American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum?

By Dawn Allcot / January 23, 2010

The American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card are both top credit cards for consumers with excellent credit. With both cards, your entire balance is due at the end of the month, making them perfect for people who manage their finances well, but want the benefits and convenience of making credit card purchases. You’ll also have no pre-set spending limit and no finance charges.

Benefits

In terms of benefits, both cards offer:

  • Roadside assistance
  • 90-day purchase protection (even if an item is lost or stolen)
  • Extended warranty on purchases
  • Online financial management tools
American Express Platinum Card: Additional Benefits

The Platinum card, however, offers a host of other perks, many targeted at frequent travelers. For instance, you get the benefit of your own personal travel consultant, free of charge. Over 2,200 Travel Services locations exist worldwide so you can get one-on-one, in-person service virtually anywhere. Additionally, the Premium Global Assist hotline can help you – 24 hours, anywhere in the world – if you run into difficulties when you travel.

Other travel perks include:

  • Access to airport lounges across the world for you and two travel companions
  • Upgrades to premium rooms  at 600 preferred hotels and resorts
  • Baggage insurance when you travel
  • Cruise privileges (room upgrades and shipboard credits)
  • Membership in the Starwood Preferred Guest Program w/ no frequent-stay minimums
  • Companion tickets

Another selling point of the Platinum Card is the personal concierge service. When Ellen Degeneres refers to her “People” in the American Express commercials, this is what she means.

The Platinum Card Concierge service can help you get into the hottest restaurants, get show tickets, and assist with personal shopping to find that perfect gift for someone – free of charge for the service. You can also redeem Membership Rewards points to get into exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime events, and early access to top shows and concerts.

What it Costs

The American Express Platinum card carries an annual fee of $450 – and this is not waived the first year. Keep an eye out for special offers that may give you bonus rewards points when you sign up in order to get the best value.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card: “Preferred” Benefits

To keep it simple, the Gold Preferred card offers the same benefits as the Platinum card, except for:

  • Complimentary Airport Club Access
  • Companion Tickets
  • Personal Concierge Service
  • Access to Once-in-a-Lifetime, Exclusive Events

What it Costs

The American Express Gold Preferred Card has no annual fee for the first year, and $125 a year after that.

Rewards Programs

The Rewards programs for both cards are comparable. You can pay for merchandise with miles or points, earn one point for every dollar you spend, and points have no expiration dates.

With the Platinum card, you’ll earn 4X points when you shop online through the Bonus Points Mall, and double points when you book trips online – another bonus for frequent travelers.

The Gold Preferred card offers double bonus points through the American Express Bonus Points Mall.

Winner: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card

It’s tempting to name the Platinum card as the best card. After all, in the hierarchy of credit cards, Platinum is the top tier. But in this case, the Preferred Rewards Gold Card really represents the better value.

The Personal Concierge Service and other benefits offered with the Platinum card are nice, but if you’re a business owner, you can get the same type of services from a Virtual Assistant or a good office manager… and you’ll get to deal with the same person every time.

There’s something to be said for having a personal assistant, but I, personally, wouldn’t recommend a credit card just for that service. Likewise, First Class airline tickets typically get you into airport lounges across the world – so that’s another benefit you don’t necessarily need.

If access to exclusive events is important to you, I’d say go for the Platinum card. But for most people with excellent credit, the American Express Preferred Gold card provides all they need in a top-level, luxury credit card with a relatively low annual fee.

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