Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold | Which Card is Better for Military in 2024?

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The Platinum Card® from American Express is my #1 recommended card

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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 receives special American Express military protections due to the Military Lending Act.

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 military AMEX Gold Card Military No annual fee SCRA $250 annual fee waived

American Express® Gold Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward® Points after spending $6,000 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 
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

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 eligible 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+, Hulu, Peacock, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides every year. Only available to the basic card member, Terms Apply
  • $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: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • This is a MAJOR time saver–$100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®! Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection® lets you visit more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting. You can love the lounge life with more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $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
  • 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

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 $6,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. That's only $1,000 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.

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 for every eligible dollar spent
Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
  • 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 Cash. In December the credit bumps up to $35, making it an even $200 Uber or Uber Eats Cash for the year.

The Gold card is adding a $10 monthly Uber or Uber Eats Cash which you can combine with the Amex Platinum Uber Eats Cash. 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 Cash, 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 $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

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 offer.

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.

12 thoughts on “Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold | Which Card is Better for Military in 2024?”

  1. Hi, I have had the Amex Gold since April 2022 and am looking into getting the Platinum for the amount of traveling I’m getting ready to do. Everywhere I look, I find that it’s wise to have the Gold for at least a year for x number of reasons before upgrading to the Platinum. I was wondering if there are active duty military exemptions of some sort, or ways around that 1 year period that allows me to keep my progress on the Gold without penalizing me in any other way. Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    • Do not upgrade the account if you don’t already have a Platinum card. Open a new Amex Platinum card. Then you can earn more Amex Membership Rewards points with the welcome bonus.

      Now you’ll have an Amex Gold and an Amex Platinum. Use the Gold for restaurants and groceries and the Platinum for travel. Sweet!

      Reply
      • Will opening a new account trigger another hard inquiry on my credit history even though I have a pre-existing account through Amex… since technically it isn’t “upgrading” by their definition? Again, thanks for the help!

        Reply
        • It probably won’t trigger a hard pull since you already have any account with them. Any reason you’re afraid of a hard pull? Buying a house soon?

          Reply
          • I’m new to the ‘adulting’ thing — just a young guy about to commission and want to make sure I’m doing things the right way. I would rather ask questions now than find things out the hard way.

            Reply
            • Yup all good questions! Keep them coming. Hard inquiries aren’t bad and drop off after a few months. Only really an issue if you’re taking out a loan soon.

  2. As Active duty, can I get the platinum and put my wife as an authorized user, and then have my wife get the gold card and put me as an authorized user? All at the same time as to have the benefits of both cards?

    Reply
    • Ideally you would open an Amex Platinum card, refer your wife for a Platinum card from your account (so you would earn the referral bonus), then she could refer you for an Amex Gold card from her Platinum Card (so she earns the referral bonus) and then you refer her for an Amex Gold card from your Amex Gold card.

      Now you have an Amex Platinum and Amex Gold card each with all the recurring benefits (hotel credits, airline fee credits, Uber credits, restaurant credits) and neither of you are paying annual fees. Remember Amex waives annual fees for both active duty military and the spouses. So you don’t need to add each other as authorized users. It’s more advantageous to open your own accounts. Learn all about this in my free course, the Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course.

      Reply
  3. 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
  4. 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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