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How to maximize your earning with the Amex Platinum

Oct. 12, 2021
10 min read
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The Platinum Card® from American Express is an iconic card that's recognizable from across the room. You may think that the card is reserved only for the most luxury-oriented of travelers, as it comes with a daunting, $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

But did you know that the Amex Platinum comes with the most statement credits of practically any rewards card available? With more than $1,700 in potential annual credits, not to mention other value-added perks like Centurion Lounge access and the ability to earn Membership Rewards points for travel, the sticker shock starts to wears off — at least a little.

In this post, we'll go over strategies for maximizing your earning and the benefits on the Amex Platinum to ensure that you're getting more value than you're paying to keep the card in your wallet, year after year.

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(Photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy)

Overview of the Amex Platinum benefits

When you pay a bigger price, expect bigger benefits. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum — here's an overview of the card's main features:

(Enrollment is required for select benefits, and terms apply.)

That's a lot of potential perks. Sure, you may not use every benefit on the list, but most cardholders should have no problem justifying the $695 annual fee from the core benefits alone — whether that's the comprehensive airport lounge access or the airline and hotel statement credits.

Strategies for maximizing the Amex Platinum

Once you score the full welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points after meeting minimum spend, in what scenarios should you use your Amex Platinum to keep earning points quickly? Focus on these two specific categories, and then use your cards for other purchases that can benefit from its robust protections.

Use your Amex Platinum to pay for flights

The Amex Platinum's 5x earning rate on flights is incredibly lucrative. Since TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, you're looking at a whopping 10% return on flight spending -- up to that annual $500,000 cap, of course.

For example, a $1,000 flight yields 5,000 Membership Rewards points — an estimated $100 value in return. You can either book directly with the airlines (which we generally recommend) or through the Amex Travel portal. Plus, you'll receive complimentary travel protections if something happens during your trip.

Use your Amex Platinum to pay for some hotels

Similarly, the Amex Platinum racks up 5x on hotels — though there's a pretty significant asterisk involved. They must be prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, which we don't recommend if you're booking with a major hotel chain. That's because you likely won't earn elite night credits (or points) or your elite status benefits aren't acknowledged. Still, the 5x rate can be significant if you're booking boutique or independent hotels.

Use your Amex Platinum to pay for expensive items

Buying a new couch or laptop anytime soon? Although you'll only earn 1x on these purchases, it's not always about earning the maximum number of points.

The ability to enjoy purchase protection, extended warranty and return protection can help you save potentially hundreds of dollars. These coverages can come in a pinch if you accidentally break, damage or lose your item within the duration of coverage.

With the Amex Platinum card specifically, purchase protection covers you against damage, loss, or theft, up to $10,000 per purchase and $50,000 per eligible card. That should cover a lot of items.

Use your Amex Platinum to pay for your cellphone bill

Cell phone protection is an important benefit that comes with the Amex Platinum. (Image by Irina Dobrolyubova / Getty Images)

American Express added cell phone protection on several of its premium cards this year, and there's tremendous value to be found if you're accident-prone with such a costly item like your phone.

Simply pay your monthly bill with your Amex Platinum and if your phone is stolen or damaged, you can ask for up to $800 per claim, subject to a reasonable $50 deductible, and two claims per card per consecutive 12-month period.

When not to use the Amex Platinum

While there are many scenarios where the Amex Platinum is the ideal card to use, steer clear of these other circumstances because you won't find outsized value from them.

Don't use your Amex Platinum for everyday purchases

You're missing out on thousands of points if you solely use your Amex Platinum for everyday purchases. (Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images)

Since it only earns 1x on most everyday purchases such as groceries, gas or dining, avoid using your Amex Platinum unless you're trying to hit the spending requirements on your welcome offer.

Other cards can offer much better returns (often 2x, 3x, 4x or more) on various everyday purchase categories.

Don't use your Amex Platinum to pay for most hotels

As mentioned above, you might want to reconsider using your Amex Platinum to pay for most of your hotel stays since those that do not fall into its very limited bonus-earning terms will only earn you a single point per dollar. Plus, booking through Amex Travel might mean giving up elite-qualifying activity, so if you're trying for hotel elite status, you should just book direct.

Plus, there are many other terrific cards that offer bonus points on hotel bookings (and general travel purchases, whether that's rideshares or train tickets).

You can still maximize your points

If you want to stick within the Amex Membership Rewards family, you can open other cards to help supplement your earning potential. This strategy is what we call the Amex Trifecta — which can help you maximize your points by pinpointing the right combination of cards for your spending habits.

Cards we recommend for this route include the American Express® Gold Card, specifically for its 4x earning rate on U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) and at restaurants.

If you qualify for a business card, you can open The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express for 2x on the first $50,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1x. This 2x earning rate will help you earn bonus points on purchases outside of traditional bonus categories, whether that's your oil change or new shoes.

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum has a lot to offer, particularly because of its extensive statement credits that amount to almost $1,700 each year. Beyond that (and the huge welcome bonus), it helps to know when to use the card, and when to rely on other trusty cards in your wallet.

Official application link: Amex Platinum.
Official application link: Amex Gold.
Official application link: Amex Blue Business Plus.

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

Featured image by (Photo by Isabelle Raphael for 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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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
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Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees