The Platinum Card® from American Express review
A first-class travel card with a premium price tag.
finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5
- Get this card if you enjoy frequent, high-class travel.
- Pick something else if you want a low-cost travel card or don’t travel much.
- Apply with a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Points as welcome offer
Up to 5x
Recommended credit score
|Product Name||The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Card type||American Express|
|Cash advance rate||25.24% variable|
|Cash advance fee||$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Penalty APR||29.24% variable|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
|Interest free period||Up to 25 days|
|Late payment fee||Up to $40|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $40|
|Additional cardholder fee||$175|
|Rates & fees||rates & fees|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
The card isn’t for everyone. Its charge-card rules can feel restrictive, forcing you to pay off your balance in full each month. Furthermore, its narrow bonus rewards and inflexible credits could cramp your natural spending habits.
That said, this can be a powerhouse travel card. The travel credits stack higher value than you’ll find with other premium cards.
The flight and hotel rewards lead the market and become more valuable through point transfers. You’ll like helpful perks such as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, car rental benefits and elite status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. And the card’s airport lounge access is second to none, getting you into a host of spaces that include the best-in-class Centurion Lounge.
How to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Click Apply now.
- Complete the application with information such as your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, total annual income and income source.
- Review your information and submit your application.
What credit score do I need?
As with most cards, you’ll have a better chance of approval for The Platinum Card® from American Express if you apply with a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher. However, some cardholders have reported getting approved with scores in the mid-600s. This may be because charge cards sometimes have easier approval requirements since the issuer isn’t extending revolving credit. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary and approval is never guaranteed, no matter your credit score.
If you don’t think your credit score is high enough to give you a shot at approval, consider going through Amex prequalification. You’ll see cards for which Amex believes you have the right credit profile.
With another Amex card, you can build a history with the issuer. Some customers have reported that they’ve received preapprovals for The Platinum Card® from American Express after some history as cardholders — even when their credit scores weren’t spectacular.
Pros and cons
- Market-leading welcome offer
- Superb value from travel and shopping credits
- Stellar rewards on flights and hotels
- Best-in-class access to airport lounges globally
- Complimentary status upgrades in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors
- Helpful travel benefits such as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, car rental perks, Concierge and Uber VIP
- High annual fee
- Higher-than-average spending requirement for welcome offer
- Sparse rewards outside of flights and hotels
- Credits aren’t as flexible as those you’ll find with other premium travel cards
- Charge card restrictions
- Potentially limited acceptance abroad
Who is this card best for?The Platinum Card® from American Express is best for frequent travelers who are used to shelling out for luxury accommodations.
Who is this card not best for?
The card isn’t well-suited for infrequent travelers, as it’ll be difficult to earn bonus rewards and get maximum value from some of the premium perks.
The Platinum Card® from American Express’ major benefitsThe Platinum Card® from American Express is considered by some to be the best luxury travel card on the market. They certainly have a point, seeing as Amex has done an admirable job of stacking premium perks. Here are some of The Platinum Card® from American Express’s highlights.
- A valuable welcome offer. 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
- Rewards that are best for flights and hotels. Earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked through airlines or American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021 your 5x points on flights are capped to $500,000 annually, and 1x points after that. You also earn uncapped 5x points on prepaid hotel stays booked through the Amex Travel website.
- Credits to offset the annual fee. $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in annual Uber Cash. $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
- Unrivaled access to global airport lounges. Complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass Select locations and more.
- Unique travel benefits. Gold status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Complimentary benefits through the Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection programs. Car rental benefits and travel protections.
- Valuable statement credits for select streaming and wireless phone charges. Receive up to $20 per month each on select US streaming subscriptions and wireless phone service charges you make directly with US wireless phone service providers. This offer is valid until December 31, 2020.
- Other valuable perks. Platinum Card Concierge, By Invitation Only experiences, Global Dining Collection, Preferred Seating, Uber VIP and more.
