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The premium rewards card market keeps getting more crowded with customers paying $400 or more in annual fees in order to get luxury travel perks.

It’s crazy to think that just a few years ago there was really only one premium card on the market, The Platinum Card® from American Express. Now, not only is the Platinum card just one of a half dozen or so premium card offerings from American Express, but there are actually four different versions. They share many common features, including the sleek metal design and access to Amex Offers, but there are also subtle differences that might push you toward one version over the other.

Four Different Shades Of Platinum

Here’s a look at the four different flavors of the Amex Platinum to help you figure out which one is right for you. The four include the The Platinum Card® from American Express (the most popular choice), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab and The Platinum® Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial. As you can see, the biggest differences are between the three personal Platinums and the Business Platinum.

The Platinum Card® from American Express The Business Platinum® Card from American Express The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab The Platinum® Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
Welcome offer Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 after spending $10,000 in the first three months and another 25,000 after spending $20,000 total in the first three months Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
Annual fee $550 (see rates & fees) $595 (see rates & fees) $550 $550
Bonus categories 5x on airfare purchased directly from the airline and on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com 5x on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com, 50% points bonus on purchases over $5,000 5x on airfare purchased directly from the airline and on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com 5x on airfare purchased directly from the airline and on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com
Annual credits $200 annual airline incidental credit

$200 annual Uber credit ($15 a month and a $20 bonus in December)

$100 annual ($50 semi-annually) Saks Fifth Avenue credit

$200 annual airline incidental credit

$200 annual credit ($100 semi-annually) for Dell technology purchases

$200 annual airline incidental credit

$200 annual Uber credit ($15 a month and a $20 bonus in December)

$100 annual ($50 semi-annually) Saks Fifth Avenue credit

$200 annual airline incidental credit

$200 annual Uber credit ($15 a month and a $20 bonus in December)

$100 annual ($50 semi-annually) Saks Fifth Avenue credit

Unique perks N/A 35% pay-with-points rebate (valid on first- and business-class flights on any airline or economy flights on an airline you select)

One year of complimentary WeWork access

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to an eligible Schwab brokerage account

Receive a $100 statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200  credit if your holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000 following card account approval and annually thereafter.

Earn an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards points for every $20,000 in eligible purchases, up to 30,000 additional points per year.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

The Platinum Card is the one that most people will choose to apply for. If you don’t have a business and aren’t a customer of Schwab or Ameriprise, this is, in fact, the only card you’ll be eligible to apply for. In addition to the perks described above, it also offers, like all variations of the Platinum card, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex Centurion lounges as well as Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta, and complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton and Marriott.

One reason that you might want to consider a different version, however, is that Amex only allows you to get the welcome offer on any credit card once in a lifetime. Technically, these four Platinums are all different cards, so you can get the bonus on each. While the public welcome offer on the Amex Platinum is currently 60,000 points, it has gone as high as 100,000 points in the past (both publicly and through targeted offers like CardMatch). Those points are worth $1,200, according to TPG’s valuation. It would be a shame to apply now and leave 40,000 points on the table when you could get a different Platinum card in the meantime.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

The Business Platinum card has a high spending requirement of $20,000 in the first three months to earn the full welcome offer, but if your business has large expenses, a world of rewards is waiting for you. When you factor in the $20,000 spent to get the welcome offer, you’ll end up with a total of 95,000 Membership Rewards points, which TPG values at $1,900.

This card is a standout choice for two reasons: The 35% rebate when you use your points to pay for flights (first and business class on any airline or economy on your selected airline) allows you to lock in a minimum redemption value of at least 1.53 cents, better than even the Chase Sapphire Reserve. While you need to have the full amount of points in your account to book this way (your rebate will post in 6-10 weeks), these are revenue flights, so you’ll earn miles and elite qualifying metrics on them, unlike standard award tickets.

The other reason businesses should be excited about this card is the 50% point bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more. The best way to use this would be on a large travel purchase made through amextravel.com, so your 50% bonus would be on top of the 5x bonus category. But even if you’re using this for non-bonus spending, it can be a great deal. Those 1.5x points aren’t the highest possible return you can get, but purchases made on the Business Platinum come with extended warranty protection and 120 days of protection from accidental damage or theft.

The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab

The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab is only available to Schwab customers and there’s no way around this requirement since you must sign in to your Schwab account during the application process. If you’re not a Schwab customer, you should consider signing up. The Schwab investor checking account reimburses all ATM fees worldwide, making this a great option for getting cash when traveling.

This card is identical to the personal Platinum card in most ways, except it comes with one neat perk — the ability to cash out Membership Rewards at a rate of 1.25 cents each to a linked Schwab brokerage account. Note that this is significantly below TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, but if you find yourself racking up points faster than you can spend them, this can be a worthwhile option.

Points are a bad long-term investment as they’re susceptible to award chart devaluations with no advance notice, so if your circumstances change and you aren’t traveling enough to burn your points, consider cashing them out. The process is very simple, and when I tried it out myself, the money posted instantly to my Schwab account even though it was a Sunday and banks were closed.

If you already are a Schwab customer, you might be eligible for a bonus of $100 or $200 after account approval and each year after that, depending on the size of your account balances. Even if you never plan to cash out your points, that alone could be reason enough to pick this version over the standard personal Platinum card. This bonus only applies to balances above $250,000, however.

The Platinum® Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial

The Ameriprise Platinum card used to be one of the best-kept secrets in the world of travel rewards. Although it didn’t have any sort of welcome offer, it waived the annual fee for the first year. This meant that you could get a full year of Platinum benefits (including airfare and Uber credits) without paying a penny, giving you a great way to test-drive one of the more expensive cards without making a financial commitment.

That was changed recently, and the Ameriprise Platinum now carries the same $550 annual fee and 60,000-point welcome offer as the other two personal Platinum cards. Its sole differentiating feature is it offers 5,000 bonus points for every $20,000 spent, up to 30,000 bonus points a year. That works out to an extra .25 points per dollar spent, or .5% return, which is probably not enough to sway you into charging tens of thousands of dollars to this card. Still, if you have or have had the personal Amex Platinum card, you might consider applying for the Ameriprise card to take advantage of the welcome offer. There are only so many ways to earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points in one fell swoop.

Bottom Line

The four versions of the Amex Platinum card offer slightly different variations of a common package of luxury travel perks. In picking which one is right for you, it helps to consider how you plan to use your points (cash out, transfer to airlines, pay with points, etc.) and how much/what type of spending you plan to put on the card. No one needs all four different Platinums in their wallet, but there’s definitely room for one or two, especially if you’re in the market for a valuable welcome bonus.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.

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

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy 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 with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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