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)

On the go all the time, you hardly ever have time to take care of your day to day items. You love the rush of the job and traveling around, but you really wish there were a way to make your experience better.

You only need one credit card to change your whole travel experience: The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

The benefits offered by this card will ensure you are more than comfortable on the road and can focus on the important things.

Busy Travelers amex platinum benefits
For the busy, frequent traveler, adding The Platinum Card® from American Express to your wallet could be very valuable. With a distinct variety of travel benefits (including lounge access), you will travel in style and comfort.

Welcome Bonus, Points Earning, and Rewards

You can earn The Platinum Card® from American Express welcome bonus after spending the appropriate amount of money in the allotted time as mentioned above. These reward points accumulate in your Amex Membership Rewards account to be used as you please.

There is now a $550 annual fee on this card that will be applied right away, so expect to start off with a balance.

Compared to other credit cards, this hadn’t traditionally been a big hitter in the points category since you would only earn 1x points for most purchases on the card.

Cardmembers eceive 5x points when purchasing airfare directly through the airlines and through the American Express Travel Portal, and 5x points for hotels when purchasing through Amex Travel!

These points pool into your Membership Rewards account, though, so if you use other Amex cards, you can add to your pool of points that can be used for great American Express travel rewards.

While that may not seem worth it to some, this card was not intended to be a points builder. Sure, the welcome bonus is nice, but the card is a behemoth in the benefits category.

It’s important to note that this card’s benefits are in the luxury category. If you aren’t interested in luxury perks, then you may want to stick with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Bottom Line: Earn 5x points with airfare purchased directly with the airline, and 5x points for airfare and hotels purchased through Amex Travel with The Platinum Card® from American Express!

Card Benefits Review: Air Travel

First, this card offers a $200 per year airline fee credit for incidental charges. This means that $200 of the $550 card fee is already given back to you if you fly.

While this doesn’t cover ticket costs or upgrades, it does cover other incidental charges by the airline like baggage, in-flight purchases, change fees, and so forth.

Also note that the airline credit only works with one airline that you choose, and not a third party service.

To receive this credit, you sign up for your chosen airline through your account. Then, whenever you spend money through that airline, the charges are automatically credited up to the $200.

You will only be able to change your airline once per year in January, so choose wisely!

Bottom Line:  Receive $200 per year at a single airline of your choice for incidental charges.

Yearly Credit When Riding With Uber

Another benefit of the Platinum Card is the ability to get up to $200 in credits with Uber back by the end of the year. This is another great way to offset $200 of the $550 annual fee.

The credit is available in $15 chunks each month of the year, with a $35 credit available in December ($15 plus a bonus $20). For those of you with Uber in your city, this makes for a great card!

Bottom Line:  Receive a $200 credit with Uber each year, paid out in monthly increments of $15 per month and $20 in December.

Lounge Access

Next, cardmembers also become members of American Express Global Lounge Collection, which allows access to over 900 lounges globally, including Centurion, Delta Sky Club, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, and Lufthansa Lounges in Frankfurt (through March 31, 2019) and Munich (through May 31, 2019).

If you need to grab Wi-Fi somewhere on the go, you can use Boingo WiFi Hotspots. The card offers complimentary membership in the program to access Wi-Fi worldwide on up to 4 devices.

To speed up travel, there is also a credit for those who sign up to Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) services, which renews every 5 years. However, the credit is only good for one program (not both).

Bottom Line: The Platinum Card® from American Express has annual $200 airline fee credits, airport lounge and Boingo WiFi access, and priority security line credits.

Card Benefits for the Ground Traveler

For the hotel traveler, you’ll receive complimentary Gold status in both the Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs. Because SPG is now linked to Marriott, you will status match for Marriott as well!

You also get access to the Hotel Collection benefit, which gives you free upgrades in participating hotels as long as you’ve stayed longer than 2 nights. For each stay, you’ll also get a $75 credit to use for services.

This benefit alone can make up for the annual fee if you frequent hotels. Note that you must make travel reservations through the Platinum Travel Service or other Amex travel sources like AmexTravel.com to get your benefits.

If you book through Amex Travel, you will also get 5x points for airfare and 2x points for other purchases instead of 1x points! Additionally, you still get to utilize your loyalty accounts to earn points and status, so it’s definitely a win-win.

