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The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium travel rewards card, offering bonuses and perks tailored for the frequent or international traveler. Savvy users who can take advantage of benefits like free airport lounge access and an annual air travel credit should be able to easily justify the hefty annual fee.
AmEx Platinum was launched in 1984 as the world’s first platinum card with an exclusive invitation-only membership and a then-astounding fee of $250. Today, the card’s upscale reputation has a $550 fee to match.
Membership is no longer aspirational, but available to anyone with a good credit history and strong financial standing.
- Earn a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of card ownership.
- Earn five points for every $1 spent on airfare — either through the airline directly or through the card’s travel portal – and five points for every $1 spent on hotels booked through American Express Travel.
- Earn one point for every $1 spent on everything else.
- Receive up to $200 annually for Uber rides. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- Receive $200 per calendar year in credits for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- AmEx will refund your application fee for either a TSA Pre-Check ($85) or Global Entry ($100) pass. Cardholders are eligible for one refund every five years, which is the length of time the pass is good for.
- Additional Gold Card members can be added at no extra cost.
- Cardholders will be charged no foreign exchange fees — a must for any decent travel credit card.
What makes this card better?
The rewards and annual credits the American Express Platinum card offers are on par with other popular airline credit cards. This card offers some other perks, as well, including:
- Access to the upscale Global Lounge network, which includes more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. As many as two guests can join cardholders for free in American Express’ Centurion lounges; additional guests pay $50 per person.
- Upgrades and benefits when staying at a Fine Hotels and Resorts partner hotel, including free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast for two and guaranteed late check-out.
- A $75 credit for a stay of two consecutive nights or more at participating hotels in The Hotel Collection.
- Automatic Starwood Gold Preferred Guest status, which comes with perks like more luxurious rooms, late checkout and a bonus of three points for every $1 spent.
- Automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, which includes a fifth night free with every booking and a 25 percent bonus on all points earned during a stay at any eligible property in the Hilton portfolio.
- Premium access to exclusive events like the Kentucky Derby and the Grand Prix de Monaco.
- Free unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots.
Who should apply for an American Express Platinum card?
If you don’t travel often enough to justify the high annual fee — and you’re still looking for a card that pays rewards — consider a cash back card with a lower annual fee.
You should pass on this card, as well, if you even occasionally carry a balance. The Platinum card is a charge card, which means you have to pay your bill in full every month.
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