When it comes to credit card benefits, The Platinum Card® from American Express is nearly unbeatable.
Despite an eye-watering annual fee, the card offers an incredible amount of value, both in terms of travel and lifestyle.
If you can stomach the card’s high annual fee and your lifestyle makes it easy to maximize the value of its luxury perks, the American Express Platinum Card may be a no-brainer.
Read on to discover what makes the card so unique and how to take advantage of its suite of benefits.
Why We Like It
Annual Fee: $695
Welcome Offer: 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points ⓘ
APR: 19.74% to 26.74% Variable APR on eligible charges
Rewards Rate: 1-5X Points ⓘ
- Rewards Rate
- Annual Fee
- Redeeming Rewards
The Platinum Card® from American Express Review
The American Express Platinum Card isn’t a standout when it comes to rewards rates, but if you’re looking for a card that will elevate your travel experience and provide you with solid monthly lifestyle benefits, this one should be on your radar.
Cardholders get various monthly and annual credits for things like airline fees, digital entertainment, food delivery, luxury shopping and more. You’ll also get special travel-related perks, including airport lounge access, luxury hotel benefits and elite status.
If you’re considering the Amex Platinum Card, here’s everything you need to know.
When you first open an account, you’ll earn an impressive 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of card membership — that’s only $1,000 in spend per month, which should be easy to achieve.
Depending on how you redeem your welcome bonus, it could be worth up to $800 with American Express or more if you transfer your points to one of the card issuer’s transfer partners.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve earned the welcome offer on an Amex Platinum Card in the past, you won’t be eligible to receive it again. American Express has a strict once-per-lifetime rule for welcome offers on its credit cards.
While the card’s welcome bonus is impressive, it’s not a rewards juggernaut in the longterm. Cardholders will earn the following:
- 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with or American Express Travel (up to $500,000 spent per calendar year).
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels through American Express Travel.
- 1X Membership Rewards points on all non-travel purchases.
Frequent travelers who spend a lot on flights and hotel stays should focus all of their spending in those areas on this credit card. For all other purchases, you’re likely better off with a different card that can offer better rewards.
That said, you can mix your points earned with this card with other Membership Rewards point-earning credit cards. In fact, pairing it with a card like the American Express® Gold Card can make it easier to rack up points fast.
The Amex Gold Card offers 4X points at restaurants and on up to $25,000 spent each calendar year at U.S. supermarkets, 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
Annual Fee and APR
The Amex Platinum Card charges a steep $695 annual fee — that’s one of the highest annual fees on a credit card that’s widely accessible. There are other prestige cards like The Centurion® Card from American Express that charge more, but these cards are highly exclusive, and most consumers aren’t eligible to apply.
Pay Over Time
Pay Over Time effectively allows you to treat the card as a standard credit card and carry a balance.
The regular APR for Pay Over Time varies depending on your creditworthiness. Purchases and the annual fee are eligible, but you can’t pay off cash advances, certain insurance premiums and other Amex fees over time. On top of the interest rate, there may also be a monthly fee of 1.33% for each purchase amount moved over to the payment plan.
Just keep in mind that while your card doesn’t have a pre-set spending limit, it will have a limit for Pay Over Time balances.
The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but there is a 5% cash advance fee ($10 minimum), as well as a fee of up to $40 for late and returned payments.
American Express doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score to get approved for the Amex Platinum Card. According to CardRatings, however, you can get approved if you have good or excellent credit.
However, that may not be a hard-and-fast rule for the card issuer, and American Express will also consider other factors, such as your income, your other debts, your recent credit inquiries and more.
How to Redeem Your Membership Rewards Points
The Membership Rewards program offers some serious flexibility with how you can redeem your rewards. Unfortunately, American Express doesn’t provide a lot of value with most redemption options. If you want to make the most of your rewards, your best bet is to transfer your points to one of the card issuer’s partner airlines.
Here’s a list of all of the ways you can redeem your points and how much they’re worth.
Book or Upgrade Travel
You can use your points to book travel directly with the American Express Travel platform. Options include:
|Redemption||Value Per Point|
|Flight upgrades||1 cent|
|Fine Hotels & Resort stays||1 cent|
|Other prepaid hotels||0.7 cents|
|Prepaid rental cars||0.7 cents|
|Travel packages||0.7 cents|
|Excise tax offset fee (for transfers to other programs)||0.5 cents|
If you want to cover charges you’ve made to your card, you’ll get 0.7 cents per point on Fine Hotels & Resorts purchases and 0.6 cents per point on all other purchases.