Deeper dive: The market-leading welcome offer is well worth gunning for
If you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account, you’ll rake in 60,000 Membership Rewards points.
How much are these points worth? That depends on how you redeem them. For example:
- Receive a mere 0.6 cents for each point redeemed for statement credit. That’s lower than the industry standard of 1 cent per point. It’s also lower than the 1-cent-per-point rate you’ll get when you redeem Chase points for statement credit.
- Receive a mediocre rate for a host of other redemptions, such as merchandise, many gift cards and paying with points at retailers. Disappointingly, you’ll get shortchanged for even most travel redemptions such as hotel stays, rental cars and cruises.
- Receive a 1-cent-per-point rate for flight redemptions through Amex Travel. This can be a go-to redemption option if you don’t want to do much legwork. You’ll receive a solid — if unspectacular — rate.
By far the best use of Membership Rewards points is transferring them to Amex’s travel partners. According to our current valuations, average point values with certain airlines can reach as high as 2 cents. That means The Platinum Card® from American Express’s 60,000-point welcome offer can be worth an impressive $1,200. This is higher than you’ll find with the card’s premium-card rivals — around $200 more in value.
Deeper dive: You’ll love the rewards if you spend frequently on flights and hotelsThe Platinum Card® from American Express pays some of the best travel rewards on the market — albeit in a narrow fashion. You’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points on eligible flights and prepaid hotels. This makes the card one of the top choices in these two categories, especially considering the increased value you’ll get from point transfers.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Flights must be booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel to qualify for bonus rewards. For the latter option, you can call 800-525-3355 or book online at the Amex Travel website.
- The card’s terms say you must book through the Amex Travel website if you want bonus rewards on prepaid hotels.
The card’s rewards structure should give you pause if you don’t travel much. You’ll earn just 1x points on other eligible purchases, which is an excruciatingly slow rate for the majority of your spending. But if you’re a power traveler who spends big on flights and hotels, few cards will offer superior rewards.
Deeper dive: The card’s impressive credits offer market-leading valueThe Platinum Card® from American Express offers higher total credits than its competitors, helping it offset its substantial annual fee. Depending on what you need, these credits can work like a charm:
- Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits. On one qualifying airline of your choice, you’ll receive annual statement credits for incidental fees such as checked bags and in-flight food and beverages.
- Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash. Each month, you’ll receive $15 in Uber Cash for rides in the United States. Get a $20 bonus in December.
- Up to $100 in annual Saks credits. These statement credits apply to purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks.com that you charge to your card. Receive up to $50 in statement credits from January through June and up to $50 in statement credits from July through December.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit. You can charge your Global Entry application fee to your card and get reimbursed. This credit renews every four years. Or, you can charge your TSA PreCheck application fee to your card and get reimbursed — a credit that renews every four and a half years. Check out our Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck guide if you need help deciding between the two.
Together, these credits give you $517 to $520 in yearly value — almost enough to offset the card’s annual fee entirely. Beyond the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, furthermore, these credits are rather unique. Most of the Amex Platinum Card’s competitors simply give you one general travel credit and call it a day.
Tips to make sure you receive your credits
- To receive your airline fee credit: You’ll need to select a qualifying airline through your Amex Platinum Card benefits dashboard before you can use your credit.
- To use your Uber credits: Make sure you set your payment method as Uber Cash before requesting your ride.
- To use your Saks credits: You’ll need to enroll through The Platinum Card® from American Express benefits dashboard before you can use your credit.
Deeper dive: Unparalleled access to airport lounges worldwide
Praise should be given where it’s due. And here, The Platinum Card® from American Express deserves a lot of praise: It offers the best airport lounge access you’ll find anywhere.
Specifically, you’ll get complimentary access to a variety of lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including:
- The Centurion Lounge.
- Delta Sky Club.
- Priority Pass Select Lounges.
- Escape Lounges.
- Airspace Lounge.
- Plaza Premium Lounge.
- Lufthansa Lounges.
- International American Express Lounges.
For comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Credit Card offer airport lounge access only through Priority Pass Select. Furthermore, neither Chase nor Citi offer complimentary access to lounges run by their major cobranded airline partners — United and American Airlines, respectively.
Meanwhile, The Platinum Card® from American Express gets you into Priority Pass Select locations, as well as Delta Sky Club locations if you have a same-day Delta flight. A Delta Sky Club individual membership normally costs $545. Alternatively, you’d have to get the $550-a-year Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card to score complimentary access.
One of the card’s most special features is access to The Centurion Lounges. In a sense, these lounges are Amex’s ace-in-a-hole — they’re available only to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or The Centurion® Card from American Express. What’s more, they’re widely considered some of the best lounges in the world.
Deeper dive: Enjoy other attractive travel benefits
Elite status in hotel loyalty programs is curiously absent from many of The Platinum Card® from American Express’s rivals.
Meanwhile, Amex’s product loads up on prestige by offering Gold status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
Here are a few highlights of the Gold-level perks you’ll find through these programs:
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite
- 25% more points on hotel stays
- Enhanced room upgrade based on availability
- 2 p.m. late checkout based on availability
- Enhanced in-room Internet access
Hilton Honors Gold
- Complimentary breakfast
- Room upgrade based on availability, up to Executive room type
- 80% more Elite Tier Bonus Points
You’ll also get complimentary benefits when you book stays at eligible properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program and The Hotel Collection.
- Complimentary breakfast for two on each day of your stay
- Room upgrade based on availability
- Noon check-in based on availability
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Amenity valued at $100 that you can use during your stay
- $100 hotel credit for eligible spa, dining and resort activities
- Room upgrade at check-in based on availability
- Lower rates if available, based on Amex’s relationship with the property
Property amenity examples
The amenity varies based on the property you’re staying at. Here are a few examples of amenities you might receive:
- $100 property credit
- Complimentary meal or a credit for the property’s restaurants
- 50-minute massage for two, credit for spa services, etc.
- Round of golf for two
- Complimentary transfer to the airport in a private sedan
You’ll get complimentary memberships to Avis Preferred Club and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, plus a boost to the Executive tier in National Emerald Club. The first two are free to join for anyone, so complimentary membership through The Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t really a game-changer. But Executive status in the Emerald Club typically requires 12 paid rentals, or 40 paid rental days, in a calendar year.
Emerald Club Executive gets you:
- A Free Rental Day per six credits you earn, instead of the normal seven credits. Earn one credit per qualified car rental.
- Access to the Executive Area, where in the US and Canada you can choose any car that’s Fullsize and above and pay the Midsize rate.
- Guaranteed free upgrades in the US and Canada when you book at the Midsize rate.
Each car rental program comes with special perks for The Platinum Card® from American Express members:
- Complimentary one-car-class upgrade, based on availability
- Savings on car rentals — at least 15% off published rates
- Complimentary one-car-class upgrade, based on availability
- 15% discount beyond standard rates. Up to 25% off vehicles in the Prestige Collection when your booking includes a Saturday night
- Guaranteed vehicle availability
- Grace periods of up to four hours for vehicle returns
- Complimentary one-way rentals, courtesy pick-ups and deliveries, based on availability
- Up to 25% off rentals
- $15 off three-day weekend rentals
- Car rental insurance. While The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a strong policy, this is secondary coverage. This contrasts to the coverage you’ll get from the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which is primary.
- Baggage Insurance Plan. This covers you against lost, stolen or damaged baggage.
- Trip delay reimbursement. This is a relatively new addition to The Platinum Card® from American Express. Get reimbursed if your flight is delayed and you need to pay for expenses such as meals and hotel accommodations.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Get reimbursed if a covered reason leads to the cancellation of your flight.
