10x bonus point categories and 75K welcome offer: The Platinum Card from American Express review
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The Platinum Card® from American Express overview
The Platinum Card® from American Express is the king of the premium travel rewards cards. As an Amex Platinum cardmember, you’ll earn valuable Membership Rewards points, receive up to $500 in annual credits, have access to an extensive network of airport lounges worldwide and more. Plus, you can currently snag a solid welcome offer that includes higher bonus points in pandemic-friendly categories. The Amex Platinum comes with a high annual fee, but it’s more than worth it if you take advantage of the card’s full range of benefits.
Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
These days it seems like every bank, airline and hotel offers a premium travel rewards card. But for a long time, The Platinum Card from American Express was the only premium rewards card on the market. If you had an Amex Platinum Card, with its sleek design and hefty metal weight, there was a sense of cachet.
That still exists even though a few competitors in the luxury card category have emerged in recent years, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve. When you stack them up, the Amex Platinum shines in ways the others don’t. But it falls flat in some areas, too.
The Amex Platinum has a steep $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). As such, people often ask whether the Amex Plus is worth the annual fee. Sure, the annual fee can be tough to swallow. But if you value the card’s membership benefits — trip insurance, access to airport lounges, shopping protections, elite status with Hilton and Marriott, access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and more — then yes, getting the Amex Platinum is worth it.
An elevated welcome offer and the chance to earn higher bonus points in two key categories makes this card even more attractive for new cardholders. So, let’s dig into the details and benefits to see whether the Amex Platinum makes sense for you.
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Who is this card for?
Based on the hefty annual fee, you might assume that the Amex Platinum can only benefit first-class flyers. But although the card offers quite a few luxury benefits, there are many ways to maximize these perks.
In particular, the Amex Platinum’s perks can make travel better for just about any traveler. For example, families can take advantage of the up-to-$200 annual airline fee credit to cover additional luggage costs, inflight food and entertainment to keep kids happy while in the air.
Likewise, lounge access with hot food and a clean shower can make all the difference after a backpacking trip. I can’t count the number of late nights I’ve spent in an airport that would’ve been a lot less comfortable (and more expensive) if I didn’t have a lounge where I could unwind. And hotel benefits such as complimentary elite status and access to Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program can be useful even when traveling on a budget.
In my mind, there are only two reasons why you shouldn’t apply for the Amex Platinum if you qualify:
- You don’t travel enough to utilize the full range of benefits.
- You’re still under 5/24 and do not currently hold all of the cards in the Chase Trifecta or Chase Quartet.
If you travel infrequently, it’s much harder to recoup the cost of your annual fee, which has been borne out during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Amex Platinum is one of the best cards on the market, but only if you find value in its benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and travel credits aren’t of use to you, you’ll be better off with a less-expensive card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, both of which have $95 annual fees.
Additionally, consider your Chase 5/24 status. Chase has strict rules about how many cards across all issuers you can apply for within 24 months. If you’re under 5/24 and have Chase cards that you want to add to your wallet, I would suggest getting those first — especially if you don’t already hold the Chase Trifecta. After all, once you’re over 5/24, it’s tough to get back under 5/24.
Welcome offer: Up to $1,500 in value
The current welcome bonus offer for the Amex Platinum is 75,000 points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first six months of account opening. According to TPG’s monthly valuations, Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, making this 75,000-point bonus worth $1,500. That is nearly three times the card’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
The welcome offer also includes a whopping 10x points at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, on up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases, during your first six months of card membership. That’s an additional nine points on top of the one point you earn for these purchases.
Amex is also offering up to 125,000 points to targeted individuals through the CardMatch Tool, through snail mail and when logging in online. That bonus is subject to change at any time and it’s not necessarily available to everyone. But it’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible, especially since the 125,000-point offer is worth a staggering $2,500, based on TPG valuations.
However, keep Amex’s one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions in mind. Specifically, you usually won’t be eligible for an Amex Platinum welcome offer if you have (or have had) an Amex Platinum Card. This policy only applies to the standard personal Amex Platinum, though. So if you’ve had another variety, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you may still be eligible for the bonus on the personal version. Luckily, Amex will indicate your eligibility during the application process before performing a hard pull on your credit.
