Platinum Card from American Express review | August 2018

Platinum Card® from American Express review – August 2018

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A first-class card for travel enthusiasts who can pay the price of admission.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you spend a lot on travel, and you’re willing to pay for premium travel perks.
  • Pick something else if you want a cashback card or don’t travel much.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.
Product NamePlatinum Card® from American Express
Card TypeAmerican Express
Annual Fee$550
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for PurchasesNone (Charge Card)
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodNone
Minimum Interest$0
Late Payment Fee$38
Returned Payment Fee$38
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Reward Value per Dollar1 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

Platinum Card® from American Express insights

We polled hundreds of Platinum Card® from American Express users. Here’s what we found.

Application icon Application process rating: 71%.
Customer service icon Customer service rating: 81%.
gauge credit meter Approval rate for 720–850 credit range: 96%
loan-line 33% of users confident the $550 annual fee is worth it.
priority meter No. 1 reason people apply: Welcome offer.
Bonus 74% met the minimum spend and earned the welcome offer.

Average approval rate for Platinum Card® from American Express

Credit Range Approval Rate
720-850 96%
680-719 80%
620-679 48%
300-619 14%
Not Sure 33%

The basics

Platinum Card® from American Express is unabashedly aimed at those who love to travel in style. With an annual fee of $550, it’s priced even higher than most of its peers. But if you’re willing to pay the price of admission, you’ll enjoy a universe of benefits that includes excellent travel rewards, upgraded status in hotel loyalty programs, highly useful fee credits and access to the world’s best airport lounges.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, not a normal credit card

American Express is the only major US provider that still offers charge cards, such as Platinum Card® from American Express. With this type of card, you need to pay your balance in full each month. If maintaining balances month to month is important to you, you may want to consider another credit card.

Excellent rewards for avid travelers

This card is most effective if you’re a frequent traveler. That’s because it offers 5x Membership Rewards on eligible flight and hotel spending, but just 1x points on all other eligible purchases. If you don’t travel much, you might get more out of products like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card, which offer accelerated rewards in non-travel categories.

If you can take advantage of the card’s 5x points, however, you could collect a trove of rewards to redeem for flights, hotels, rental cars and even cruises. You can also transfer your points to such frequent-traveler programs as Delta SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Since you can move your points at a 1:1 ratio to most programs, transfers are typically a great value.

Is the $550 annual fee worth it?

Shelling out $550 a year is a steep price to pay for a credit card. But Platinum Card® from American Express offers many exclusive perks that help offset that cost. These include:

  • $200 airline fee credit. On one qualifying airline of your choice, you can charge baggage fees, in-flight refreshments and more to Platinum Card® from American Express and receive up to $200 in statement credit each calendar year.
  • $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®. Security lines can make travel a drag. With Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, you can expedite your security screenings. Receive up to $100 in statement credit every four years to cover application fees for one of these programs.
  • $200 in Uber credits each calendar year. You’ll receive a $15 Uber credit for US rides each month, and an extra $20 in December.

If you can take advantage of these credits, you could effectively cover Platinum Card® from American Express‘s annual fee. But there’s more that separates Platinum Card® from American Express from other products, such as:

  • Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Hilton Honors programs. Gold is particularly valuable in SPG, offering attractive benefits you won’t find in the program’s basic membership.
  • Exclusive benefits at participating American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties. At select properties, you’ll receive extras like daily breakfast for two, room upgrades and late checkout.
  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection℠. Airport lounges are a staple of luxury travel. Platinum Card® from American Express gets you into more than 1,100 of them. It also gives you access to the world-class Centurion® Lounges, which no other card provider can offer.

All in all, Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent value. If you’re looking for a product that offers a premium travel experience, put this card on your shortlist.

The perks

  • Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points.

    After you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points. That’s worth around $600 at the industry rate of 1 point = 1 cent.

    At the same time, this welcome offer is slightly surpassed by the welcome offer of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in 3 months of your account opening. Those 50,000 points are worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What can you redeem Membership Rewards points for?