- Amex travel assistance. Benefits include emergency evacuation on covered trips and access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline.
On the downside, The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t have travel accident insurance, which you’ll find with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Deeper dive: Receive credits for select streaming and wireless phone service charges
Until December 31, 2020, you’ll receive credits each month you use your card to pay for select services:
- Earn up to $20 every month on qualifying US streaming subscriptions.
- Earn up to $20 every month on wireless phone service charges you make directly with US wireless phone service providers.
If you make use of these credits each month, you’re effectively gaining $40 a month in value. Multiply this by several months, and you can offset a large portion of your annual fee.
You may be able to start taking advantage of this benefit even before you get your physical card. If you qualify, Amex will give you an Instant Card Number that you can use right away.
Statement credits typically post to your account two to four weeks after you make qualifying purchases.
Deeper dive: Enjoy even more noteworthy perks
It’s never a bad thing to get more perks, and The Platinum Card® from American Express has more up its sleeve. For example, you’ll qualify for Uber VIP, which isn’t a killer feature but does comes with these perks:
- You’ll get matched only with drivers rated 4.8 and above.
- You’ll get matched with drivers with high-quality vehicles.
- You’ll get special access to giveaways, discounts for local events and Uber promotions.
- Securing reservations for special meals.
- Scoring tickets to buzz-worthy events.
- Locating the perfect gift for a loved one.
- Organizing and finalizing travel plans.
You can reach the service by calling Amex support and saying “Concierge” after you’re prompted.
You’ll also get access to perks that can prove helpful from time to time, including:
- By Invitation Only events. Specially curated events in sporting, art, fine dining and performances that are open only to The Platinum Card® from American Express members.
- Global Dining Collection. Get special access to reservations at restaurants in the Global Dining Collection, as well as in-restaurant experiences.
- Preferred Seating. Amex reserves premium seats at select events for some Amex card members, including those with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
- Return protection. Amex may refund your purchase price if you try to return an item and the merchant won’t accept it.
- Extended warranties. Amex recently weakened this perk, but you’ll still get one-year extended warranties on eligible items.
Of course, The Platinum Card® from American Express also has no foreign transaction fees, so it could be a good choice for some purchases abroad.
Case study: Liza’s experience
I also take advantage of the perks. I have used the concierge service on multiple occasions — Aziz Ansari tickets at Madison Square Garden, the U.S. Open, etc. Note that you don’t get any “deals” on the tickets — that I’ve experienced — however, it is nice to have someone at Amex track everything down for you and then automatically bill your card.
We also use the points at least once a year to cover airline tickets and hotels. And we use the Amex Travel portal for bookings. We recently went to Encore at Wynn Las Vegas entirely on Amex points. I also like the way it looks, so there’s that.
What to watch out forThe Platinum Card® from American Express is a powerhouse luxury product, but it comes with its share of downsides. Consider them carefully before applying, as they may end up pointing you to a different travel card.
- A steep $550 annual fee.
While it’s not the most expensive luxury card, The Platinum Card® from American Express is priced higher than most of its competitors.
- The welcome offer requires more skin in the game.
You must meet a higher spending requirement than you would with other luxury cards.
- Narrow bonus rewards.
If you don’t spend significantly on flights or hotels, the card will be disappointing rewards-wise.
- Credits are less flexible than those of other travel cards.
You might prefer a general travel credit that you can use for a variety of purchases.
- You can’t carry a balance.
Because The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, you must pay off your entire balance each billing cycle. There are some exceptions, such as if you qualify for Pay Over Time.
- Potentially limited acceptance worldwide.
While Amex is widely accepted internationally, there are still many merchants who won’t take it.
Deeper dive: Amex pushes the envelope on annual cost
Amex is never one to shy away from charging high prices for its cards. Among the luxury cards The Platinum Card® from American Express typically competes with, Amex’s product is usually first to get a fee bump.
