I’d say there’s a number of preconceived notions surrounding the American Express Gold and Platinum cards. People often assume that the Platinum card, being Amex’s flagship card, must be the better of the two cards. Equally, many people disregard it because of its substantial annual fee.

But which is ultimately the better card? I’ll be comparing both of these cards side-by-side to help you weigh it up.

American Express Platinum Card
Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

Welcome bonus

Both the Platinum and Gold cards allow you to earn American Express Membership Rewards points for purchases made on your card. Membership Rewards points can be converted to BA Avios, Virgin, Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines miles as well as a range of hotel loyalty schemes.

You can read my full overview of the Membership Rewards scheme here

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card (to give it its full name) offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 20,000 Avios) after spending £2,000 within the first three months of card membership.

The Platinum Card carries a 30,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus after spending £2,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Winner = Platinum card

Day-to-day earnings rate

Gold card

  • 1 Membership Rewards point per £1
  • 2 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on foreign currency transactions and airline transactions
  • 3 Membership Rewards points per £1 spent directly with Amex Travel

Platinum card

  • 1 Membership Rewards point per £1
  • 2 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent directly with Amex Travel

For a card that carries a £450 annual fee, the meagre earnings rate of the Platinum card is a big disappointment. It’s one thing to award 1 point per £1 for general purchases, but bonus categories such as travel or dining offer would be an easy way of boosting potential earning rates and enticing customers. Instead, it falls behind the Gold card in this regard and offers little incentive to customers to upgrade to the Platinum card.

Winner = Gold card 

Annual fee

Gold cardFree for the first year. £140 per year thereafter.

Representative 57.6% APR variable. Based on purchases rate 22.9% p.a. variable and a £140 annual fee.

Platinum card£450 per year.

At least on paper, the Gold card looks to offer better value in terms of the annual fee, especially as the free first year means you can bank 20,000 points at zero cost. Remember, that like all Amex-issued American Express cards, the annual fees on these cards are refundable on a pro-rata basis should you choose to cancel at any point during the year. That means if you do choose to pay it, you shouldn’t think of the £450 Platinum fee as a sunk cost.

Winner = The Gold card

Other key perks

Gold card

  • Two free airport lounge passes per year.
  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending £15,000 on your card in a year.

Platinum card

  • Unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge access for the cardholder plus a guest
  • Comprehensive travel + car hire insurance
  • Complimentary hotel statuses with Hilton, Radisson Rewards and Shangri-La

Winner = Platinum card

Anything else?

Previously, both of these cards were charge cards – meaning that you have to clear your card balance in full, every month. However, back in April 2018, Amex converted the Gold card into a credit card product, making it a more attractive proposition for those who prefer to carry over a balance from month to month.


Ironically, you don’t actually have to choose between them. Amex has no problem with you holding both the Gold and Platinum cards simultaneously (although you’ll only receive one welcome bonus). I don’t know many people who do, but in theory, if you can justify the annual fee on the Platinum card, keeping the Platinum card for the travel insurance, Priority Pass and hotel statuses, yet using the Gold card for spending and the accompanying bonus categories would be a clever approach.

If however, you only want one of them – as most people will –  more often than not the Gold card will be the better option. Especially for beginners, the Gold card with its free first year makes a lot of sense. It just feels like the more well-rounded package, in terms of the welcome bonus, annual fee and day-to-day earnings rate.

Sure, if you travel enough to make the benefits really add up for you, then you may be better off with the Platinum card. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that it is a more lucrative card for earning rewards. The 1 point per £1 earning rate is uninspiring, to say the least.

For more info on either of these cards:

You can read my full review of the Gold card here and the link to apply for the card is here.

You can find my full review of the Platinum card here and the link to apply can be found here.

Do you have a preference for either the Gold or the Platinum card?

Disclaimer: The information provided by Tricks of the Trade is intended solely as a helpful guide to relevant travel rewards card products and their various features and offers. You should always conduct your own research as recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.

Header image credit: TE Group / Shutterstock.com


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.