Are you wondering if you should get the Amex Platinum or the Amex Gold? Here are some ways that can help you figure out which one to get first. Most of the options may depend on whether you are already an Amex customer or not.
First Option: You are an existing Amex Customer
If you are already an Amex customer, then you are familiar with the Membership Rewards program and how to earn points.
For example, there are many co-branded cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton cards, and if you already have one of these then it may not matter much which of the cards you choose.
Most of the best Amex offers are aimed at new customers, like the Amex Platinum, which offers 100K bonus points for new sign-on customers.
Existing customers are not usually targeted for these big offers, so choosing between the Platinum and the Gold may depend entirely on spending habits.
Second Option: You are not an existing Amex Customer
If you are new to Amex, then the Platinum card may offer you bigger benefits for your initial sign-on. This means you are eligible for the big 100K bonus offer.
What you sign up for may depend on what you are targeted for, as well. But, if you are targeted for the Platinum, you should take it, because you may get an additional 40K points in the process.
Here are some examples:
Gold and Platinum: The Gold card offers 35K MR points if you have the Platinum. You get an additional 60K points by getting the Gold.
Platinum and Gold: You get 100K points plus the Gold offer of 60K points. Instead of getting 120K point, you will get 160K points.
How Much are the Extra 40K Points Worth?
The answer to this question depends entirely on how you intend to redeem your points. Here are some options:
Cash Out using Schwab Platinum: If this is the option you select, then you will earn 1.25 cash per point, or $500 for your 40K points.
Transfer to travel partners: This option will earn you 2 CPP, or $800. This means, for example, if you opt to redeem using the current 30% Virgin Atlantic promotion, your 40K points can earn you a one-way first class ticket to Tokyo from the West Coast, or a one-way business class from the East Coast to Tokyo.
Is It Worth the Wait?
Not waiting means you may miss out on 40K points. If you want to earn them on the Amex Gold card, then you will have to spend over $10K on categories that offer the 4x bonus rate for multipliers. Here is the breakdown for you to consider:
Travel Partners: If each MR point is worth 2 points when you redeem, then you are able to earn $800 when you get 4x bonus points on your spending. This means you need to spend over $20K to earn this value.
Cash Rewards: If each MR point is worth 1.25 CPP, then you need to spend over $50K to earn the same value.
In this scenario, getting the Platinum card is well worth it.
What Are the Exceptions?
One exception would include those who intend to spend more than $20K in restaurants and grocery stores in the next 12 months. By spending $20K in 4x categories, you will recoup the costs quickly by getting the Gold card first.
Another exception is a person who will not spend enough to earn the full reward from the Platinum card, and end up with a negative value. Here is an example:
Using all of the expected credits, including the statement bonus and the credits, you can earn 1.25 with Schwab ($1250 value), the $400 incidental charge value (2019 and 2020 combined), the Saks credit of $150, and the Uber Eats credit of $15 per month, plus $35 per year (total $215). This will combine to a value of $1465.
If you don’t value the statement credits of $1250 at full value, meaning you only get $550, then you end up with an expected value of just under $1100.
The Bottom Line
As with any credit card, your personal usage and mileage may vary, so it is important to consider which card best fits your personal spending and lifestyle habits. Both the Amex Gold and the Amex Platinum offer great deals, but if you cannot fully benefit from the Platinum version, then going for the Gold is a great option, too.