Pay With Points at Checkout
You can use your rewards points to pay when you’re shopping online, donating to charity or even taking a taxi in New York City. Here’s a breakdown of your options:
|Merchant||Value Per Point|
|Best Buy||0.7 cents|
|NYC Taxi||1 cent|
|Rite Aid||0.7 cents|
You can redeem your hard-earned points for gift cards with a long list of merchants, with redemption values ranging from 0.7 cents to 1 cent per point, depending on the retailer or restaurant.
Additionally, you can use your points to buy American Express gift cards, which you can use anywhere Amex is accepted. However, the redemption value for this option is a measly 0.5 cents per point.
You can use the Membership Rewards points calculator to get more details on redemption values.
American Express has a catalog of items from several different brands and merchants that you can buy with your points. That said, the redemption value is 0.5 cents per point, making it an option to avoid.
Transfer Your Points
The best way to maximize the value of your American Express points is to transfer them to one of the card issuer’s travel partners. Here’s a list of both airline and hotel partners, along with the ratio and the average value of those points and miles based on Slickdeals data and data from other points and miles experts:
|Program||Transfer Ratio||Value Per Point or Mile|
|Air Lingus AerClub||1,000 points to 1,000 Avios||2 cents|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1,000 points to 1,600 points||N/A|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1,000 points to 1,000 points||1.5 cents|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.2 cents|
|All Nippon Airways ANA Mileage Club||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.4 cents|
|Asia Miles||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.3 cents|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.7 cents|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000 points to 1,000 Avios||1.5 cents|
|Delta SkyMiles||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.1 cents|
|Emirates Skywards||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.2 cents|
|Etihad Guest||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.4 cents|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||0.9 cents|
|Iberia Plus||1,000 points to 1,000 Avios||1.5 cents|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250 points to 200 points||1.3 cents|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||500 points to 500 points||N/A|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000 points to 1,000 miles||1.3 cents|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000 points to 1,000 points||1.5 cents|
|Choice Privileges Rewards||1,000 points to 1,000 points||0.6 cents|
|Hilton Honors||1,000 points to 2,000 points||0.6 cents|
With the right redemption, you could get far more value by transferring your points than by redeeming them directly with Membership Rewards.
Also, keep in mind that the point valuations for these programs are averages. You may get better or worse, depending on your specific redemption. One of the best ways to make the most out of airline transfers is to book international first-class and business-class flights.
While Amex does allow you to transfer rewards to hotel programs, you’re better off avoiding those unless you’re short a few thousand points for a stay with the partner hotel brand and need to top off your account to make it work.
Amex Platinum Card Benefits
Where the Amex Platinum Card really shines is in its suite of credit card benefits. Even if you rarely use the card to get the 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels, you can get far more value from the card’s benefits than its $695 annual fee.
Note that some of these benefits require that you enroll through your online account before you can use them, so make sure you check before you try to use them.
Airline Fee Credit
You’ll get up to $200 each calendar year in annual statement credits for eligible airline fees, such as checked baggage, in-flight food and drink, Wi-Fi charged by the airline and more. You can choose one airline each year for which you can receive the credits. Use your card to make the eligible purchases to get the credit.
Uber Cash Benefit
You’ll receive up to $200 in Uber Cash credits each calendar year — that’s $15 per month for most months and $35 in December. You can use your Uber Cash for Uber rides or for Uber Eats food deliveries.
Digital Entertainment Credit
You’ll get up to $240 in annual statement credits toward select digital entertainment subscriptions each calendar year. The credit is broken down into $20 per month, and it applies to subscription fees Audible, Peacock, Sirius XM and The New York Times. Simply register and use your card for payment.
Prepaid Hotel Credit
Cardholders can get up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year toward prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. Keep in mind, though, that you may need to stay at least two nights with some hotels to get the hotel credit.
Other Hotel Credits
If you book a stay at a property in the Fine Hotels & Resorts brand through Amex Travel, you can get a $100 experience credit, late checkout, daily breakfast for two and more. Additionally, if you book a minimum two-night stay at a property in The Hotel Collection through Amex Travel, you’ll receive a $100 experience credit.
As a cardmember, you’ll get up to $300 in credits each calendar year when you use your Amex Platinum to pay for the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships.
SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit
You can receive a $300 credit toward a single purchase of a SoulCycle At-Home Bike.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Benefit
Every four or four-and-a-half years, you’ll get an application fee credit toward membership in Global Entry or TSA Precheck. TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years and offers expedited and more convenient security screening at more than 200 airports. Global Entry costs $100 for five years and offers expedited customs screening as you return to the U.S. from abroad. Global Entry membership also includes TSA PreCheck membership.
Every six months, cardholders will get a $50 credit toward shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com. The credit is available between January and June, then again from July to December.
Complimentary CLEAR Membership
Each year, you’ll receive a credit worth $189 toward membership to CLEAR, which offers expedited security screening and can be used in conjunction with TSA PreCheck.
Walmart+ Membership Credit
When you use your card to pay for a monthly membership with Walmart+, you’ll get a statement credit for the subscription. The benefit is worth up to $155 each year. Walmart+ gives you access to free same-day grocery delivery, free shipping with no order minimums on Walmart.com purchases, member prices on fuel at select gas stations and more.
Airport Lounge Access
The Amex Platinum Card offers access to more airport lounge networks than any other top-tier travel credit card. Your options include:
- The Centurion Lounge
- Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner
- Delta Sky Club (must be flying Delta)
- Lufthansa Lounge
- Airspace Lounge
- The Global Lounge Collection
- Priority Pass Select
- Plaza Premium Lounge
Note that there may be restrictions with some of these lounges, especially with how many guests you can bring with you. Also, the Priority Pass Select membership doesn’t include the network’s airport restaurant benefit, which is standard for other high-end travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
You can enroll to get complimentary Gold status with both the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty programs. Benefits can vary by program but may include things like premium Wi-Fi, early check-in and late checkout and more. You’ll also be able to enroll to get complimentary status with Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club, which can give you access to exclusive discounts and complimentary upgrades.
Global Dining Access With Resy
The card offers exclusive access to unlock reservations and dining experiences when you add your card to your Resy profile or call Centurion Membership Services.
Travel and Shopping Protection
The Platinum Card offers several insurance protections for travel and shopping. That list includes:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Trip delay insurance
- Baggage insurance
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Purchase protection
- Return protection
- Extended warranty
- Cell phone protection
The Platinum Card’s car rental loss and damage insurance is secondary, which means you’d need to file a claim with your personal insurance policy first. But you can purchase primary coverage through American Express for up to $24.95 per rental period (not per day).
Coverage is good in most countries for up to 42 days and includes coverage for damage or theft of the vehicle, accidental death or dismemberment coverage, secondary medical expense coverage, and secondary personal property coverage. It does not include liability coverage.
Unique Card Designs
In late 2021, the Platinum Card received two new card designs by artists Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley. Both designs overlay the original Platinum Card design, with Mehretu’s design being abstract and Wiley’s including flowers and other botanicals.
Comparing the Platinum Card to Other Cards
The Platinum Card is the first premium travel rewards credit card out there, initially launching in 1984. But more recently, other cards have provided competition for frequent travelers.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one example, offering a $300 annual travel credit, access to airport lounges, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and more. In terms of benefits, this pales in comparison to the Platinum Card’s offering. But the Sapphire Reserve does offer better rewards, such as 10X hotel and rental car reservations through Chase, 5X points on air travel through Chase, 3X points on other travel and dining and 1X point on everything else.
The card also gives you 1.5 cents per point in value on travel redemptions through Chase, plus a 1-cent-per-point cash-back redemption value and the ability to transfer points to other airline and hotel partners. The card’s annual fee is $550.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card launched in November 2021. With a $395 annual fee, the card offers a $300 annual travel credit toward Capital One Travel bookings and 10,000 bonus anniversary miles, effectively covering the annual fee. It also offers access to Priority Pass Select and Capital One lounges and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. From a rewards standpoint, it gives you 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One, 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One and 2X miles on everything else.
Again, from a benefits standpoint, the Platinum Card wins this battle. But if you want more flexible travel redemption options — you can book through Capital One, use your card and get a statement credit or transfer your miles to other loyalty programs — and better rewards, the Venture X may be a more solid option.
Is the Amex Platinum Right for You?
The American Express Platinum Card offers a wealth of benefits that far outpace the cost of its annual fee. But unless you can make the most of each perk, it might not be enough to make the card worth its cost.
Carefully consider how you might benefit from the card and whether it’s worth the annual fee for you.
If you’re considering the Platinum Card, consider pairing it with the Amex Gold Card to get more rewards value.
Before you apply, though, be sure to shop around and consider other top-tier credit cards to determine which one is the best fit for you.