How to maximize benefits with the Amex Platinum Card; over $900 in new statement credits added
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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).
The 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 offer, you may want to check the CardMatch tool for targeted offers — we’ve seen Amex Platinum bonuses as high as 125,000 points floating around in the past. Offers are subject to change without notice.
In addition to the generous welcome offer, you’ll also earn 10x on eligible purchases made at restaurants worldwide and when you “Shop Small” within the U.S. on up to $25,000 in combined spending during the first six months of card membership.
Whether you’re ready to begin traveling or not, this luxury travel-centric card is extremely valuable. It’s got benefits that can save you a bundle even if you’ve got no immediate vacation plans. In the long term, the Amex Platinum will provide you with a ton of value if you’re normally a frequent traveler.
Let’s take a look at some of the card’s best perks, including an airline fee credit, a monthly Uber credit and much more.
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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.
- 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (capped at $25,000 in combined purchases) during your first six months of card membership.
- 5x Amex Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
- 5x Amex Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Up to $200 back in statement credits each calendar year on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum.*
- Up to $240 digital entertainment credit: Up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with your card at one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times*
- Comprehensive airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges. More than 40 Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide are now included in the Centurion network.
- Annual airline fee credit of up to $200*.
- Annual Uber cash of up to $200 (for U.S. services)*
- Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton. *
- Car rental program elite status.*
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every 4 to 4.5 years.
- Up to $179 back per calendar year on your Clear membership (expedited security).*
- Annual statement credits of up to $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 credit January to June; $50 credit July to December)*.
- $300 Equinox credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships*
- Travel and shopping protections.
- Cruise Privileges Program.
- International Airline Program.
- American Express concierge service.
- American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts.
- ShopRunner membership.*
- Terms apply.
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
We’ll describe each benefit, and focus on how to maximize the value you can derive from the benefit. The details are below.
$240 digital entertainment credit
What it is: The Amex Platinum’s annual fee may have catapulted, but this new benefit alone can be enough to make the card a better deal than before.
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 New York Times.
Tips for maximizing: Many of us can easily 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. This new benefit can effectively lower the $695 annual fee to $455. You may find yourself in a similar position.
$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, it shouldn’t be hard to get the full $200 in value from this benefit. Make sure you add your Amex Platinum to your Uber account and the credit will automatically be added to your first domestic ride each month.
Tips for maximizing: Note that these credits are only valid for Uber rides in the U.S., and you don’t have to pay your balance with an Amex card to get the discount. The credits expire at the end of each month, so you won’t be able to roll over any unused credits. The credits also work for Uber Eats purchases.
American Express will give Platinum cardholders 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass*, valued at $10 per month, if they enroll by Dec. 31.
5x on airfare and hotels
What it is: The Amex Platinum has long been considered a top premium card, but it’s the 5x bonus categories that give it unmatched earning potential for certain travel purchases. You’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), plus 5x points 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 the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Citi Prestige® Card. The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Tips for maximizing: You’ll earn 5x points on airfare when you book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, so you have some flexibility. When it comes to hotels, however, you’ll only earn 5x points 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.
10x on qualifying purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US
What it is: For new cardholders only, you’ll get 10 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at restaurants around the world, as well as at Shop Small establishments within the U.S. The offer is valid on up to $25,000 in combined spending during the first six months of holding the card. Shop Small is a collection of small businesses that includes retail stores, supermarkets, beauty shops, food joints, etc.
Tips for maximizing: This is a great new addition from American Express. With it, new cardholders can earn 9 points more per dollar than its standard earning rate on restaurant purchases, as well as an assortment of other purchases thanks to diverse categories of Shop Small businesses. By adding these two largely everyday spending categories, Amex has shown that it’s serious about giving cardholders new ways to earn bonus points. If you’re very strategic and you can float some money, you can use the Shop Small category to max out the 10x bonus for the full $25,000.
$200 airline fee credit
What it is: With the Amex Platinum, you get up to $200 in credit toward incidental airline expenses with one carrier each calendar year. Enrollment is required. Compared to other cards that offer airline fee or travel credits, the Platinum card terms are limited. For instance, you must specify one eligible airline with which to use the benefit ahead of time, and the credit doesn’t cover airfare. Although it used to be possible to buy gift cards using this credit, Amex has cracked down and closed that loophole. Still, you can use your Platinum card to offset expenses 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. Hint: Choose United. 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.
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 great: These spaces offer gourmet food, craft cocktails and comfortable places to rest. This a great benefit if your home airport (or an airport where you frequently connect) is one of the airports where Centurion Lounges are currently located.
Another three lounges — one at New York (JFK) opened in October 2020, Denver (DEN) opened a while after, and London (LHR) is set to open later in 2021. Amex touts that they’ve expanded the Centurion network to include more than 40 Centurion Lounge and Studio locations around the world.
Tips for maximizing: Cardholders can enjoy access for themselves, plus up to two guests and any children under 2. This benefit is also available with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($595 annual fee; see rates and fees) and the Centurion card. Note that 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 guest.