There’s no getting around it: The Platinum Card® from American Express is expensive at $550 a year. It’s still cheaper than the Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™, which costs $995 a year. But it costs more than competitors such as the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. Notably, it’s priced the same as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, whose annual fee increased in early 2020.
Whether The Platinum Card® from American Express’s cost is worth paying depends on whether you think you can get enough value for the price. You’ll want to consider a few factors such as the welcome offer, potential rewards based on your spending and your use of perks such as travel credits and hotel elite status.
Deeper dive: You gotta spend more to make moreThe Platinum Card® from American Express’s welcome offer $5,000 spending requirement is $1,000 higher than that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Citi Prestige® Credit Card. Check if you can meet that requirement within the first three months, as it’d be a tragic waste to miss out on the welcome offer.
Also, consider checking whether Amex’s best transfer partners line up with the airlines you fly with. The flagship American carrier in Amex’s orbit is Delta. However, you might be near a United hub, in which case Chase’s travel cards might be better options. Citi, meanwhile, is the major credit card partner for American Airlines.
Deeper dive: Depending on your spending, the narrow bonus rewards might not cut it
The card’s rewards are a double-edged sword: They’re spectacular, but underwhelming if you don’t travel much. That’s because purchases outside of eligible flights and hotels pay just 1x points — an industry-standard base rate but a miserable payout for the bulk of your spending.
Here, you’ll find a potentially sharp decision point on whether to pick this card or look elsewhere. If you’re an infrequent traveler, you might prefer cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Credit Card, which offer bonus rewards on dining.
Deeper dive: Be honest and think about whether you’ll actually use the card’s creditsThe Platinum Card® from American Express’s credits can be more restrictive than credits of luxury-card competitors. The airline fee credit, for example, applies to just one airline of your choice. You’re allowed to change the airline only once per year in January.
Furthermore, your Uber Cash is use-it-or-lose-it. It doesn’t carry over from month to month. This might not be ideal if there are certain times you don’t use rideshare. Of course, you’ll have an even bigger problem if you don’t use Uber at all.
The Saks credit suffers from the same usage issue: If you’re not the type who shops at this retailer, you won’t truly realize the $100 in annual value.
These are contrasts to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $300 annual travel credit. This credit applies to a variety of travel purchases, including airlines, hotels, cruise lines, rideshare, campgrounds, parking lots and more.
This means you can use your credit on spending for a variety of airlines, or apply it all to Uber or Lyft rides. You can even forgo those options altogether and use your credit for hotel stays. Here, flexibility can be a big boost.
Deeper dive: Pay-in-full is standard hereThe Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, meaning you must pay off your balance in full each month. This could be inconvenient if you’re used to carrying a balance from month to month. However, it’s not all that bad, as it’s never a good idea to accrue interest on a rewards card anyway.
There are exceptions to this pay-in-full rule. If you qualify for Amex’s Pay Over Time feature, you can pay for eligible purchases above $100 over more than one month.
Deeper dive: The card might not be ideal on a trip abroad
Amex has long lagged behind Visa and Mastercard in international acceptance. While it’s accepted widely, there are still many merchants who won’t take it. This means if you’re traveling abroad, you probably don’t want to rely just on The Platinum Card® from American Express.
What are my preapproval odds?
You can get prequalified for American Express cards through the provider’s prequalification page.
Here’s how to use the Amex prequalification tool:
- Visit the Amex prequalification page.
- Enter your home address.
- Enter the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you’d like, enter your total annual income and non-taxable annual income.
- Click View My card offers.
After you submit your prequalification form, Amex will show you a list of cards. If you see The Platinum Card® from American Express in that list, it means you fit the credit profile of someone who might be approved for the card. Think of it as extra information to guide your application decision.
Note that prequalification doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed approval. You still must apply for the card, after which American Express will evaluate your credit report and finances to decide whether to bring you on as a cardmember.
