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Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and travel the world like a pro. He's taken an extended trip around Europe as a digital nomad, gaining firsthand experience with exchange rates, ideal (and not-so-ideal) credit and debit cards, foreign transactions and budgeting strategies. He earned his BA from UC Davis and has written across many niches at Finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers.
We polled hundreds of The Platinum Card® from American Express users. Here’s what we found.
Application process rating: 71%.
Customer service rating: 81%.
Approval rate for 720–850 credit range: 96%
33% of users confident the $550 annual fee is worth it.
No. 1 reason people apply: Welcome offer.
74% met the minimum spend and earned the welcome offer.
Average approval rate for The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is unabashedly aimed at those who love to travel in style. With an annual fee of $550 (see rates & fees), 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 The 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® which offers 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 Marriott Bonvoy. 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 The Platinum Card® from American Express offers many 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 your The Platinum Card® from American Express and receive up to $200 in statement credit each calendar year.
If you can take advantage of these credits, you could effectively cover The Platinum Card® from American Express‘s annual fee. But there’s more that separates The Platinum Card® from American Express from other products, such as:
Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs. Gold Elite is particularly valuable in Marriott Bonvoy, offering attractive benefits you won’t find in the program’s basic membership.
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. The 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, The 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.
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:
Experiences and products from a variety of retailers.
Points transfers to select frequent-traveler programs, such as Air France-KLM and Marriott Bonvoy.
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 The 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, The 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
You’ll find the Centurion® Lounges in nine cities:
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 The Platinum Card® from American Express, The 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 your The 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 Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
Normally, you qualify for Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program after 25 eligible nights in one calendar year. However, with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can upgrade to Gold Elite status without meeting those requirements.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: It's a great deal
A complimentary 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 Marriott Bonvoy program.
Here are a few perks Gold Elite status offers that you won’t find with Silver Elite:
25% bonus points when you spend on eligible stays.
Complimentary upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in.
When you arrive, receive a gift of welcome points.
Complimentary in-room, premium Internet.
Earn points 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 Marriott Bonvoy properties — which include Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and more — Gold Elite 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 The 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 and 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:
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 The 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 complimentary 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.
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 The 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 up to $100 in hotel credit. You must book through American Express Travel or a qualifying travel service.
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.
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 The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll receive unlimited access.
American Express perks.
Call the American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express Concierge for assistance with dining reservations, gift purchases and getting into select events.
Also, get access to By Invitation Only® events, preferred seating at events and Global Dining Collection restaurants and experiences.
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 American Express® Gold Card.
Add an American Express® Gold Card to your The Platinum Card® from American Express account at no cost. You’ll earn Membership Rewards points for all eligible spending on the card.
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.
Receive a complimentary subscription to Departures magazine, which is published for cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express. It highlights what’s new in luxury, in categories like travel, culture, dining, style and shopping.
My husband and I have had a joint Platinum Card® from American Express 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), but 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 just went to Encore at Wynn Las Vegas entirely on Amex points. I also like the way it looks, so there’s that.
The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates & fees). This makes The Platinum Card® from American Express more expensive than its premium-card peers. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve® costs $450 per year.
Not a normal credit card.
The 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.
With The 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 The 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 $39.
To apply for The 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 The 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.
What do customers say about The Platinum Card® from American Express?
Customers generally think The 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 The Platinum Card® from American Express
How long will it take to get my The 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 $39 (see rates & fees).
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.
You’ll get the most out of The Platinum Card® from American Express if you travel often. If you don’t, consider a card that offers accelerated rewards in everyday categories.
Ultimately, The 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 Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs. If you’re looking for a high-class travel card, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a superb choice.
No, none of the other major card providers in the US offer charge cards — American Express is the only one.
Unfortunately, American Express doesn’t offer access to non-members.
American Express used to allow all of its cardholders to purchase Centurion® Lounge day passes. Now, only members with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, American Express Corporate Platinum Card® and Centurion® Card from American Express have access.
You’ll receive the points in your Membership Rewards account 8 to 12 weeks after you qualify for the welcome offer.
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.
Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.
We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.
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