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Which card should replace my Amex Platinum? TPG's top 5 picks

July 16, 2021
11 min read
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With the recent refresh of The Platinum® Card from American Express, you’ll enjoy four new annual statement credits worth more than $900 alone. But nothing in life comes free — new cardholders will now pay a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

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For existing cardholders, this change will not take effect until renewals begin starting in January 2022. That means you have two options: Keep or downgrade your card.

Many Platinum cardholders are not happy with the new, higher annual fee, although the new benefits are certainly worth more than the (nearly) $150 increase. Additionally, none of the standing benefits you enjoy with the Platinum card are going away. You’ll continue to enjoy that same great lounge access, hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott and much more.

Still, a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) can be tough to swallow — especially if you were already considering canceling your Amex Platinum card this year. While travel has almost ramped up to pre-pandemic numbers, many people just aren’t ready yet.

Related: Should you downgrade your Amex Platinum to the Amex Gold Card?

With that being said, let’s answer the overarching question: Which card should replace my Amex Platinum? In this guide, we’ll present you with five viable options that could replace your Amex Platinum.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Delta’s most premium card offering may act as a bandage for the pain felt from the annual fee increase. Fortunately, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) and has more similarities to the Amex Platinum than you may have originally imagined.

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Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Delta Reserve

First, let’s talk lounge access. With the Delta Reserve, you'll get complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access when flying same-day Delta flights. Now, I know this is much more limiting than the Amex Platinum (which lets you access the Centurion Lounge regardless of the airline you’re flying). Plus, you’re not getting access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges. However, the Delta Reserve could still be a way for you to visit lounges from time to time without totally losing this benefit. (enrollment required)

Admittedly, the Delta Reserve does not have the best rewards rate ever, but neither does the Platinum. You’ll earn 3 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 SkyMile per dollar on everything else. Since you were likely using your Platinum to earn bonuses on your travel purchases, the earning rates are more or less the same (aka, mediocre).

Now, let’s talk about what you get with the Delta Reserve that the Amex Platinum simply doesn’t offer. If you’re annoyed at the new Platinum changes and feel that it’s like “extreme couponing” for credit cards, you’re not alone. That’s why you should swap your card for the Delta Reserve, as it comes with much more straightforward travel benefits that you can actually get excited about, rather than the (quite limiting) digital entertainment credit.

With the Delta Reserve, you’ll get an annual companion certificate upon card renewal. This is good for a round-trip ticket on domestic first class, Comfort+ or economy. Flights can get expensive — especially if you go all out in first class — so the value of the companion certificate alone can justify that $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Next, the Delta Reserve offers something that the Platinum can’t: a pathway to airline elite status. While you’d be losing your Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton, Delta Medallion status can be much more valuable anyway, thanks to perks such as free upgrades, checked bags and more. You’ll get 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to four times — putting you well on your way to elite status.

Related: How to earn Delta elite status without flying in 2021

Last but not least, you’ll get a terrific welcome offer, where you can earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of account opening. TPG values this welcome offer at $705.

Application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve offering 50,000 bonus miles.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

This next pick is the most obvious one. The Chase Sapphire Reserve always goes head-to-head with the Amex Platinum, and Chase even raised the card’s annual fee to $550 in 2020.

Now that the Amex Platinum has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), it makes the Sapphire Reserve the more affordable option. If you’ve thought about applying for the Sapphire Reserve but couldn’t justify paying two monstrous annual fees, maybe now is the time to cancel your Platinum and go for the Reserve.

Related: Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

For starters, the Reserve, with its approachable $300 annual travel credit, feels less gimmicky than the Platinum. This credit automatically posts to your statement for any travel-related expenses, whether that be a flight, Uber rides, parking fees — the list goes on.

You won't have Centurion Lounge access with the Reserve, but Priority Pass will still cover more than 1,300 lounges worldwide.

The rewards rate is much better on the Reserve, helping you accrue points beyond travel expenses. You’ll earn 10x on Lyft (through March 2025), 3x on travel and dining and 1x on everything else. Those two bonus categories are far-reaching and are inclusive of any charge that codes as travel and dining.