American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts ($200 credit)
What it is: Another benefit of this card is the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program, which, like the previous benefit, is available to Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion cardholders. Amex FHR is essentially a travel portal that lets you book stays at a selection of luxury hotels, and participating properties offer 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 — 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 (or the not-quite-as-prestigious The Hotel Collection) with American Express Travel.
Tips for maximizing: Consider the length of your stay before using American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts to book a property. Not every participating property offers a free night, so the Citi Prestige fourth-night free benefit could be a stronger choice depending on the length and cost of your stay (though the Prestige now only allows two fourth-night-free reimbursements per calendar year and isn’t always the best option). On the other hand, 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 credits and the 5x points you’re earning when paying for your stay with the Amex Platinum, and this becomes a big difference-maker as to whether the card’s annual fee is worth paying each year.
Elite status with Hilton and Marriott
What it is: The Platinum Card offers 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: Many people’s plans for hitting elite status this year have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, 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. Multiple chains, including Hilton and Hyatt, extended status for existing elites, but if you were starting from scratch this year, the Amex Platinum could be a saving grace.
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 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 when you enroll. 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: Go ahead and enroll in these programs, as doing so may allow you to skip the counter and/or get upgraded cars when you rent with these companies. With demand for rental cars skyrocketing — along with daily prices — having elite status may be a big help when it comes to getting the transportation you want.
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 every four years (Up tp $100) or TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years ($85). Both trusted traveler programs expedite your experience at airport immigration and security checkpoints. Once you’ve applied and been accepted for Global Entry — essentially a fast pass for clearing immigration when you return to the U.S. — you’ll also likely be eligible for TSA PreCheck, although you’ll need to add your Known Traveler ID number to all your frequent flyer accounts to enjoy the benefit.
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 a fee credit. 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 info.
What it is: Your teachers in kindergarten were incorrect all along: Cutting in line is totally allowed — if you’ve got the Amex Platinum.
Clear is a program that essentially lets you skip the serpentine queue at TSA security checkpoints. It’s got 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 $179 back per calendar year on your Clear membership — the exact price for which the membership retails. In other words, as long as you have the Amex Platinum, you can receive free membership with Clear.
Tips for maximizing: Only select airports participate in Clear. At the time of writing, only 38 airports have installed Clear in their departure halls. If you don’t find yourself frequenting those airports, this benefit may not move the needle for you. However, there are 20-plus stadiums and venues that also accept Clear for a more expedited entrance into sporting and concert events.
$300 Equinox Credit
What it is: Equinox is a very, very upscale and expensive chain of gyms within the U.S., Canada and London. You’ll get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships, or 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 surprise. This credit should in no way spur you begin a membership, however, as many memberships cost hundreds of dollars per month. Also, the vast majority of Equinox locations are in New York, so this won’t appeal to a broad audience.
The most practical use is a digital subscription to Equinox+, regularly $39.99 per month.
Saks Fifth Avenue credit
What it is: This popular 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.
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.
Travel and shopping protections
What it is: American Express offers shopping and travel protections when you use your card to make eligible purchases. These protections include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Extended warranty: 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 purchase date.
- 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).
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. You can see the travel and shopping protections for all Amex cards on the Amex website.
Cruise Privileges Program
What it is: The American Express Cruise Privileges Program offers U.S. Amex Platinum members 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 (Black card), you get access to a special phone service to assist you in booking top restaurants and events, as well as finding a perfect dinner spot or even delivering items on demand and 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 a table for Platinum cardholders.
Related: Comparing concierge services
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 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.
While the standard ShopRunner benefits include free two-day shipping, keep in mind that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it might take a little longer for some items to ship.
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 an average person might earn by using their Platinum card for a year.
With any new card, you have to look at the first year and subsequent years separately. The Amex Platinum is currently offering a welcome offer of 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership.
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. Moreover, the temporary 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent about $36,000 on credit cards in 2017. 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 5x airfare or hotel purchases issued by the Amex Platinum card.
Assuming that all of these expenses only earned 1 point per dollar spent, the average consumer would earn 36,000 Membership Rewards points a year on their Amex Platinum card, worth a solid $720. However, TPG readers are far from the average consumer. If you add an additional $2,000 a year of airfare and hotel expenses that earn 5x points with the Amex Platinum (when booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel), and a conservative $5,000 a year on restaurants and Shop Small merchants such as supermarkets that earn 10x points in the first six months, you increase your return 66% more and bring your total haul to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, worth $1,200 based on TPG’s valuations.
The takeaway here is that although the Amex Platinum isn’t the best card to use for your everyday spending, the average consumer should have no trouble recouping their annual fee with the points they earn. 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, this estimate might be too conservative. You’ll have to adjust the numbers to match your situation.
But is the Amex Platinum worth it when you aren’t traveling?
This will depend on you and your current budget. But if you know you’ll be traveling regularly once the pandemic passes, now could be a great time to apply. You’ll be giving yourself time to earn the welcome bonus and amass points, which you can then redeem for an excellent getaway once all this is over. And remember, there are some perks like the monthly Uber credit that you can still use from home!
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- Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum: Which is better for airfare purchases?
- Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value
- Best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points
Ready to apply? Here’s the official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express
*For Uber Eats Pass terms and conditions, click here.
Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz and Ethan Steinberg
Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/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 the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- 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.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now 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 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 available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees