The Platinum Card® from American Express – Review

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The Platinum Card® from American Express – Review

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"Luxury Travel Benefits and 5x points!"

This card is undoubtedly the #1 card for luxury travel benefits. From lounge access to fee credits to complimentary elite status, you can’t go wrong.

Apply Now (at Amex's secure site)

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most recognizable credit cards out there. You’ll often find the card associated with symbols of prestige, status, and luxury.

Make no mistake: The Platinum Card® is a premium card with a premium price tag. Some might even consider it overhyped and overpriced – but when used effectively (and considering the benefits and perks received with the Platinum Card®) it can prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.

Pro's

Con's

  • High annual fee
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Couple Eating Breakfast Poolside
Make luxury travel possible with points earned from your Platinum Card®. Image courtesy of fokke baarssen via Shutterstock.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is tailored toward frequent travelers who want luxury amenities and can regularly take advantage of the card’s many perks and benefits.

For example, this card is the best of its class when it comes to lounge access — cardholders get access to American Express Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta the same day.

When you combine this lounge access with 5x earnings on airfare, Gold status with Marriott and Hilton, access to Amex’s Fine Hotel & Resorts program, and credits for airlines/Uber/Global Entry, and you’ve got a package that makes for one of the best travel cards in the industry.

Virtually every benefit offered with the Platinum Card® is tailored toward enhancing your travel experiences, and it shows.

Great Card If

  • You travel often enough to take advantage of all the travel perks
  • You’re able to use the annual credits (Airline, Saks Fifth Avenue, Uber)
  • You want airport lounge access
  • You want hotel elite status
  • You want a luxury card with luxury benefits

Don't Get If

  • You don’t travel often
  • You aren’t interested in the perks and annual credits
  • You prefer a card with more bonus categories

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $550
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates ?
    • None. This is a charge card, meaning that your full balance is due upon your statement
  • Late fees ?
    • Up to $39
  • Balance Transfers
    • N/A since this is a charge card
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 26.99% Variable
  • Additional Info

How to Earn More Points

Woman Working in Airport Lounge
If you’re a frequent traveler, why not have a card that makes travel even better with access to over 1,000 airport lounges? Image courtesy of Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock.

Airfare Purchases

With the Platinum Card® from American Express, you will earn 5x Membership Reward points per $1 spent directly with airlines, as well as airfare and hotels booked through amextravel.com.

So the best way to maximize your points earning with the Platinum Card® is to use this card for all of your airfare purchases. If you’re someone who travels often, this will allow you to earn a ton of points.

Amex Offers

By virtue of being an American Express cardholder, each month you’ll receive dozens of Amex offers that you can attach to your Platinum Card®, which helps you earn more Membership Reward points.

These offers can provide you with some excellent value by allowing you to earn additional points or cash-back for shopping with select merchants. Simply add your offers of choice from the bottom of your card’s home screen, and you’re ready to start earning.

Refer-a-Friend

American Express allows you to earn points for referring your friends to their credit cards. Just send your friend your unique link — if they are approved, you’ll receive a point bonus added to your account.

Hot Tip: You can receive a bonus even if your friend doesn’t apply for the card you hold. For example, if you have the Platinum Card® from American Express and you refer a friend who decides to apply for the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll still receive the point bonus.

Adding More Membership Rewards Cards

If you’re a fan of the American Express Membership Rewards ecosystem, then adding more Membership Rewards cards to your wallet is a no-brainer.

Take the American Express® Gold Card for example, which earns 4x Membership Reward points per $1 on dining and grocery store purchases. With this 2-card combo, you’ll be earning tons of points for all your airfare, dining, and grocery store purchases.

There are plenty of American Express cards with varying bonus categories; here are some of our favorites:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for even more ways to earn more Membership Rewards points for your next redemption, check out our comprehensive guide on the Best Ways to Earn Membership Rewards Points!

How to Use These Points for Max Value

When it comes to using your Membership Rewards points, you have a few main redemption options that all vary in value and their usefulness.

Travel Partners

American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable point currencies out there because they can be transferred to one of Amex’s many airline transfer partners.

This is easily the best option to get the maximum value out of your hard-earned points, as you could use them to purchase business and first-class flights that would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars!

Hot Tip: It’s a common misconception that using transfer partners is way too complicated and takes too much time to master. But it’s a lot easier than you might think — check out our guide to Amex transfer partners and how to use them.

Amex Travel

You’ll also have the option of using your points to offset airfare and hotel purchases you make through the Amex Travel portal (though you won’t get great value).

When using your points toward an airline ticket you’ll receive just 1 cent per point — and an abysmal 0.7 cents per point when redeeming toward a hotel stay.

