Skip to Main Content

The Platinum Card® from American Express review: Are the perks worth the price tag?

This card could be a fantastic choice for fans of luxury travel, but its annual fee could be tough for some cardholders to stomach.

 /  22 min
Bankrate logo

The Bankrate promise

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.8

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5

Bottom line

Amex’s enhanced Platinum Card luxury travel benefits, rewards and yearly credits are a fantastic value for frequent flyers since the perks nearly recoups the increased annual fee. Still, the price point is certainly steep if you’re not sure you’ll regularly maximize its features.

BEST FOR BIG SPENDERS
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

Earn 80,000 points

Intro offer

Info

$1600

Offer valuation

Info

5X - 5X

Rewards rate

Info

$695

Annual fee

See Pay Over Time APR

APR

American Express Platinum Card overview

The Platinum Card from American Express has been a long-standing favorite among the best credit cards for its luxury travel benefits. Its high hotel and flight rewards rate, ongoing offers and extensive travel access can save you a fortune on exclusive opportunities, though it will come at a premium cost.

Although the $695 annual fee might be tough to swallow, the Amex Platinum is well worth it if you travel enough to take advantage of its features and credits, as they can easily recoup the card’s cost. However, the limited reward categories and unfocused assortment of annual credits may steer you toward a competing card if you care more about simplifying and saving on travel than high-end coupon cutting for luxury experiences.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 5X points on up to $500,000 per calendar year spent on directly booked airfare, flights and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel
    • 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel
    • 1X points on all other purchases
    • Rewards value: up to 1 cent per point when redeemed through American Express (around 2.0 cents on average through the right transfer partner)

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 80,000 points after $8,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $695 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No intro APR on purchases
    • No intro APR on balance transfers
    • 21.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Recurring travel credits toward eligible airline incidental fees, CLEAR® Plus membership, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® application fees, prepaid hotel bookings through American Express Travel, benefits with Fine Hotels + Resorts® and The Hotel Collection properties and more
    • Annual credits for Uber rides and Uber Eats orders, Walmart+ membership, Equinox fitness membership, Saks Fifth Avenue products and several digital entertainment subscriptions (Terms Apply)
    • Airport lounge access through American Express Global Lounge Collection, including complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, Delta Sky Club membership and more
    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status
    • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, emergency evacaution and transportation coverage
    • Purchase protections, including cellphone protection and return protection
    • Premium status with complimentary car rental programs (Avis Preferred®, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® and National Car Rental® Emerald Club) and a variety of other travel perks
    • Flexible spending limit and access to Pay It Plan It alternative payment plans

    Expert Appraisal: Exceptional
    See our expert analysis

American Express Platinum pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    It offers the highest travel rewards rates of any American Express card available.

  • Checkmark

    It has the most extensive lounge access and travel benefits of nearly any mainstream rewards card available to the public.

  • Checkmark

    Monthly and annual credits are worth more than the annual fee, potentially providing around $1,700 in recurring yearly value.

Cons

  • Its $695 annual fee, niche perks and less-competitive reward rates may alienate some applicants.

  • Elevated rewards in certain bonus categories are a bit limited; you’ll only earn boosted rewards on flights, hotels and rental cars through Amex or the airline directly.

  • Some of the perks and annual credits, such as the fitness-related credits and private jet program offers, aren’t practical for many cardholders.

Why you might want the American Express Platinum

The Platinum Card is the cream of the crop when it comes to credit card perks, offering first-class travel benefits, top-notch rewards value and a treasure trove of bonus credits worth more than $1,000.

Premium perks like extensive airport lounge access, annual travel credits, elite hotel status and comprehensive travel protections are some of this card’s main attractions. However, you can also use several perks to save on everyday expenses, including credits for select digital entertainment subscriptions, Uber and Walmart+.

Rewards: First-class rewards value

While earning rewards with the American Express Platinum card is limited to a few categories, it offers some of the most versatile and valuable credit card rewards, thanks to Amex’s diverse list of transfer partners. Our latest point valuations estimate Membership Rewards points can be worth around 2.0 cents if you transfer to the right partner.

You’ll get the most value using your Membership Rewards points for booking flights, hotels, cruises and other travel options through American Express or its transfer partners’ loyalty programs. Transfer values vary by partner, but typically convert at a 1:1 ratio. However, your points are less valuable if you redeem with the issuer — even through the American Express Travel portal.

