5 reasons to upgrade from Amex Gold to Amex Platinum
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One of the more common questions we get at TPG is if it makes sense to upgrade a credit card.
There are some very important things to consider before taking the plunge and moving up in the world of card products. Today, we’ll take a closer look at two of American Express’ most popular cards: The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card.
Sure, that’s quite the jump in annual fee, but with it comes a plethora of premium perks and benefits. While the Amex Gold and Platinum are fairly distinct, they’re also a common upgrade within the Amex ecosystem.
Let’s see if it makes sense for you.
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Quick comparison of Amex Platinum vs. Amex Gold
Here is a quick overview of what the Amex Platinum and Amex Gold cards offer.
|Amex Platinum||Amex Gold|
|Earning rates||5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year)
5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases
|4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x)
3 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from the airline or through American Express Travel
1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases
|Welcome offer||100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership||60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on your new card in the first six months of card membership|
|Built-in credits||Up to $200 in Uber Cash ($15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in Dec.), up to $200 in credit for airline fees, up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credit, up to $200 in credit on prepaid hotels, up to $240 in credit for digital entertainment, up to $179 in credit for a Clear membership and more (enrollment required for select benefits)||Up to $120 in annual dining credit ($10 per month at participating restaurants); $10 in monthly Uber Cash, up to $120 annually (enrollment required for select benefits)|
|Lounge access||Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Airspace and Escape lounges, along with Delta Sky Clubs on same-day flights (enrollment required for select benefits)||None|
|Hotel status||Complimentary Gold status with the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs (enrollment required)||None|
|Cellphone protection||Up to two claims; $800 per claim, up to $1,600 per 12-month period; $50 deductible||None|
|Trip interruption, cancellation and delay coverage||Trip interruption/cancellation: $10,000 per trip, maximum of $20,000 per account per 12-month period
Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip when the delay is six or more hours
|Trip interruption/cancellation: $10,000 per trip, maximum of $20,000 per account per 12-month period
Trip delay: Up to $300 per trip when the delay is 12 or more hours
|Concierge||Dedicated Platinum concierge||Standard Amex concierge service|
You can maximize an upgrade offer or welcome bonus
Before diving into the reasons you might want to shift from Amex Gold to Platinum, let’s first ensure that you know the means by which to upgrade.
First, you may have an upgrade offer directly from Amex to move from the Gold Card to the Platinum Card. And if so, it can make sense to take advantage of it. However, if you’ve never had the Amex Platinum, you may want to consider passing up this offer. Here’s why.
American Express has a once-per-card-per-lifetime bonus restriction, which means you only get one chance to earn a welcome bonus for each of Amex’s products. If you choose to upgrade using a bonus offer now, you’ll never be able to earn the bonus for the Amex Platinum ever again in the future.
One option is to apply outright for the Platinum and downgrade or cancel your Amex Gold.
The current welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum is 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership. According to TPG’s monthly valuations, Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, making this 100,000-point bonus worth $2,000. That is nearly three times the card’s $695 annual fee.
The welcome offer also includes the opportunity to earn a whopping 10 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and when you “Shop Small” in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined eligible purchases, during your first six months of card membership.
You want airport lounge access
The Amex Gold is ideal for spending at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (earning up to 4 points per dollar), but doesn’t provide some of the elevated travel perks like airport lounge access.
The Amex Platinum unlocks the door to arguably some of the best airport lounges in the U.S., Amex’s Centurion Lounges. Amex has spent a lot of resources building these facilities and they’re worth every penny, with food menus from award-winning local chefs and top-shelf cocktails at each location.
When you’re in a city without a Centurion Lounge, you’ll likely have other options because the Amex Platinum also comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership, giving you access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide. Plus, you can access Airspace and Escape lounges. And you have Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying on the same day with Delta.
You want elite-like perks when traveling
It’s not just about airport lounges, though. The Amex Platinum also comes with some elite-like perks with hotels and rental cars — benefits you won’t find on the Amex Gold.
These hotel elite statuses can provide many perks, including elevated earnings on stays and space-available upgrades. In the case of Hilton Honors Gold status, you’ll even get a food and beverage credit within the U.S. (and free breakfast outside of the U.S.) at most of the chain’s brands.
In addition, the Amex Platinum now comes with an up-to-$200 annual hotel credit, in the form of a statement credit, on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with Amex Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum. Booking through Fine Hotels + Resorts gets you top-tier benefits at luxury hotels, including complimentary breakfast for two, noon check-in when available, a guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades when available and a benefit specific to each hotel worth at least $100.
Last but not least, you’ll also get complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club. These perks can help whisk you through the rental car counter.
Your spending aligns with the Platinum’s benefits
While the Platinum has over $1,500 in benefits in the form of numerous travel and lifestyle statement credits, the card may only make sense for those that can utilize at least some of them.
Head over here for a full list of the card’s statement credits.
Some of my favorite Amex Platinum perks include an up-to-$200 annual Uber credit along with an up-to-$179 credit to cover an annual membership with Clear.
However, there are also many other perks that I find less useful, including up to $300 in annual Equinox credit, in the form of $25 in monthly statement credits on select Equinox memberships or the Equinox+ app, and up to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, split into two $50 statement credits between January and June then July through December.
To ascertain if the Platinum makes sense, you’ll want to investigate if you can use these credits and, if not, whether the premium travel benefits alone are worth the $695 fee.
You have another card for dining and US supermarkets
Let’s put this out there: The Amex Gold is a fantastic card for dining and U.S. supermarkets (earning up to 4 points per dollar) and simply put, the Amex Platinum is not (1 point per dollar). If you’re upgrading your Gold Card, you’ll want to make sure you still have a product that still earns valuable rewards on everyday spending, like food and drink.
For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred now earns 3 points per dollar on dining (up from 2) along with 3 points per dollar on online groceries (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), among other categories. Having a diversified wallet — and a card that earns across multiple categories — is a valuable tool in your points and miles strategy.
There’s certainly room in your wallet for both the Amex Gold and the Amex Platinum. In fact, the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum complement each other very well in the Amex Trifecta. Each card excels in areas where the other may fall a bit flat. But if you’re in the market to upgrade your Amex Gold, the Amex Platinum within the Amex Membership Rewards portfolio is worthy of consideration.
Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy.
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
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