Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.
However, many troops do not know that all American Express cards have their annual fees waived for active duty and military spouses. This includes the Amex Gold Card, which is a better everyday card.
The nice thing about being an active duty servicemember is you do not have to choose! Because your annual fee is waived on both cards, I recommend you first get an Amex Gold card and then open an Amex Platinum card.
American Express® Gold Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- Earn 60,000 Membership Reward® Points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card in the first 6 months of Card Membership
- Earn 4x points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the US
- Earn 4x points on US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x points) – includes OCONUS Commissaries
- Earn 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or on amextravel.com
- No foreign transaction fees – great for the 4x on restaurants when travelling for fun, OCONUS TDY, or PCS!
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Amex Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 annually.
- $120 per year Dining Credit: Earn up to $10 per month in statement credits when you use your Amex Gold at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
- Choose between the Gold or Rose Gold version when you apply.
- Read my full review of the Amex Gold card for military, terms apply
- $250 Annual Fee* See more details about American Express protections for you and your spouse
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- Annual fee of $695* See more details about military protections for you and your spouse
- Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
- Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
- $200 Annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Note that The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back each year on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Membership subject to auto-renewal.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, enrollment required
- Access 40+ Centurion Lounges and 1,200+ Priority Pass airport lounge for free
- No foreign transaction fees
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply
In this post:
Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold Welcome Bonus Offers
We have two podcast episodes on the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum card available below or on Spotify, Amazon Apple Podcasts, and others.
Both cards are currently offering huge welcome bonus offers which you can earn after meeting minimum spend. These are some of the highest we have seen in years!
The Amex Gold welcome bonus offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. That's only $667 per month of spending required to hit the minimum spend!
The Amex Platinum 80,000 points can be earned after you spend $8,000 in the first 6 months of opening the card.
Winner: The Amex Platinum card for a 20,000 point higher welcome bonus offer!
Amex Gold vs Platinum Bonus Categories
The spending bonus categories is what really sets apart these two cards. While the Amex Platinum is perfect for booking travel, the Amex Gold card is better for everyday spending on groceries and restaurants.
- 4x points on groceries. This includes “US supermarkets” and also almost all overseas Commissaries count as US supermarkets
- 4x points on global dining. This includes restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and fast food around the world. It also includes takeout and delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Doordash.
- 3x points on travel booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com
- 1x point for every eligible dollar spent
- 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amextravel.com
- 1x point for every eligible dollar spent
The Platinum card is the perfect luxury travel card with 5x points on airfare, lounge access, rental car insurance, and the $200 airline fee credit. However, if you're not booking a lot of airfare, it's actually not that great of a card. It only gets 1x point on purchases outside of airfare.
The Gold card on the other hand gets 4x points on groceries and dining. Everyone needs to eat. Whether you like going out with friends, getting takeout with family, or making food at home, this card covers all those scenarios.
The other perk to Amex Gold card is your grocery shopping at US military bases overseas can count as 4x “US Supermarkets.” Here's a list of confirmed Commissaries with 4x Amex points.
The bonus categories for the Gold and Platinum are complimentary. It makes sense to get both cards, get $800 in annual fee waivers, and use the cards as they were intended: Gold for US supermarkets and dining, Amex Platinum for airfare. Both my wife and me have both cards as part of our 27 credit cards.
Winner: Tied! But Amex Gold for everyday spending on restaurants and US supermarkets.
Amex Metal Cards Recurring Benefits
Both the Gold and Platinum cards are made from metal. It's a satisfying “clink” when you put one down for a drink.
Uber and Uber Eats
My most used benefit of the Amex Platinum card is the monthly $15 Uber credit. In December the credit bumps up to $35, making it an even $200 Uber or Uber Eats credit for the year.
The Gold card is adding a $10 monthly Uber or Uber Eats credit which you can combine with the Amex Platinum Uber Eats credit. That would give you $25 per month in free Uber Eats, probably enough for a free meal!
Airline Fee Credit
The Platinum has a $200 airline fee credit. The best use for this credit is checked bagged fees, food and drink on the flight, or seat upgrades. You must select the airline in advance in your Amex account to qualify for the credit.
Winner: Platinum for the extra Uber Eats credits, but really these are complimentary. Just get both cards and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Comparing the annual fee on the Platinum and Gold for military servicemembers and spouses is easy: the annual fee is waived to $0, thanks to the Military Lending Act or MLA. More information on how the Amex MLA works here.
The annual fees are $695 for the Amex Platinum vs $250 for the Amex Gold. Get both waived and that's $945 of annual free cards per year. Nice!
Travel Partners to Transfer Your Amex Points To
American Express has lots of great travel partners to transfer your Amex Membership Reward points to. My favorite is All Nippon Airways (ANA), where I once booked $27,000 first class tickets from Honolulu to Tokyo. I also usually get great value from Hawaiian Airlines for flights to and from Hawaii.
One of my best bookings was on Singapore Airlines for 2 roundtrip business class tickets Dubai to New Zealand to Australia. I cannot wait for international travel to come back!
What I Recommend for Military Servicemembers
Military servicemembers should open both the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum. I recommend getting an Amex Platinum card first and then opening an Amex Gold once you have completed the minimum spend on the Amex Platinum card.
Also remember that military spouses also get their annual fees waived. Spouses can refer each other to earn even more points! I explain how that all works in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course.
Let me know in the comments if you opened both cards!
Frequently Asked Questions
For travel you cannot beat the Amex Platinum. For everyday spending on groceries, restaurants, takeout, and delivery, go with the Amex Gold card. Military servicemembers should get both cards because the fees are waived on both.
The Amex Platinum card is much more a luxury travel card while the Amex Gold card is more of aneveryday spending bonus card.
Yes, you can have both the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards.
Yes, you can upgrade the Amex Gold card to an Amex Platinum card, but I recommend opening a whole new Amex Platinum account to earn the welcome bonus offer.
Yes, you can contact Amex customer support to downgrade your Platinum to a Gold. However, since military servicemembers have no annual fees, I do not recommend it. Here is my credit card strategy if you are leaving the military.
Yes, all Amex points earned on all your Amex Membership Reward cards such as Green, Gold and Platinum are combined automatically.