For rental cars, you get to enjoy premium status with three rental agencies: Avis, Hertz, and National. This allows you to receive premium upgrades when available, making rentals more fun and less hassle.

Additional Travel Benefits

While the above benefits more than make up for the card fees if you’re a heavy traveler, there is actually more. Other travel benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express include a variety of insurances and assistance services.

Platinum Travel Service, mentioned a few times above, is a travel concierge that helps you make bookings, like a travel agent. You must use this service (or a similar Amex service) to take advantage of some of the travel perks.

There are no foreign transaction fees on the card, which makes foreign travel great. If you’re a cruise lover, you’ll enjoy having access to the cruise program through Amex.

When you are far away from home, you can access the Global Assist hotline to get advice on medical, legal, or other emergency services. There is also a Roadside Assist program.

Travel insurance card benefits offered include car rental, baggage, and travel accident insurances.

Saks Fifth Avenue Shopping Credits – $100

Amex Platinum Saks Fifth AvenueEarn up to $100 per year in Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits, enroll your card here.

Receive a $50 credit January-June and another $50 July-December for purchases in-store and online at Saks Fith Avenue.

Excludes:

  • Dining in stores
  • Outlet locations (Off Fifth)
  • Bill pay for Saks Fifth Avenue credit card
  • Purchases of Saks Fifth Avenue gift cards
  • Purchases shipped outside the US
  • Purchases at stores or country websites outside the US

Once enrolled, primary card or authorized users cards can be used, however max credit per account of $100 per year.

Other Card Benefits

As if the above list wasn’t enough, there are a few more to discuss! For those who like a concierge service, you get access to the American Express Platinum Concierge to help you with every day tasks.

Also included are the Platinum Dining Program (for top notch reservations), the By Invitation Only program (for unique, tailored experiences), and Preferred Seating (for tickets to big events).

Bottom Line: There are too many benefits of this Amex card to list them all, but suffice it to say you’ll definitely travel in luxury and style. If you want to see the full range of benefits, see the Platinum benefits page.

Great Card If

  • You like the luxury travel lifestyle
  • You will utilize enough benefits to pay back the $550, such as Global Entry fee credit, airline fee credit, and airport lounge access (see card math for details)
  • You utilize Boingo WiFi, want Gold status in Honors and SPG / Marriott, or enjoy rental car upgrades

Don't Get If

  • You don’t travel enough to bother earning the value of the card fee in benefits (see card math)
  • You’re looking for a good card to use to earn Membership Rewards Points (although with the 5x reward points addition to airfare, this could change the game!)
  • Luxury travel doesn’t interest you

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 $38
    • $38 or 2.99% (whichever is greater) if using the Pay Over Time feature, which essentially acts like credit
  • Balance Transfers
    • N/A since this is a charge card
  • Cash Advance APR
    • N/A since this is a charge card

U.P. Pro Tips

Don’t like traveling alone and want to share your benefits? Add up to three authorized users on this card, each for $175 per year! They get access to the majority of your benefits, which more than makes up for the cost of the card if used.

Amex Platinum benefits that additional cardmembers are entitled to include lounges (including Global Lounge Collection), Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits ($100/$85 respectively), and Honors and SPG Gold status.

The $200 airline credit is shared among cardholders, so if you were worried about making that spend for the year, then your additional cardholder can help collect on that card benefit.

Reward points accrued go into the primary cardholder’s Membership Rewards account.

Family Credit Cards
Add your family members as authorized users on the card to share all the benefits. You can each get lounge access for free as well as gold status in SPG and Honors. It’s only $175 extra per year for up to three additional cards.

Best Way to Maximize Points

As we’ve stated before, this card isn’t typically used to earn points since most of its value comes from its benefits.

That being said, you should at least know how to earn points more efficiently if this is going to be a card you’ll use!

Tip #1: Book all travel through the AmexTravel.com portal. You can earn 2x points on travel purchases, although this specifically excludes car rentals and non-prepaid hotels.

Included categories are airfare, prepaid hotels, vacation packages, Amex Vacations, and cruises. You ALSO get to earn points through the loyalty programs of any carriers you use, which isn’t the case in some travel portals!

Tip #2: Book all flights with your card to earn 5x points for airfare. Note that it must be purchased directly through the airlines, or on AmexTravel.com.

