The Platinum Card® from American Express review

Published: November 13, 2019

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Published: November 13, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Luxury Rating:
2.7 rating
2.7 rating
2.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.0
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 5.0
Customer Experience 4.6

In a Nutshell:

The American Express Platinum card carries one of the highest annual fees for a card in its class and a rewards rate that pales in comparison to similar cards; however, you can’t beat its extensive list of luxury travel perks, including access to exclusive Centurion lounges.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5:1 eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com
  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Terms apply

Introductory Bonus
60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$550 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($75,000 spend)
$1,847

APR
Charge card (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise or charity
  • Use points for all or a portion of qualifying travel purchases
  • Transfer points to 17 airline partners, including Delta Airlines

Cons

  • Must redeem travel rewards through amextravel.com

 

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: Free airport lounge access, $200 airline fee credit, $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit, no foreign transaction fees (See rates and fees), up to $200 Uber credit, $100 hotel credit, Hilton Honors gold status, platinum concierge service, car rental insurance, car rental perks and discounts, luxury hotel perks and discounts, exclusive events and services, travel protections, purchase protections, $100 Sake Fifth Avenue credit

Rewards Rating:
4.5 rating
4.5 rating
4.5 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 5.0
Customer Experience 4.6

In a Nutshell:

The $550 annual fee might set your head spinning, but the massive list of perks and benefits that comes with American Express’s top-of-the-line luxury card offers plenty of value. (See rates and fees)

See if you’re prequalified for the Platinum Card® from American Express with CardMatch™

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5:1 eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com
  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Terms apply

Introductory Bonus
60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus

  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit every 4 years
  • Up to $200 Uber credit
  • $75-$100 hotel credit
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit (enrollment required)

Annual Fee
$550 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$797

APR
Charge card (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise or charity
  • Use points for all or a portion of qualifying travel purchases
  • Transfer points to 17 airline partners, including Delta Airlines

Cons

  • Must redeem travel rewards through amextravel.com

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: Free airport lounge access, $200 airline fee credit, $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit, no foreign transaction fees (See rates and fees), $200 Uber credit, $100 hotel credit, Hilton Honors gold status, platinum concierge service, car rental insurance, car rental perks and discounts, luxury hotel perks and discounts, exclusive events and services, travel protections, purchase protections, $100 Sake Fifth Avenue credit

With a $550 annual fee, the Amex Platinum card is one of the most expensive rewards cards available. However, it comes with a bevy of luxury travel benefits that place it among the most valuable for frequent travelers.

From generous travel credits to elite status with one of the largest hotel brands, the Platinum card is designed to take the stress out of vacationing.

Welcome bonus

The introductory offer on the Platinum card is among the most generous available – 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months. If you redeem your points for airfare through American Express travel, you can get a couple round-trip flights out of the bonus.

The large offer comes with one caveat – the spend threshold might be difficult to reach. Since the Platinum card is a charge card, you’ll have to charge and pay off $5,000 in the first three months to qualify for the bonus.

Referral bonuses

You can also earn a fair-sized bonus by referring your friends and family for an Amex Platinum card: up to 15,000 points for each approval (with a maximum of 225,000 points per year).

See related: 9 ways to earn American Express points

Earning Membership Rewards points

The earning rate on the Amex Platinum card is not quite as impressive, due to its limited bonus categories. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel as well as 5 points per dollar on hotels booked with American Express Travel. General purchases only earn 1 point per dollar.

Even for frequent travelers, the bonus categories probably don’t make up the majority of your budget – significantly cutting into rewards potential. If racking up points quickly is more important than luxury travel benefits and credits, you might be better off opting for a less expensive travel card.

What are American Express Platinum points worth?

Unfortunately, the Amex Platinum card offers less flexibility and value on its points than some competing cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. While the Reserve card offers a 50 percent bonus on points through its portal, the Amex Platinum card doesn’t offer any sort redemption bonus. Points are worth only 1 cent apiece when redeemed through the American Express Travel.

