The Amex Platinum Card keeps getting harder to ignore: Here’s why

Nov 19, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Most premium credit cards make an easy case for themselves during the first year, with strong welcome offers and immediate access to luxury travel benefits.

And for now, The Platinum Card® from American Express is all the more rewarding for new cardholders. As of Nov. 12, 2020, Amex is offering a 75,000-point welcome offer after you spend $5,000 in the first six months of account opening. Additionally, you’ll earn 10x points on eligible purchases made at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets. The bonus points apply to up to $15,000 in combined spending during the first six months of card membership.

Related: New Amex Platinum welcome bonus offers 75k points, 10x on gas and supermarkets for new cardholders

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Plus, like existing Platinum cardholders, new cardholders will earn 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel on up to $500,000 purchases per calendar year (starting Jan. 1, 2021) and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. Then, of course, 1x points on everything else.

Whether expensive cards like this earn a permanent spot in your wallet, however, boils down to a simple equation: Do you feel that the value of the perks you receive each year outweighs the annual fee you’re paying?

Related: Is your premium travel card offering enough perks during the pandemic? A card-by-card guide

Credit cards such as The Platinum Card (and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express) have too many after-bonus perks to list all at once. Some of them are pretty easy to value. If you’re a frequent traveler, the up to $200 annual airline incidental credits should be worth close to face value, and the $15 in Uber credits each month with a $20 bonus in December are a great perk.

Related: What still triggers Amex airline fee reimbursements?

Then you have perks such as the up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue statement credit (only available on the personal Platinum card). This credit, which breaks down as up to $50 back during the first six months of the year and up to another $50 during the second six months, falls under the category of nice, but by no means necessary. If you didn’t shop at Saks before, you might enjoy a free item, but this isn’t going to move the needle on whether you decide to get and keep the Platinum card.

For many people, the deciding factor in keeping the Platinum card open long-term is the luxury travel benefits it offers, including Gold elite status with both Marriott and Hilton, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex’s exclusive collection of Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying with Delta.

Plenty of cards offer Priority Pass Select memberships these days, but Centurion Lounges, which can only be accessed by Platinum and Centurion cardholders, have always given Amex a unique and competitive edge. There is one caveat: Unlike Priority Pass lounges and restaurants which can be found in almost every major airport these days, there aren’t very many Centurion Lounges.

The growing footprint of Centurion Lounges

When TPG contributor Lan Paje set out to review every Centurion lounge in August 2017, he only had seven stops to make. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and lived in Chicago during college. I got to call two major cities home, but I never had access to a Centurion Lounge. Even if I went to visit my brother in San Francisco once a year, you couldn’t convince me to pay the $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) for an Amex Platinum if I was only going to use a Centurion Lounge once a year.

Related: Amex has reopened all but 3 Centurion Lounges and more

D.C. and Chicago still don’t have Centurion Lounges, and we haven’t heard of plans to open them there in the future, but a lot has changed since Lan’s mega-trip. Amex opened a new Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia (PHL), one in Charlotte (CLT), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Phoenix (PHX) as well as the first international location in Hong Kong (HKG). Plus, it’s expanded some lounges across its network, including Miami (MIA) and Seattle (SEA).

Related: A guide to Amex Centurion Lounges

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Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong. (Photo by TPG reader Peter Madden)

By the end of 2020, Amex will also be opening lounges in the following locations:

Additionally, it plans to expand its lounges in Las Vegas (LAS) and New York (LGA) — both with a 2021 reopening date.

Even if you don’t call one of these airports “home,” there’s now a greater chance than ever before that you’ll find yourself traveling through an airport with a Centurion Lounge multiple times a year. The airports at which Amex is expanding its Centurion Lounge presence have a wide footprint — including at one of Europe’s busiest airports in London Heathrow (LHR).

And given the rapid rate at which Amex has been adding new locations in major global and domestic transit hubs, we have every reason to believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg and in the coming years we’ll hear about even more new Centurion Lounge locations.

Related: Amex reveals updated opening dates for new Centurion Lounges

Bottom Line

Commitment to a premium credit card, the bank that issues it and the points currency that underlies it should be a two-way street. It’s incredibly refreshing to see Amex investing so heavily in the customer experience, and this has not been a cheap investment. The lounge in Charlotte cost Amex a little more than $10 million for a 10-year lease; you can only imagine how pricey the real estate in major airports such as JFK and Heathrow is.

The Amex Platinum routinely sits at the top of TPG’s list for best cards for airport lounge access, thanks to the combination of a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights, the Airspace and Escape lounges, and of course, the Centurion Lounges. It’s not just the number of Centurion Lounges that’s so exciting, it’s their quality as well. These lounges often draw on local ingredients and design elements to offer a food, beverage and relaxation experience you simply won’t find in your run-of-the-mill Priority Pass lounge.

If you’re trying to figure out which premium credit cards belong in your wallet moving forward, take a hard look at the Amex Platinum. It truly offers something no other card on the market can compete with. Plus, with its juicy 75,000-point welcome offer, you’ll be on your way to your next redemption even quicker.

Related: How our cruise writer got $4,456 in value from his Amex Platinum in a year — even during the pandemic

Emily McNutt contributed to this story.

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

Featured photo by The Points Guy

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $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 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • 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 and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary 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 through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Annual Fee
$550
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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