Amex’s rewards calculator shows your points have a maximum value of 1 cent each if you redeem them through the issuer portal, including travel and:

  • Redeeming points toward statement credit to cover card charges
  • Redeeming points to pay at checkout with select merchants and for prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel
  • Redeeming points for gift cards
  • Redeeming points to shop at partner merchants

Just keep in mind that these other redemption options often get you a point value of less than 1 cent per point, so you might be better off saving rewards for later if you aren’t flying through Amex or a transfer partner soon.

For example, you’ll get a full 1-cent-per-point value if you redeem for airfare or itinerary upgrades through American Express Travel, but booking other travel options like hotel stays, rental cars and vacations waters your points down to a value of just 0.7 cents apiece. This is a bit strange considering rival rewards programs usually offer at least a 1-cent point value toward hotels and other issuer-booked travel.

Your points’ value also drops for most non-travel options, which is more common for travel card rewards. Ultimately, the rewards you earn with the Amex Platinum are more valuable than most competing travel cards’ rewards, but only if you stick to strategic transfer partner redemptions.

Perks: Leading annual credit list

The complimentary airport lounge memberships are some of the most valuable Amex Platinum perks year to year. However, the wealth of travel credits and other annual reimbursements that cardmembers receive can be even more valuable — worth up to $1,709 each year. Frequent travelers who spend heavily on airline incidentals (like baggage, in-flight purchases and seat upgrades), hotel bookings through Amex and expedited airport security can almost make up the steep $695 annual fee in credits alone.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this card’s laundry list of perks when you’re not traveling. Since the 2021 Amex Platinum upgrade, cardmember can take advantage of various credits for popular day-to-day purchases, like Uber rides or Uber Eats orders, digital subscriptions, Walmart+ and select fitness expenses.

Take a look at the full list of Amex Platinum credits below to see if enough fit into your spending habits to make the card’s price tag worthwhile:

Travel perks: Airport lounge access, protections and more

You’ll have access to the most extensive portfolio of airport lounges available on a credit card with the Amex Platinum’s Global Lounge Collection. Plus, American Express has also expanded the Centurion Network to encompass more than 40 Centurion Lounge and Studio locations, so Amex Platinum cardholders can cool their jets in more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and over 650 cities.

By comparison, the next-best lounge access you can obtain is with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which only provide Priority Pass Select membership and access to the respective issuer airport lounges.

And to make travelling even better, the Amex Platinum comes with complimentary hotel perks like room upgrades, credit for hotel purchases and other check-in privileges. Hotels in the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program grant cardholders perks worth $600 for each eligible two-night stay at over 1,300 properties worldwide, plus upgraded rooms and up to $100 toward hotel activities at over 700 locations in The Hotel Collection.

Platinum Card members also get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status to stack their benefits.

Platinum cardholders are well-covered when it comes to travel insurance and protections. Your trip is secured with trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance and even. However, the Amex Platinum goes above and beyond with incredible emergency medical transport and evacuation coverage, baggage insurance and Premium Global Assist® hotline access.

Lightbulb
Bankrate Insight

Taking advantage of the complimentary airport lounge memberships for you and your guests can be an easy way to make the annual fee worthwhile. The yearly Delta Sky Club membership is already worth $695, and the Priority Pass Select and Amex-partnered lounges could be worth hundreds of dollars for you and your guests.  

Current welcome offer: One of the most valuable available

The Platinum card’s current welcome bonus weighs in at 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $8,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership. This offer is worth up to $800 when redeemed through American Express Travel, but based on Bankrate’s latest point valuation, this bonus could be worth around $1,600 in travel with the right transfer partner (based on an estimated average point value of 2.0 cents per point with high-value partners).

It’s currently one of the most valuable credit card welcome offers available, but it’s worth mentioning that the intro bonus has previously offered 100,000 points. Still, instead of waiting for a rare limited-time offer, the current intro bonus is more than worth jumping on. The six-month spending requirement shouldn’t be too difficult to reach since you’d only need to spend around $1,333 each month.

Why you might want a different travel card

The American Express Platinum is certainly one of the most attractive cards on the market thanks to its luxurious travel features. However, it might not be the most worthwhile elite card if you want to rake in rewards or track just a few focused perks.

