How to maximize benefits with the Amex Platinum Card
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The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best premium travel rewards cards available. Thanks to its generous benefits and its ability to earn valuable, transferable American Express Membership Rewards points, it can be well worth the annual fee of $695 (see rates and fees) for many travelers.
The Amex Platinum’s current public offer is 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. While this is an excellent welcome bonus, you may want to check the CardMatch tool for targeted offers — we’ve seen Amex Platinum bonuses of 125,000 or even 150,000 points floating around in the past (those offers are subject to change without notice).
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Beyond the welcome offer, it is the Amex Platinum’s ongoing perks that can be even more valuable, including annual statement credits that can be worth up to $1,400 — or more if you really leverage them to their fullest.
Here’s a rundown of how to maximize the benefits of the Amex Platinum Card.
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Amex Platinum benefits overview
- Earn 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership.
- Earn 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
- Earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Annual Uber Cash of up to $200 (for U.S. services).*
- Annual airline fee statement credit of up to $200.*
- Up to $200 back in statement credits each calendar year on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings (the latter of which requires a minimum two-night stay) with American Express Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum.*
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every 4 to 4.5 years.
- Up to $189 back per calendar year on your Clear membership (expedited security).*
- Up to $300 Equinox credit: Up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when using your card.*
- Up to $155 annually in statement credits toward monthly Walmart+ membership fees. Plus Ups are excluded.
- Up to $300 statement credit toward a SoulCycle bike (up to 15 bikes per calendar year). Must be enrolled in an Equinox+ membership to be eligible for this benefit.
- Up to $100 annually at Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 credit January to June; $50 credit July to December.*
- Digital entertainment credit: Up to $20 in statement credits each month ($240 per calendar year) when you pay for eligible purchases with your card at one or more of the following providers: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM and The New York Times.*
- Airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges and Studio locations worldwide.*
- Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton.*
- Complimentary car rental elite status with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.*
- Various travel and shopping protections.
- Cruise Privileges Program.
- International Airline Program.
- American Express concierge service.
- ShopRunner membership.*
*Enrollment required for select benefits, terms apply.
Let’s focus on the benefits with the potential highest value and how you can maximize them year after year.
$200 in Uber Cash
What it is: One of the more popular Amex Platinum perks is the annual Uber Cash of up to $200, allotted in $15 monthly increments except in December, when you’ll get a $35 credit ($15 plus a $20 bonus) for U.S. services. For anyone who frequently uses the ride-hailing service or its food-delivery platform, it shouldn’t be hard to get the full $200 in value from this benefit.
Tips for maximizing: Note that these credits are only valid for Uber rides and Uber Eats orders in the U.S., and you don’t have to pay your balance with an Amex card to get the discount, meaning you could use the card for the portion of a ride covered by the statement credit and then pay the rest of the fare using another card with better earning rates. The credits expire at the end of each month, so you won’t be able to roll over any unused credits.
$200 airline fee credit
What it is: With the Amex Platinum, you get up to $200 in statement credits toward incidental fees with one U.S. airline each calendar year. Enrollment is required. Compared to other cards that offer airline fee or travel credits, the Platinum card’s terms are limited. For instance, you must specify one eligible U.S. airline each year with which to use the benefit ahead of time, and the credit doesn’t cover airfare. Still, you can use your Platinum card to offset expenses ranging from luggage fees to seat selection, lounge access and more.
Tips for maximizing: You’re technically limited to the airline you select for the entire calendar year, but reports indicate that you might be able to change your selection by contacting customer service (either on the phone or via online chat). Although Amex doesn’t explicitly list which charges are eligible for this credit, it excludes the following expenses:
Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage and points purchases, mileage and points transfer fees, gift cards, duty-free purchases and award tickets are not considered incidental fees.
So try to stick within the parameters to avoid any issues.
$200 American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts credit
What it is: Another benefit of this card is the ability to make bookings through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program, which is available to Platinum, Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardholders. Amex FHR is essentially a travel portal that lets you book stays at a selection of luxury hotels and participating properties with a variety of benefits, including complimentary room upgrades when available, noon check-in when available, 4 p.m. checkout, daily breakfast for two, a unique property credit worth at least $100 and more. At select hotels in the Amex FHR program, you can also enjoy a free night on multi-night stays — usually the third, fourth or fifth night.
Plus, you’ll get up to $200 annually in statement credits when you book a prepaid rate through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts with American Express Travel. (This benefit can also be used for stays of at least two nights at properties in the not-quite-as-prestigious The Hotel Collection.)
Tips for maximizing: Consider the length of your stay before using American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts to book a property. Booking through Amex FHR and paying with the American Express Platinum could make sense for a shorter stay at an eligible property, especially with the on-property credit that’s usually worth at least $100. Combine that with the generous yearly $200 in annual statement credits and the 5 points per dollar you’re earning (after those credits) when paying for your stay with the Amex Platinum, and this becomes a big differentiator as to whether the card’s annual fee is worth paying each year.