Tip #3: Use the Auto Purchase Program. If you’re going to make a big purchase that you can’t normally put on a card, you may as well take the opportunity to do so when you can.

Tip #4: Add additional cardmembers. It costs $175/yr to add up to three additional cardmembers. While this is a lot, remember they get to utilize the card benefits such as the lounge access and Gold status.

Then, when they make purchases, all reward points go into your account, helping you earn faster. Just be sure they pay their own balances!

Buying Car with Credit
Buying a new car soon? See if you can take advantage of the AMEX Auto Purchase program to earn some extra points for buying your car that you may not have been able to otherwise!

Best Way to Redeem Points

Points earned with the American Express Platinum card will accrue under your Membership Awards account. This account is shared among all points-earning American Express non-partnered cards.

There are a few tips we’ll share on maximizing your redemptions:

Redemption Option 1: Travel Partner Transfers

This is your most valuable option overall. Transfer your points earned to one of the airline frequent flyer or hotel partners; most all come with a 1:1 transfer ratio:

Note that all transfers of points cost $0.0006 per point, up to $99. That means a 10k point transfer costs $6.

Redemption Option 2: Pay for Travel With Points

While similar to option 1, in this option you are directly paying for travel through the Amex Travel portal.

You don’t receive as good a value for your points as you would by transferring points (or compared to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal), so we don’t typically recommend this.

Redemption Option 3: Shopping

You can utilize any points you can’t use elsewhere on a number of shopping networks. This includes using Pay with Points (merchants such as Amazon and Ticketmaster) and the Membership Rewards Shop.

There are many more options, but we won’t cover them all here. In general, your reward points will be worth $0.01 or less utilizing these methods of redemption.

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico
2,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada2,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia2,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus2,0001:1Newly launched, collecting data
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles2,0001:1Almost instant
British Airways
2,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific2,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines2,0001:1Almost Instant
EL AL2,00050:1Almost Instant
Emirates2,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM2,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian2,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia2,0001.25:11-3 days
JetBlue2,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines2,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic2,0001:11-2 days
Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Starwood Preferred Guest1,0001:2Almost Instant

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

Sometimes, American Express may deny you bonus points if you already have other American Express cards. Be sure to check with a customer service representative on your card.

Since the card relies heavily on benefits, you want to be familiar with the terms and conditions of the cards to ensure your benefits work the way you think they do.

Lounge access is free for you, but you must sign up for the Global Lounge Collection membership yourself. Also, any guests that are with you must pay a $27 fee in most cases, which is put onto card.

Be sure to check all appropriate exclusions for the car rental privileges and other benefits.

Note that this is a charge card, which means you cannot carry a balance forward unless you have permission to do so.

Signing Up for the Airline Fee Credit

Signing up for the airline fee credit is actually quite easy if you know where to go. All credit card issuer benefits are accessed from the same screen.

Go into your main account summary screen, then click the “Benefits” menu at the top. You must be viewing your card, or you’ll have to go back to the home screen and switch.

Once here, you’ll find the airline fee credit card benefit right at the top. Click on the “Choice Required” button.

Platinum_Card_Airline_Fee_Credit_Main_Screen
Navigate to here by going into your Amex Account main screen by logging into AmericanExpress.com. Then, make sure the correct card is being viewed. Find the button titled “Benefits” (it will actually be blue in the screen you are on) and you will be brought to this screen. Then click “Choice Required.”

You’ll be brought to a screen that likely asks you to sign in again, and then you’ll be able to select your airline from a dropdown menu.

The choices in the past have been Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, and United (the major U.S. carriers). Note the rules for eligible purchases and how it works:

Platinum_Card_Airline_Fee_Credit_Rules
The Amex Benefits screen will tell you the details about the credit, which includes not counting toward tickets, gift cards, upgrades, and award tickets.

Once selected, you will get the following screen letting you know you’re signed up. For instance, I chose Alaska at the time this was written. You can only change your airline once per year, in January.

Platinum_Card_Airline_Fee_Credit_Confirmation
Once you have selected your airline, you may see a screen like this. Your selected airline will show up in the bottom right, and note that you can only change the airline in January after you have initially chosen one.

Other Unique Features

This will be a rehash of the variety of benefits available with the American Express Platinum card. Remember to check the details in the terms and conditions.

