How to maximize your earning with the Amex Platinum
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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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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:
- Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.
- Rewards rates: Earn 5x on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x on prepaid hotels through Amex Travel and 1x on all other eligible purchases.
- The Global Lounge Collection: Access to The Centurion Lounge, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying same-day Delta) and more — one of the most extensive lounge access perks offered by any card.
- Up to $200 in annual airline statement credit: Eligible for incidental fees charged by one U.S. airline you designate each year, such as baggage fees, inflight purchases and more.
- Up to a $200 annual prepaid hotel statement credit: Eligible on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with Amex Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum.
- Up to $189 annual Clear statement credit: Covers the full cost of an annual Clear membership.
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash statement credit: Distributed in the form of $15 monthly credits for U.S. Uber rides, plus a $20 bonus in December.
- Up to a $155 annual Walmart+ statement credits: Covers the cost of a Walmart+ monthly membership, plus any applicable taxes and fees. Plus Ups are excluded.
- Up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue statement credit: Distributed into two $50 Saks statement credits, one between January and June, then July through December.
- Up to $240 annual digital entertainment statement credit: Distributed in the form of $20 in monthly statement credits when you pay for participating digital entertainment services with the Amex Platinum.
- Up to $300 annual Equinox statement credit: Distributed in the form of $25 in monthly statement credits on select Equinox memberships or the Equinox+ app.
- Up to $300 SoulCycle statement credit: Kicks in when you purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike, on up to 15 bikes per calendar year.
- Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck: When you use your card to pay for an application, once every four (Global Entry) or 4.5 years (TSA Precheck).
- Hotel elite status: Complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
- Car rental elite status: Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.
- Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts: When you book a hotel through the Amex FHR program, you’ll get elite-like perks such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrades and early check-in (upon availability), guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout, $100 amenity credit and more.
- Platinum Concierge: For travel requests, trip advice, restaurant bookings and more, the Platinum Concierge can help you arrange plans.
- The Hotel Collection: When you book a minimum of a two-night stay at a hotel through The Hotel Collection, you’ll get a $100 experience credit for qualifying activities like dining or spa treatments.
- Travel protections: When booking travel with your card, you’re getting complimentary travel protections such as trip delay insurance, travel accident insurance, baggage insurance and Global Assist Hotline in case something goes wrong on your trip.
- Shopping protections: You’ll receive complimentary purchase protection, extended warranty and return protection when purchasing eligible items with this card.
- Cell phone protection: Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $800 per claim (with a $50 deductible) with a limited of two claims in a 12-month period.
(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
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
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.
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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy.
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- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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