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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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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 Uber and Saks; elite status at Marriott and Hilton; and a direct line to the renowned Amex Concierge.
Is the Amex Platinum card worth it? Keep reading to learn about 20 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 card design for metal, clocking in at a weight of 18g.
With the Amex Platinum card, you’ll get a pretty nice bonus of Membership Rewards points: 75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in the first 6 months
Some applicants may be eligible for an even bigger welcome bonus; to see if you’re among the lucky few, Google “Amex Platinum card” and see what pops up.
So if you apply for the Amex Platinum today, and get the intro 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.
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 (starting 1/1/21, 5X rewards up to $500,000 spent per calendar year on flights and hotels):
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 calendar year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants worldwide, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), which earns 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides, 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.
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|
|Flying Blue (AirFrance/KLM)||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
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.
Here’s what the Amex Platinum card offers to make up for its high annual fee (Rates & Fees):
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 $325. Which means, if you use all the credits, the Platinum’s effective annual fee is just $225.
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.
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.”
I believe ’em; this card offers better lounge access than any others I’ve seen. As a Platinum cardholder, you’ll be able to enter:
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 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).
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:
Though it doesn’t always pull through, it’s always worth a shot — and is a great service to have in your back pocket.
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:
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!
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.
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:
Even better, at certain properties, you may qualify for a free third or fourth night.
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.
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.
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.
Note the following benefits are available to all Amex cardholders, and are not the exclusive realm of the Platinum card.
One of the least-known perks of American Express cards is their complimentary ShopRunner membership.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
Amex offers several protections when you purchase goods and services on your Platinum card.
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.
Phew! Now that we’ve made it through all 20 benefits, it’s time to decide if the Amex Platinum is worth its annual fee.
While only you can make the final call, we’d say this card might be a fit if…
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.
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 $25,000 spent per calendar year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants worldwide).
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.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Susan is a freelance writer who specializes in turning complex financial topics into engaging and accessible articles. She's been writing about personal finance for six years, and was previously the senior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a staff writer at Student Loan Hero. Her personal finance writing has also appeared in publications like MarketWatch and Lifehacker.
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