Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold | Which Card is Better for Military in 2021?

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The Amex Gold card is annual fee waived for military. It's even better than the Amex Platinum for everyday spending on dining and groceries.

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Which card is better for military servicemembers: the American Express® Gold Card or the The Platinum Card® from American Express?

Many military servicemembers know that the Amex Platinum $550 annual fee is waived for active duty troops. (rates and fees)

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 $250 per year Amex Gold card, which is a better everyday card. (rates and fees)

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 military AMEX Gold Card Military No annual fee SCRA $250 annual fee waived
  • Learn how to apply for the American Express® Gold Card
  • $250 Annual Fee waived for US military and spouses (rates and fees)
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward Amex points after spending $4000 in the first 6 months of account opening
  • Rose Gold is back! Choose between the Gold or Rose Gold version when you apply.
  • 4x points on all restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points on US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) – includes OCONUS Commissarries
  • 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 annual Uber or Uber Eats cash. Combines nicely with Amex Platinum Uber credit. Earned as $10 per month.
  • $120 per year credit at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House or Shake Shack
  • Read my full review of the Amex Gold card for military, terms apply
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Annual fee of $695 waived for US military personnel and spouses (rates and fees)
  • Best Ever Public Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Reward Points welcome bonus (valued at $2000+) when you spend $6000 in the first 6 months
  • Earn 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US up to $25,000 in combined purchases for the first 6 months (an extra 250,000 points potentially!)
  • 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 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection booked on Amex Travel and paid for with your Platinum Card
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits when you use your Platinum card to pay for: Peacock, Audible, Sirius, and the New York Times. 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
  • $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, can be used for gift cards
  • 40 Centurion Lounges and 1200+ Priority Pass airport lounge access for free
  • $179 CLEAR Credit: Get through airport security faster with CLEAR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Heavy metal card that looks and feels really cool
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply

Platinum vs Gold Welcome Bonus

Both cards are currently offering huge welcome bonuses, some of the highest we have seen in years!

The Amex Gold welcome bonus is 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. That's only $667 per month of spending required to hit the bonus!

The Amex Platinum 75,000 points can be earned after you spend $5000 in the first 6 months of opening the card. This is a much more expensive $833 per month of required spending. That's only an extra $1000 over 6 months to earn an additional 15,000 points.

Plus, the Platinum Card let's you earn 10x points on up to $15,000 in purchases at gas stations and US supermarkets. That's a potential 150,000 additional points! Assuming you spend $800/month on gas and groceries, that's another 48,000 points over 6 months, on top of the 75k bonus.

Winner: The Amex Platinum card for a 15,000 point higher bonus!

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.

American Express Gold Card No Annual Fee for Military Upgrade to Platinum
  • 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 on everything else
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
  • 10x points at US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets (OCONUS Commissaries are US supermarkets) up to $15,000 in combined purchases for the first 6 months (an extra 150,000 points potentially!)
  • 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amextravel.com
  • 1x points on everything else

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 groceries 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 after you get the 10x points on gas and US supermarkets for the first six months with the Amex Platinum.

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 Gold card has a $100 airline fee credit and the Platinum has a $200 airline fee credit. The best uses for these are 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.

Annual Fees

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 $550 for the Amex Platinum vs $250 for the Amex Gold. Get both waived and that's $800 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 get both the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum. I recommend getting an Amex Gold card first and then opening an Amex Platinum once you have completed the minimum spend on the Amex Gold 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

Which is better, Amex Gold or Platinum?

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.

What is the difference between the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum?

The Amex Platinum card is much more a luxury travel card while the Amex Gold card is more of aneveryday spending bonus card.

Can you have both Amex Gold and Platinum?

Yes, you can have both the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards.

Can you upgrade Amex Gold to Amex Platinum?

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.

Can you downgrade Amex Platinum to Amex Gold?

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.

Can you combine Amex points between Gold and Platinum?

Yes, all Amex points earned on all your Amex Membership Reward cards such as Green, Gold and Platinum are combined automatically.

4 thoughts on “Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold | Which Card is Better for Military in 2021?”

  1. I’m active duty and getting ready to PCS to Hawaii. My wife and I want to start traveling and visit all the other surrounding islands and hopefully visit family in the states once a year. I know the amex platinum is the best method for this. We are also avid shoppers of the comissary and other grocery stores because we are a family of 6. My question is this: Is there a specific method you need to use to get those free trips like you got for your Japan trip? If so, how do I go about doing this? From what I garner from your site, we would need both the platinum and the gold card. We have very nearly perfect credit scores so I don’t forsee us being denied. However, I want to get as many points as possible. Can you please assist?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Great questions Lawrence. I recommend you start with my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course and review my best military credit cards.

      For visiting other Hawaiian islands, the flexibility of Chase and Amex points is hard to beat. You can transfer Amex MR points from your Amex Platinum card to Hawaiian airlines.

      Southwest is also popular in the Hawaiian islands. You can earn the Southwest companion pass and then one of you gets to fly for free for over a year on Southwest. If she opens her own Southwest cards, you can both designate one of your kids as companions, saving even more.

      You might want a Delta Reserve card so you can get an annual companion pass back to the mainland on Delta. That will save some costs.

      For grocery stores like the Commissary you want to use Amex Gold for 4x points.

      Make sure both you and your wife open your own accounts to maximize the welcome bonuses. She’ll get her annual fees waived too. More on credit cards for military spouses here.

      Reply
  2. If I am a National Guard Soldier, do these MLA fee waivers work for me as well? I am deploying and am interested in starting the process but if it only waives the fees while on Active duty and are reapplied when I get back in the states, its less appealing.

    Reply

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