Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold | Which Card is Better for Military in 2020?

I will show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course
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 Amex Gold or the Amex Platinum? Many military servicemembers know that the Amex Platinum $550 annual fee is waived for active duty troops.

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.

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
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward Amex points after spending $4000 in the first 6 months of account opening
  • 4x points on all restaurants worldwide
  • 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 worldwide when travelling for fun, OCONUS TDY, or PCS!
  • $100 airline fee credit
  • $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
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
  • American Express Platinum Card – learn how to apply
  • Annual fee of $550 waived for US military personnel and spouses
  • 75,000 Membership Reward Points welcome bonus (valued at $1500) when you spend $5000 in the first 6 months
  • 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 airline or on amextravel.com
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
  • $200 annual Uber or UberEats credit (free taxi or food) + VIP Uber Status
  • $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, can be used for gift cards
  • Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounge access for free + guest
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Heavy metal card that looks and feels really cool
  • Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military

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.

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