Amex Business Platinum versus Amex Business Gold: How to decide which small-business card is best for you

By Holly Johnson

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When it comes to American Express cards, there's a lot for business owners to love. The top Amex business cards earn points in the valuable American Express Membership Rewards program, which lets you transfer points to airline and hotel partners, use points for travel through Amex Travel, or redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, and more.

Cards like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Business Gold Card also offer lucrative perks and travel benefits that can make traversing the globe a more comfortable experience. On top of that, each has a unique earning structure that may help you earn more rewards based on how you normally spend.

If you're comparing these two cards, it's important to know how they stack up in terms of fees, rewards, and cardholder benefits. Here are all the main details and differences you should know about.

*the American Express® Business Gold Card 4x categories include airfare purchased directly from airlines, US gas stations, US restaurants, US shipping providers, US computer hardware, software, and cloud systems from select technology providers, and US purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)

The first thing you'll notice is that The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers a much higher welcome bonus. You'll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within your first 3 months of card membership.

Spending $15,000 within three months to earn a bonus may be a difficult feat for some small-business owners, but it can pay off in a big way if you have considerable business expenses you can charge to your card. Since American Express Membership Rewards are worth, on average, 1.8 cents apiece according to Insider's points and miles valuations, this bonus alone could be worth $1,800 in travel.

The welcome bonus on the American Express® Business Gold Card is still quite substantial: 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. If your small business doesn't spend enough to unlock the bonus on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Business Gold Card offer is a better pick.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x points on prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, but you also earn 1.5x points on any purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year) and 1 point per dollar on everything else. That makes this card a solid option if you spend a lot on business travel through the Amex portal or tend to make a lot of large purchases with your card.

The American Express® Business Gold Card, on the other hand, earns 4x points in the two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle, from the following list: 

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. shipping providers
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud systems from select technology providers
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)

Considering the bonus categories you can choose from are broad, it's easy to see how you could use them to your advantage. Just remember that you'll only earn 4x points on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually. After that, you'll earn the standard rate of rewards you earn on all purchases made with this card — 1 point per dollar spent.

If you're someone who wants to minimize annual fees, be careful to note how much variation exists between these two cards. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a whopping $595 annual fee, whereas the American Express® Business Gold Card charges $295 per year.

Of course, it could be worth paying either (or even both) of these fees, depending on your business' needs, but make sure you're aware of how much each card costs, and what you're getting in return, before applying.

Airport lounge access with the Business Platinum card

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express gives you access to the Global Lounge Collection, which includes more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. Options include lounges available in the Priority Pass lounge network, Centurion Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when you're flying with Delta.

The American Express® Business Gold Card doesn't offer airport lounge access at all.

Airline fee credit

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express gives you a $200 airline incidental fee credit each year you can use with an airline you select from a list. This credit is good for travel incidentals like inflight meals and checked baggage.

The American Express® Business Gold Card doesn't offer any sort of airline fee credit.

Up to $200 in Dell credits

Carrying The Business Platinum Card® from American Express qualifies you for up to $100 in statement credits from January through June and another $100 in credits for the remainder of the year when you make purchases with Dell within the US and enroll your card in the program.

The American Express® Business Gold Card doesn't offer any comparable benefits.

Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express can make travel a lot more convenient. This card comes with a credit up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership — and if you already have a membership, you can use this credit on someone else.

The American Express® Business Gold Card doesn't offer this credit.

Elite status with hotels

Finally, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express gives you complimentary Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton. Having this status can help you qualify for special hotel benefits like early check-in, room upgrades, free breakfast, and more.

As you may have guessed by now, the American Express® Business Gold Card doesn't offer status with any hotel programs.

Airline bonus

Both of these cards give you some of your points back when you make a Pay With Points redemption for flights through AmexTravel.com. With the American Express® Business Gold Card, you'll get 25% of your points back. With The Business Platinum Card® from American Express version, that percentage goes up to 35%.

You'll get this rebate when you use points to book a first- or business-class flight with any airline, or when you use points to book a flight in any class of service with your selected qualifying airline (which you can pick through your Amex account each year).

No foreign transaction fees

Both cards waive foreign transaction fees, meaning you won't pay an additional fee to use your credit card for purchases made abroad.

It's hard to say which card might work better for your needs, but it's pretty clear that The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a better deal for consumers who travel a lot. Not only do you get an airline fee credit each year, but you also get airport lounge access, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and more points when you book travel with your card.

On the flip side, the American Express® Business Gold Card has some pretty intriguing bonus categories you could maximize. Plus, the annual fee is lower.

Make sure you consider all the pros and cons of each card before you decide. And if you think you could maximize each card in a different way, don't forget that you can always pick up both.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel.