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20 Amex Platinum Card Benefits That Might Be Worth Its $695 Annual Fee

Updated Jul 28, 2021 | Published Jul 06, 201912 min read

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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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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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

But all that luxe comes at a cost: $695 per year, to be exact (which is one of the highest annual fees around).

Is the Amex Platinum card worth it? Keep reading to learn about 20 incredible Amex Platinum card benefits — and then decide for yourself.

Insider tip

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.

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Credits & Rewards

1. Big Introductory Bonus

With the Amex Platinum card, you’ll get a pretty nice bonus of Membership Rewards points: 100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during 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.

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 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.

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 (starting 1/1/21, 5X rewards up to $500,000 spent per calendar year on flights and hotels):

  • 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 calendar year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants, 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.

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.

Insider tip

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. $200 Hotel Credit

Each year Amex will give you up to $200 in statement credits for prepaid hotels — but there are some restrictions.

You’ll have to book your stays through two programs within the Amex Travel service: The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts. The Hotel Collection has a nice selection of moderately-priced options, while Fine Hotels & Resorts includes higher-end properties.

5. 300 Equinox Credit

You might not have any Equinox gyms nearby, but the company also offers at-home workout programs. The Platinum card gives you up to $300 each year in statement credits (up to $25 per month) for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.

6. $240 digital entertainment credit

Many cards now offer a credit of some kind for digital entertainment, and the Platinum has joined the club. But this perk is more restrictive than most.

In this case you’ll get up to $240 in statement credits each year (up to $20 per month), for a select few services: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.

7. $179 CLEAR Credit

CLEAR provides biometric security screening at airports, stadiums, and other venues. Your Platinum card will give you up to $179 in statement credits each year, enough to pay for a CLEAR membership.

8. Uber & Saks Credits

Here’s what the Amex Platinum card offers to make up for its high annual fee:

  • $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

9. 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 $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.

Airports, Hotels, & Restaurants

10. 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 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 expire eventually (but will hopefully be extended again!).

Insider tip

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).

11. 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.

12. 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!

13. 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.

14. 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

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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

19. 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

20. 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.

21. 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

22. 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.

Insider tip

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.

23. 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.

24. 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 20 benefits, it’s time to decide if the Amex Platinum is worth its annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

While only you can make the final call, we’d say this card might be a fit if

  • You’d easily max out the credits (Uber, Saks, security) 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, 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.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Regular APR16.99%-23.99% 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 $25,000 spent per calendar year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants).

American Express® Gold Card
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

 

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
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$495
  • Regular APR16.99%–23.99% Variable

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best benefit of the Amex Platinum Card?

Amex Platinum users love the travel benefits, which include airport lounge access, 5X points on eligible flights and hotels, reimbursed fees for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, and Uber credits. The card comes with Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which means room upgrades, guaranteed late checkout, and complimentary WiFi. You can also take advantage of Amex’s award-winning concierge service, enjoy return protection on purchases, and get credits at Saks.

Which airport lounges can you access with the Amex Platinum?

The Amex Platinum gives cardholders access to more than 1,110 lounges around the world. These include the luxurious Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, International American Express Lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, Escape Lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Lufthansa Lounges. Guest policies vary, but you can often bring a guest for free or a small fee.

Want to live your best lounge life? Check out the best credit cards for lounge access.

Can you add authorized users to the Amex Platinum Card?

Yes, you can up to three authorized users for a flat fee of $175. After that, additional cards cost $175 each.

Authorized users get most of the same benefits, without their own Uber or Saks credits. You can also add up to 99 authorized Gold Card users, who will enjoy the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry benefit, but none of the other major benefits.

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

What benefits does the Amex Platinum Card have for rental cars?

Amex Platinum cardholders get elite status at Hertz and National, which includes vehicle upgrades, priority service, and other benefits, like a four-hour grace period at Hertz. In addition, if you rent a car and decline the agency’s damage waiver, you’ll be covered by Amex Platinum’s car rental secondary insurance policy, which covers up to $75,000 in damage or theft, a huge help.

See other cards with car rental insurance (including some with primary coverage).

Does the Amex Platinum Card have a streaming benefit?

The Amex Platinum offered a $20-a-month streaming credit in 2020. This benefit expired at the end of 2020 and is no longer available.

If you’re still looking to get rewards or perks for streaming, you can find our favorite cards for streaming here.

Read more 20 Amazing Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits (and How to Make the Most of Them)
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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.

Written by

Susan Shain

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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