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The Platinum Card® from American Express – Review

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At a Glance
Amex Platinum Card Art 2 4 21
4.2 / 5
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The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards® points (worth up to $1,000) after spending $6,000 in 6 months; 10 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant purchases worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., up to $25,000 in combined category spending.
  • Rewards: 5 points per $1 spent on airfare purchased directly with airlines and prepaid hotels and airfare purchased through American Express Travel (earnings on airfare purchases capped at 500,000 points per year, beginning Jan. 1, 2021); 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Airline Fee Credit: $200 annual airline fee credit with one airline of your choice for incidental expenses such as checked bags, fare changes, food and beverage, airport lounge passes, and other non-airfare items.
  • Other Benefits: Up to $200 in Uber credits each year; $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee (once every four years); Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through the American Express Global Lounge Collection and partner programs; Automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status; Special perks and benefits at more than 1,000 high-end hotels and resorts worldwide. Enrollment is required to earn many of these benefits and terms apply.
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $695
  • Credit Needed: Excellent
  • Terms and conditions apply: see rates and fees

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is an exclusive card that carries a $695 annual fee and provides a host of luxurious and practical benefits for frequent travelers. One of the headline benefits is a $200 airline fee credit that offsets up to $200 in charges with one airline of your choice each year after you enroll. If you own a small business, consider the very similar Business Platinum Card from American Express.

The Platinum Card is tied into American Express’s Membership Rewards® program and offers excellent earning power on certain travel purchases made directly with merchants and/or through the American Express Travel portal. Its primary competitors are other high-end cards, including Citi Prestige Card, Diners Club Elite, American Express Delta Reserve, and Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard. All require near-flawless credit.

For aspirants with less-than-perfect credit, slightly lower-end (but still attractive) rewards cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express, and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can serve as ladders up to the Platinum Card’s rarer air.

Compare this card to other travel rewards cards.

Key Features

These are the key features of the Platinum Card from American Express.

$200 Annual Airline Fee Credit

You get a $200 annual airline fee credit, good for offsetting incidental purchases such as baggage fees and in-flight meals, with one airline of your choice. Enrollment is required and terms apply.

Welcome Offer

Earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $6,000 within six months of opening your account. That’s worth up to $1,000 when redeemed for merchandise and certain other items at American Express’s Membership Rewards® portal.

Plus, earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. during the first six months your account is open (up to $25,000 in combined purchases). That’s 9 additional points per $1 spent on top of the usual 1 point per $1 spent on those types of purchases.

Membership Rewards® and Redemption

Airfare purchases made directly with airlines earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent (up to 500,000 Membership Rewards points earned per year, beginning Jan. 1, 2021). So do airfare and hotel purchases made through American Express Travel, the company’s in-house travel portal. All other purchases earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, transportation, travel, gift cards, and statement credits at American Express’s Membership Rewards® portal.

Points are generally worth $0.005 to $0.01 at redemption, depending on redemption method. Cash-like redemptions, such as statement credits, have lower point values, while merchandise redemptions have higher values.

Pay Over Time

American Express’s Pay Over Time feature allows longtime cardholders in good standing to carry balances from month to month without negative consequences. Pay Over Time balances accrue interest charges at variable rates.

Uber Credits

Every year, you get up to $200 in Uber ridesharing credits as long as you add the card to your app. You get up to $15 in credits per month, plus a $20 bonus in December. Enrollment is required.

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access

Enjoy complimentary or reduced-price access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which bills itself as “the only…airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.”

Other participating lounge brands include The Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select. Enrollment is required.

TSA Precheck and Global Entry Fee Credit

Every four years, you’re entitled to take a statement credit of up to $100 toward your TSA Precheck or Global Entry program application.

Hilton Honors Gold Status

You may enjoy Hilton Honors Gold Status as long as your Platinum Card account remains open and in good standing. Gold Status benefits include a 25% bonus on base Honors point earnings and a 5th night free on stays of 5 nights or longer. Enrollment is required.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status

You can also upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with no spend or stay requirement. Benefits of Gold Status include a 50% bonus on base Starpoint earnings, flexible check-out, room upgrades where available, and your choice of a welcome gift at check-in. Enrollment is required.

Fine Hotels & Resorts Benefits

Enjoy special rates and complimentary perks at properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection, which includes nearly 1,000 high-end hotel and resort properties worldwide. According to American Express, benefits include “daily breakfast for two, room upgrade when available, $100 amenity, guaranteed 4pm late check-out, 12pm check-in when available, and complimentary WiFi.” The average benefit value, assuming a two-night stay, is $550.