Authorized users or cosigners
You can add authorized users — which Amex calls Additional Card Members — to your account. The Platinum Card® from American Express has interesting rules here:
- You can add up to three additional cardholders for a total annual fee of $175.
- For the fourth additional cardholder and every cardholder after that, you’ll pay $175 per year each.
This means if you add three additional cardholders, you’ll pay $175 a year. But if you add four additional cardholders, you’ll pay $350 a year.
Which benefits will additional cardholders get?
It can be worth adding additional cardholders to your account, as they can reap considerable value for relatively little cost. Benefits include:
- Airport lounge access. Additional cardholders get access to all of the lounges you do. Keep in mind they’ll need to call Amex support to activate their Priority Pass Select membership.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Additional cardholders get the same credits you do, which renew on the same timetable.
- Gold status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Additional cardholders will need to call Amex support to get these status upgrades.
- Special perks through Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection. These benefits mirror those the main cardholder gets.
- Car rental privileges. These include memberships in car rental loyalty programs, as well as access to special perks such as discounts.
- Other benefits. Additional perks such as emergency evacuation on covered trips, access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline and car rental insurance.
What don’t additional cardholders get?
While additional cardholders can find lots of value, they won’t reap all of the perks you do. Here are a few things they’ll miss out on:
- Welcome bonus
- Airline fee credit
- Uber credits and Uber VIP status
- Saks Fifth Avenue credits
There are a few illuminating sentences tucked away in The Platinum Card® from American Express’s terms, however:
- “Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits.”
- “Purchases by both the enrolled Basic Card Member and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card are eligible for statement credits.”
These are fancy ways of saying your authorized users’ qualifying purchases will count toward the maximums for your airline and Saks credits. For the former credit, this will happen only after you enroll in an eligible airline.
You might want to get a Gold Card instead
In The Platinum Card® from American Express’s terms, you’ll see an intriguing line that reads “There is no additional fee for Gold Cards.” What does this mean?
First of all, yes, it’s true that you can request complimentary Gold Cards — for as many as 99 authorized users, in fact.
Now, there’s good and bad news. The bad news is this Gold Card isn’t the same as the $250-a-year American Express® Gold Card that you can apply for normally(see rates & fees). The good news is the card comes with some of The Platinum Card® from American Express features, such as:
- The same earn rate as The Platinum Card® from American Express.
- A Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit that renews every four to four-and-a-half years.
- The ability to charge incidental air travel fees that qualify for the main cardholder’s airline-fee credit.
Back to the bad news: The Gold Card misses out on some perks that The Platinum Card® from American Express authorized users get, such as airport lounge access, hotel elite status and perks from car rental agencies.
Does Amex allow cosigners for The Platinum Card® from American Express?
Amex doesn’t allow cosigners for any of its cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express.
How does The Platinum Card® from American Express compare to other similar cards?
There’s fierce competition in the luxury-travel-card market, so let’s see how The Platinum Card® from American Express stacks up versus its top rivals.
You’d be surprised by how expensive the rarest credit cards can be. But let’s focus on the mass market for now — that is, cards that are widely available without the need for invites. Here’s The Platinum Card® from American Express’s annual cost compared to other premium options.
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||Citi Prestige® Credit Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||The Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™|
Welcome offer value
Issuers often advertise substantial welcome offers to attract prime customers. Here, we calculate the effective value of premium-card welcome offers.
|Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™||U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||Citi Prestige® Credit Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||The Platinum Card® from American Express|
Here are a few more perks you might want to compare between luxury travel cards. As you’ll see, The Platinum Card® from American Express holds up very well in several categories.
