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Gold vs platinum credit cards: Which is best?
Both are often premium options designed for travel enthusiasts. But there are exceptions.
What's in this guide?
What is a premium gold credit card and a platinum credit card?
A gold credit card is usually a rewards card that comes with more perks, higher credit limits, and a higher annual fee than a standard credit card. Meanwhile, a platinum credit card is typically a provider’s top-tier rewards credit card that comes with benefits that you normally wouldn’t find on a standard or gold card. These cards typically have higher interest rates and are thus geared toward individuals who are able to pay off their balance in full each month.
Here are some examples of differences you may find between the offerings of gold and platinum cards:
|Complimentary extras||Complimentary extras may include travel and purchase insurances, concierge services, and other travel perks like airport lounge access. Unlike platinum options, some gold cards may not offer domestic travel insurance or car rental insurance, nor personal concierge services.|
|Complimentary insurance limits||Insurance coverage may vary between gold and platinum versions of the same card, with platinum cardholders enjoying higher cover limits or lower excess costs.|
|Reward points per $1||Platinum cardholders usually earn more rewards points per $1 spent than gold cardholders. As an example, a standard rewards card may offer 1 point per $1, while the gold version offers up to 4 points per $1 and the platinum offers up to 5 points per $1.|
|Reward point caps||If a reward credit card limits the number of points you can earn per statement or year, then a platinum card will have one of the highest caps.|
|Bonus point offers||Introductory bonus point offers may differ between gold and platinum products, with platinum cards typically offering more bonus points when you sign up.|
|Minimum credit limits||Platinum cards give higher minimum credit limits than gold cards, which can be a bonus if you spend a lot on credit and can responsibly manage your credit card payments.|
|Annual fees||Platinum cards charge higher annual fees than gold cards offered by the same provider.|
|Minimum income requirements||Platinum cards also generally require successful card applicants to have higher income levels compared to gold cards.|
|Credit history||While both cards require cardholders to have good credit history and credit ratings, platinum cards tend to have stricter requirements than gold cards.|
A gold card vs a platinum card
Who should get a gold card?
Generally, gold cards are ideal for those who are interested in testing the waters of travel or luxury credit cards but don’t want to commit to the more expensive platinum cards. Since many have lower annual fees, it’s usually easier to make up that fee using just a few of a gold card’s perks.
Who should get a platinum card?
If you’re a frequent traveler and relish the thought of luxury travel perks, it’s safe to say you’d easily find a platinum card worth it. Given the high annual fee on many of them, occasional travelers likely won’t use the card enough to make up for the card’s cost. But if you’re traveling often, a platinum card’s easily make up for the high annual fee and then some.
Compare gold vs platinum credit cards
If you want a side-by-side look at your gold and platinum credit card options, choose up to four credit cards from our card table and click Compare for more information on each card.
How do premium gold and platinum cards stack up?
Compare the top gold and platinum credit cards and see whether their perks are worth paying the annual fee.
|American Express® Gold Card||Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™||Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™||The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Annual fee credit|
|Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit|
How to compare gold and platinum credit cards
When choosing between a gold and platinum credit card, the decision boils down to your individual circumstances. To help you make your decision, these are some key questions to consider:
- How often do I use my credit card? Your yearly average spending on the card can be a strong indicator of which card type will suit you better. If you are a low-frequency card user, it would not be worthwhile to pay high fees for a platinum card that you won’t use much. On the other hand, if you spend a lot on your credit card, you’d want to watch out for monthly caps on earning rewards points, which could be lower on a gold card.
- How much can I afford to pay for a credit card? Working out a budget for your credit card expenses can be helpful in determining whether you can better manage the cost of the annual fee for a gold or platinum card, or something completely different.
- What additional features do I want? Thinking about what you actually want in a card, and which card features you’ll actually use, can also bring clarity. For instance, if you regularly travel abroad, it may be worth paying a high premium for platinum travel perks like international travel insurance and airport lounge access. However, if you only go overseas once every couple of years, these features are unlikely to offset the cost of the annual fee and a gold or classic card may be more suitable.
- Can I meet the application requirements? This can also be an important determining factor since it would hurt your credit score if your card application was turned down because you didn’t meet the stated eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that minimum income requirements are usually higher for platinum cards when compared to gold cards, and make sure you check these details during the comparison so you can apply for an appropriate card based on your circumstances.
Requirements to get a gold or platinum credit card
While each provider will have its own set of eligibility requirements in order to get approved for its gold and platinum credit cards, here are a few things they typically require:
- Good to excellent credit. Because these cards often come with higher credit lines, these providers are looking for individuals who have a good history of repaying their debts on time.
- Higher income. These cards often come with high annual membership fees and high interest rates that are geared toward high-networth individuals who are able to pay their closing balance in full each month.
- Age. You must be at least 18 years old. However, since most of these cards require at least good credit and a higher income, then you might want to wait to apply for a gold or platinum card until your older and have a more established career and credit history.
What to consider before applying
Here are some other factors to consider before you get gold and platinum cards:
- Purchase rate. This is the interest rate charged on purchase transactions, which is very relevant if you habitually carry a balance on your credit card. This is not a real concern if you always settle your monthly statement in full. That’s because you don’t incur interest fees on your purchases.
- Introductory interest rates. As part of a sign-up promotion, cards sometimes offer introductory interest rates that are substantially lower than their regular rates. This could be an especially important factor to consider when it comes to balance transfer promotions. Just remember to check how long the promotional rate is available and what it will revert to at the end of the honeymoon period.
- Interest-free days. Most credit cards offer an interest-free period for purchases, which varies between 25 and 62 days per statement period. While interest-free days can help you avoid additional charges, they are only available if you pay your balance in full by the due date on each statement. Otherwise, interest will apply from the day you make a purchase.
- Value of reward points. A little research and calculation should reveal how much a credit card’s rewards points are worth. Consider the earn rate of the card, as well as what rewards you can get and the annual fee to get an idea of the potential value. This will help you compare rewards programs across cards.
- Application criteria. Keep in mind that submitting too many credit card applications in a short amount of time can have a negative impact on your credit rating. So researching a credit card’s eligibility requirements helps ensure that you only apply for one when you have a high chance of application success.
American Express® Gold Card vs The Platinum Card® from American Express
The most popular gold and platinum duo are the two American Express cards. Both cards differ in some areas — the Amex Gold Card mostly rewards your dining and supermarket purchases, while the Amex Platinum Card rewards your flights and prepaid hotels booked via Amex Travel — but both are considered premium options.
The Amex Platinum Card costs $550 annually, which is more than double the $250 annual fee of the Amex Gold Card(Terms apply, see rates & fees). But even though both cards have relatively high annual fees, you can easily offset them with the cards’ benefits, rewards and annual statement credits. Compare Amex Gold Card and Amex Platinum Card to find the right fit for you.
Ultimately, no credit card is perfect for everyone, but you might find one that will closely match your personal needs and spending habits. As such, platinum cards aren’t necessarily always better than gold cards, and gold cards don’t always offer more value than platinum ones. Remember to research and compare cards to find the option that best suits your needs.
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