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Gold vs platinum credit cards: Which is best?

Information verified correct on March 25th, 2017

Compare gold and platinum credit cards to decide which is the better option for you

While the most exclusive cards are so elusive that they can only be aspired to and not applied for, a more accessible range of premium credit cards remains within reach for most people: gold and platinum credit cards.

These products are a cut above standard cards, designed to offer greater perks such as higher credit limits, rewards and complimentary insurance. However, gold and platinum cards also typically charge higher fees for these perks.

plat-vs-gold

What’s the difference between gold and platinum credit cards?

Gold credit cards are considered one step up from standard options, while platinum credit cards are a step above gold. This means the benefits they offer will vary between gold and platinum status levels, as well as between individual cards. Here are some examples of differences you may find between the offerings of gold and platinum cards:

  • Complimentary extras. Complimentary extras may include travel and purchase insurances, concierge services and other travel perks like airport lounge access. Unlike platinum options, some gold cards may not offer domestic travel insurance or car rental insurance, nor personal concierge services for instance.
  • Complimentary insurance limits. Insurance coverage may vary between gold and platinum versions of the same card, with platinum cardholders enjoying higher cover limits or lower excess costs.
  • Reward points per $1. Platinum cardholders usually earn more rewards points per $1 spent than gold cardholders. As an example, a standard rewards card may offer 1 point per $1, while the gold version offers 1.5 points per $1 and the platinum offers 2 points per $1.
  • Reward point caps. If a reward credit card limits the amount of points you can earn per statement or year, then a platinum card will have one of the highest caps. For example, the CommBank Gold Awards has a point cap of 125,000 per year, while the CommBank Platinum Awards caps points at 150,000 per year.
  • Bonus point offers. Introductory bonus point offers may differ between gold and platinum products, with platinum cards typically offering more bonus points when you sign up.
  • Minimum credit limits. Platinum cards give higher minimum credit limits than gold cards, which can be a bonus if you spend a lot on credit and can responsibly manage your credit card payments.
  • Annual fees. Platinum cards charge higher annual fees than gold cards offered by the same provider. For example, the Suncorp Clear Options Gold offers rewards, purchase protection insurance and a guaranteed pricing scheme and has an annual fee of $120. In comparison, the Suncorp Clear Options Platinum offers these features, plus a higher reward earn rate and travel insurance covers. It also charges a higher annual fee of $169.
  • Minimum income requirements. Platinum cards also generally require successful card applicants to have higher income levels compared to gold cards. The Suncorp Clear Options Gold and Platinum cards, for instance, require holders to have minimum incomes of $30,000 and $35,000 respectively.
  • Credit history. While both cards require cardholders to have good credit history and credit ratings, platinum cards tend to have stricter requirements than gold cards.

How to compare gold and platinum credit cards

When choosing between a gold and platinum credit card, the decision boils down to your individual circumstances. To help you make your decision, these are some key questions to consider:

  • How often will I use my credit card? Your yearly average spending on the card can be a strong indicator of which card type will suit you better. If you are a low frequency card user, it would not be worthwhile to pay high fees for a platinum card that you won’t use much. On the other hand, if you spend a lot on your credit card, you’d want to watch out for monthly caps on earning rewards points, which could be lower on a gold card.
  • How much can I afford to pay for a credit card? Working out a budget for your credit card expenses can be helpful in determining whether you can better manage the cost of the annual fee for a gold or platinum card.
  • What additional features do I want? Thinking about what you actually want in a card, and which card features you’ll actually use, can also bring clarity. For instance, if you regularly travel abroad, it may be worth paying a high premium for platinum travel perks like international travel insurance and airport lounge access. However, if you only go overseas once every couple of years, these features are unlikely to offset the cost of the annual fee and a gold or classic card may be more suitable.
  • Can I meet the application requirements? This can also be an important determining factor, since it would hurt your credit score if your card application was turned down because you didn’t meet the stated eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that minimum income requirements are usually higher for platinum cards when compared to gold cards, and make sure you check these details during the comparison so you can apply for an appropriate card based on your circumstances.

Comparison of Gold and Platinum Credit Cards

Rates last updated March 25th, 2017
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Bonus Points Annual fee
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Receive 5,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Enjoy a $200 travel credit every year and get 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
0 1 5,000 bonus points $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($195 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB Premium Card
Enjoy an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers, plus enjoy platinum advantages including travel insurance, higher credit limits and VIP Lost Card Cover.
0 0 $90 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
1 0 $149 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months plus enjoy a low 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers. Plus receive a free Virgin Australia $129 Gift Voucher each year.
0.66 0 $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
Consolidate your debt with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 24 months and a host of platinum privileges to enjoy including complimentary insurance and 1.25 Reward Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
1.25 0 $49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend within 3 months. Enjoy access to premium benefits and complimentary insurance.
1 0 60,000 bonus points $199 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
Receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn 75 Bonus Status Credits when you apply by 30 June 2017, buy and fly return with Qantas by 30 September 2017.
0.5 75,000 bonus points $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Also, enjoy an annual fee waiver in the first year.
0 0 $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Enjoy 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend criteria plus 75 Bonus Status Credits when you book and fly back with Qantas. Earn up to 2.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
0 1.5 75,000 bonus points $450 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
Offers a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months plus enjoy premium benefits including international travel insurance.
$100 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Receive 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points on eligible spend within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Also enjoy a $400 travel voucher and two complimentary airline passes per year.
2 50,000 bonus points $395 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel insurance and personal concierge. Also repay your credit card debt interest-free with 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers.
$99 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
Receive 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases for the first three months. Also take advantage of the waived annual fee for the first year and enjoy a range of complimentary insurances.
0.5 50,000 bonus points $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
An interest-free offer on purchases and balance transfers. Earn Velocity Points on everyday spend.
0.66 0 $129 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Enjoy up to 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum required spend and earn up to 3 rewards points per dollar spent. Also receive a complimentary return flight every year.
0 1 50,000 bonus points $349 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
Receive up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points and earn 1 Velocity Points per $1 spent. Receive an exclusive $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher and two complimentary Single Entry Virgin Australia domestic Lounge passes each year.
1 0 30,000 bonus points $144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Platinum
Enjoy accelerated points earning and great Platinum features with ANZ Rewards Platinum.
0.5 $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer of 3% p.a. for 36 months when you apply online, plus complimentary insurance covers and a personal concierge service.
0 0 $99 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
Pay no overseas transaction fee on purchases and receive complimentary domestic return flight and lounge passes each year you hold the card when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
0.5 $225 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Clear Platinum Card
Platinum benefits including Visa Concierge service and extended warranty insurance. Also enjoy a low interest rate on purchases.
0 0 $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Rates last updated March 25th, 2017
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Bonus Points Annual fee
American Express Gold Business Card
Enjoy 24-hour worldwide service plus a great range of tailored expense management solutions designed to help maintain control of your corporate expenses.
0 1 10,000 bonus points $169 p.a. Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Business Gold Awards Credit Card
A business credit card with a range of complimentary insurances and up to 2 Awards points per $1 spent on purchases.
1 2 $150 p.a. Go to site More info