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||Citi Prestige® Credit Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||The Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™|
|Bonus reward categories||No bonus rewards|
|Annual travel credits||$325 for travel purchases||$250 for travel purchases||$300 for travel purchases||$200 air travel credit|
|Airport lounge access||Priority Pass Select||Priority Pass Select||Priority Pass Select||Highlights include:||Priority Pass Select|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit|
|Hotel elite status||None||None||None||None|
|Special hotel privileges through…||Relais & Châteaux||ThankYou Rewards portal (4th-night-free benefit)||The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection||Luxury Card Travel|
The Platinum Card® from American Express reviews and complaints
Those who have the card often say you should get it mainly if you’re a frequent traveler who likes luxury perks. Many cardholders are impressed by the lounge experience afforded by the Amex Platinum Card. Some visit multiple lounges, such as The Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club. Other customers mention the points structure is specifically tailored to those who are often on the go.
Some customers rightfully point out that the card isn’t a good choice for everyday spending, questioning whether the high annual fee is worth the value gleaned from occasional travel. Other customers say the Amex Platinum Card is less accepted worldwide than Visas and Mastercards, and that the airline credits can be relatively difficult to use completely.
Other credit cards to consider
The beauty of the luxury-card space is the variety of interesting perks offered by the biggest contenders. You can have lots of fun considering which card fits your travel style the best and which perks you can’t live without. Furthermore, each card has pros and cons that create lively discussions among travel enthusiasts.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Many travelers would consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve® The Platinum Card® from American Express’s chief rival. It’s quite the formidable opponent, no doubt.
While in some ways The Platinum Card® from American Express has the edge in luxury features, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be considered a more flexible option. You’ll earn 3x points on travel after earning your annual travel credit, for example, as well as 3x points on dining. This can give you more opportunities to earn bonus rewards than you might find with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s annual travel credit, meanwhile, applies to a variety of travel purchases — not just the airline incidental fees, Uber rides and Saks purchases you’re limited to with The Platinum Card® from American Express’s credits. And if you don’t want to deal with point transfers, it’s extremely easy to get strong value from your rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Citi Prestige® Credit Card
While the Citi Prestige® Credit Card doesn’t always enjoy the same cachet as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express, it’s still worth a look if you’re considering a luxury card.
Rewards-wise, it melds some of the best of its two key competitors. You’ll earn 5x points on air travel and at restaurants, which is an excellent rate. And you’ll earn a strong 3x points at hotels and on cruise lines.
Though the annual travel credit is only $250, you’ll pay a lower annual fee than you would for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express: $495. The credit is also more flexible than the credits you’ll get with Amex’s card.
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card’s standout feature is its complimentary fourth night when you book a stay of at least four consecutive nights through the ThankYou Rewards portal. This benefit is capped at twice each calendar year. If you can take advantage of the perk, you could get extraordinary value from the card.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is often left out of the luxury-card conversation, but it’s a sleeper hit that’s worth your attention. It affords you access to some of the most popular premium-travel features but for a lower annual fee: $400.
The rewards are somewhat similar to those of The Platinum Card® from American Express: You’ll earn 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals you book through the Altitude Rewards Center. In a sense, the card does go further than The Platinum Card® from American Express in that it offers 3x points on eligible travel purchases.
Crucially, you’ll find a very valuable $325 annual credit for eligible travel purchases. This is a large part of why the card is so effective. And you’ll find the same Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit you get with other premium travel cards.
There is a downside: You get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, but only for 12 months. This is a stingy limitation on an otherwise impressive travel card.
Credit cards to pair with The Platinum Card® from American Express
Credit cards that pay Membership Rewards points are among the most natural complements to The Platinum Card® from American Express, as you can pool your points for maximum efficiency.
American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is part of the powerful Amex Trifecta, a combination of three Amex products that offer Membership Rewards points. It has a natural synergy with The Platinum Card® from American Express because of the bulk of its bonus rewards. You’ll earn 4x points at restaurants worldwide. You’ll also earn 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in qualifying spending per calendar year, then 1x points. These are two bonus categories that you don’t find with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The card increases its value by offering up to $120 in annual dining credits and up to $100 in annual airline fee credits. Both largely offset the card’s $250 annual fee.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
If you want an everyday card to pair with The Platinum Card® from American Express, consider the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card. It has a modest price of $95 a year.
