Compare gold and platinum credit cards to decide which is the better option for you
While the most exclusive cards are so elusive that they can only be aspired to and not applied for, a more accessible range of premium credit cards remains within reach for most people: gold and platinum credit cards.
These products are a cut above standard cards, designed to offer greater perks such as higher credit limits, rewards and complimentary insurance. However, gold and platinum cards also typically charge higher fees for these perks.
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Compare gold vs platinum credit cards
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What is a 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 silver card. Meanwhile, a platinum credit card is typically a provider’s top-tier rewards credit card, second only to a Diamond or Black 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.
What’s the difference between gold and platinum credit cards?
Gold credit cards are considered one step up from standard options, while platinum credit cards are a step above gold. This means the benefits they offer will vary between gold and platinum status levels, as well as between individual cards. 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 for instance.|
|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 1.5 points per $1 and the platinum offers 2 points per $1.|
|Reward point caps||If a reward credit card limits the amount 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.|
Our pick for a gold card: American Express® Gold CardRead more
Perks of platinum cards
Airport lounge access, travel insurance and hotel and airline perks are just some of the many benefits of going with a platinum credit card. While exact perks will vary depending on what card you go with, here are some of the benefits you might enjoy:
- Airport lounge access.Enjoy access to some of the most elite lounges in airports across the globe.
- Luxury concierge services.Looking to book a table at that trendy restaurant everyone’s been talking about? The concierge services made available with your platinum card can help you do that.
- Airline and hotel perks.Snag complimentary room upgrades, free airport and hotel Internet, annual credit toward airline expenses and more.
- VIP travel benefits.Get your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee waived, rental car upgrades, complimentary rideshare benefits and more with a suite of VIP travel perks.
- Travel insurance.Whether you’re exploring a new city in a rental car or an illness derails your cruise plans, a platinum card provides the insurance you need to travel with peace of mind.
- Redeem points for airfare and cash.Earn points — often an unlimited amount with no expiration date — to put toward an airline ticket, hotel room, rental car or more.
Perks of gold cards
No matter if you’re looking for travel insurance, airfare benefits or luxury concierge services, you’ll find plenty of elite benefits with a gold card. The specific perks your card comes with will vary depending on the provider you choose, but here are a few you may come to enjoy:
- VIP travel benefits.From chauffeured transportation and luxury gifts, to a credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, you’ll enjoy lots of VIP perks.
- Luxury concierge services.Get help making travel plans or finding tickets to sold out shows with access to luxury concierge services.
- Redeem points for airfare and cash.Earn points — often with no blackout or expiration dates — to be redeemed for everything from cash and gifts cards to airline tickets and merchandise.
- Travel insurance.From trip cancellation and interruption coverage to rental car and travel accident insurance, having a gold card means you can travel easy knowing you’re covered where it matters.
- Purchase protection.Get extended warranties, return protection and price protection on new items you purchase with your gold card.
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 will 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.
- 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 else should I consider when looking at gold and platinum credit cards?
Here are some other factors to consider when comparing 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. If you always settle your monthly statement in full, this is not a real concern 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. When it comes to balance transfer promotions especially, this could weigh attractively in its favour. 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.
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