For other redemption options, however, the point value is even less.

Amex Platinum redemption options

Redemption option Point value (cents)
Airfare through American Express travel 1
Charity donation 1 (up to 500,000 points, 0.5 cent thereafter)
Uber/NYC taxi 1
Airline upgrade 1
Gift cards Up to 1
Other travel purchases on American Express travel 0.7
Expedia travel 0.7
Shopping partner (Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Grubhub, Newegg, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples) 0.7
Statement credit 0.6
Excise tax offset fee (for transfer to travel partner) 0.5

Also, while many other travel cards offer a 1 cent per point value for statement credits, the Platinum only earns 0.6 cents – making it difficult to use your points for anything other than booking flights.

Other luxury travel cards – like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® – even offer a higher than 1 cent point value when you redeem for travel purchases.

Transferring Amex Platinum points

On the plus side, American Express offers an extensive list of travel partners for Amex Platinum cardholders to transfer points to at a 1:1 rate (for most partners). Though you’ll be charged an excise fee of 0.06 cents for each point that you transfer (up to $99), transferring can often get you a higher point value.

American Express transfer partners

Partner Transfer ratio Estimated point value (cents, including transfer ratio and excise fee)
Singapore KrisFlyer 1:1 2.16
Iberia Plus 1:1 1.64
Delta SkyMiles 1:1 1.55
Aeromexico 1:1 1.54
Aeroplan 1:1 1.44
All Nippon Airways (ANA) 1:1 1.42
British Airways 1:1 1.4
Emirates Skywards 1:1 1.4
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1 1.27
JetBlue 1.25:1 1.12
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1 0.94
Asia Miles 1:1 0.94
Etihad Guest 1:1 0.94
Flying Blue 1:1 0.94
Hilton Honors 1:2 0.94
Choice Privileges 1:1 0.77
Marriott Bonvoy 1:1 0.75
Virgin Atlantic 1:1 0.74
El Al Israel Airlines 20:1 (0.01)

In many cases, transferring Amex Platinum points can significantly boost their value. Plus, the transfer partner list includes major airline and hotel programs, making it easy to apply rewards toward travel to any destination.

Tip: The Amex Platinum card is a good choice for frequent flyers on Delta Air Lines. Delta is a special partner of Amex, and the Platinum card features many perks with Delta, including point transfer to Delta Air Lines and Delta Sky Club access.

Luxury lounge access

One of the plushest benefits of the Amex Platinum card is access to the entire American Express Global Lounge collection, including more than 1,000 locations around the world. Both the primary cardholder and two guests can access these lounges – all including luxury perks that take the stress out of travel.

Among these lounges are the lavish Centurion Lounges, which offer benefits such as complimentary food and beverages from locally-renowned chefs, spa services and much more. Platinum cardholders also enjoy entrance to Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club and Airspace lounges.

As far as lounge access, the Platinum card includes one of the most extensive offerings of any travel credit card. In addition, any authorized users on your card can enjoy their own access (including their own guests). Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a $175 fee to add authorized users (See rates and fees).

Tip: You should take a look at Amex’s Centurion lounge offerings to see if any lounges are located in an airport that you frequently travel through – you could be enjoying your layovers there in style.

Top-notch travel perks

For frequent travelers, the Amex Platinum card’s slew of travel credits and perks can more than make up for its $550 annual fee.