However, if you book a property with FHR that participates in a major loyalty program — like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors — you may not earn points on the stay, and you may not enjoy any elite benefits. Reports indicate that it sometimes happens, but since these reservations are technically through a third-party platform, you should be prepared to miss out on those perks.
Up to $100 Credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fees
What it is: This is definitely one of the Platinum Card benefits you shouldn’t leave on the table. You can get a credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry once every four years (up to $100) or TSA PreCheck once every 4.5 years ($85). Both trusted traveler programs expedite your experience at the airport — at customs and immigration with Global Entry, and at security checkpoints with PreCheck.
Note that once you’ve applied and been accepted for Global Entry, you’ll also be eligible for TSA PreCheck, so Global Entry is generally the better option (although you’ll need to add your Known Traveler ID number to all your frequent flyer accounts to enjoy the benefits of PreCheck).
Tips for maximizing: You must charge the application fee to your Platinum card to get the fee waiver. Although you won’t be able to take advantage of this benefit each year, because Global Entry and TSA PreCheck memberships are good for five years, it’s nice to know that authorized users can also receive fee credits of their own. It costs $175 (see rates and fees) to add up to three additional users to your card account — see our guide on adding Amex Platinum authorized users for more information.
$189 Clear membership credit
What it is: Clear is a program that essentially lets you skip the serpentine queue at TSA security checkpoints. It has its own lane that allows you to input biometrics such as fingerprints or an iris scan instead of waiting in line to hand your ID and boarding pass to a TSA officer. Just take a few seconds at a Clear kiosk, and you’ll be escorted directly to the big gray bins.
This card benefit gives you up to $189 back per calendar year on your Clear membership — the exact price for which the membership retails. You may even be eligible for discounts thanks to any other associations you have, such as airline elite status with some carriers. As long as you have the Amex Platinum, however, you can receive free membership with Clear.
Tips for maximizing: If you don’t find yourself frequenting airports that have Clear, this benefit may not move the needle for you. However, there are 20+ stadiums and other venues that also accept Clear for a more expedited entrance into sporting and concert events.
In addition, families can combine this perk with other discounts to all access Clear together.
For example, general members of both Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus can enroll in Clear for $119 (it’s even cheaper for those with elite status or cobranded credit cards). In addition, it costs $60 to add an adult family member to your account. And kids under the age of 18 can accompany adults for free.
As a result, if you sign up through Delta or United (for at most $119), add your spouse or partner (for $60), and then bring your child(ren) through the Clear lane with you, your annual Amex Platinum credit will cover the entire family’s membership.
$300 Equinox Credit
What it is: Equinox is an expensive, upscale chain of gyms in the U.S., Canada and London. With the Amex Platinum, you’ll get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships or on a digital subscription to Equinox+, the on-demand fitness app. Enrollment is required.
Tips for maximizing: If you find yourself heading to Equinox gyms anyway, this is a nice perk. This credit should in no way spur you to begin a membership, however, as many memberships cost hundreds of dollars per month. Also, the vast majority of Equinox locations are in New York and sprinkled around other major cities, so this won’t appeal to a broader audience.
The most practical use is a digital subscription to Equinox+, regularly $39.99 per month, so you can take live and on-demand classes online.
$155 Walmart+ credit
What it is: Walmart+ is a service that confers an assortment of benefits as a Walmart customer, including:
- Free grocery delivery (must order at least $35 in products).
- Free shipping on non-grocery items (no order minimum).
- Discounts on prescriptions.
- Discounts at Walmart and Murphy gas stations.
- A streamlined in-store shopping experience.
You’ll receive up to $155 per year in credits toward Walmart+ when you pay for your membership each month. Membership costs $12.95 per month (plus any applicable tax), meaning this perk effectively equates to free Walmart+ membership as long as you have the card (though you might be responsible for local taxes and fees, and Plus Ups are excluded.).
Tips for maximizing: While this benefit offers up to $155 in credits annually, it’s not actually worth quite that much. That’s because you can purchase an annual Walmart+ membership for $98 (plus applicable tax). Still, while the Amex Platinum and Walmart are an unlikely pair, this is a nice perk if you’re interested in having complimentary grocery delivery as well as free shipping across the Walmart site.
$300 SoulCycle statement credits
What it is: You’ll receive up to $300 in statement credits when you use your Amex Platinum to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike. You can use this credit for up to 15 bikes per calendar year.
Tips for maximizing: This is one of the least useful credits on the card, for the following reasons:
- SoulCycle bikes sell for $2,500 plus taxes and fees. This purchase doesn’t appeal to many of us.