With the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll still get transfer partner abilities to Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel programs instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Some of TPG’s favorite programs include United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.

Related: Sweet spots with Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can score some pretty incredible redemptions with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and even book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal at an elevated 1.5-cent rate. This is an excellent option for cardholders to use their points on a variety of travel vendors.

Furthermore, the partner benefits are much better with the Sapphire Reserve. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary Lyft Pink membership (activate by March 31, 2025) and a free year of a DoorDash DashPass subscription (activate by December 31, 2024).

Tie it all together with a 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening(worth $1,600 according to TPG’s valuations), and you’ve got your replacement for your Amex Platinum.

Application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve card offering 80,000 bonus points.

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If you don’t want to open a new card entirely (which counts as a hard pull and may affect your credit score), you could consider downgrading to the American Express Gold Card. You’ll still have the same access to the Membership Rewards program and redemption options without totally giving up on Amex.

Related: Amex Platinum vs. Amex Gold: Which is better?

The annual fee is much more reasonable at $250 (see rates and fees), and is virtually comped thanks to the up to $240 in dining and Uber Cash statement credits you’ll enjoy with the card every year. (enrollment required)

This card is also catered to foodies, as you’ll earn 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year, 1x after) and restaurants, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel and 1x on everything else. I could also see this being a great pick for those who have ceased their travels due to the pandemic and are focusing on benefits while staying at home.

While you won’t snag the welcome offer if you downgrade your card, you do have the option to close your Amex Platinum and open an Amex Gold separately. If you go this route, you’ll enjoy 60,000 Membership Rewards bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within six months of card membership. That’s worth a considerable chunk of change — $1,200, based on TPG’s valuations. But you may be able to snag a 75,000-point welcome offer by using the CardMatch tool (offers subject to change at any time).

Application link: Amex Gold card offering 60,000 bonus points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This recommendation is among the most affordable options — the Chase Sapphire Preferred, with a $95 annual fee.

While you might not think that the Sapphire Preferred falls in the same wheelhouse as the Amex Platinum, hear me out: It still gives you access to transferable points, and in this case, Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel programs. You can also use your points at a rate of 1.25 cents each when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

You’ll earn 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining, 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2x points on all other travel and 1x on everything else. Again, this is a much better everyday card while still having access to great travel perks (when you need them).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth $1,200 according to TPG’s valuations — an unbelievable offer from a card with a $95 annual fee.

Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred offering 60,000 bonus points.

Citi Premier® Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you currently don’t qualify for a Chase card thanks to Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule, the Citi Premier could be your next best bet -- especially if you're no longer traveling at pre-pandemic levels.

Rather than an annual fee increase, you’ll enjoy a significant fee decrease with the Premier at a reasonable $95 per year. The Citi Premier's standout benefits include much better everyday rewards rates: 3x at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, 3x on air travel and hotels and 1x on everything else.

Plus, you’ll get great access to a ton of transfer partners, many of which overlap with Amex. Citi partners with 16 airline programs, including lucrative options like Avianca LifeMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. If you’re a hotel fanatic, you’ll also love the annual incentive to get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more when booked through the Citi ThankYou program.

However, you won’t have access to the travel and shopping protections offered by the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. In September 2019, Citi decided to strip the Premier of these benefits, saying, “We are making these changes so that we can continue providing the key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost.”

The current sign-up bonus for the Citi Premier is 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 with the card within the first three months of account opening. That’s worth $1,020, according to TPG valuations.

Application link: Citi Premier offering 60,000 bonus points.

Bottom line

If you’re unhappy about these Amex Platinum changes, know that you have plenty of options. You may be inclined to cancel your card when that $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) rolls around, but you’ll want to have a backup card that will serve you well in the meantime. Thankfully, many cards can help you maximize your travel and everyday purchases without entirely breaking the bank.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex SkyMiles Reserve, click here.

Featured image by (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023