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22 Amex Platinum Card Benefits That Might Be Worth Its $550 Annual Fee

12 min read
Susan Shain By Susan Shain Jul 06, 2019 | Updated Oct 15, 2019

The Amex Platinum card definitely has panache.

It comes with a bevy of incredible perks that let you travel in style: unparalleled airport lounge access; annual credits at airlines, Uber, and Saks; elite status at Marriott and Hilton; and a direct line to the renowned Amex Concierge.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Annual Fee$550
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But all that luxe comes at a cost: $550 per year, to be exact (which is one of the highest credit card annual fees around) (Rates & Fees).

Is the Amex Platinum card worth it? Keep reading to learn about 22 incredible Amex Platinum card benefits — and then decide for yourself.

The Amex Platinum not only comes with luxurious perks, but also a luxurious feel. This card forgoes the traditional plastic credit card design for metal, clocking in at a weight of 18g.

Credits & Rewards

1. 60,000-Point Introductory Bonus

With the Amex Platinum card, you’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. (Some applicants may be eligible for a 100,000-point welcome bonus; to see if you’re among the lucky few, Google “Amex Platinum card” and see what pops up.)

It’s important to note, however, you can only get the introductory bonuses on American Express cards once per lifetime.

So if you apply for the Amex Platinum today, and get the 60,000 points, you’ll never again be eligible for a Platinum card welcome bonus (even if you cancel and apply for a new card decades later). One exception: You may be eligible for bonus points when upgrading from Amex Gold or Green cards.

The Amex Platinum is a charge card, which means you must pay off its balance each month. We don’t view that as a negative, since we always recommend paying off your statement balance — no matter what type of card you have — to avoid paying interest. (While some Amex cardholders may be able to “Pay Over Time” for charges of $100 or more, they will accrue interest. A better choice for floating a balance is a 0% intro APR card that you pay off before the promo period ends.)

2. 5X Points on Flights & Hotels

As opposed to other travel cards, which you might hold because they allow you to earn oodles of points, many view the Amex Platinum as a membership card — as something you hold mostly for its perks.

Because, while this card can accrue some serious points, it’s only from spending in very limited categories.

Here’s what you’ll earn for each dollar you spend:

  • 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on other eligible purchases from American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point on everything else

As you can see, those categories are pretty restrictive. If your goal is to earn points toward free flights and hotel stays, we’d instead recommend the American Express® Gold Card (Review), which earns 4X points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent per year) and restaurants worldwide, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), which earns 3X points per dollar on travel (after its full travel credit is used) and dining.

When booking hotels through Amex Travel, you usually won’t earn hotel-specific points or receive elite status. So, with each hotel stay, you’ll have to decide whether that sacrifice is worth the 5X Membership Rewards points you’d earn.

3. 22 Hotel & Airline Transfer Partners

Membership Rewards points are some of the most valuable in the biz, because you can transfer them directly to 22 hotel and airline partners.

Though you could also redeem your points for statement credits or gift cards, direct transfers will garner you the most bang for your buck.

Here’s a list of Membership Rewards partners and their current transfer rates (both of which are subject to change):

Loyalty Program Type Transfer Rate You Give You Get
Aer Lingus Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
AeroMexico Airline 1:1.6 1,000 1,600
Air Canada Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Alitalia Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
ANA Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Avianca Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
British Airways Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Cathay Pacific Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Delta Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
El Al Airline 50:1 1,000 20
Emirates Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Etihad Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Flying Blue (AirFrance/KLM) Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hawaiian Airlines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Iberia Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
JetBlue Airline 1:.8 1,000 800
Qantas Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Singapore Airlines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Virgin Atlantic Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Choice Privileges Hotel 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hilton Honors Hotel 1:2 1,000 2,000
Marriott Bonvoy Hotel 1:1 1,000 1,000

Note that if you want to transfer your points to a U.S.-based airline (think: Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue), you’ll have to pay a fee of $0.0006 per point, up to a maximum of $99.

While the Platinum doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, American Express cards aren’t widely accepted abroad (Rates & Fees). If you’re looking for a premium travel card to use overseas, we’d recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) or Citi Prestige® Card (Review). Since they run on the Visa and Mastercard networks, respectively, they work better in other countries.

4. Airline, Uber, & Saks Credits

Here’s what the Amex Platinum card offers to make up for its high annual fee (Rates & Fees):

  • $200 annual airline credit: Up to $200 of statement credits per calendar year toward incidental charges, such as baggage fees and in-flight dining, at one pre-selected, qualifying airline
  • $200 annual Uber savings: $15 in Uber credits per month toward U.S. rides or UberEats, plus a bonus $20 in December, and Uber VIP status (which is kind of useless, as all it does is connect you to drivers with ratings of at least 4.8 who have “high-quality cars” — and it could result in longer wait times)
  • $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue per year: Up to $50 from January to June, and up to $50 from July to December, at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com

Since the airline fee credit is available every calendar year, you could potentially get it twice before your first cardmember anniversary. Say you get the card in July: You could spend $200 at your chosen airline before the end of the year, and then another $200 once your credit refills in January. While it technically only applies to incidental fees, some users have reported getting airline gift cards or taxes and fees reimbursed, as well.

5. Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Credit

Want to breeze through security without removing your liquids or shoes? Or re-enter the country without standing in interminable immigration lines?

Then you’d probably be interested in a U.S. government program called Global Entry.

Just don’t apply before getting the Platinum card, because it’ll reimburse the application fees for Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 every four and a half years), as long as you charge the fee to your card.

Even if you already have Global Entry, you can pay for someone else’s application with your card, and Amex will cover the cost.

When this one’s included (up to $100 divided over four years), the Platinum’s annual credits add up to $525. Which means, if you use all the credits, the Platinum’s effective annual fee is just $25. 

Before you go jumping up and down, however, take an honest look at your current spending habits. Do you reliably spend $15 per month on Uber rides? Are you loyal to a particular airline? Take me, for example. Since I choose flights based on cost, I rarely rack up more than $25 in fees at any one airline each year. And since I’ve never shopped at Saks in my life, that credit also wouldn’t exactly “save money” for me. Food for thought.

Airports, Hotels, & Restaurants

6. Global Lounge Collection

Drum roll, please. In my opinion, this travel benefit is the biggest reason to snag the Platinum card.

As the Amex site states: “With more than 1,100 airport lounges across 120 countries and counting, the American Express Global Lounge Collection offers travelers more lounge options than any other credit cards on the market.”

Centurion Lounge - Miami

Getting a manicure at the Centurion Lounge in Miami. Image credit: T Brand Studio

I believe ’em; this credit card offers better lounge access than any others I’ve seen. As a Platinum cardholder, you’ll be able to enter:

  • Centurion Lounges: Some of the plushest lounges around, these are only available in Dallas, Las Vegas, Houston, LaGuardia, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Philadelphia. (More coming soon to DEN, JFK, LAX, LHR, CLT, and PHX.) They feature gourmet food, craft cocktails — and, at some, complimentary spa treatments. You can bring up to two guests for free; additional guests cost $50 each.
  • Priority Pass Lounges: At this collection of 1,000 lounges across 130 countries, you can bring up to two guests for free; additional guests cost $32 each. Note that Priority Pass memberships from U.S.-issued Amex cards don’t include “experiences” like restaurant credits. (Here are more cards that offer Priority Pass Select.)
  • Delta Sky Clubs: You’ll have access to these lounges, of which there are more than 50 across the U.S. (plus one in Santiago), when flying Delta. You can bring up to two guests, who will cost $29 each.
  • International American Express LoungesYou’ll find these lounges scattered around the globe in places like Sweden, Argentina, Australia, India, and Mexico. Guest policies vary, but you’ll generally be able to bring at least one guest for free.
  • Plaza Premium LoungesThis lounge collection has dozens of international locations, with a heavy focus in Asia. (Many of them are included with Priority Pass, too.) You can bring up to two guests for free.
  • Escape LoungesPlatinum cardholders have access to this collection’s U.S. lounge locations, which include Hartford, Reno, Oakland, Minneapolis, Greenville, Providence, and Sacramento. You can bring up to two guests; additional guests will cost $40 in advance or $45 at the door.
  • Airspace LoungesAt these lounges in Cleveland and San Diego, you can bring up to two guests for free. Additional guests cost $20 (CLE) or $35 (SAN).
  • LufthansaAs part of a temporary partnership that has been extended several times, Platinum cardholders who are flying Lufthansa can enter the airline’s lounges in Frankfurt and Munich. This promotion is currently slated to run until October 31, 2019 (but will hopefully be extended again!).
You can add up to three authorized users to your Amex Platinum card for a flat fee of $175. Beyond that, additional cards cost $175 each. While these authorized users will receive most of the same benefits, including the baller lounge access and hotel elite status, they won’t get their own airline fee, Uber, or Saks credits. Alternatively, you can add up to 99 “Gold card authorized users” at no cost; they’ll have the same earning power, but won’t include any perks aside from the Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credit (Rates & Fees).

7. American Express Concierge

The Amex Platinum’s concierge service is legendary. It can help you make travel arrangements, secure hard-to-get dining reservations, or book event tickets.