Use your Membership Rewards points for a variety of rewards, including:

  • Gift cards.
  • Travel.
  • Statement credit.
  • Experiences and products from a variety of retailers.
  • Points transfers to select frequent-traveler programs, such as Air France-KLM and Starwood Preferred Guest.
  • Paying for merchandise and services at Amazon, Staples, Grubhub, Expedia and other American Express partners.

Membership Rewards points tend to be the most valuable when redeemed for travel and transferred to frequent-traveler programs.

  • Rewards: 5x Membership Rewards points on select travel purchases.

    Earn 5x points when you book flights directly through airlines or with American Express Travel. You’ll also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels you book through American Express Travel.

    On all other eligible purchases, you’ll earn 1x points.

    Given Platinum Card® from American Express‘s points structure, the card is most useful if you’re a frequent traveler. You won’t earn accelerated rewards for categories like dining, however, Platinum Card® from American Express‘s 5x points on select travel is unparalleled among premium travel cards.

  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection℠, which includes the Centurion® Lounges.

    Receive complimentary access to more than 1,100 airport lounges. These include lounges in the Delta Sky Club®, Priority Pass™ Select and The International American Express collections. You also get complimentary entry into the Centurion® Lounges, which are considered among the top airport lounges in the world.

The Centurion® Lounges are considered best-in-class

centurion lounge platinum amex credit card

You’ll find the Centurion® Lounges in nine cities:

  • Dallas
  • Hong Kong
  • Houston
  • Las Vegas
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Miami
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco

They’re rare finds and among the best airport lounges you’ll find anywhere. Prior to October 2017, any American Express cardholder could access the Centurion® Lounges. And even then, most could enter only by paying a fee. Now, only members with Platinum Card® from American Express, Business Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express Corporate Platinum Card® and Centurion® Card from American Express have access.

  • $200 airline fee credit.

    On one qualifying airline of your choice, you’ll receive up to $200 per calendar year in statement credit for incidental fees, like checked baggage charges and in-flight purchases.

    You can choose which airline to get your credit with from the following: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

  • $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.

    When you apply for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry, pay the application fee with Platinum Card® from American Express® and receive approval, you’ll get a statement credit of up to $100 from American Express. You’re eligible for this credit every four years.

    For each additional card you have on your account, you’ll receive another statement credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry every four years.

  • Qualify for Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

    Normally, you qualify for Gold Preferred Guest status in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program after 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in one calendar year. However, with Platinum Card® from American Express, you can upgrade to Gold status without meeting those requirements.

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status: It's a great deal

A free upgrade in a hotel loyalty program isn’t always a big deal. Sometimes, moving up a tier doesn’t give you much more than you’d get with the basic tier. That’s not the case with the Starwood Preferred Guest program. In the SPG program, Gold Preferred Guest status is a significant step up from Preferred Guest status.

Here are a few perks Gold Preferred Guest status offers that you won’t find with Preferred Guest:

  • 3x Starpoints when you spend on eligible stays — that’s 50% more than Preferred.
  • Late checkout.
  • Complimentary upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in.
  • When you arrive, receive a gift of your choice: Bonus Starpoints, a beverage or complimentary premium Internet in your room.
  • Complimentary in-room, premium Internet when you book through an SPG digital channel.
  • Earn Starpoints through select programs, like Delta Crossover Rewards™; Your World Rewards™ — a partnership with Emirates Skywards; and Eastern Explorer Rewards™ — a partnership with China Eastern Airlines.

If you plan on staying at SPG properties — which include Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and more — Gold Preferred Guest status could make your visit significantly more enjoyable.

  • Qualify for Hilton Honors Gold status.

    To attain Gold status in the Hilton Honors program, normally you’d need 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points. You earn Base Points when you spend on rooms in the Hilton portfolio and other eligible room charges, such as room service. However, with Platinum Card® from American Express, you can upgrade to Gold without meeting those requirements.