- The 15-bike limit is a (somewhat disingenuous) way for Amex to brag that the Amex Platinum offers up to $4,500 in annual statement credits from this perk. Unless you’re starting your own SoulCycle studio, though, there’s no reason to purchase more than one bike.
- You cannot finance your bike while also getting a $300 statement credit — you must complete the purchase in a single transaction.
- You must buy Equinox+ if you want SoulCycle content. Again, Equinox+ costs $39.99 per month, and the new Equinox statement credit only covers up to $25 per month, so you’re on the hook for even more spending to try to use this benefit.
That said, if you’re interested in this particular perk, you must make your purchase through this link. If you purchase in a store or through the Equinox mobile app, you won’t receive the $300 statement credit. Also, any accessories you may purchase for the bike will not be offset by this credit.
$100 Saks Fifth Avenue credits
What it is: This perk is available in the form of two up-to-$50 statement credits per year. Your first $50 statement credit can offset purchases from January through June; a second $50 statement credit is available from July through December. You must register your Amex Platinum card through your Amex online account to receive this benefit before making the purchase.
Tips for maximizing: There is no minimum purchase required to trigger these new statement credits, so you could make a purchase of $50 (or less) once every six months and not owe anything out of pocket once the credit posts to your Amex Platinum account.
$240 digital entertainment credit
What it is: You’ll receive up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with your Amex Platinum at one or more of the following providers (enrollment required):
- The Disney Bundle.
- The New York Times.
Tips for maximizing: Some of us can max out this perk without spending a dime more than usual. For example, a Peacock subscription ($4.99 per month) and an Audible Premium Plus subscription ($14.95 per month) will nearly account for the full $240 in statement credits each year.
5 points per dollar on airfare and hotels
What it is: The Amex Platinum has long been considered a top premium card, but it’s the 5 points per dollar bonus categories that give it excellent earning potential for certain travel purchases. You’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), plus 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, this nets an outstanding 10% return on qualifying purchases — better than what you’ll get with other premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Tips for maximizing: You can take advantage of the airfare earning rate whether you book directly with airlines or via Amex Travel, so there’s some flexibility. When it comes to hotels, however, you’ll only earn 5 points per dollar when you book prepaid rates through American Express Travel or when you book prepaid stays online through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts. So you’ll need to weigh whether earning those extra rewards is worth giving up the perks you could enjoy by booking directly with the hotel.
Centurion Lounge access and more
What it is: Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges. If you’ve ever visited one, you’ll know why this is a great perk: These spaces offer gourmet food, craft cocktails and comfortable places to rest. If your home airport or others you travel through frequently have Centurion Lounges, then this benefit alone might be worth getting the card — though these spots have seen crowding issues in recent months.
The Amex Platinum Card also entitles you to Delta Sky Club access (during same-day travel with the airline), and you’ll gain entry to Priority Pass lounges (although not restaurants) and several others. Enrollment is required.
Tips for maximizing: Cardholders can enjoy access to Centurion Lounges for themselves, plus up to two guests and any children under the age of 2. This benefit is also available with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Centurion Card. However, beginning on Feb. 1, 2023, you will only receive guest privileges if you spend $75,000 annually on your card. Otherwise, you’ll be charged $50 per adult guest (and $30 per child).
Elite status with Hilton and Marriott
What it is: The Platinum Card allows members to register for automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program along with Hilton Honors Gold elite status. Both hotel chains offer on-property benefits such as late checkout and bonus earnings on stays to elite members.
Tips for maximizing: Having a card that gives you elite status without ever having to step foot into a hotel means you won’t have to worry about hitting spending thresholds or stay minimums. With pandemic-era status extensions largely a relic of the past, the Amex Platinum could be a saving grace if you’d otherwise be starting from scratch at the beginning of the year.
Hilton Honors Gold elite status — which usually requires 20 stays, 40 nights or earning 75,000 Honors base points — includes an 80% points bonus on stays, provides complimentary breakfast (or an on-property credit) at most hotel brands and entitles you to space-available upgrades. Meanwhile, standout benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status — which usually requires 25 nights — include a 25% points bonus on stays, upgrades to enhanced rooms and free premium internet.
Car rental program elite status
What it is: In addition to Hilton and Marriott elite status, you’ll also get status with a few car rental programs. You’ll get Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. You’ll need to enroll for these benefits on the Amex website.
Tips for maximizing: Regardless of how often you rent cars, go ahead and register for these programs, since doing so may allow you to skip the counter and/or get upgraded cars when you rent with these companies. With demand (and prices) for rental cars remaining high, having elite status may be a big help when it comes to getting the transportation you want.
Travel and shopping protections
- Trip delay protection: 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, at up to two claims per consecutive 12-month period. (Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.)
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection: 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 and $20,000 per card per consecutive 12-month period. (Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.)
- Extended warranty: Extends eligible manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less by up to one additional year. (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.)