  • No foreign transaction fees – Unlike many credit cards, the Amex Platinum doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Just keep in mind American Express cards are not accepted as widely abroad as they are in the U.S.
  • $200 airline fee credit – You can use your $200 airline fee credit to cover incidental purchases such as bag check fees and in-flight meals on a qualifying airline of your choice.
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit – Receive a credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years as long as you charge the application fee to your Platinum card. This can save significant time while traveling.
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits – Each month, you can receive up to $15 in Uber credits (U.S. rides only). In December, you’ll get a bonus $20 in addition to your usual $15 – for up to $200 in ride credits yearly. Plus, you’ll receive automatic Uber VIP status with the service’s loyalty program.
  • $100 hotel credit – When you stay with a brand in The Hotel Collection, you’ll receive up to $100 to use toward qualifying charges during your stay.
  • Hilton Honors gold status – Platinum cardholders are automatically granted gold elite status with Hilton Honors, which comes with benefits such as free Wi-Fi, late checkout and room upgrades (upon availability).
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit – Frequent shoppers of Saks Fifth Avenue will enjoy savings, thanks to up to $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases. Platinum cardholders are eligible for one $50 credit from January through June and another $50 credit from July through December.

Plus, you’ll receive the following travel and purchase protections:

  • Car rental insurance – If you use your Platinum card to pay for your rental car, you can receive secondary coverage for loss and damage.
  • Purchase protection – If you charge an eligible purchase to your Platinum card, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 per calendar year) in the case of accidental damage or theft.
  • Return protection – Any eligible purchases charged entirely to your Platinum card include return coverage to 90 days ($300 max per item, $1,000 max per year).
  • Baggage insurance – For trips payed entirely with your Platinum card, American Express provides secondary coverage for baggage insurance in case of loss by the carrier.

This extensive list of travel benefits is by far the most intriguing feature of the Amex Platinum card – as it includes some of the most generous credits and protections among any travel card.

Tip: If you’re trying to determine whether the Amex Platinum card’s $550 annual fee is worth it, you should add up the value of all the credits that you’re likely to use – these can amount to hundreds of dollars in value, easily offsetting the card’s fee.

Be prepared to pay off your balance each month

The American Express Platinum card is a charge card, meaning it works a little differently than a traditional credit card. Platinum cardholders are not given a preset credit limit and can’t carry a balance from month-to-month. You’ll need to pay off the full amount you charge on the Platinum card every billing cycle.

This means that your credit score will be impacted a bit differently by signing up for the Amex Platinum card – as charge cards do not affect your credit utilization.

See related: The difference between charge cards and credit cards

Excellent customer experience

Cardholders can expect the highest level of service with the Amex Platinum card. American Express has one of the best reputations among credit card issuers for customer experience, scoring an 838 on J.D. Power’s 2019 customer satisfaction survey (second out of 11 major issuers). The American Express mobile app is also highly rated – 4.3 out of 5 in the Google Play Store and 4.9 out of 5 in the Apple App Store.

In addition, American Express offers 24/7 customer service, including a chat feature on their website. This makes it easy to quickly find the answers to simple questions.

Special benefits for active duty military members

Military members of all ranks may be surprised to know that Amex’s luxury card is a good option for active duty members. If you meet the requirements for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefits, American Express will waive the $550 annual fee on the Platinum card. You’ll still receive all the luxury travel credits and benefits as a special gift for your service.

See related: Active-duty military can get fees waived, special perks from rewards cards

How to qualify for the Amex Platinum card

The Amex Platinum card is designed for users with excellent credit (above 670), so you will want to ensure you meet those qualifications before you apply. Since the Platinum card has a high annual fee, you are more likely to be approved if you’ve demonstrated a history of on-time payments and responsible credit card use.

How do businesses use the Amex Platinum card?

Given its generous travel perks and charge card model, the Amex Platinum card could be a good option for both businesses and consumers. Here’s how one small business owner took advantage of the Amex Platinum card:

Small Business Credit Profiles

How Faris Khalidi uses The Platinum Card® from American Express

Daisy Jing [Lounges] keep me productive, fed and hydrated since they offer free food and drinks, and are great places to get away from the airport crowd.”
Faris Khalidi of nXus, a software startup, used the Platinum Card from American Express to rack up points on travel and access exclusive lounges. Here’s his advice to other business owners considering the Amex Platinum:

        • Book flights directly with airlines or American Express to get the maximum rewards bonus.
        • Take advantage of the card’s travel and lounge access perks to escape the chaos of the airport.
        • Use the charge card model to pay off your balances each month and keep yourself debt-free.
        • Put together a budget for both your business and personal expenses: “Borrowing money adds another level of stress to starting a company.”
Read more of our Small Business Credit Profiles

How does the Amex Platinum compare with other luxury cards?