    The Hilton Honors program is fairly attractive no matter which tier you’re in. Even as a basic member, you’ll receive benefits like digital check-in, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and late checkout. However, Gold does offer extra perks at select hotels, such as complimentary upgrades, free breakfast and more points.

  • Transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs.

    Through the Membership Rewards program, you can transfer your points to select frequent-traveler programs. Transfers are usually a great use of Membership Rewards points, as they can be moved to most frequent-traveler programs at a 1:1 ratio.

Which loyalty programs can you transfer Membership Rewards points to?

You can transfer points to these airlines and loyalty programs:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (via Aeroplan)
  • Air France-KLM
  • Alitalia
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways

And these hotels:

  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

You’ll also like …

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    You won’t incur fees when you use your card abroad or at foreign websites. Typically, providers charge a 3% fee per international transaction. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up quickly over a trip spanning several days.

    Since Platinum Card® from American Express comes with no foreign transaction fees, it can be a good choice for vacations or business trips.

  • Benefits at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties.

    Enjoy complimentary benefits like daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, noon check-in, late checkout and free Wi-Fi when you stay at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties. Properties include the Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, Bellagio, Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and more.

  • Uber credits.

    Each month, you’ll receive $15 in Uber credits for US rides, and you’ll get an additional $20 credit in December.

    If you’re a regular Uber user, these credits can help offset Platinum Card® from American Express‘s annual fee.

  • The Hotel Collection extras.

    Stay at least two consecutive nights at a property in The Hotel Collection, and you’ll receive a room upgrade if available — plus a $75 hotel credit. You must book through American Express Travel.

  • Travel services.

    Ask Platinum Travel agents for custom itineraries before your escapades around the world. And when you’re more than 100 miles from home, access the American Express Global Assist Hotline for help with emergencies like passport replacements, cash wires or medical issues.

    Your rental cars are covered against damage or theft. To obtain this coverage, just pay for the entire rental with Platinum Card® from American Express and decline the collision damage waiver at the rental agency counter.

    You’ll also receive complimentary membership in the Avis, National and Hertz loyalty programs. When available, you’ll receive upgrades and discounts.

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi through Boingo.

    Connect to more than a million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world at no cost. Normally, the Boingo Global plan costs $39 a month, and you’re limited to 2,000 minutes of access. As cardholder of Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll receive unlimited access.

  • Exclusive American Express perks.

    Call the American Express Platinum Card® from American Express Concierge for assistance with dining reservations, gift purchases and getting into exclusive events.

    Also, get access to By Invitation Only® events, preferred seating at events and Global Dining Collection restaurants and experiences.

  • Purchase benefits.

    You’ll receive extended warranties on eligible items you buy with your card. Also, you may qualify for a refund from American Express if a merchant won’t accept a return within 90 days of purchasing the product. Lastly, with Purchase Protection, your eligible items are covered against theft and accidental loss or damage.

  • Get a complimentary Amex Gold Card.

    Add a Gold Card to Platinum Card® from American Express account at no cost. You’ll earn Membership Rewards points for all eligible spending on the card.

  • InCircle benefits.

    Receive a $100 Point Card when you earn 10,000 Neiman Marcus InCircle points. You can use Point Cards at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow and CUSP.

  • Departures magazine.

    Receive a complimentary subscription to Departures magazine, which is published for cardholders of Platinum Card® from American Express. It highlights what’s new in luxury, in categories like travel, culture, dining, style and shopping.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee.
    Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a $550 annual fee. This makes Platinum Card® from American Express more expensive than its premium-card peers. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve® costs $450 per year. The Citi Prestige® Card costs $450 a year as well.
  • Not a normal credit card.
    Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, which means you have to pay your balance in full each month. This may be a big downside if you’re used to carrying a balance over time.
  • 5x points only on eligible flights and hotels.

    You’ll receive accelerated rewards only on select travel purchases. Meanwhile, Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3x points on both travel and dining. And the Citi Prestige® Card offers 3x points on air travel and hotels, as well as 2x points on dining and entertainment.