Statement Credit

American Express will also give you the option to use your points to cover eligible charges you’ve made with your card. However, when doing so your points will only be valued at 0.6 cents each — which is terrible for points as valuable as Membership Rewards!

Gift Cards

American Express offers plenty of retailers where you can cash in your points and get a gift card in return. But in doing so, you’ll receive anywhere from 0.7 cents to 1 cent per point toward the gift card.

Again, this is not a method we advise, as you’ll be losing huge value in the form of travel rewards.

Shop With Points

Lastly, you can use your Membership Rewards points to offset the cost of your purchases with retailers like Apple, Best Buy, or Saks Fifth Avenue.

There are dozens of merchants to choose from, but we don’t recommend it as using this method will only earn you 1 cent or less per point in value.

Bottom Line: At Upgraded Points, we highly recommend using your points with American Express transfer partners — that is where the big value is found. Due to this, we do not advise anyone use their points for gift cards, statement credits, or any option that only earns 1 cent per point or less. 

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico
1,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus1,0001:1Almost Instant
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles1,0001:1Almost instant
British Airways
1,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines1,0001:1Almost Instant
EL AL1,00050:1Almost Instant
Emirates1,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian1,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia1,0001:11-3 days
JetBlue2501:0.8Almost Instant
Qantas5001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines1,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic1,0001:11-2 days
Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Marriott Bonvoy1,0001:1Almost Instant

Competitor Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3x points per $1 spent on all travel and dining purchases, with the travel definition being extended to include airfare, hotels, Airbnb, even Uber/Lyft.

Combine that with a $300 travel credit and a Priority Pass membership, and it makes for a compelling option.

While the Sapphire Reserve® doesn’t feature nearly the level of elite benefits that the Platinum Card® does, this could be a good option for you if you’re after a more well-rounded travel card.

Citi Prestige® Card

The $495 Citi Prestige® Card earns 5x Citi ThankYou points on airfare and dining purchases and comes with a $250 travel credit, a Priority Pass Membership, and 4th-night-free hotel benefit that can be used twice per year.

Again, the Prestige® Card does not feature nearly as many luxury benefits or hotel elite status like the Platinum Card®, but the 5x earning and 4th-night-free benefit make it worthy of considering.


For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

FAQ

Is the Platinum Card® from American Express hard to get?

Most travel credit cards require applicants to have good credit in order to be approved. American Express does not publish a set benchmark score needed, but if you have a strong credit score then it’s likely your application will be approved.

However, keep in mind that the annual fee will be due on your first billing statement — so if that isn’t something you can afford, you should consider another card.

Why get the Platinum Card® from American Express? Is it worth it?

While the annual fee is quite high, when you factor in the number of benefits received from the card, the question of “is it worth it?” for many people is yes.

The card comes with a $200 Uber credit, $200 airline incidental credit, and $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit — which effectively cancel out much of the annual fee. Then add in the 5x earnings on flights, Gold status with Hilton and Marriott hotels, and access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

Given the number of luxury benefits you receive from having the card, if you can afford the annual fee, then yes the Platinum Card® is definitely worth it.

Is the Platinum Card® from American Express a credit card?

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

The 2 main differences between a charge card and a credit card are that charge cards have no pre-set spending limit, and balances must be paid in full each month.

Many people think charge cards have no credit limit, but this is not true. American Express does not give cardholders a set spending limit for their charge cards, but they will start declining purchases if they believe your balance is becoming higher than you can afford to pay each month.

Similarly, with a charge card, your balance must be paid in full each month. This is not the case with most credit cards, as they allow you to make a minimum or partial payment and carry the rest of the balance over while being charged interest. However, if your charge card is not paid in full, you won’t be able to use your card for any other purchases until it is.

What is the Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee? Can I add authorized users?

See the card summary table above for the Platinum Card® annual fee. If you wish to add authorized users to the account, you can add up to 3 for an additional $175 per year. Each authorized user of the Platinum Card® will receive all of the same benefits as the main cardholder.

You also have the option of adding up to 99 American Express® Gold Cards for no additional annual fee. Keep in mind that while these cards have the same earning rate as the Platinum Card®, they receive none of the elite benefits.

What airport lounges do you get access to with the Platinum Card® from American Express?

With the Platinum Card® from American Express, you receive access to all of the American Express Centurion lounges, Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta the same day), Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, Airspace lounges, and Escape lounges.

This is by far the most extensive list of eligible lounges you can visit offered by any travel credit card on the market.

Note: Priority Pass memberships from US-issued American Express cards no longer include restaurants (‘non-lounge airport experiences’).

Is the Platinum Card® by American Express metal?

Yes, the Platinum Card® from American Express is a metal card.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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