Main benefits and perks
The Platinum Card from American Express has some of the best membership benefits of any card, including (terms apply):
- Up to $200 in statement credits annually for incidental fees charged by one airline you select.
- If your trip is delayed by more than six hours because of a covered reason, you may be eligible to be reimbursed up to $500 per covered trip for reasonable additional expenses.
- If you need to cancel or interrupt your trip because of a covered reason, you may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $10,000 per covered trip.
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber credits, split into monthly $15 credits for U.S. rides plus a $20 bonus in December.
- Up-to-$100 statement credit for Global Entry every four years or an $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4 1/2 years (depending on which application fee is charged to your card first).
- Up-to-$100 Saks credit, split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year.
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when traveling on same-day Delta flights).
- Complimentary Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
- Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts.
- Extended warranty benefit extends eligible manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less by up to one additional year.
- Purchase protection protects recent purchases against theft, accidental damage or loss for up to 90 days from the purchase date.
- Return protection on eligible items within 90 days from the purchase date if the merchant won’t take the item back.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the Amex Platinum’s top perks.
Annual statement credits
You can get up to $500 in annual credits with the Amex Platinum. You can use the up-to-$200 airline fee credit for checked bags, inflight food and entertainment, change fees and more on an airline of your choice. And Saks Fifth Avenue and Uber credits are easy to take advantage of throughout the year.
Plus, while it’s not annual, the up-to-$100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit can score you — or a friend or family member — speedy access through immigration and domestic security every time you travel.
One of my favorite perks of the Amex Platinum is the American Express Concierge. Whether you want help booking a reservation at an in-demand restaurant or need a full-on city guide for an upcoming trip, the Amex Concierge is incredibly helpful.
The Amex Concierge also helps with more unusual requests, including: research on kitchen appliances as part of a major upgrade, locating a 2-foot-tall balloon in the shape of the number 1 for a first birthday party and having it delivered, and finding earrings a cardholder saw in an obscure foreign film.
Airport lounge access
The Amex Platinum also gives you access to arguably the best network of lounges you’ll find in the U.S. with its Centurion Lounges. Amex has spent a lot of resources building these lounges and they’re worth every penny, with food menus from award-winning chefs and top-shelf cocktails at each location.
When you’re in a city without a Centurion Lounge, you’ll have other options because the Amex Platinum also comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership (though it no longer includes restaurant access). Plus, you can access Airspace and Escape lounges. And you have Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying on the same day with Delta.
Luxury hotel perks
The Amex Platinum also offers impressive perks for hotel stays. You and any Platinum Card authorized users on your account get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. These hotel elite statuses can provide many perks, including elevated earnings on stays and space-available upgrades. In the case of Hilton Honors Gold status, you’ll even get complimentary breakfast at most brands that don’t provide it for all guests.
Plus, Amex Platinum cardholders can also book hotels through Amex’s Fine Hotel and Resorts program. The Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program provides elite-like benefits when you book a hotel room through the program. Specifically, you’ll get complimentary breakfast for two, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades when available and a benefit specific to each hotel worth at least $100.
How to earn points
With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly with the airlines or through the Amex Travel portal (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year). Plus, you’ll earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. These 5x categories are an excellent way to earn lots of Membership Rewards points. Based on TPG valuations, 5x earning provides a 10% return.
And new cardmembers can earn even more points. After all, part of the current welcome offer is 10x points at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases) during the first six months of card membership.