Here are a few examples of the concierge’s powers, pulled from a recent reddit thread:

  • “12 friends and I walked up to a nice restaurant hoping to have dinner. They were packed and could not seat us until 9:30pm. We walked out and I called the concierge. We had a table for 13 within 30 minutes.”
  • “Was flying to Asia… Called & asked them to get me a 7 day itinerary for the 3 cities I would be visiting there. 24 hours later I had a multiple 7 day itineraries in my inbox. Just emailed them back the list of the things I wanted to do (mix and match from the different itineraries) and they took care of everything.”
  • “Most recently they got me reservations for Osteria Francescana (Chef’s Table / #1 restaurant on the top 50 list of the world. ) within 3 weeks of traveling to Italy!”

Though it doesn’t always pull through, it’s always worth a shot — and is a great service to have in your back pocket.

8. Hilton & Marriott Elite Status

Want to feel fancy? The Platinum can help with that — it comes with Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

Normally, you’d need to stay dozens of nights per year to earn these statuses, but as a Platinum card member, all you’ll need to do is register. 

In return, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Guaranteed late checkout
  • Room upgrades (when available)
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Bonus points on stays (80% at Hilton; 25% at Marriott)

At Hilton, you’ll also get complimentary breakfast and a fifth reward night for free. If you frequently find yourself at Hilton properties, that could prove to be quite lucrative!

9. The Hotel Collection

When you stay at least two nights at one of 600 properties in The Hotel Collection, you’ll get a $100 credit toward qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities (another way to help offset the annual fee).

If available, you’ll also get a complimentary upgrade to the next room tier.

10. Fine Hotels & Resorts

The Fine Hotels & Resorts collection encompasses more than 1,000 luxurious properties around the world.

As a Platinum cardholder, you’ll be eligible for special benefits that, according to Amex, have an average total value of $550 on a two-night stay.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Room upgrade when available
  • Property amenity valued at $100, such as food and beverage credits, a complimentary massage, or a round of golf
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, and noon check-in when available
  • Complimentary WiFi

Even better, at certain properties, you may qualify for a free third or fourth night.

Amex Platinum benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts collection

A sampling of the benefits you could get at the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection. Image credit: Amex FHR

11. Cruise Ship Credits

As part of Amex’s Cruise Privileges Program, you’ll receive special benefits on sailings of five nights or more: between $100 and $300 of shipboard credits per stateroom, as well as “exclusive amenities unique to each cruise line.”

Examples of such amenities include a bottle of premium champagne or wine on Royal Caribbean, complimentary dinner for two at Le Bistro Restaurant on Norwegian, and a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries on Holland America.

To be eligible, you must book your cruise through americanexpress.com/cruises or over the phone at 800-525-3355, and pay with your Platinum card.

12. Global Dining Collection

With Amex’s Global Dining Collection, you’ll get “special access” to reservations at the world’s best restaurants when you call the Amex concierge.

You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy unique experiences, such as “kitchen tours, special menus, and complimentary beverages,” and “exclusive culinary events” at which you can meet the chefs.

Global Dining Collection benefits from Amex Platinum

Global Dining Collection benefits from Amex Platinum. Image credit: Amex Global Dining Collection

When I was writing this story, examples included a “multi-course root to stem dinner” with James Beard Award winner Chef Michael Solomonov for $350, or a full-day experience at Copenhagen’s noma — previously named the best restaurant in the world — for $1,500.

Wondering where the info about complimentary Boingo WiFi is? In a total bummer move, Amex phased out that benefit for this card earlier this year.

Shopping

Note the following benefits are available to all Amex cardholders, and are not the exclusive realm of the Platinum card.

13. Free 2-Day Shipping With ShopRunner

One of the least-known perks of American Express cards is their complimentary ShopRunner membership.

ShopRunner Amex benefit

ShopRunner from Amex. Image credit: ShopRunner

Once you sign up, you’ll be able to get free two-day shipping at more than 100 online retailers, including Ann Taylor, MacMall, Adorama, eBags, and Jared.

14. Amex Offers

Another benefit most cardholders don’t take advantage of? Amex Offers.

You won’t know what’s available until you actually have the card; then, you’ll be able to find personalized offers in your account summary or mobile app.

To give you an idea of what you might see, here are examples of past offers:

  • Save 15% at Starbucks, up to $5
  • Earn two extra Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at Amazon
  • Spend $5 at Hulu, get $5 back, up to four times

15. Preferred Seating & Early Tickets to Events

If your favorite band is coming to town, consider purchasing your tickets through Ticketmaster with your Amex card. When you do, you may be able to get advance tickets or preferred seating.

Automotive

16. Premium Roadside Assistance

Flat tire? Or, as is more frequently the case with me, keys locked inside your car?

The American Express Platinum card has your back. Even if you’re sitting in your own driveway, you can call roadside assistance and Amex will cover the charges up to four times per year (within certain limits).

17. Car Rental Insurance

When you rent a car and decline the agency’s damage waiver, you’ll be covered by the Platinum’s car rental insurance policy. It covers up to $75,000 of damage or theft on rentals of up to 30 days.

Note the coverage is “secondary” — so, if you get into an accident, you’ll need to bill your regular car insurance first. 

You can choose to upgrade to “primary” coverage through Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection program, which costs $19.95 or $24.95 per rental period, depending on coverage. (For California residents, costs are $15.95 or $17.95; for Floridians, $12.25 or $15.25.)

Alternatively, if you rent cars often, consider these credit cards that come with primary car rental insurance.

18. Elite Status at Hertz and National

When you have the Platinum card, you’ll be able to snag elite status at Hertz and National car rental agencies.

Here’s what you’ll get at each:

  • Hertz: 15–25% discount, upgrades when available, and a four-hour grace period when returning the car (#clutch)
  • National: Priority service, waived additional driver fees, guaranteed upgrades, and one free rental day for every six qualifying rentals

The Platinum card also claims to offer elite status at Avis. The reality, however, is it offers the lowest level of membership — which anyone can sign up for with the click of a button. So we wouldn’t call that a “perk.”

Insurance

19. Baggage Insurance

When you pay for a flight with your Platinum card, you’ll receive additional coverage in case your bags are lost or stolen. If your spouse, domestic partner, or dependent children are on the reservation, they’ll receive coverage, too.

Coverage is limited to $3,000 per person, and $1,000 per claim toward high-dollar items like computers or jewelry.

The Platinum card, unfortunately, doesn’t offer trip delay or cancellation insurance. That might be one reason to book flights on a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) or Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) instead.

20. Travel Accident Insurance

This grim benefit covers accidental death or dismemberment while you are traveling. It provides up to $500,000 to you or your beneficiary in case you lose your life, your sight, or a limb while on a trip that was charged to the Platinum card.

21. Shopping Protections

Amex offers several protections when you purchase goods and services on your Platinum card.

  • Purchase Protection: If an eligible purchase is lost, damaged, or stolen within 120 days (in several states, 90 days), you can claim up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year.
  • Return Protection: If a merchant won’t accept your return — and it’s within 90 days of the purchase date, and was purchased in the U.S. or its territories — Amex may reimburse up to $300 per item, for a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.
  • Extended Warranty: Purchased an eligible item on your card with a warranty that’s shorter than five years? Amex will extend it by up to two years. Coverage is limited to the amount charged on your card; up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.

22. Premium Global Assist Hotline

When you travel more than 100 miles from home, you’ll have access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline, which provides “medical, legal, financial, or other select emergency coordination and assistance services” on a 24/7 basis.

Is the Amex Platinum Card Worth It?

Phew! Now that we’ve made it through all 22 benefits, it’s time to decide if the Amex Platinum is worth its annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Credit rangeGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRN/A
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While only you can make the final call, we’d say this card might be a fit if

  • You’d easily max out the fees and credits (airline incidentals, Uber, Saks) without altering your spending patterns to “get the most” out of the card.
  • You’re a frequent traveler who generally flies through airports with accessible lounges (bonus points if they’re in the Centurion collection!).
  • You often stay at Hilton or Marriott hotels, or other luxury properties in Amex’s hotel collections, and would reap the benefits of elite status.

In my case (though the Platinum’s extensive airport lounge access makes me drool), I don’t often stay in chain or luxury hotels, and I want to earn lots of points — so I’ve found the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) to be a better fit. If you’re trying to decide between the two, read my head-to-head breakdown of the Reserve vs. Platinum.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our rating
Credit rangeExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$450
Regular APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable

 

You can also read my comparison of the Amex Platinum vs. Amex Gold (a card that doesn’t have the luxury perks, but earns 4X points U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,00 spent annually) and restaurants worldwide).

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

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Annual Fee$250
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Or check out the Citi Prestige® Card (Review), another premium travel rewards card that comes with Priority Pass lounge access and extraordinary earning ability.

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Our rating
Credit rangeGood
Details
Annual Fee$495
Regular APR17.99%–25.99% Variable
Apply Now

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But rest assured: As long as you’re choosing from one of these best travel rewards credit cards, it’s hard to make a bad move.

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For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

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

AT A GLANCE

If you’re in the market for an elite credit card, you’ve probably already come across the Amex Platinum as a top contender for a space in your wallet. Its hefty annual fee is matched by an arsenal of perks that can boost your travel experience to new heights.

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