American Express joins the long list of credit card issuers shifting credit card features encompassing broader lifestyle needs—not just travel. In this effort, the issuer has recently revamped and added several upgraded benefits to its flagship travel card: The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Though the new, higher annual fee of $695 has been the center of the buzz surrounding the card, many people don’t know about the new, upgraded benefits the card now offers.
Now, there are new credits for the first year of card membership, plus a welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points, up from 75,000 points, after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months.
Whether you are a long-time cardholder of the Amex Platinum or are considering adding it to your wallet for the first time, here’s what you need to know about the new annual fee and upgraded benefits.
What does the American Express Platinum Offer?
- Rewards rate: 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months; earn 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership
- Annual fee: $695
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: See Pay Over Time APR
In addition to these terms, the card offers plenty of credits based on its three pillars: travel, everyday living and all-around value.
Here’s a look at the annual credits offered to new cardholders:
- $200 airline fee credit
- $200 hotel credit
- $200 Uber credit
- $179 Clear credit
- Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck ($100 or $85 every 5 years)
- $240 digital entertainment credit
- $100 Saks credit
- $300 Equinox credit
Altogether, these credits provide over $1,400 in value for new card members.
What’s new about the American Express Platinum Card?
There’s no way to gloss over the biggest change with all the new benefits and credits: the $695 annual fee. Up from $550, it’s one of the highest annual fees out there among credit cards. But even with the higher fee, some new features could justify it.
For starters, the new increased welcome bonus now offers 100,000 points, up from 75,000 points, after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months. This bonus is worth $1,000 but could be worth twice that when redeemed through Amex transfer partners.
Additionally, you may qualify for a bonus up to 150,000 points if you apply for the Platinum card through Bankrate’s CardMatch tool.
Then, there are new credits like the ones for Equinox, Clear and digital entertainment added to the list of card perks.
One change that might be considered a downgrade is the guesting policy for Amex Centurion lounges taking effect in 2023. Guests of cardholders will now be charged $50 for lounge access, but Platinum cardholders still maintain the same access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection.
What’s the same about American Express Platinum Card?
Even with all the new lifestyle-related benefits, the card still stands out for the value and perks it provides frequent travelers. With the higher rewards earnings on travel, travel-related credits for airline-related spending and the ability to get more out of your rewards by booking with airline and hotel partners along with premium travel protections and airport lounge access, the Amex Platinum keeps its place as a top-tier travel card.
Who should get the American Express Platinum Card?
If you are a travel enthusiast that enjoys racking up rewards and redeeming them for travel, this is still a good travel credit card to keep around. The extra travel perks the card offers will also be a draw. If the new higher fee seems well out of bounds for you, it might help to think about the new credits and boosted bonus that more than justify the new fee.
If, alas, you can’t see yourself with this card, for one reason or another, there are other rewards cards and travel cards with no annual fee that could provide similar (though scaled down) benefits for travel and lifestyle spending.