Amex Platinum Card Review: Top-tier luxury travel | finder.com
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2021 Review: The Platinum Card® from American Express

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A first-class travel card with a welcome offer worth more than $4,000.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you enjoy frequent, high-class travel and want a welcome offer worth up to $4,500.
  • Pick something else if you don’t travel much or don’t plan on taking advantage of the card’s numerous perks.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

75,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 10x

Points

$550

Annual fee

670

Recommended credit score

Details

Annual fee$550
Welcome Offer75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
Rewards10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Balance transfer APRN/A
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerAmerican Express

Expert review

Steven Dashiell

Review by


Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.

Expert review

The Platinum Card® from American Express is popular luxury card unabashedly aimed at those who love to travel in style. With an annual fee of $550, it’s priced higher than many similar cards. But if you’re willing to pay the price of admission, you’ll earn a generous welcome offer of 75,000 bonus points and 10x points at US supermarkets and US gas stations for the first 6 months, 5x points on hotels, and 5x points on eligible flights and 1x points on all other purchases.

How to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application with information such as your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, total annual income and income source.
  3. 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.

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:

  1. Visit the Amex prequalification page.
  2. Enter your home address.
  3. Enter the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you’d like, enter your total annual income and non-taxable annual income.
  4. 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.

Apply now

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Market-leading welcome offer. No other card comes close to a welcome offer as high as $4,500. This is insanely valuable if you can max it out.
  • Superb value from travel and shopping credits. The travel credits you get with this card are worth several hundred dollars alone. This takes a big bite out of the card’s annual fee, making the card “cost” much lower than it seems.
  • Stellar rewards on flights and hotels. The Amex Platinum can earn more points on flights and hotels than its largest competitor, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • Best-in-class access to airport lounges globally. No other card offers the range of lounge access that the Platinum Card allows. Not only that, you get access to the widely coveted Centurion Lounges.
  • Complimentary status upgrades in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Status upgrades are usually reserved for cobranded cards, not general travel cards such as this one. These upgrades are worth hundreds of dollars in value.
  • Helpful travel benefits such as car rental perks, Concierge and Uber VIP. These perks are expansive and can offer a degree of luxury you won’t find on most cards.
  • Special offers. The Platinum Card has access to special Amex Offers, which are limited time deals you can receive after enrolling your card.

Cons

  • High annual fee. Though this is common on luxury cards, it still bears mentioning. You’ll need to make sure to use your card perks to offset this fee.
  • Higher-than-average spending requirement for welcome offer. Though the card offers huge value on its welcome offer, you’ll need to work for it with some big spending.
  • Travel credits aren’t as flexible as those you’ll find with other premium travel cards. Unlike its major competitor the Chase Reserve, you can only redeem your travel credit on travel booked directly with airlines.
  • Limited in how much balance you can carry. The Amex Platinum Card has a maximum limit on how much you can charge to its “Pay Over Time” feature.
  • Potentially limited acceptance abroad. Mastercard and Visa tend to have wider acceptance abroad compared to Amex cards.
  • Authorized user fee. You’ll have to pay an additional $175 for each authorized user added to the card. This is higher than the fee charged by other luxury credit card competitors. You can obtain Gold Cards for your authorized users for free, but they won’t enjoy the same perks and features they would with their own Platinum Card.

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. With that said, smart use of the card’s credits and perks can still make the card worth it for less frequent travelers. In both cases, the The Platinum Card® from American Express is best suited for those who are regularly stay abreast of and use their card’s features.

Who is this card not best for?

The card isn’t well-suited for infrequent travelers. For the steep price of the card, you’ll need to use several of the perks throughout the year, which means you’ll need to be traveling at least a few times — preferably longer distances. If you don’t use the card’s travel features, you’re effectively paying nearly $600 for the earning rate you could find with a far cheaper card.

Compare Amex Platinum Card to similar credit cards

If you’re curious whether to go all in on a luxury offering, here’s a look at the Amex Platinum Card vs. two similar cards for a quick taste of the differences.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

Rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$550

Purchase APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Balance transfer APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rewards

10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases

Welcome offer

75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe

American Express® Gold Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

Rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$250

Purchase APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Balance transfer APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rewards

4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points) and 3x points on directly-booked flights

Welcome offer

60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months

Apply now

Case study: Liza’s experience

profile pic

Liza Schneider
Client Services

My husband and I have had a joint Amex Platinum Card for as long as we have been married, about six years. Yes, the annual fees are expensive. But it’s the only credit card that we have, and we’re not paying multiple annual fees. In addition, as long as we pay down the balance every month, we pay no interest.

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.

Does Amex allow cosigners or authorized users for The Platinum Card® from American Express?

Amex doesn’t allow cosigners for any of its cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, you can add an authorized user to your Amex account. Check out our Amex authorized user guide for details and how to add.

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.

Annual fee

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® CardCiti Prestige® Credit CardChase Sapphire Reserve®The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLuxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
$400$495$550$550$995
The information about Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

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® CardCiti Prestige® Credit CardChase Sapphire Reserve®The Platinum Card® from American Express
$0$750$1,000$1,000$2,250

Perks

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® CardCiti Prestige® Credit CardChase Sapphire Reserve®The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLuxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Bonus reward categories
  • Prepaid hotels
  • Prepaid car rentals
  • Travel
  • Mobile wallet spending
  • Air travel
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Flights
  • Prepaid hotels
No bonus rewards
Annual travel credits$325 for travel purchases$250 for travel purchases$300 for travel purchases
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $200 Uber Cash
$200 air travel credit
Airport lounge accessPriority Pass SelectPriority Pass SelectPriority Pass SelectHighlights include:
  • Priority Pass Select
  • The Centurion Lounge
  • The International American Express lounges
  • Delta Sky Club
Priority Pass Select
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
checkmark
checkmark
checkmark
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Hotel elite statusNoneNoneNone
  • Gold Elite in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
None
Special hotel privileges through…Relais & ChâteauxThankYou Rewards portal (4th-night-free benefit)The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • The Hotel Collection
Luxury Card Travel
Concierge
checkmark
checkmark
checkmark
checkmark
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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.

On February 2020, this reddit user described their own experience with the card: “This is the type of card that you acquire for its benefits but in general don’t spend that much money on. When I had the card, for example, the only category bonus that was any good was the 5% for airlines. Other than that you’d have been better off getting a (much cheaper) rewards credit card with better bonuses in the categories you tend to spend the most on.”

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®
    With this card, 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 CardRewards-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. 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® CardThe U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. This card is often left out of the luxury-card conversation, but it’s a sleeper hit that’s worth your attention. 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.

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 6 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. You can get more tips for earning at our Amex rewards earning guide.
  • Redeem points on the best value. You have a few ways to use your points, including redeeming them on travel, for cash back, or transferring them. Some methods are worth more value than others, so check out our Amex redemption guide for a better idea of your big value plays.
  • 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.
  • Pair your card.
    If you want to maximize your Membership Rewards points, try pairing up your Platinum Card with other Amex rewards cards. Picking up two that can earn you accelerated rewards in other categories can help you create what’s known as the Amex Trifecta, a value generating powerhouse. The Amex Everyday Preferred and Amex Gold Card are both great options for creating a trifecta.

Bottom line

The 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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