    With Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll still receive 1x points on eligible everyday purchases. But if you don’t travel much, it may be a long time before you can redeem points for the rewards you want.

  • Not as widely accepted overseas.

    Because Platinum Card® from American Express is issued by American Express, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard.

  • It hurts to pay late.

    Making late or returned payments could saddle you with fees as high as $38.

Consider other cards if …

  • You want a lower annual fee.

    For a travel card with no annual fee, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. If you’re OK with paying an annual fee, look into the excellent Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card, which has a $0 annual fee the first year and charges $95 every year after. You could also consider the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, which has a $150 annual fee.

  • You want to carry balances over time.

    This is a charge card, so you have to pay your balance in full each month. If that cramps your style, consider another travel card. You can find premium perks with a credit card that lets you carry a balance from month to month.

  • You don’t travel much.
    Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t offer accelerated rewards for non-travel spending, so this may not be the card for you if you’re not a jet-setter.

    You might like a card with flat rewards, such as the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®. Or consider a card that rewards you for spending in your favorite categories, like Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Bonus Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
1 points
16.74% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1 points
16.74% variable
$495
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
2 points
16.74% variable
$995
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
16.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
20,000 online bonus points offer. Ditch the restrictions of typical airline rewards cards. Any airline, any hotel, anytime. No blackout dates.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening, and an additional 30,000 points when you spend a total of $30,000 on purchases within the first year of your account opening.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.* Plus a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, email, phone number and home address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your total annual income and source of income

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for Platinum Card® from American Express if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

If you have at least a good credit score and a relatively high annual income, you may be the type of customer American Express is looking for.

Here are a few other factors that might affect your odds of approval:

  • How many hard pulls you have on your credit report. If you have several hard inquiries — or hard pulls — on your account, it might make you look desperate for credit. This implies you’re having trouble managing your debt, and American Express may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
  • Factors that tie into your credit score. Credit utilization is a major factor that American Express will consider. Providers prefer customers who have low balances relative to their credit limits. Having many new card accounts may be a red flag, too, as it may indicate you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s just hunting for welcome offers.

Compare Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Citi Prestige® Card

What do customers say about Platinum Card® from American Express?

Customers generally think Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent investment, saying the card largely pays for itself with its many perks, such as airline statement credit, Uber credits and lounge access.

American Express Company has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1948 and earns an overall A+ rating. However, as of July 2018, 90% of its reviews are negative and it has nearly 3,000 customer complaints. Amex cardholders generally complain of rude customer service reps, missing statement credit and issues disputing charges.

The company earns a Trustpilot score of 3 out of 10. Many negative reviews cite unhelpful customer service and inflexible company policies. Positive reviews say the company employs pleasant customer service representatives. Overall, your mileage may vary with American Express customer support.

How to apply for Platinum Card® from American Express

  1. On the American Express website, click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application form with information like your Social Security number, home address, income source and total annual income.
  3. Review and submit your application.

How long will it take to get Platinum Card® from American Express®?

Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you may get a decision on your application within 60 seconds. If there are issues with your application, it may take a few business days to a few weeks to hear back.

After you’re approved, you’ll typically receive your card within 7 to 10 business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make payments on time. Register an account on the American Express website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $38.
  • Contact customer service. Help documents aren’t easily accessible on the American Express website, but you can call 1-800-528-4800 for customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks in customer interaction.

Bottom line

You’ll get the most out of Platinum Card® from American Express if you travel often. If you don’t, consider a card that offers accelerated rewards in everyday categories.

Ultimately, Platinum Card® from American Express has a high bar to entry — but it packs premium rewards for those who pay the price of admission. If you can use the Uber, airline-fee and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® credits, the card effectively pays for itself. And you’ll find stellar benefits that no other card provider offers, such as access to the Centurion® Lounges and Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors programs. If you’re looking for a high-class travel card, Platinum Card® from American Express is a superb choice.

Not convinced this is the card for you? Compare your options with our guide to credit cards to find the best one for your situation.

Frequently asked questions

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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