The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most legendary cards in the world. It oozes wealth and has the best luxury travel benefits of any card out there.
And even though the value proposition for frequent travelers makes it a no-brainer, there’s a question that remains for those interested in cash-back: is the Amex Platinum card still worth it if you want cash-back?
Let’s take a look at this question in detail!
The perfect customer for the Amex Platinum card is the enthusiastic traveler who values being able to access luxury travel benefits.
Even if you only travel once per year, you can get tons of value beyond the cost of the annual fee if you use the benefits effectively.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome offer of up to 150,000 points with the Amex Platinum card! (The current public offer is 80,000 points.)
To start, expect to earn up to 5x Membership Rewards points (worth an 11% return on spending by our valuations):
- 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (up to $500,000 per calendar year) for flights booked directly with the airlines or with Amex Travel
- 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel
- 1x Membership Rewards points on all other purchases
You’ll get a ton of statement credits with the Amex Platinum card that really make the card worth it in light of the annual fee — also, make use of the incredible airport lounge access, access to Amex Offers and American Express Fine Hotels & Reports, and the Amex Platinum Card Concierge Service.
Why You Shouldn’t Get Cash-back From the Amex Platinum Card
Whenever you make a purchase on the Amex Platinum card, the rewards you earn are called Membership Rewards points. For example, if you book a $1,000 plane ticket with Delta through Amex Travel, you should earn around 5,000 Membership Rewards points.
It’s not currently possible to have American Express redeem your points for a check or ACH transfer. You can, however, redeem Membership Rewards points specifically to cover charges on your card via statement credits. But you should not redeem your points in this way if you want to maximize your points.
Using your points as a statement credit is not ideal since you’re not getting maximum value. And once it’s done, your points are gone forever! You’ll get a flat redemption value of 0.6 cents per point if you choose to use your hard-earned points in this way. That means if you redeem 10,000 points, you’ll get a statement credit of $60.
How To Get Cash-back From the Amex Platinum Card
To get cash-back from your Amex Platinum card, you need to first have charges on your card to redeem statement credits against.
Follow these instructions to get cash-back from your Amex Platinum card:
- Visit American Express’s Membership Rewards website.
- Log into your American Express account.
- After logging in, you’ll be redirected to the Membership Rewards dashboard. Hover over the button near the top of the page that says Earn and Redeem and click Cover your Card Charges.
- You’ll see a list of recent charges on your Amex Platinum card.
- Select all of the charges you want to use points for and click Redeem Now at the bottom of the page.
- It might take up to 48 hours for the request to show up online.
Other Ways To Redeem Your Amex Platinum Card’s Rewards
So now that we’ve discussed how to redeem your points for cash-back (and did our best to convince you why you shouldn’t redeem your points for cash-back with the Amex Platinum card), let’s talk about some other ways to use your Amex Platinum card’s points.
Transfer to Travel Partners (Recommended)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best, singular way to redeem the points from your Amex Platinum card is to transfer them to travel partners, which include select airlines and hotels.
For example, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. That means if you transfer 100,000 points to Delta, you’ll get 100,000 Delta SkyMiles. You can then redeem 100,000 Delta SkyMiles for a couple of round-trip economy tickets to Hawaii or even a one-way business class flight to Europe!
Either way, you’re getting way more value with your points by transferring to travel partners. Round-trip economy tickets to Hawaii can exceed $1,000 each, and a one-way business class flight to Europe is usually around $2,000 to $5,000! The value you’ll get by using your frequent flyer miles to book a ticket is way better than using 100,000 Membership Rewards points for a $600 credit.
You can also transfer your Membership Rewards points to hotels — we recommend Hilton Honors due to the 1:2 transfer ratio. With 200,000 Hilton Honors points from 100,000 Membership Rewards points, you could get 2 or 3 hotel nights on points in Hawaii, which is worth anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000!
Bottom Line: Don’t redeem your points for cash-back! Transfer them to airlines and hotels to book travel and get much more value!
Book Travel Using Pay With Points
Another way you can use your points is through Pay With Points, a program that allows you to redeem points towards paid travel.
If you book your travel through Amex Travel and choose to redeem points, you’ll get a better redemption value than if you booked it directly through the airline or hotel and got statement credits.
Covering your card charges would get you a value of 0.6 cents per point, while using Pay With Points would get you:
- 1 cent per point on flights and hotels through Fine Hotels & Resorts
- 0.7 cents per point on all other hotels, car rentals, and travel booked via Amex Travel
Hot Tip: In general, you’ll want to use Pay With Points if you don’t see any availability for the flight or hotel you want to from transfer partners. Although the value you’ll get is lower than from transfer partners, it’s a much simpler process to use your points.
Get Gift Cards
With the Amex Platinum card, you can also get gift cards using your Membership Rewards points — unfortunately, the value you’ll get is anywhere from 0.5 to 1 cent per point.
We don’t recommend this method.
Spend at Amazon
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably shop at Amazon at least occasionally.
With your Membership Rewards points, you can spend at Amazon for a value of 0.7 cents per point. That will get you around $70 of value with 10,000 points.
We don’t recommend this method, either.
Donate to Charity
American Express offers the ability to redeem your points for charitable donations through JustGiving.
You’ll get a redemption value of 1 cent per point, which means that you’ll donate $100 for every 10,000 points you redeem.
You can donate to thousands of charities of your choice, and there’s a maximum of 500,000 points donated per calendar year to get a 1-cent-per-point value.
Beyond the 500,000-point maximum, the redemption value is 0.5 cents per point — 1,000 points will cover a donation of $5.
This could be a great way to donate to a cause you support, but from a redemption perspective, it’s still limited in value.
The last way to redeem your points is through the Membership Rewards shopping website.
You can pretty much buy whatever is on your mind, including furniture, jewelry, games, beauty products, and more.
Unfortunately, your points are only worth 0.5 cents each, making it an even worse way to redeem points than covering charges with points.
Having the Amex Platinum card can be one of the greatest additions to your wallet. Being able to enjoy up to 5x points earned, the best airport lounge access in the world, lots of statement credits, and high-end travel options are what you should expect when you hold this card.
Unfortunately, while it is possible to use your Membership Rewards points from the Amex Platinum card for cash-back by covering charges with points, it is a terrible idea to do so.
It’s a much better idea to redeem your points for luxury travel through transfer partnerships with airlines and hotels!
Even spending at Amazon, getting certain gift cards, and donating to charity will get you better value than the 0.6 cents per point afforded by the cash-back redemption option. If cash-back is important to you, consider a cash back credit card where some offer up to 5% in certain categories of spend.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.