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What is the difference between American Express Gold and American Express Platinum?

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We often get asked about the differences between American Express Preferred Rewards Gold and The Platinum Card from American Express.

In truth, virtually the only thing that Amex Gold and Amex Platinum have in common is the fact that you earn American Express Membership Rewards points from your spending and as a sign-up bonus.  Everything else varies.

To find out more, or to apply, the website for American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is here.  The website for The Platinum Card is here.

Difference between American Express Gold and American Express Platinum

How does American Express Gold differ from American Express Platinum?

I am going to compare each key feature of the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards side by side.  If you want to see a dedicated article on either card, click here for our full review of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold and click here for our full review of The Platinum Card from American Express.

How do the cards differ legally?

They don’t, as of late 2022.

After decades as a charge card, The Platinum Card is now issued as a credit card.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold has been issued as a credit card for almost six years now.  As long as you meet the small minimum monthly payment, you can roll over what you owe from month to month – although you will be charged interest. 

Here is the current interest rate information:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold:

The representative APR is 88.8% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases, and in the first year which has no fee, is 31.0% variable.

The Platinum Card:

The representative APR is 704.6% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 31.0% variable.

How do the annual fees on Amex Gold and Amex Platinum differ?

Amex Gold has no annual fee in year 1 and is £195 per year thereafter.

Amex Platinum has an annual fee of £650 per year.

Annual fees are refunded pro-rata if you cancel during your membership year until at least 29th February 2024. At some point after this date the ability to get a pro-rata refund mid-year will be removed.

How do the minimum income requirements differ?

American Express brought back PERSONAL minimum income requirements during 2023. It previously looked at household income and did not have an official minimum.

Amex Gold requires a personal minimum income of £20,000.

Amex Platinum requires a personal minimum income of £35,000.

To put this into comparison, all other personal American Express cards have a minimum income requirement of £20,000 except for the British Airways Premium Plus American Express which is £35,000.

What are the sign-up bonuses?

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days. This is the most generous sign-up bonus generally available on any free UK loyalty credit card – albeit that Amex Gold is only free for the first year.

The Platinum Card offers 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £6,000 within 90 days.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios or Virgin Points. Click here to see what other reward programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.

This means that you can receive 20,000 Avios points for free by applying for Amex Gold (no fee in Year 1), spending enough to trigger the sign-up bonus and then transferring the points to British Airways.  You would receive 40,000 points by applying for Platinum.

difference between American Express Gold and American Express Platinum

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonuses?

These differ by card. There are fewer restrictions for getting the Platinum bonus than the Gold bonus, perhaps unsurprising given the large fee difference.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold:

The Amex Gold sign-up bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months

You will receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the Gold bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits, including the four free airport lounge passes, £120 of Deliveroo credit and ‘no fee in the first year’.

The Platinum Card:

The Amex Platinum sign-up bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points in the previous 24 months.  This would include Green, Gold, Platinum and the American Express Rewards credit card.

You are OK if you currently or recently only had a British Airways, Marriott or Nectar American Express card.  All that matters is that you have not held a personal card offering Membership Rewards points.

You will receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits, which are substantial.

To summarise on bonuses ….

  • You are blocked from the Gold bonus if you have had ANY personal American Express card in the last two years. 
  • You are ONLY blocked from the Platinum bonus if you have had a Green, Gold, Platinum or any other MR-earning personal American Express in the last two years.
  • There is no scenario under which you can get the bonus on both Gold and Platinum within a two year period, unless you have Gold and receive a targetted upgrade offer to Platinum
Difference between Amex Gold and Amex Platinum

What other card benefits do you get?

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold:

You receive FOUR free airport lounge passes each membership year with Amex Gold, valid at any airport lounge in the Priority Pass network. Heathrow (including the Aspire and Plaza Premium lounges in Terminal 5), Gatwick, Luton and Stansted – amongst many others – have participating lounges as do most major airports worldwide. After your four free visits, you can make further lounge visits for a £24 charge.