- Purchase protection: Protects recent purchases against theft, accidental damage or loss for up to 90 days from the purchase date, at up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per calendar year. (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.)
- Return protection: If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price (up to $300 per item).
*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
Tips for maximizing: When you’re making a purchase for which you might later benefit from shopping or travel protections, be sure to save your receipt. Start a claim as soon as possible if you need to use your card’s protections.
Cruise Privileges Program
What it is: The American Express Cruise Privileges Program offers U.S. Amex Platinum cardmembers and U.S. Centurion cardmembers exclusive benefits and complimentary amenities on sailings of five nights or more. However, you must book through an approved channel and on an eligible cruise line in order to receive these benefits.
Tips for maximizing: Before you book a cruise, check americanexpress.com/cruises to see if Amex offers the cruise you want at a competitive price. If so, you could enjoy extra benefits on your trip.
International Airline Program
What it is: The American Express International Airline Program offers U.S. Amex Platinum members and U.S. Centurion cardmembers discounted first-class, business-class and premium economy tickets on about 25 airlines.
Tips for maximizing: If you’re booking a premium-cabin fare on one of the eligible airlines, check whether you can get a lower rate by booking through the Amex International Airline Program. Not all participating airlines will offer discounts on every flight, but it’s not uncommon to see fares significantly discounted.
American Express concierge
What it is: If you’re short on time, consider outsourcing your trip planning to the Amex Platinum Concierge. With the Platinum card, Business Platinum card or Centurion Card, you get access to a special phone service to assist you in booking top restaurants and events, making travel arrangements or finding and even delivering items on demand, among other tasks.
Tips for maximizing: This credit card concierge service can be especially helpful if you need to snag a table at a fully booked restaurant, as a selection of fine-dining establishments around the world reserve tables for Platinum cardholders.
What it is: American Express cardholders can enroll in a complimentary ShopRunner membership. You’ll get free two-day shipping and free returns on eligible items at more than 100 retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue.
Tips for maximizing: You can check out the full list of retailers with ShopRunner availability here. You’ll need to enroll using your eligible card, but then you’ll just sign in to ShopRunner at checkout to start using its benefits. You can stack ShopRunner with other deals such as Amex Offers and shopping portal bonuses. Make the most of your online shopping by getting the most points, miles and other savings you can.
Are the Amex Platinum benefits worth it?
It’s hard to assign a specific value to most of the perks on this list. If you live in a city with a Centurion Lounge, you can easily get several hundred dollars’ worth of quality food and drink each year. Other travelers might get much more value out of the bonus points that come with complimentary Marriott and Hilton elite status. For a more tangible idea of how much value this card offers, look at how many Membership Rewards points you would expect to earn by using the Platinum card for a year and how you would use them.
With any new card, you have to look at the first year and subsequent years separately. The Amex Platinum is currently offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership — though be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re eligible for an even higher bonus (offers are targeted and subject to change at any time).
The 100,000-point bonus is worth $2,000 based on TPG’s valuations — and significantly more if you know the sweet spots of American Express Membership Rewards. The welcome offer, in addition to all the valuable perks, may make it easy to justify paying the annual fee for at least one year. But what about the following years?
For the purpose of this analysis, let’s assume you’re spending exclusively on the Platinum card. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent a total of roughly $61,000 in 2020. The report breaks down the spending categories, which include apparel, healthcare, alcohol and more, but doesn’t offer any insight into how much of that spending might be on a credit card, nor does it indicate how much would fall into the 5-points-per-dollar bonus category of the Amex Platinum.
Let’s say that $40,000 of those purchases were put on the card. Assuming that all of these expenses only earned 1 point per dollar spent, the average consumer would earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points a year on their Amex Platinum card, worth a solid $800. However, TPG readers are far from the average consumer. If you add an additional $2,000 per year of airfare and hotel expenses that earn 5 points per dollar, there’s another $200 worth of Amex points you’d earn right there.
As with any rewards card, whether the Amex Platinum is worth keeping will depend on how strategically you’re able to leverage its earning rates based on your typical spending habits and which of its benefits you will be able to maximize.
If you find you’re getting more than $695 in value from the card each year (equivalent to its annual fee) without going to too much effort, chances are the Amex Platinum is a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you have to jump through hoops to ensure you get at least some value from its passel of statement credits, you might want to consider other options.
Although the Amex Platinum isn’t necessarily the best card to use for everyday spending, the average consumer should have no trouble recouping the annual fee thanks to the array of perks it offers. Of course, if you spend more heavily on travel, especially if you’re lucky enough to be able to charge reimbursable business travel to your personal credit cards, you may come out even further ahead.
Just make sure you know the terms of each benefit — including which ones require enrollment — so you can make the most of the card each and every year.
Ready to apply? Here’s the official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Eric Rosen, Juan Ruiz and Ethan Steinberg.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash 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 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
- American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees