The Amex Platinum offers luxury benefits in exchange for a $550 annual fee. This guide explains who should (and shouldn’t) sign up.
The Platinum Card® from American Express lets cardholders earn points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, which is one of the most flexible and popular options available. After all, Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to an array of airline and hotel partners but they can also be redeemed for travel through AmexTravel.com or for gift cards or merchandise. Another benefit of the Amex Membership Rewards program is the fact that, like with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can pool points from different cards you have into one account.
But, should you get the Platinum Card from American Express? Or, should you get another rewards credit card altogether? With the $550 annual fee on the Amex Platinum, it’s easy to wonder if you can get enough value in return.
While luxury travel credit cards don’t make sense for everyone, plenty of people are able to maximize these offers – even if they don’t travel all the time. This guide explains the outstanding features of the Amex Platinum, who this card is best for and how anyone can maximize its benefits.
A quick refresher: Details of the Amex Platinum
The Amex Platinum comes with a generous welcome offer, as well as the chance to earn more bonus points during your first six months. Here are the main cardholder details you should consider as you weigh the pros and cons:
The Platinum Card from American Express
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases on your card within six months of account opening
- Also, earn 10X points on up to $15,000 in combined spending on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for the first six months
- Earn 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on airfare booked directly with airlines and airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com; also, earn 1X points on all other purchases
- $550 annual fee
- Major cardholder benefits include broad airport lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, up to $200 in airline fee credits, up to $200 in Uber credits, automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors and more
Is the $550 annual fee worth it?
While the $550 annual fee on this card is steep, it’s important to keep the value of the cardholder benefits in mind. For example, you get up to $200 in Uber credits and up to $200 in airline incidental fee credits with your chosen airline per year. Priority Pass Select membership, which is part of this card’s airport lounge benefit, also has a retail value of $429.
Who should get the Amex Platinum?
Anyone who can maximize the 10X points offer in the first six months
This card’s welcome bonus is already rewarding, but those who can maximize the offer for 10X points on this card will do even better. If you’re able to spend $15,000 on combined eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets during the first six months, you’ll wind up with 150,000 American Express Membership Rewards points on these purchases alone.
Considering Membership Rewards points are worth around 2 cents each when redeemed for travel with partners, according to monthly points and miles valuations from The Points Guy, you have the potential to earn rewards worth $3,000 in six months with this promotion.
People who travel often and can utilize the Uber and airline fee credits
If you travel often and frequently check bags or pay for seat selection, then using the card’s up to $200 in airline fee credits could be a breeze. Just remember that the airline fee credit on this card is good only for one airline you choose ahead of time.
Restrictions also apply to the Uber credit, which can make it more difficult to use. For example, up to $200 in Uber credits are granted in increments of $15 each month except for December, when you get $35 in credits.
If you’re someone who takes an Uber ride at least once per month, making the most of these credits shouldn’t be a problem. Also, keep in mind that this card’s Uber credits are good for Uber Eats purchases, so they can apply to food delivery, too.
Frequent flyers who want the broadest airport lounge access available
While plenty of premium travel credit cards (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card) offer Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, the Amex Platinum lets you enter more airport lounges than any other premium credit card.
You do get Priority Pass membership, but you also get access to Amex Centurion lounges in destinations like Dallas, Denver and Hong Kong. You can also enter Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta Air Lines.
Hilton and Marriott enthusiasts who won’t earn status through paid stays this year
If you want automatic status with the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs, signing up for the Amex Platinum can make it happen. Having Gold status with both programs gives you access to elite benefits like room upgrades and welcome gifts but it also makes it easier to move up to the next level of status through paid hotel stays.
Who shouldn’t get the Amex Platinum?
People who like to book travel through third party websites
While the Amex Platinum gives cardholders the chance to earn 5X points on airfare booked with airlines and on flights and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 in combined purchases per calendar year), you won’t earn these bonus points if you book elsewhere. This is very limiting, and it can be a deal-breaker for people who love to book travel packages or flight deals through portals like Expedia.com or Priceline.com.
Frequent flyers who aren’t loyal to a specific airline
While the airline fee credit the Amex Platinum offers is worth up to $200 per year, you have to choose a major airline for this credit to apply, and you can change your preferred airline only once per year in January. If you’re someone who rarely flies with the same airline, using this credit can be a challenge.
Frequent flyers who need access to more domestic airline programs
Finally, it’s important to note that the Amex Platinum doesn’t have as many popular domestic airlines as transfer partners when compared with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. If you want to be able to transfer your points to airline programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards or United MileagePlus, you should consider a Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
How to get the most out of the Amex Platinum
While the Amex Platinum will set you back $550 per year, it’s easy to see why rewards enthusiasts continue signing up. The cardholder benefits can be worth considerably more than the annual fee if you use them, and there are plenty of ways to make sure you earn enough points to offset the fee and then some.
If you are thinking of signing up and hoping to get the most out of your Amex Platinum, here are some tips that can help:
- Check out this CardMatch tool to see if you qualify for a higher Amex Platinum bonus offer than what is currently available to the public.
- Use your card at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations for the first six months since you’ll get 10X points on up to $15,000 in combined spending in those categories.
- Add your Amex Platinum as the preferred method of payment on your Uber account.
- Frequently check the available Amex Offers on your card, which can help you earn cash back or bonus points on eligible purchases.
- Choose an airline you already have a booking with as your preferred airline this year, then make sure to use your card for seat selection, checked baggage fees and eligible in-flight purchases.
- Opt into automatic Gold Elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs.
- Join Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and use your credit card to pay the membership fee, which will be reimbursed on your card every four years for Global Entry and every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.
- Pay your credit card bill in full each month to avoid paying the 15.99% to 22.99% variable APR charged with this card’s Pay Over Time feature.
The Amex Platinum is one of the most rewarding travel credit cards on the market today, so the $550 annual fee shouldn’t surprise you too much. Still, you should make sure you have a plan to maximize its benefits before you sign up.
If you’re not entirely certain the $550 fee is worth it, there are other American Express credit cards and travel credit cards from other issuers to consider. This card could easily be the best for your wallet, but you should compare a few options so you know for sure.
All information about theChase Sapphire Preferred Cardhas been collected independently CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.