by your carrier. (NY residents: There is an aggregate limit of $10,000 across all persons on a covered trip).*

Car rental loss and damage insurance

Up to $75,000 of coverage for theft or damage to eligible rentals.†
Up to $50,000 of coverage for theft or damage to eligible rentals.†

*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
**Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
#Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details.
^Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Cardmembers are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
†Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

By carrying both cards, you can enjoy additional protections while maximizing the points you earn on each purchase.

It doesn’t make sense for everyone

However, not everyone will gain enough value to justify holding the Platinum and Gold cards simultaneously. Consider the following to decide whether it makes sense for you:

If you rarely use lounges (or don’t qualify for sufficient guest privileges to bring your family into the lounge with you), the Platinum card will lose value. Are you using enough other perks to overcome the $695 annual fee?
If you shop at Walmart or Target or use grocery delivery services that don’t code as “supermarket” on your purchases, you won’t earn bonus points with the Gold card. Are you getting enough benefits otherwise?
Are you using the Platinum card’s benefits “just because they’re available,” or are you getting real value by saving money on purchases you would make anyway? If you weren’t using streaming services, Walmart+ or Uber already, consider the true value these provide for you.

Bottom line

For some, the Amex Gold’s lower annual fee, dining credit, monthly Uber Cash and great bonus categories may make more sense than carrying the Platinum card. The Platinum card will make sense for those who can take advantage of the card’s perks and credits — and buy a lot of flights to maximize the earning categories.

However, those looking to maximize the benefits and perks they enjoy and accelerate the points they earn should consider putting both cards in their wallet. If you use them, these benefits will outweigh the cards’ annual fees long after you’ve used the points from the welcome bonuses.

Official application link: Amex Gold card
Official application link: Amex Platinum card

Additional reporting by Jennifer Yellin.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.

Need Help?

Please use the contact form to get support or send an email to [email protected].