Key takeaways

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a lucrative welcome bonus and numerous ways to earn rewards, including through Amex Offers.
  • Cardholders can redeem their points for various options, including travel and gift cards, and also enjoy airport lounge access, travel credits, food and entertainment credits, fitness credits and automatic Gold status with Hilton and Marriott.
  • The card's high annual fee can be offset by utilizing its benefits strategically, but it may not be worth it for those who do not travel often or for those who prefer more flexible travel credits.
  • Before applying, it is essential to compare top travel credit cards and their benefits to determine which one aligns best with your personal spending habits.

You’ve probably heard of The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s often considered to be one of the best travel credit cards out there. But this rewards card actually works well for more than just travelers, thanks to credits for Uber rides and eats, digital entertainment and more (enrollment required). Plus, most cardholders can take advantage of benefits like airport lounge access and airline fee credits — even if they only travel once or twice a year.

The Amex Platinum’s $695 annual fee is its biggest drawback, but even that can be offset by rewards and credits if you take advantage of all the card has to offer. Here’s a breakdown of whether the fee may be worth it for you and how to get the most value from your Platinum card each year.

When is the Amex Platinum worth it?

Not sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of the Platinum Card from American Express? Here’s a look at some card scenarios that could make this card worth the annual fee.

You want to earn a lucrative welcome bonus

As a new cardholder, you can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $8,000 within 6 months of account opening. You can earn this generous welcome bonus on top of the points you earn for regular spending.

Since American Express Membership Rewards points are worth approximately 2.0 cents each on average according to our latest points and miles valuations, an 80,000-point welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,600 when redeemed with high-value transfer partners.

You want numerous ways to earn rewards

With this card, you can earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines and via American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on other purchases.

Plus, alongside the standard point-earning opportunities highlighted above, you can also take advantage of Amex Offers. This program provides limited-time promotions that allow you to earn extra cash back or points. For example, you may be offered $25 off an annual subscription to HBO Max or $30 back on a purchase of $150 or more at Ray-Ban.

You like having flexible redemption options

The best way to redeem your points is by booking travel through American Express Travel or transferring them to American Express transfer partner programs like Delta SkyMiles and Hilton Honors. However, you can also redeem your points for gift cards, statement credits, shopping with partner merchants and paying with points at select merchants — although the value you’ll get from these redemptions will vary.

You enjoy broad airport lounge access

One area where the Amex Platinum really stands out is airport lounge access. While many top travel credit cards only offer a Priority Pass Select membership, this card takes airport lounge membership a step further. For instance, you’ll receive not only Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required), but also access to Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta Air Lines and many other lounges.

You get extensive travel credits

Travel lovers will appreciate an annual credit of up to $189 toward CLEAR membership. CLEAR provides travelers with expedited security screening at more than 50 domestic airports. You’ll also get up to a $100 credit to cover your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee (every four years). Note that if you choose Global Entry, you’ll have access to TSA PreCheck benefits at no additional cost. You do have to pay for these memberships with your Amex Platinum for the credits to apply, and the charges will appear as a statement credit.

Additionally, you can earn up to $200 in credits annually for eligible, prepaid hotel stays at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties when booked through American Express Travel. You’ll also get up to $200 in airline fee credits per year for incidentals with a qualifying airline.

You get food and entertainment credits

This card offers up to $200 in Uber credits per year, which can be used for Uber rides or Uber Eats purchases. These credits are awarded in increments of $15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December. These credits can be useful if you use Uber often, but it’s important to remember that they don’t roll over from month to month. If you use Uber infrequently, you may not get the full value each year.

This card also comes with up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month). These credits can be used toward Disney+, Peacock and The New York Times subscriptions, among others.

And if you want to make grocery shopping easier, you can enjoy up to $155 in annual credits for a Walmart+ membership ($12.95 per month plus applicable taxes). To take advantage of this credit (and all other credits), simply pay your monthly Walmart+ membership with your Amex Platinum card.

You want to take advantage of the card’s fitness credits

Fitness fanatics can save a pretty penny with up to $300 in annual statement credits (credited annually, enrollment required; see offer terms for details) for in-club or digital membership fees at Equinox. This includes Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox and Equinox+ memberships (enrollment required). Additionally, you can also get a $300 statement credit on eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike purchases (terms apply).

You get automatic Gold status with Hilton and Marriott

You’ll enjoy Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status with Hilton Honors just for being an Amex Platinum cardmember. These status levels can help you secure luxurious perks and reach higher elite status levels faster.

You need important travel insurance benefits

You’ll score numerous travel insurance benefits with this card, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance.

When is the Amex Platinum not worth it?

Even with all the card has to offer, the Amex Platinum is not for everyone. Here are some situations where you likely want to skip this card:

You don’t want to pay the high annual fee

Because this card offers so many rewards and annual credits, if utilized strategically, you can gain far more than $695 in value each year from your card. However, even with numerous card benefits, a $695 annual fee is still high, and it might not make sense for consumers who won’t come close to offsetting the Platinum’s annual fee. In this case, looking into other top American Express cards may be a better choice.

For instance, the American Express® Gold Card, which comes with a $250 annual fee, offers rewards on dining, groceries and flights. It also offers up to $120 in annual Uber cash and up to $120 in annual dining credits (terms apply, enrollment required). New cardholders also can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within the first 6 months.

There’s also the American Express® Green Card*, which offers 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first 6 months of opening your account. Its annual fee is only $150, and you can earn points on dining and travel. You’ll also get up to a $189 credit toward CLEAR membership and up to a $100 credit for LoungeBuddy purchases.

You want more flexible travel credits

The Amex Platinum card comes with numerous travel credits each year (enrollment required), but the credits are less flexible than travel credits with other cards. For example, the $200 airline fee credit can go toward your airline of choice, but there are some rules that can limit its value. For instance, you must commit to a single airline, and your $200 airline credit only applies to eligible incidental purchases with that airline.

Then there’s the up to $200 annual credit for prepaid hotel bookings, but hotels must be booked via American Express Travel and at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties. A two-night-minimum stay is also required, which may incur total costs in excess of the annual credit amount.

Comparable travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® ($550 annual fee) and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ($395 annual fee) offer more flexible travel credits that are easier to use. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in credits for a wide range of travel purchases, while the Capital One Venture X includes up to $300 in credits for Capital One Travel purchases.

Should you get the Amex Platinum?

Ultimately, you’ll really need to evaluate all of the Amex Platinum’s benefits to determine whether or not you’ll earn enough rewards to balance out the $695 annual fee. If you travel a lot, it’s easy to see how the rewards could be well worth it, as you’ll receive extensive airport lounge access, boosted rewards on travel and plenty of travel-related credits.

However, cardholders who don’t travel that often can still benefit greatly by making strategic purchases with the card — especially if they can utilize the many credits offered for specific retailers, fitness brands and entertainment subscriptions.

Take a look at your existing spending habits and see how they line up with the Platinum Card’s benefits — the last thing you want to do is overspend in an attempt to make the most out of your card. If the Platinum Card’s rewards and benefits don’t line up with your spending habits and needs, you may want to consider a different type of travel card or a more general rewards card.

The bottom line

The Amex Platinum Card is only worth the annual fee if you’ll use enough benefits to recoup the fee. You could easily offset the fee with the statement credits alone, but this card also offers the chance to earn boosted rewards on travel purchases, too.

Before you apply, take the time to compare top travel credit cards to determine which ones might work best for your needs. Be sure you’re informed before committing to an annual price tag, even with the valuable benefits you’ll receive in return.

*Information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details and have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.