Rates and fees: Charges one of the highest annual fees on the market

As American Express’s top-tier travel rewards card, the Platinum card’s annual fee is the highest: $695. While this weighs in as one of the steepest annual fees on the market, you can more than make up for the cost with the card’s travel perks and credits. However, you should carefully consider whether you’ll use these benefits enough each month to outweigh the fee since offsetting the fee with rewards spending is a bit harder.

As far as other rates and fees go, the Platinum Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is natural for a premium travel card. Unlike typical cards with credit limits, this product has “no preset spending limit.” No preset spending limit means you get more purchasing power since the spending limit is flexible. Unlike a traditional credit card with a defined credit limit, the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment and credit history.

Just in case you need to manage unexpected expenses, American Express offers Platinum holders the Pay It Plan It and Pay Over Time programs. Pay Over Time allows cardholders to revolve a balance like a credit card but at a 21.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR. If it’s a more cost-effective option, Plan It provides a fixed monthly installment plan on purchases over $100 and charges a monthly fee of up to 1.33 percent. Your monthly rate is based on factors including the plan’s length.

Reward categories: Limited opportunities for a leading travel card

Issuers’ flagship travel cards often earn 3X to 10X rewards across various bonus categories, including issuer portal-booked travel (usually airfare, hotels and rental cars), dining, general travel purchases and more.

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll only earn 5X points on prepaid hotels and flights booked directly with airlines or the American Express travel portal, 2X points on prepaid car rentals through the American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 1X points on all other purchases.

The Platinum card’s shallow bonus category pool and relatively low rewards rates significantly reduce your reward opportunities compared to rival cards. What’s more, the subpar point value for almost any redemption option outside Amex or transfer partner-booked airfare further stunts your rewards. 

This means you’ll have to mainly lean on the annual credits and travel features to make the higher annual fee worthwhile. Although there’s a wealth of benefits at your fingertips, several are tied to niche products or services while others aren’t as valuable for occasional travelers.

Niche features: Several perks aren’t practical for typical cardholders

Despite carrying well over $1,500 in potential annual credits and a laundry list of other perks, some of these features are a bit niche and may be hard for the average person to take advantage of (such as the fitness-related annual credits and Wheels Up’s premium private jet program membership).

This can make the Platinum Card’s perks feel scattered or make it harder to recoup the annual fee if you don’t place a priority on luxury travel. On the bright side, authorized users can help you take advantage of a few features, including the recurring Equinox, digital entertainment, hotel and Clear Plus credits. 

Regardless, it’s important to determine whether you’ll realistically use at least $695-worth of perks before you apply. Otherwise, a more flexible rival card may suit your spending habits better.

First-year value vs. ongoing value

The Platinum card’s annual fee can be big concern for many prospective cardmembers, and its annual fee increase in 2021 didn’t help matters.

That said, Amex also introduced several new perks in the same year, giving the card up to $929 in additional ongoing value after the first year. And while some of the Platinum card’s benefits and annual credits are pretty niche, you’ll have up to $2,733 in recurring perks each year to help recoup the annual fee.

The Amex Platinum also has a strong first-year value with one of the most valuable welcome offers currently available. However, based on the average person’s spending, we calculate that most people will only earn about $279 in rewards value each year via the card’s bonus categories when redeemed through Amex. This isn’t very impressive for an elite travel card, but the annual rewards value could be worth about $585 at 2.0 cents per point with the right transfer partner.

Even so, based on this breakdown of the card’s cost and value in the first year and beyond, you could offset its annual fee twice over after your first year if you’re able to take full advantage of the Platinum Card’s features.

To make your research easier, we’ve calculated the Amex Platinum card’s first-year and ongoing value based on our card scoring formula, a $22,500 annual spend and our latest point valuations (the baseline 1-cent value through Amex, in this table).

