|Luxury Rating:||4.2 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||0.0|
|Issuer 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.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($75,000 spend)
See Pay Over Time APR (See rates and fees)
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Free airport lounge access, $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit, no foreign transaction fees (See rates and fees), up to $200 Uber credit, up to $100 onsite hotel credit, Hilton Honors gold status, Uber VIP status, platinum concierge service, car rental insurance, car rental perks and discounts, luxury hotel perks and discounts, exclusive events and services, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, purchase protections, up to $100 Sake Fifth Avenue credit
|Rewards Rating:||4.4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||0.1|
|Issuer 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.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Free airport lounge access, $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit, no foreign transaction fees (See rates and fees), up to $200 Uber Cash credit, up to $100 onsite hotel credit, Hilton Honors gold status, Uber VIP 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, up to $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. Indeed, the Amex Platinum is one of the most popular American Express credit cards and is one of the best travel credit cards on the market thanks to these perks.
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, and with COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out nationwide, the Amex Platinum could be exactly what you need to make your dream trip a reality in 2021.
But is the Amex Platinum worth it for you? Read on to see whether the card’s value justifies its cost and where it stands compared to other rewards credit cards.
Amex Platinum: Review & value assessment
The introductory offer on the Platinum card is among the most generous available – 75,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first six months. That’s up 15,000 points from the card’s previous offer while requiring the same spend. You’ll also get double the amount of time to reach the spending requirement (six months versus the previous three-month time limit). If you redeem your points for airfare through American Express Travel, you can easily get a few round-trip flights out of the bonus (points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed through American Express Travel, so the welcome bonus would be worth $750 if used in this way).
In addition to the card’s flat point bonus, you’ll enjoy an elevated rewards rate at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets during your first six months as a cardholder. You’ll earn 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases) in your first six months of card membership – a full 9 points per dollar more than you’d typically earn on these purchases.
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: 7 ways to earn American Express 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. One caveat is that you can only earn 5X points on flights for the first $500,000 you spend in this category per calendar year (if that’s a deal-breaker, maybe the elite American Express Black Card is more up your alley). 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% bonus on points through its portal, the Amex Platinum card doesn’t offer any sort of redemption bonus. Points are worth only 1 cent apiece when redeemed through American Express Travel.
For other redemption options, however, Amex point value is even less impressive.
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)|
|Gift cards||Up to 1|
|Other travel purchases on American Express Travel||0.7|
|Shopping partner (Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Grubhub, Newegg, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples)||0.7|
|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
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.|
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.
- $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.
- Up to $100 onsite 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 (minimum 2-night stay required).
- 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).
- Up to $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 (enrollment required).
Plus, you’ll receive the following travel, dining, shopping and purchase protection benefits:
- $30 per month in statement credits with PayPal: Through June 30, 2021, you can earn $30 per month as a statement credit on purchases made at eligible merchants with PayPal.
- Complimentary Uber Eats Pass – You can get up to 12 months of an Uber Eats Pass membership for free. Eats Pass gets you deals on restaurant takeout and grocery delivery, including a $0 delivery fee at many stores and 5% off restaurant orders over $15. This membership typically costs $119 per year or $9.99 per month. You must enroll by Dec. 31, 2021 to score this perk.
- 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 paid entirely with your Platinum card, American Express provides secondary coverage for baggage insurance in case of loss by the carrier.
- Cell phone insurance – Pay your monthly cellphone bill with the Amex Platinum and you’ll enjoy $800 of cellphone protection per claim ($1,600 per 12-month period) should your phone be stolen or damaged (subject to a $50 deductible).
This extensive list of 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.
See related: American Express card benefits
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.|
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 2020 customer satisfaction survey (first place among 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 its 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.
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.
Luckily, American Express offers preapproval on many of its cards, including the Amex Platinum. It’s also worth checking the CreditCards.com CardMatch tool to see if you have a prequalified offer on the Amex Platinum, as this won’t have any impact on your credit score and should give you a better idea of where you stand before you apply.