Amex Auto Purchase – You may qualify to put at least $2,000 onto your Amex card to purchase a new vehicle. Check the qualified retailers list.

$200 Airline Fee Credit – The credit can only be used for incidentals and cannot be used for purchases billed by third parties. You must select one airline to utilize your credit with, and the fees are automatically credited as they are accrued.

The Hotel Collection – For hotels booked through the travel portal, you get free upgrades if you stay two or more nights, plus a $75 credit for each stay to use toward services like the spa.

Entertainment Access – Get access to VIP tickets that Amex makes available to its customers. These can be good for a number of different types of events.

American Express Preferred Seating – Another portal with VIP tickets, geared more toward sports.

Membership Rewards Shop – This is the shopping portal that can be used to make purchases that earn more points, or where you can spend your points.

Dispute Resolution – This is where you dispute charges to your account that you didn’t authorize. They reserve the right to deny you.

Global Assist Hotline – This is a free hotline to be used in emergencies while abroad. You can find referrals and other emergency services here.

Personalized Travel Service – Your own personal travel agent that can be used to make all your bookings. Note that you may be liable for third party service charges here.

Baggage Insurance Plan – A secondary baggage insurance plan that can provide you some help in case your bags are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Premium Roadside Assistance – This is a free service up to 4x per year you can use to jump your car, tow it less than 10 miles, change tires, and so on.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance – Get American Express Platinum car insurance while you’re traveling. Be sure to decline the agency’s policy!

Purchase Protection – An insurance plan for things you buy that are broken, lost, or stolen within the first 90 days. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per occurrence and $50k per year.

Return Protection – Also a 90-day insurance plan, this one is for items that can’t be returned to the original vendor. Coverage is for $300 per item and a maximum of $1,000 per year.

Extended Warranty – Get an extra warranty period for warranties less than five years. Coverage is up to $10,000 per occurrence and not to exceed $50,000 per year.

Additional Card Members – You can get additional member cards for up to three people at a cost of $175 per year. As an alternative, you can get the Gold Card from American Express instead for $45 per year for three people.

Each additional card member will share the lounge access, Gold status, Boingo, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, travel insurances, and other benefits.

They will NOT get their own $200 airline fee credit, and there are a few other specific restrictions.

Lounge Access – Get free access to  Centurion, Delta Sky Club, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, and Lufthansa Lounges in Frankfurt (through March 31, 2019) and Munich (through May 31, 2019).

Each lounge has its own guest policy. Centurion Lounge allows you to bring immediate family OR one or two companions with you (differs per Centurion Lounge).

Airspace Lounge allows you to bring two guests at no additional cost, but anyone else must pay a normal fee. Delta Sky Club allows you to purchase up to two additional passes for $29/person.

In Global Lounge Collection lounges, guests usually cost $27, which will be charged to your card.

American Express Platinum Concierge – A free concierge service you can use for whatever you want (you’ll have to call them to determine what they really can and can’t do…you may be surprised!).

Any charges they may incur will be charged to your card (e.g. purchasing things for you). The American Express Platinum Concierge can note and track your interactions, so use with discretion.

Cruise Privileges Program  – When you book a cruise through this program, you will receive an on-ship credit for spending on drinks and other services. The voyages you book must be at least five nights and made through Amex travel.

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Fee Credits – This is good only once every five years, and can only be used on one program or the other. Of course, five years is the length of membership in the program, so it works out well. The Global Entry fee credit is $100, and the TSA PreCheck is $85.

Fine Hotels & Resorts – A specific portal for things of its namesake, you can find some good deals on nice properties around the world. You are still eligible to utilize your elite status and loyalty programs where applicable. Participating hotels now earn 5x points when booking prepaid rates online (which may disqualify you from elite status benefits or earning hotel points.

Gold Status in Honors and SPG – Good as long as the card is open and in good standing. See more about Honors and SPG.

InCircle – If you enjoy shopping high end retail, then you may like this benefit. Sign up and enroll your card.

When you shop at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Horchow, Cusp, or Last Call, you will receive one point per dollar spent. Every 10,000 points rewards you with a $100 gift card.

Points are only earned through normal clothes shopping and cannot be earned on other services such as repairs, jewellery, and many other options.