You will receive 2,500 bonus Membership Rewards points for every £5,000 you spend, up to a maximum of 12,500 bonus points per membership year. You receive these as soon as you pass each £5,000 threshold.

You will receive a 10% discount and free additional driver on Hertz bookings. We looked at the American Express Gold / Hertz partnership in more detail in this article.

You receive Preferred Plus status with Avis.

There are also 600 4-5 star hotels worldwide which offer a $75 in-hotel credit and an upgrade when booked by an American Express Gold cardholder via the American Express travel service.

The Platinum Card:

The Platinum Card has substantial benefits – easily the best package of any UK loyalty card.

You receive travel insurance for yourself and your family. Some benefits require you to pay for your trip with an American Express card, but the core medical benefit is automatic. There is an age limit of 70 on the travel insurance. If you choose to give your free supplementary card to someone outside your family (eg your parents) they are covered too – my Mum had mine until she hit 70.

You receive full car hire insurance – with no requirement to pay with your card.

You and your main supplementary cardholder will each receive a Priority Pass card. This gets the cardholder plus a guest into 1,300 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 reviewed here and the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 5. As you get two Priority Pass cards, each of which allows a free guest, you can get a family of four into a lounge – as I do on a regular basis.

You can also get into Amex’s own network of high quality ‘Centurion’ airport lounges for free. These are primarily in the US but are rolling out globally – the only UK site is in Heathrow Terminal 3, which we reviewed here.

You will also receive status in various hotel schemes for as long as you keep the card:

  • Gold in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Premium in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

Other travel benefits include Eurostar lounge access in London, Brussels and Paris whatever your class of travel. You also receive lounge access when flying with Delta although any guests must pay $29.

There is an exclusive hotel booking scheme called ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ which offers valuable additional benefits on your stays. If you are a regular visitor at five star hotels then you can recoup your entire membership fee via FHR bookings. I wrote more about Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts here – for me, the guaranteed 4pm check-out on every stay is invaluable, especially for weekend breaks.

Non-travel benefits include:

  • £100 per year to spend at Harvey Nichols, either instore or online. This is split into £50 to spend between January and June and £50 between July and December. There is no minimum spend – it is genuinely free stuff if you spend exactly £50.
  • £150 to spend at 160 UK restaurants. This benefit renews on 1st January each year. There is no minimum spend required and you can use the £150 over multiple visits to different restaurants if you wish.
  • £150 to spend at 1,400 international restaurants. Again, this benefit renews on 1st January each year.
Difference between American Express Gold and American Express Platinum

What do you earn per £1 spent on the cards?

Both cards earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold has three special bonuses, however:

  • foreign currency transactions earn 2 points per £1
  • airline transactions earn 2 points per £1
  • you receive a bonus of 2,500 points for every £5,000 you spend in a card year, up to a maximum of 12,500 points

What is best way to spend Membership Rewards points?  As it turns out, I wrote this lengthy article on how to best redeem Membership Rewards points.

Do Amex Gold and Amex Platinum impose foreign exchange fees?

Yes. Both card impose a 3% foreign exchange fee on transactions outside the UK.

American Express Gold is a better card to use abroad than Amex Platinum, because you earn double Membership Rewards points when spending in a foreign currency.

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you realise that American Express Preferred Rewards Gold and The Platinum Card are two completely different beasts.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold gets you:

  • a sign-up bonus of 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points
  • a free first year (£195 thereafter)
  • a generous offer of four free airport lounge passes per year
  • £120 of Deliveroo credit (24 x £5) per year
  • up to 12,500 bonus points per year based on spending

The Platinum Card has a very heavy fee – and is not free in the first year – but comes with an unmatched range of travel and non-travel benefits and a big sign-up bonus. 

Whether or not these benefits are worth the fee is up to you.  I make it work – I’ve had a Platinum card for over 20 years – but it depends entirely on your circumstances.

Where do I apply?