Choosing between a gold and platinum credit card

cba-through-magnifying-glass-shutterstock

Tim has been credit card shopping for a while and has narrowed his choices down to two. As a CommBank account holder, he’s now trying to decide between the CommBank Gold Awards and CommBank Platinum Awards credit cards. To decide between them, he considers the following:

  • Tim’s average monthly spending is approximately $15,000. The CommBank Gold card lets you earn 2 points per $1 spent up to $125,000 a year. The CommBank Platinum card lets you earn 2.5 points per $1 spent and imposes an earning cap on rewards points.
  • Tim’s budget for an annual fee is around $150. The CommBank Gold card charges an annual fee of $119 p.a., while the CommBank Platinum card charges an annual fee of $249.
  • Tim wants complimentary international travel insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty. While the CommBank Platinum card offers more comprehensive insurances including overseas emergency medical assistance, hospital expenses insurance, cover for travel delays, cancellation cover, personal liability cover, and rental vehicle excess cover, both cards check off the insurance items on Tim’s list.

Based on a rough projection of Tim’s monthly spending, his yearly expenditure will equal about $180,000. This exceeds the Gold card’s cap by $55,000, which based on the gold card’s 2 point earn rate is 110,000 points forgone. Based on the Platinum card’s 2.5 point earn rate, this represents 137,500 points.

Even though the Platinum card’s annual fee exceeds his budget by $99, Tim calculates the value of his forgone points and realises that they are worth more than $99. Based on the simple rate that converts 200 Commbank Awards points to $1 at Myer, Tim realises his 137,500 points are worth $687.50. This means the benefits of the card outweigh its cost, so Tim chooses the Platinum card.

What else should I consider when looking at gold and platinum credit cards?

Here are some other factors to consider when comparing gold and platinum cards:

  • Purchase rate. This is the interest rate charged on purchase transactions, which is very relevant if you habitually carry a balance on your credit card. If you always settle your monthly statement in full, this is not a real concern because you don’t incur interest fees on your purchases.
  • Introductory interest rates. As part of a sign-up promotion, cards sometimes offer introductory interest rates that are substantially lower than their regular rates. When it comes to balance transfer promotions especially, this could weigh attractively in its favour. Just remember to check how long the promotional rate is available and what it will revert to at the end of the honeymoon period.
  • Interest-free days. Most credit cards offer an interest-free period for purchases, which varies between 25 and 62 days per statement period. While interest-free days can help you avoid additional charges, they are only available if you pay your balance in full by the due date on each statement. Otherwise, interest will apply from the day you make a purchase.
  • Value of reward points. A little research and calculation should reveal how much a credit card’s rewards points are worth. Consider the earn rate of the card, as well as what rewards you can get and the annual fee to get an idea of the potential value. This will help you compare rewards programs across cards.
  • Application criteria. Keep in mind that submitting too many credit card applications in a short amount of time can have a negative impact on your credit rating. So researching a credit card’s eligibility requirements helps ensure that you only apply for one when you have a high chance of application success.

Ultimately, no credit card is perfect for everyone, but you might find one that will closely match your personal needs and spending habits. As such, platinum cards aren’t necessarily always better than gold cards, and gold cards don’t always offer more value than platinum ones. Remember to research and compare cards to find the option that best suits your needs.

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4 Responses to Gold vs platinum credit cards: Which is best?

  1. Default Gravatar
    senjo | November 23, 2014

    Which is better gold or platinum ?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | November 24, 2014

      Hi Senjo,

      Thanks for your question.

      As you can see from the page above there are benefits to both gold and platinum cards. Unfortunately, there’s no one easy answer to your question as it really depends on your own financial situation and credit card needs. You may want to review the benefits discussed on this page and see the ones that better appeal to you.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  2. Default Gravatar
    morldk | February 4, 2014

    Yes I have one platinum card with w something. My credit is exemplary but my income
    e varies. Question; do banks require a current payslip or .will they
    accept my credit rating. my gripe is for being charged20% plus for new purchases. Are you able to offer options?
    Regards David
    PS. Written from cheap tab

    • Staff
      Shirley | February 4, 2014

      Hi Morldk,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Banks generally require your last 3 payslips and they will look at your credit history.

      You may want to have a look at our featured low interest rate credit cards.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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