See related: What credit score is required for Amex cards?
How does the Amex Platinum compare with other rewards cards?
Our team of credit card experts researched over 130 rewards cards to see where the Amex Platinum ranks among cards in its category. As you might expect, though the Amex Platinum offers some of the most generous travel credits and plush benefits of any luxury rewards card, it carries a much higher annual fee than your typical rewards card. Indeed, as of April 2021, it carries the highest annual fee of any rewards card (or luxury card, for that matter) in our database.
The card’s average earning rate is also in the bottom half of rewards cards based on the average person’s spending, which could make it difficult to rack up a significant points balance if you aren’t a frequent traveler. That said, the card stands head-and-shoulders above the majority of rewards cards when it comes to both its welcome bonus and annual bonus (factoring in the value of perks like Uber credits and Priority Pass membership).
Here’s a quick look at where the Amex Platinum card ranks in our database of rewards cards:
|Rewards rate||Welcome bonus||Annual bonus||Annual fee|
of rewards cards
of rewards cards
of rewards cards
of rewards cards
Of course, if you are looking forward to more travel in 2021 and feel confident you’ll take advantage of the luxury perks that come with the Amex Platinum, the annual fee may not deter you, as the value of these perks and the rewards you’ll earn on travel could cover the cost.
If, on the other hand, you’d rather maximize points than enjoy perks like Centurion lounge access, you might be better off with another travel card. Here are some of our favorite alternatives.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
American Express® Gold Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 6 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
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
The recently relaunched Citi Prestige card is also a favorite among frequent travelers. Its 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.
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, on Uber Eats purchases and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 a year in U.S. 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.
- 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.
- Enroll in Hilton Honors to receive automatic gold status.
- You can add up to three authorized users (for $175, see rates and fees) to give them access to the card’s benefits.
- Take advantage of perks like purchase protection and baggage insurance.
- Link the card to your Uber account to receive up to $200 in Uber Cash 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 and take full advantage of these benefits, you can more than make up for the card’s high annual fee.
As Dan Miller, founder of PointsWithACrew.com, put it in his article on whether the Amex Platinum card’s annual fee was worth it: “The Amex Platinum features plenty of travel rewards and other benefits that are especially attractive to travelers, so look at which of the rewards and benefits you’ll use and decide if they are worth more than the card’s $550 annual fee.”
With this in mind, let’s do the math to see just how much this card’s major perks are worth:
|Global Entry / TSA Precheck||$85-$100|
|Hotel Collection credit||$100|
|Saks Fifth Avenue credit||$100|
|Uber Eats Pass||$119|
|Airline fee credit||$200|
|Priority Pass Select membership||$299|
|PayPal credits ($30/month, through June 2021)||$90|
As you can see, if you take advantage of most of these benefits, you can easily justify the annual fee. Indeed, even if you ignore perks explicitly related to flying, you should come close to covering the annual fee. As CreditCards.com industry analyst Ted Rossman put it in his piece on travel card annual fees in the wake of COVID-19, the “Amex Platinum pays for itself, even without travel.”
However, if benefits like an up to $100 credit at Saks Fifth Avenue or up to $200 in Uber Cash credits leave you shrugging, it’s worth taking a closer look at your budget to see if the rewards you’ll earn via card spend are likely offset the card’s cost.
This is doubly true since this card only earns bonus points on airfare and hotels, and points are worth just 1 cent when redeemed through American Express Travel. Assuming your general spending habits on things like gas, groceries and dining match those of the average person (around $1,300 per month according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), you’d need to spend upwards of $8,000 annually in combined airfare and hotel purchases to make up the annual fee in rewards – and that’s just to break even.
Our verdict: The Amex Platinum is one of our favorite luxury travel cards and is well worth the price of admission for frequent travelers who value high-end perks. But if you don’t spend heavily on travel or don’t think you need amenities like airport lounge access or credits for airline incidental fees or expedited security screening, you may be better off with a lower-cost rewards card.
About the author
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. Our reviews and best card recommendations are based on an objective rating process and are not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy
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