The Amex Platinum card offers some of the most generous travel credits and plush benefits of any luxury card, but it does have a higher annual fee. Plus, the rewards rate makes it difficult to rack up a significant points balance. If you’d prefer a higher point earning to perks like Centurion lounge access, you might be better off with another travel card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Citi Prestige
Citi Prestige
Amex Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
Rewards rate

  • 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurants (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus

50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Introductory bonus

50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Introductory bonus

35,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$450

Annual fee

$495

Annual fee

$250

Other things to know

  • $300 annual travel credit (can be used for airfare)
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • 50% point boost when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards
Other things to know

  • 4th night free at any hotel up to 2 times per year
  • $250 travel credit (can be used for airfare)
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Priority Pass Select membership
Other things to know

  • $100 airline fee credit
  • Up to $120 dining credit at participating restaurants
  • $100 hotel credit with The Hotel Collection

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our most popular luxury travel cards, thanks to its flexible $300 annual travel credit – which can be applied to any travel purchase. Like the Platinum card, the Sapphire Reserve offers Priority Pass lounge access and a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. It also has a competitive rewards rate on dining purchases, making it easy to rack up points. When you are ready to redeem your points, they have a 1.5 cent value when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

See related: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum

Citi Prestige

The recently relaunched Citi Prestige card is also a favorite among frequent travelers. It’s popular fourth night free perk allows cardholders to save hundreds a year on four-night or longer hotel stays (limited to two uses per year). It also comes with a $250 annual travel credit and Priority Pass Select membership.

As an added perk for foodies, the Citi Prestige offers the highest rewards rate currently available for restaurant purchases.

See related: Citi Prestige vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold card has a significantly lower fee than the Platinum, and it offers many of the same perks – including car rental insurance, purchase protection and Hotel Collection benefits. The annual credits are slightly lower, however.

The Amex Gold card might include less valuable travel perks, but its rewards rate makes it much easier to stockpile Membership Rewards points. Cardholders receive 4 points per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 a year in supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar). Users also earn 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on general purchases. If you spend a significant amount on groceries or dining out, you might be able to rack up rewards faster with the Gold card than with the Platinum.

See related: American Express® Gold Card vs. Platinum Card® from American Express

Who should apply for the Amex Platinum card?

  • Travelers who prefer luxury perks over point-earning potential.
  • Frequent travelers who will take advantage of lounge access and other luxury travel benefits.
  • Cardholders looking for generous statement credits for travel purchases.
  • Hilton hotel loyalists hoping for a shortcut to elite status.
  • Cardholders who spend a significant amount on flights and hotels.
  • Delta Air Lines frequent flyers.
  • Active-duty military members.

How to use the Amex Platinum card:

  • Be sure to select an airline on the American Express website to activate the card’s $200 credit for airline fees. (You can change your selection once a year.)
  • Enroll in Hilton Honors to receive automatic gold status.
  • You can add up to three authorized users (for $175) to give them access to the card’s benefits ($200 airline credit excluded).
  • Take advantage of perks like purchase protection and baggage insurance.
  • Link the card to your Uber account to receive up to $200 in Uber credits per year.
  • If you don’t have enough Membership Rewards points for airfare, you can use a smaller number of points for an airline upgrade (though you’ll get less value for your points with this option).

Is the Amex Platinum card worth it?

While it doesn’t have the best rewards rate among travel cards, the Amex Platinum card is a great choice for frequent travelers who will make use of its numerous travel credits and protections. If you use the card for all your travel purchases, you can more than make up for the card’s high annual fee.

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

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