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards +$279 +$279
Welcome offers +$800 (80,000 points redeemed through American Express Travel)
Perks (of monetary value)
  • +$200 (Annual airline fee credits)
  • +$25 (TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application credit; up to $100 or $85 every four years)
  • +$329 (Priority Pass Select membership)
  • +$695 (Delta Sky Club membership)
  • +$189 (annual CLEAR Plus membership statement credits)
  • +up to $200 (annual credits for prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings via American Express Travel with a minimum two-night stay)
  • +up to $100 (credit for eligible The Hotel Collection bookings of two or more consecutive nights through American Express Travel)
  • +$200 in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats orders (benefit renews annually)
  • +$240 (in digital entertainment credits annually)
  • +$300 (in Equinox fitness membership credits per calendar year for eligible membership fees)
  • +up to $100 (in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits)
  • +$155 annually in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95, plus applicable taxes, subject to auto-renewal; credit available as a statement credit each month when you use your Platinum card to pay; Plus Up benefits not eligible)
  • +$300 (in a one-time $300 credit for eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike online purchases through Amex’s provided link)
  • +$200 (Annual airline fee credits)
  • +$25 (TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application credit; up to $100 or $85 every four years)
  • +$329 (Priority Pass Select membership)
  • +$695 (Delta Sky Club membership)
  • +$189 (annual CLEAR Plus membership statement credits)
  • +up to $200 (annual credits for prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings via American Express Travel with a minimum two-night stay)
  • +up to $100 (credit for eligible The Hotel Collection bookings of two or more consecutive nights through American Express Travel)
  • +$200 in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats orders (benefit renews annually)
  • +$240 (in digital entertainment credits annually)
  • +$300 (in Equinox fitness membership credits per calendar year for eligible membership fees)
  • +up to $100 (in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits)
  • +$155 annually in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95, plus applicable taxes, subject to auto-renewal; credit available as a statement credit each month when you use your Platinum card to pay; Plus Up benefits not eligible)
Annual fee -$695 -$695
Total value $3,417 $2,317

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

According to Danyal Ahmed, a credit card writer at The Points Guy, the Amex Platinum card is a must-have for people who purchase airline tickets frequently. 

Whether I am flying for work or personal reasons, all my airfare is charged to the Amex Platinum which gives me a staggering 5 points per dollar and offers stellar travel protection in case I encounter any issues. The card overall provides many lifestyle benefits, but I would have to say earning and redeeming Membership Rewards points with phenomenal transfer partners is what I look forward to most.

— Danyal Ahmed, Contributor, The Points Guy

How the American Express Platinum compares to other travel cards

Although few credit cards offer a list of benefits as long as the Platinum Card, many rivals can still go toe-to-toe thanks to their more robust rewards rates, practical perks and lower annual fee.

Image of The Platinum Card® from American Express
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$695

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

5X - 5X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$550

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 10x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of American Express® Gold Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$250

Intro offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points
Info

Rewards rate

3X - 4X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the American Express Platinum

Since the Amex Platinum’s bonus categories only reward flight and hotel purchases, pairing the Platinum Card with other point-earning American Express cards can shore up the Platinum Card’s weaknesses. Many offer more appealing rates in categories like dining, transit or U.S. supermarket purchases.

The Amex trifecta can be an incredibly lucrative strategy for racking up Membership Rewards points toward travel, but it definitely isn’t the most cost-effective or versatile credit card combination available for travelers. Unless you’re looking to maximize your travel value through Amex and you aren’t afraid of stacking up more annual fees, you might be better off pairing the American Express Platinum with rewards cards from another issuer.

Who is the Amex Platinum right for?

Because of it’s hefty price tag, the Amex Platinum isn’t right for everyone. But if you fall into one of these groups, then it’s definitely worth considering for your wallet.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the American Express Platinum worth it?

The American Express Platinum Card has remained a travel staple for a reason. It’s hard to beat this card’s rewards rate and luxury perks if you spend a lot of time traveling. Unlike airline cards, the rewards and credits you earn are valuable enough to be worthwhile for any flyer who likes a bit of luxury with their vacation.

However, a $695 annual fee still intimidates many cardholders, and for a good reason. The card’s yearly rewards value may be lower than that of competing cards based on the average person’s spending habits, and the card’s catalog of niche perks may not be practical for most people, making it harder to justify the annual fee.

If you can take advantage of its features, the American Express Platinum Card delivers exceptional value. If your spending doesn’t align with its perks, you should consider another card with more practical benefits at a lower annual fee.

Dig deeper: Is the American Express Platinum worth it?

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

All information about American Express Cash Magnet Card and Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold card, please click here.

How we rated this card

Document
150+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
Search
1800
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.