Suppose you’re willing to book your airfare with Amex Travel or directly with the airlines and restrict your hotel bookings to prepaid reservations at Amex Travel. In that case, you can potentially rack up more points on the Platinum Card than on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, it depends on exactly what type of travel you purchase. Let’s look at some comparison spending patterns between the two cards using a total of $6,000 in travel purchases. In the following table, I base points value on TPG valuations:
|Spending breakdown||Chase Sapphire Reserve||Platinum Card from American Express|
|$5,000 on airfare and prepaid hotels
$1,000 on other travel purchases
(Valued at $360)
(Valued at $520)
|$4,000 on airfare and prepaid hotels
$2,000 on other travel purchases
(Valued at $360)
(Valued at $440)
|$3,000 on airfare and prepaid hotels
$3,000 on other travel purchases
(Valued at $360)
(Valued at $360)
|$2,000 on airfare and prepaid hotels
$4,000 on other travel purchases
(Valued at $360)
(Valued at $280)
|$1,000 on airfare and prepaid hotels
$5,000 on other travel purchases
(Valued at $360)
(Valued at $200)
As you can see, if more than half of your $6,000 in travel purchases is for airfare and prepaid hotels, you’ll earn more points with the Amex Platinum. However, if you tend to use your card for other means of travel, such as cruises, trains, buses, car rentals or even hotels that aren’t prepaid, you’ll do better with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
How to redeem points
When it comes to redeeming points, Membership Rewards points are one of the most useful and flexible loyalty currencies thanks to the program’s 18 airline and three hotel transfer partners. Those include at least one helpful option in each of the major airline alliances: SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld.
Transferring your points to the right airline or hotel program is usually the best way to maximize your Membership Rewards points‘ value. Point transfers are instant to the vast majority of these partners. And even the laggards only take 48 hours at most to transfer, which is significantly better than Citi ThankYou transfers.
That means you can transfer the points earned with the Amex Platinum to Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles and book United Polaris seats between San Francisco and Hong Kong for just 75,000 points one-way without even paying a close-in booking fee. Or transfer the points to ANA MileageClub and get a round-trip ticket to Europe in business class for 88,000 points on ANA’s partners. You can even transfer these points directly to Delta and use them for awards on partners such as Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic and avoid pesky fuel surcharges.
You can also use your Membership Rewards points to book travel through American Express Travel. But if the personal Amex Platinum is the only Amex card in your inventory, using points for direct airfare and hotel redemptions won’t get you great value. You’ll get only 1 cent per point when you redeem the points directly for airfare at Amex Travel and less than 1 cent per point when redeeming for hotel rooms.
However, suppose you also have The Business Platinum Card from American Express. In that case, you’ll get one of the very best direct point redemptions available on first-class, business-class and other flights on your selected airline thanks to its 35% airfare points rebate (up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year).
Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which premium card is right for you?
The most direct competitor to the Amex Platinum is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with the same annual fee, a $300 travel credit and some of the best travel protections available. However, it can’t beat the Amex Platinum when it comes to perks such as lounge access and hotel benefits.
So, which one is the right choice for you?
In my mind, it all comes down to your spending and travel habits. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has more flexible bonus categories, earning 3x points on a wide range of travel and dining purchases. On the other hand, the Amex Platinum has multiple carve-outs to getting 5x earnings on airfare and hotels.
You can use the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit for any travel purchases (and for gas and groceries through June 30, 2021). The Amex Platinum’s credits are certainly more challenging to use. But you must spend the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 credit before you start earning points on travel purchases.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve can’t hold a candle to the Amex Platinum when it comes to hotel benefits or lounge access. After all, the Amex Platinum provides the best lounge access of any rewards credit card. And Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott is worth $2,095 combined, according to TPG’s estimated values.
If flexibility in your perks is what you need to take full advantage of your travel credit card, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be a better choice. But, if you know you’ll be able to maximize most, if not all, of the Amex Platinum benefits, it’s more than worth the $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Of course, you could get both cards. And I would recommend adding both to your wallet if you’ll use both enough to justify each annual fee. Just keep in mind that the Chase Sapphire Reserve falls under Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you have neither and want both, apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve before you go over 5/24. Then you can apply for the Amex Platinum soon after.
If you can get value from the up-to-$200 airline fee credit, up-to-$200 Uber credits and up-to-$100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit each year, the Platinum Card from American Express is a compelling choice. Especially if you travel enough to take advantage of the hotel statuses and lounge benefits or shop enough to get substantial value out of the purchase protections, the Amex Platinum Card is hard to beat.
The Amex Platinum’s $550 annual fee is steep (see rates and fees). But the various annual credits can give you most of this cost back before you even consider the Amex Platinum’s other perks. Plus, new applicants can currently snag a 75,000-point welcome offer and 10x earnings at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations (on up to $15,000 in purchases) during their first six months of card membership.
Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express
Additional reporting by Katie Genter.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber savings annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees