The Difference Between Gold & Platinum Credit Cards

The difference between gold and platinum credit cards isn’t always obvious. They sound good, but is one really better than the other?

Gold and platinum credit cards are marketed to the middle class, so they are within reach for many people. The question is, are they worth it? And if so, which one is better?

These cards have quite a few similarities, but there are some notable differences as well. This guide will help you decide which is better for you: a gold or platinum credit card?

KEY POINTS
  • Platinum cards are an upgrade when compared to gold cards. They offer many of the same features with additional benefits and value added.
  • Platinum cards also come with a higher credit limit, higher annual cost, and an income requirement.
  • While platinum cards can be valuable, they’re not for everyone. Those who don’t use the platinum benefits may end up paying a high annual fee without a reasonable return.

The Difference Between Gold and Platinum Credit Cards

Most banks that offer gold and platinum cards provide the platinum card as an upgrade to the gold counterpart.

With a platinum card, you often receive many of the same benefits and features as you would with a gold card. However, these features usually offer more value with platinum cards.

There are often a wider variety of features with a platinum card. Where a gold card might include 20 features, a platinum card could include 40 or more.

Of course, these benefits come with a downside. Platinum cards cost more and you must earn a certain level of income to qualify.

Gold vs. Platinum Cards at a Glance

Design preferences: use green checks for the “pros” column, and red X’s for the “cons.”

 

Gold Card

A gold card serves as the middle ground between a bank’s highest and lowest options. Banks design gold cards to attract middle-class customers with medium incomes through their annual fees, credit limit, and interest rates.

You can expect to pay around $100 to $200 a year for a gold card, though some cards may charge above or below this amount. Interest rates are usually below 20%.

The features of gold cards vary substantially but usually offer some kind of point reward system, travel perks, and introductory promotion.

Platinum cards provide these benefits as well but to a greater extent.

 

Platinum Card

Platinum cards are a step above gold cards. One key difference between gold and platinum credit card offerings is their annual fee.

The fee for a platinum card is drastically higher than that of a gold card. The price difference is reflected in the benefits a platinum card offers.

You’ll receive more features, higher credit limits, more point rewards, and more valuable services with a platinum card.

The interest rate is higher with a platinum card as well. Banks design these cards to appeal to high-income borrowers who will likely pay their balance every month.

 

Things to Consider

Income and expense level aren’t the only elements to consider before deciding between a gold or platinum card. Here are some of the other factors to think about before starting your application.

Will You Qualify?

Another difference between gold and platinum credit cards is the application criteria. Your income and credit score determine whether or not you’ll qualify for a gold or platinum card.

Gold cards do look for applicants with good credit, but the requirements aren’t as high as for platinum cards.

Platinum cards require both a higher income and a higher credit score than gold cards. The requirements are more stringent, so it may be more difficult to get approved.

If your credit card application is denied, it may appear on your credit report. If you don’t think you’re likely to be approved, it’s not a good idea to submit an application ‘just to see what happens’.

Do Benefits Outweigh the Cost?

The benefits associated with a platinum card come with a trade off: an annual fee that is much higher than that of a gold card.

If you can afford the card, the benefits may be worth the cost for you. The cost of travel insurance, concierge, and high reward points make the annual cost minimal in comparison.

However, not everyone will get the most out of these features and services. If you don’t travel very often, for instance, it’s unlikely you’ll experience all the benefits a platinum card has to offer.

Someone who doesn’t use the platinum card benefits may ultimately lose money on their annual fee.

You can pay your bills on time and never accrue interest, but if you don’t use the benefits of a platinum card then you may be better off with a gold card or a standard credit card.

Self Control

Consider your level of self-control when comparing the difference between gold and platinum credit cards. Credit limit is a key difference between gold and platinum credit cards, and it can be a path to debt if you spend more than you have.

A platinum card could come with a credit limit of around $20,000 to $30,000. Spending this amount month after month can add up, especially when you consider the high interest rate associated with platinum cards.

Consider a gold or standard credit card if you have a history of overspending. A high credit limit isn’t an advantage if you aren’t able to make the repayments on time.

Which Should I Choose?

Most banks offer both gold and platinum cards, so there are plenty to choose from. In the end, it comes down to whether or not you think the benefits of a platinum card outweigh the higher annual cost.

If you use all of the available benefits of your platinum card, you could get your money’s worth at the end of the year. If not, it might be worth getting a gold card instead, as they still offer more benefits than a standard card.

Whether you’re on the market for a gold or platinum card, it’s worth comparing your options before you apply.

Banks have different features, benefits, credit limits, promotions and annual fees. You may value one set of benefits over another, so take a look at what your options are!


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