You’ll earn 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1x points. Plus, earn 2x points at US gas stations. Each billing period you use your card at least 30 times, you’ll earn 50% extra points.
All of this is great news: When you’re not traveling the world, you can still earn strong rewards in your normal life.
Redeeming points with The Platinum Card® from American Express
You can redeem points by logging in to your Amex online account or calling 800-668-2639.
There are a variety of options you can redeem your points for, including:
- Pay with points at checkout.
- Gift cards.
- Statement credits.
- Travel through American Express Travel.
- Point transfers to travel partners.
Check out our Membership Rewards guide to see what the Amex rewards portal looks like.
How much are The Platinum Card® from American Express points worth?
According to our current valuations, The Platinum Card® from American Express points can be worth 2 cents on average when you transfer your points to select airline partners. Frequent-flyer programs that yield the highest value include Aer Lingus AerClub, Air France KLM Flying Blue and Iberia Plus. Read more at our guide on redeeming Amex points for maximum value.
Of course, getting high redemption rates might require more research on your part. But the increased value might be worth a bit of extra time on the hunt.
Keep in mind that several other Amex transfer options give you higher than a 1-cent-per-point value, so don’t feel like you have to transfer your points to the airlines listed above.
How to make the most of your card
There’s lots of room to get more out of your Amex Platinum Card, including:
- Qualify for the welcome offer.The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a top-tier welcome offer, but there’s a steep spending requirement of $5,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Time your purchases so you can easily meet your welcome-offer spending requirement.
- Use your card for the right purchase categories.
The card offers bonus rewards only for eligible flights and hotels, so consider not using it for other categories of spending. Instead, pair The Platinum Card® from American Express with another card that offers bonus rewards in your preferred spending categories.
- Use your credits. Leveraging your credits is essential to getting the most out of The Platinum Card® from American Express. Check your card’s terms to understand how to use your credits, as you don’t want to spend first only to realize you won’t be reimbursed.
- Register for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
These Trusted Traveler Programs can save you loads of time at the airport, which is a cornerstone of luxury travel. Consider applying for one of these programs well before you’re scheduled to fly, as approval could take months.
- Enroll in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
Just head over to your Amex online account and navigate to the “Benefits” tab.
- Leverage the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program and The Hotel Collection.
It could be well worth looking for a property in these portfolios and booking with The Platinum Card® from American Express, as you’ll receive benefits that will heighten your stay.
- Use The Platinum Card® from American Express Concierge.
You might be surprised by the number of tasks Concierge can take off your plate. If you’re overwhelmed with “to-dos” or need help getting arrangements sorted, call 1-800-525-3355.
- Add additional users.
A $175 price tag for up to three additional cards could be a good deal, especially when additional users share many of the same benefits as you’ll find with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
How to upgrade or downgrade your card
If you’re not sure you’re getting the most value from The Platinum Card® from American Express, you might want a product change. To do this, call the support number on the back of your card.
These two rules are relevant for The Platinum Card® from American Express product changes:
- You can’t change between charge cards and credit cards.
Seeing as The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, that rules out the possibility of switching to a natural fit like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
- You can’t switch to a business credit card.The Platinum Card® from American Express is a personal card, so you must switch to another personal card.
With these in mind, your options for product changes are the American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card.
It’s typically recommended to request a product change only after you’ve had The Platinum Card® from American Express for at least a year. Also, make sure your account is in good standing.
Compare travel credit cards
Compare The Platinum Card® from American Express with other cards
Bottom lineThe Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t for everyone, as only a few types of consumers can get maximum value from the perks. For those who sit in the right demographic, however, the card is one of the very best options in the premium-travel space.
If you’re not sure The Platinum Card® from American Express is right for you, there are many other travel options to consider.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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