The Hotel Collection Benefits

When you book a minimum of two nights at participating hotels (the Hotel Collection) through the American Express Travel portal, you get a complimentary room upgrade if available and a $75 hotel services credit that can be applied toward spa appointments, dining, and more.

Important Fees

The Platinum Card carries a $695 annual fee, starting in the first year of card membership. There is no foreign transaction fee. If you don’t have the Pay Over Time feature, the late fee is the greater of $40 or 2.99% of the total late balance, starting after 2 consecutive billing periods of nonpayment. The returned payment fee is $40.

Credit Required

This card requires stellar credit. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have the resources to make on-time, in-full payments on a card without a preset spending limit.

Advantages

  1. Great Value-Added Travel Benefits. The Platinum Card’s airline benefits are incredibly generous. The $200 annual airline fee credit and $200 Uber credit nearly negate the card’s $695 annual fee on their own. The airport lounge benefit has almost incalculable value. The $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit is a nice plus. Enrollment is required to enjoy many of these benefits.
  2. Excellent Rewards Rate on Travel Purchases: You earn a 5 points per $1 spent on hotels and airfare booked through American Express Travel, and 5 points per $1 spent on airfare booked directly with the airline (with airfare rewards earnings capped at 500,000 points per year, beginning Jan. 1, 2021). That’s a 5% return on major travel spending – a nearly unheard of rate for a general-purpose travel card.
  3. No Preset Spending Limits. The Platinum Card doesn’t have a preset spending limit, though Amex reserves the right to impose one later if you fail to make timely payments. That’s a distinct advantage over most other travel rewards cards, such as Capital One Venture Rewards and Chase Sapphire Preferred, whose credit limits can be fairly low. No Preset Spending Limit means your spending limit is flexible. Unlike a traditional card with a set limit, the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment, and credit history.
  4. Hilton Honors & Marriott Bonvoy Status. Platinum Card members who enroll can take advantage of complimentary upgrades to Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. Both programs, which cover thousands of hotel and resort properties in the U.S. and abroad, offer valuable perks such as complimentary room upgrades, accelerated loyalty point earnings, flexible checkout, and more. Other popular high-end rewards cards, such as Diners Club Elite, don’t come with automatic status upgrades.
  5. Solid Welcome Offer. This card’s welcome offer is head and shoulders above most other general-purpose cards, even those known for generous welcome offers.
  6. No Foreign Transaction Fees. The Platinum Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This is great for Platinum card holders traveling overseas, particularly those who wish to take advantage of the companion airfare benefit on long international flights. By contrast, the Expedia+ Card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee, a major drawback for international travelers.

Disadvantages

  1. High Annual Fee. The Platinum Card has a $695 annual fee, which is several times greater than the fees charged by lower-tier rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you don’t plan to take full advantage of the Platinum Card’s rewards, look for a cheaper alternative.
  2. Baseline Earning Rate Isn’t Very Generous. Aside from hotel and airfare purchases made directly with the airline or through American Express Travel, Platinum Card purchases earn just 1 point per $1 spent. If you’re looking for a travel card that rewards you for a wider range of spending, check out the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
  3. Difficult to Qualify for Membership. It almost goes without saying that the Platinum Card from American Express is an exclusive piece of plastic. The simple truth is that this card requires near-flawless credit, a hurdle that the vast majority of prospective applicants can’t clear. If you’re looking for a perks-laden rewards card, but have even a minor blemish or two on your credit report, set your sights a bit lower: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer both require excellent, but not stellar, credit.

Final Word

American Express makes no bones about The Platinum Card’s exclusivity. To be blunt, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a status symbol for a well-heeled, jet-setting minority – and for those fortunate enough to have ample corporate spending accounts. If you live frugally, Platinum isn’t an ideal first, second, or even third card to carry. In fact, it may never have a place in your wallet.

On the other hand, if you travel frequently and take full enough advantage of the card benefits to offset or come out ahead of the $695 annual fee, it’s hard to do better than The Platinum Card. Which side are you on?

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

Verdict
Amex Platinum Card Art 2 4 21
4.2 / 5
Rating

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is an exclusive card for frequent travelers with ample budgets and a penchant for luxury benefits in flight, in the airport, and in hotels. With low rewards on everything except travel, it’s definitely not an everyday-type card for the vast majority of the card-holding public. For those who can afford to take full advantage of its benefits, however, it’s a great asset to have.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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