The Platinum Card® from American Express review
Best for luxury travel perks
- Rewards rate: 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; 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: 75,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months
- Annual fee: $550
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: See Pay Over Time APR
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 may save you a fortune on exclusive opportunities, though at premium cost.
Although the $550 annual fee might be tough to swallow, the Platinum Card is well worth it if you travel enough to take advantage of its features.
Current welcome offer
The Platinum card’s current welcome bonus weighs in at 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first six months. This offer is worth up to $750 when redeemed through American Express Travel, but The Points Guy estimates double its actual travel value to $1,500, thanks to potential strategic redemptions with Amex transfer partners.
Impressive welcome bonuses are a signature Amex feature, so be sure to line up your budget to make the spending requirement more manageable if you don’t have upcoming travel expenses.
The American Express Platinum card has a limited range when it comes to earning rewards, though it delivers some of the most valuable, versatile points on its categories.
You can find more ways to earn points by traveling with other American Express credit cards, which makes them excellent options to shore up the Platinum Card’s weaknesses. Many offer more appealing rates in categories like dining, transit or U.S. supermarket purchases.
With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels and flights booked directly with airlines or the American Express travel portal, 2 points per dollar on prepaid car rentals through the American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Outside the Platinum Card’s bonus categories, the Amex Offers program extends limited-time opportunities to earn decent cash back or points on popular retailer and restaurant purchases. These rewards are hit or miss, though, since they might not fit your spending.
Otherwise, referral bonuses are your other option for extra points. Once you log into your Amex account and confirm you’re eligible, an approved referral to any American Express card could earn Platinum Card members 15,000 points (up to 55,000 points each year).
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.
Other redemption options include:
- Using points to cover card charges, like a statement credit
- Pay with points at checkout with select merchants and prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel
- Redeeming points for gift cards
- Shopping with points at partner merchants
Just keep in mind that these other redemption options often get you less than 1 cent of value per point, so even if you aren’t traveling soon, you might be better off saving rewards for later.
How much are points worth?
Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable reward currencies. Points are worth the most toward travel through American Express according to its handy rewards calculator, but point value can drop by up to half when you redeem for non-travel options.
However, for a new special offer allows select cardholders will be able to redeem reward points at a boosted 1 cent-per-point rate to cover card charges — a 40 percent increase from the standard 0.6 cent redemption value for statement credits. Travel might still be the most valuable use of your rewards, but it’s an offer worth considering if your travel plans are on ice for now.
The Points Guy puts the applied value of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point — thanks to its diverse list of travel partners with valuable redemption options.
The Platinum Card is the cream of the crop when it comes to American Express credit card benefits. In fact, premium perks like extensive airport lounge access, annual travel credits, elite hotel status deals and comprehensive travel protections are some of this card’s main attractions.
Credits and annual reimbursements
The wealth of travel credits that users receive each year are extremely valuable. American Express Platinum offers credits including:
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (every four years)
- Up to $200 in airline fee credits (annually) for incidentals with a select airline
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash for rides and delivery ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December)
- Up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases annually ($50 for January through June and $50 for July through December
- $100 credit on qualifying hotel purchases (per 2+ consecutive night stays with a brand in The Hotel Collection)
As you can see, frequent travelers who spend heavily on Uber rides, airline incidentals and expedited security can almost make up the steep $550 annual fee in credits alone. If you travel for the military, you don’t even have to worry about justifying the annual fee—it’s reduced to $0 for active-duty military members.
The Global Lounge Collection access
American Express Platinum cardholders also have access to the most extensive portfolio of airport lounges available on a credit card. When you book your flight with your card, you can visit The Centurion Lounge, The International American Express Lounge, Delta Sky Clubs (for Delta flights only) and Priority Pass Select lounges.
Hotel benefits and complimentary elite status
On top of the 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on American Express Travel portal, Amex Platinum cardholders also receive complimentary benefits ranging from room upgrades, credit for hotel purchases and other check-in privileges. Hotels in the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program grant cardholders perks worth up to $550 each stay at 1,000+ luxury hotels worldwide, plus upgraded rooms and $100 toward hotel activities at over 600 locations in The Hotel Collection.
Starting Jan. 10, 2021, you can also receive a complimentary night/$150+ property credit after booking an eligible stay at participating Hotel Collection locations through American Express Travel, or another a complimentary night/$250+ property credit for doing the same at a participating Fine Hotels + Resorts property (terms apply).
Platinum Card members also get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status to stack their benefits. Topping it all off, you can also use the American Express Platinum Concierge to reserve and plan your stay.
Premium trip protections
Platinum cardholders are well-covered when it comes to travel insurance and protections. Your trip is secured with up to $500 per trip (up to two claims each 12 months) in trip delay insurance and up to $10,000 per trip or $20,000 per card (each 12 months) in trip cancellation insurance. These may be two of the most important insurances travelers normally pay for, and the Platinum Card’s level of coverage ties it with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® as the best credit card for travel insurance.
Cardholders also receive car rental loss and damage insurance along with complimentary premium car rental program membership benefits.
Rates and fees
As American Express’s top-tier travel rewards card, the Platinum card’s annual fee is the highest: $550. You can more than make up for it with travel credits and perks, but carefully consider whether you’ll travel enough to outweigh the fee.
The Platinum Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is natural for a premium travel card. Unlike typical credit cards that have a credit limit, this product has “no preset spending limit.” No preset spending limit means the spending limit is flexible. In fact, unlike a traditional credit card with a set 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 at a 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable interest rate with a monthly plan fee of up to 1.33 percent of each purchase amount. Plan it, on the other hand, charges you a fixed monthly plan fee based on the length of plan you are approved for on qualifying purchases over $100.
How the American Express Platinum compares to other travel cards
The Platinum Card’s long list of benefits is difficult to match outside other luxury cards. Depending on your spending habits, here are a few competitors that may deliver better reward earning opportunities for the annual fee.
|Card||Annual fee||Rewards rate||Welcome bonus||Other details|
|Citi Prestige® Card||$495||
|American Express® Gold Card||$250||
||• Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months.||
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$550||
Best cards to pair with 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 be a great strategy.
The American Express® Gold Card is a popular partner, which earns 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X points). This duo will also snag you extra annual hotel and airline fee credits (New and existing Gold card members will only be able to continue to utilize the airline fee credit through December 31, 2021), plus up to $120 in dining credits each year with participating merchants.
But if you want to earn maximum points, you need each of the Amex trifecta cards. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2X points on all purchases on the first $50,000 each year (then 1X points)—catching anything that doesn’t fit in the Gold or Platinum cards’ categories. The closest flat-rate rewards alternative would be the American Express Cash Magnet® Card (1.5 percent cash back on all purchases) if you don’t qualify for a business card.
Bankrate’s Take—Is American Express Platinum worth it?
The American Express Platinum Card has remained a travel staple for a reason. It’s hard to beat the 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.
But if you fly less frequently and don’t spend heavily on flights and hotels, you should consider the Gold Card for better rewards on non-travel purchases at a lower annual fee.
- Extensive lounge access and travel benefits
- Highest travel category rewards rate of any American Express credit card
- Monthly and annual credits almost balance out the annual fee
- 19 airline and three hotel partners make travel rewards valuable and versatile
- $550 annual fee
- The bonus travel categories only reward flight and hotel purchases
- The up to $200 airline fee credit doesn’t go toward the ticket price
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.