Boingo WiFi – You must sign up to a Boingo American Express Preferred Plan (AXP Plan) with your authorized card in order to activate your free service.

Photo Credits / Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Busy Travelers: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Family Credit Cards: Pressmaster/Shutterstock
Buying a Car: Syda Productions/Shutterstock
Couple Enjoying Upgrade: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

FAQ

What is an American Express card?

This refers to the actual credit card offered by American Express, which is a company that acts as both a bank and credit card processor. Amex cards have typically been seen as status symbols and prestigious to own.

Many American Express cards are charge cards, which simply means the balances you accrue are due in full each month. Contrast this to credit cards, which allow you to carry a balance in exchange for an interest rate.

American Express has credit and charge cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressGold Card from American Express, and many more.

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

This card is the luxury travel benefits card that American Express provides.

The card focuses almost entirely on these luxury benefits over the earning of points, although you do get 1x points per dollar for spending.

As of October 6th, 2016, you now also get 5x points for airfare purchased directly with the airlines and through American Express Travel. This is to compete with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card.

You would want to get this card to improve your overall travel experiences if you travel frequently or value the comforts of luxury travel.

By utilizing the wide range of benefits on the card, such as the $200 airline fee credit, Global Entry fee credit, and complimentary access to lounges, and elite status, you will find enough value to pay for the $550 annual fee and then some.

We estimated the value of these benefits for a frequent business traveler to be worth over $700 per year, conservatively.

How much is The Platinum Card® from American Express worth?

The card is worth different amounts, depending on how you utilize the benefits and how you personally value them.

By our calculations here on Upgraded Points, we estimate the card to be worth anywhere from $387 (if you use the basic benefits a few times), to over $745 if you utilize the benefits frequently.

Additionally, you can earn even more value in the form of Membership Rewards points if you put a lot of spending on the card.

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

As with any card, you must have good or excellent credit to ensure you are approved for the card. That being said, you can always apply to the card to see!

The largest difficulty with the card is the $550 annual fee. Note that because this is a charge card, you can’t carry the balance and therefore must pay that off the first month.

What is The Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee? Can I add additional cardholders or authorized users?

This rewards card costs $550 per year for the primary cardholder. If you want to add additional cardholders, you can do so for $175 per year.

This allows you up to three additional people on your account.

If you don’t want to pay the full $175, you have the option of adding additional cardholders as Gold Card from American Express members instead for $45 per year, also allowing up to three people.

You can add yourself as an additional cardholder if you get the Gold Card from American Express, allowing you to access the benefits of both cards.

What are the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express?

The card has too many benefits to list them all here, but here is a complete list. Some of the more popular benefits include:

A $200 airline fee credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, complimentary lounge access (Centurion, Delta, Airspace, and Global Lounge Collection), complimentary Honors and SPG status, free Boingo WiFi, and The Hotel Collection.

If you are affluent enough to be invited to the Centurion Card you’ll get similar benefits as well as your own personal airport concierge!

Which airline lounges do you get access to with The Platinum Card® from American Express? What about airport or other lounges?

There are a couple different kinds of lounges out there. Most big airlines have their own brand, and there are general lounges owned by non-airlines.

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you get access to Delta Sky Clubs as far as direct partnerships go. Non-airline lounges include Centurion and Airspace.

Then, you get the Global Lounge Collection membership, which gives you access to over 850 additional lounges that may be both airline and other types of lounges.

Some airlines include Virgin America, Air France, KLM, Air Canada, Air Berlin, and more. Of note, you do NOT get access to Admirals Clubs.

Make sure you check the rules of each lounge before visiting. This includes hours of operation, rules on guests (some allow you to bring your whole immediate family for free), and rules on what specific tickets you need.

Is The Platinum Card® from American Express part of Membership Rewards?

Yes, the card earns points in the Membership Rewards portal.

Is The Platinum Card® from American Express a business card?

Not specifically, although you can use it as one. However, there IS a business version of the card called The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

In fact, it costs the same each year for the primary cardholder, and you actually get a 30% bonus on your points when you redeem points through Amex Travel.

You ALSO get 10 free GoGoInflight internet passes each year. The rest of the benefits are essentially the same, and you do not earn any more points for having the business version.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Your info on the companion ticket is outdated. They did away with the FREE companion ticket a year ago.

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