The application form for American Express Preferred Reward Gold (20,000 points sign-up bonus) can be found here.

The application form for The Platinum Card (40,000 points sign-up bonus) can be found here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2024 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

2% cashback on all your business spend for 3 months (1% thereafter) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (53)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JDB says:

    When will Amex confirm that the dining and HN credits will continue in 2025? It’s now very relevant for anyone planning on staying for the 25k month 15 bonus.

    • zapato1060 says:

      That would be quite funny if Amex thought their product was so “sublime” that people would stay without the credit.

  • Misty says:

    Does anyone know how many AmEx Golds and AmEx Plats are currently in use in the UK? Which is the more popular, numbers wise?

    • Rob says:

      I’m more interested in the Gold retention rate for Year 2, especially as Gold is heavily sold by MoneySavingExpert as a ‘pump and dump’ product.

      • Pogonation says:

        This might explain the current 5000 bonus points in month 15 that is offered with invite a friend.

    • Jonathan says:

      You’d need to work in retail where see people putting their cards into chip and pin readers, even then that’s difficult as many can easily hide the face of their card on their smartphone / smartwatch

      Other than that, work for Amex and be in a position where you can see all cards currently active and which ones have the most amount cash being pumped through

      • Axel says:

        Im in Edinburgh and keep an eye on our payment gateway. BA and Gold are pretty evenly offered as payment card. Platinum is very rare nowdays.

    • lumma says:

      From my anecdotal evidence of 10 years working in hospitality in London, the two BA Amex cards are by far the most common non bank debit cards I’ve seen for payment, probably 10-20 times more than any other miles or points cards. I probably see more golds than platinum but they’re both pretty rare but still more than other amex cards such as Nectar or Marriott.

      The most common MasterCard/Visa if I had to guess would be John Lewis/Waitrose. Avios Barclaycards are still pretty rare for me to see but I’ve mainly worked in restaurants that accept AMEX in that time

  • HertsSam says:

    Purely speculating but now that Amex have started a 2 phase SUB, there is nothing stopping them swapping the SUB’s around. So the low value SUB first and then the high value SUB after many months. Also they could impose a minimum spend till the 2nd bonus, as they do now for the 1st bonus. These actions would help towards their retention figures, if that is indeed important to them.
    Like I said pure speculation.

    • zapato1060 says:

      Sounds very plausible.

    • JDB says:

      If common sense and the comments since the introduction of the 75k/25k SUB are anything to go by, the weighting is hopelessly wrong if they are trying to encourage anyone to keep the card. The 75k is a sufficiently large lure for pump and dump per requests confirming pro-rata cancellation deadline.

      • HertsSam says:

        I saw a potentially stepped approach in play.
        They have engineered their IT systems to deal with the 2 phase sub. Included in this engineering is the spending requirements for each SUB.
        Then perhaps a pilot/trial to see if the low->high approach is feasible. And if so, the values required for each SUB. The spending requirement for the high sub would have to take into account the minimum salary that has already been mentioned.
        The high sub might be really high as an incentive, but then so would the required spending. At which point minimum salary might come into play.
        Assuming this can all be made to work, then it becomes a permanent feature.
        Like I said, pure speculation.

  • iEimis says:

    Can one theoretically refer themselves for the Gold card and have both Gold/Plat concurrently? I will most likely retain the Plat until the end of the year, however, at that point I would look for an alternative in order to maintain the MR points. I know the AARC is sometimes covered here, but I do wonder would the £195 fee be waived in year 1 for someone already holding a platinum card?

    • Reney says:

      Yes you can hold both (if you pass the credit checks). Self referral is highly discouraged.

    • Rob says:

      You can hold both cards but you have to be pretty dim to refer yourself. Amex US has occasional waves of banning people (retrospectively) who did this.

  • Alan Jones says:

    Are AMex taking over the credit card world as, there’s so little on offer especially after IHG stopped there credit card.

  • Mohamed says:

    No mention of 90 days purchase protection or guaranteed refund.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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