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2020 Review: The Platinum Card® from American Express – Is It Worth the $550 Annual Fee?

Updated Nov 20, 2020 | Published Apr 01, 202017 min read

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Min Credit Level Good
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR See Pay Over Time APR
At a glance

The American Express Platinum is the original high-end travel card. For its high annual fee, you’ll get access to an equivalently strong benefits package. That includes various credits and enrollment in airport lounge and hotel programs that help you save money and make traveling a breeze.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

While The Platinum Card® from American Express has one of the highest annual fees compared to other credit cards, it offers a huge portfolio of benefits. We give it 5 out of 5 Stars because when it comes to expensive travel cards this one really feels like it’s worth the cost. (Rates & Fees)

Why We Like It

  • Large collection of high-end benefits, including the best credit card airport lounge access program available
  • Enrollment in programs that offer their own selection of extras and discounts, like elite hotel statuses
  • Annual credits to make the annual fee manageable
  • Flexible redemption options, including point transfers

Why It Could Be Better

  • High annual fee ($550) (Rates & Fees)
  • Airline fee credit can only be used for incidentals, and you must select an airline ahead of time
  • Domestic airline point transfers have a fee
  • Hotel bonus category is limited to Amex Travel bookings

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Platinum Card, a high-end metal credit card with a $550 annual fee, isn’t for everyone.

If you often find yourself sitting in a plane or sleeping in hotels, though, you should give this card a look to see if it could make your trips more enjoyable and save you some money.

This was the first high-end travel card, loaded with rewards and benefits. It’s been updated to keep it competitive with more recent entries to the market, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Mastercard® Black Card™.

We’ll walk you through the rewards and the many valuable benefits to help you decide whether this card is worth the price.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Designed for people who travel often: This is a card designed for frequent travelers, who will use it enough to make it worth the annual fee. If you travel multiple times per year this card might fit easily into your spending habits, where it can save you some money and provide some nice perks. If you don’t travel often or have a less predictable schedule, we recommend you check out some less expensive travel cards.
  • Great for airport lounge access: If you spend a lot of time in airports be sure to use your card to gain access to any lounges that participate in the American Express Global Lounge Collection. There are quite a few all over the world, and they include Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Clubs. You and up to two guests can enter for free in many cases.
  • Use the travel perks: Enroll in the membership programs and educate yourself on how to make the most of the benefits. They include a $200 airline fee credit through 2021, monthly Uber credits, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, and the many complimentary services you’ll find in the Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection packages.
  • Transfer your points: You can maximize the value of your Membership Rewards points by transferring them to partner loyalty programs, like airlines and hotels.
  • Understand how to use the mighty Platinum card: Before getting this card, have a strategy to make good use of the rewards and benefits. Craft a plan of action to earn points and redeem them for their maximum possible value, and to book travel that will let you use perks like hotel status.

The Rewards

While the main value of this card comes from its benefits, you’ll also have the opportunity to earn rewards. You can earn the equivalent of .5%–5% cash back on purchases depending on the spending category and how points are redeemed, and even more if you transfer your points to a loyalty program.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year):
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 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

So, if you pay for flights and hotels with this card and can book directly with an airline or through Amex’s portal, you’ll be able to rack up points quickly.

Membership Rewards points don’t expire as long as the account is open and in good standing, so you can save up points over time without worrying they’ll go away.

Redeeming

There are many ways to redeem Membership Rewards points, and some are much more profitable than others. It’s worth taking some time to understand your options and learn exactly how to get the most value for your points.

You have three main options for point redemptions:

  • Normal redemption methods (Pay With Points for flights, hotel reservations, gift cards): Up to 1 cent per point; up to 5% cash back equivalent
  • Point transfer to frequent traveler program: Up to 2 cents per point or more; up to 10% cash back equivalent or more
  • Statement credit: 0.6 cents per point; up to 3% cash back equivalent

The normal redemption methods, like cashing in points for flights through Amex Travel or gift cards to certain merchants, can provide the equivalent of up to 5% cash back for your spending in the best cases. Statement credits will only provide 0.6 cents per point, and at a maximum of a 3% cash back equivalent this is the worst redemption method — avoid it at all costs.

The best values will be found by transferring your points to frequent traveler programs, where you can get the equivalent of 10% cash back or more for certain transfers. But the value of your points will depend on how you redeem them with the airline or hotel, so it pays to research your options and only use points when you’ll get a good value.

The normal redemption methods are the easiest to manage: Just cash in your points for flights to get 1 cent per point. This may be the best option for some people, who don’t want to mess around with point transfers.

But if you want to make the most of this card, point transfers will require a little more planning. As you become familiar with the process you’ll get faster, and can get a lot more value over time.

Travel

To redeem for travel expenses you’ll have a few options, with the most valuable being airline flights. The main way is to redeem through American Express Travel, though there are a couple other travel services you can use as well. You’ll be able to redeem 10,000 points in the following ways.

Redemption Method Travel Service Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Find Flights Amex Travel $100 1.0 1.0% – 5.0%
Reserve Prepaid Hotels Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 3.5%
Plan Vacations Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 3.5%
Take Cruises Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 3.5%
Airbnb Bookings Airbnb $70 0.7 0.7% – 3.5%
Flights and Hotels on Expedia Expedia $70 0.7 0.7% – 3.5%

Transferring to Loyalty Programs

American Express will allow you to transfer your Membership Rewards points to quite a nice selection of frequent traveler programs, which cover several popular airlines and hotel chains.

There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to U.S. airlines, but there’s no charge for any other transfers. The typical conversion rate is 1:1, though you’ll also find a few different offers and occasional special deals where you’ll find different rates. Different programs will allow you to transfer points in different increments, for example 250 points at a time or 1,000 points at a time.

Transfer Partner Miles/Points Received for 1,000 Membership Rewards Points Transfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub 1,000 Instant
Aeromexico Club Premier 1,600 Up to four days
Air Canada Aeroplan 1,000 Instant
Air France-KLM Flying Blue 1,000 Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1,000 Instant
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club 1,000 Up to 72 hours
Avianca LifeMiles 1,000 Instant
British Airways Executive Club 1,000 Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 1,000 Instant
Delta SkyMiles 1,000 Instant
El Al Matmid 20 Instant
Emirates Skywards 1,000 Instant
Etihad Guest 1,000 Instant
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 1,000 Instant
Iberia Plus 1,000 Up to 48 hours
JetBlue TrueBlue 800 Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1,000 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer 1,000 Up to 48 hours
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1,000 Instant
Choice Privileges 1,000 Instant
Hilton Honors 2,000 Instant
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 Instant
Learn all about point transfers and maximizing the value of your Membership Rewards points American Express Membership Rewards: Everything You Need to Know

The Benefits

Most of the value you’ll get out of the Platinum Card comes from its benefits rather than its rewards. Depending on what benefits you use and how often you use them, you could easily get at least $550 of value out of this card each year, offsetting the annual fee completely.

Some of the biggest highlights are the airport lounge access, $200 airline fee credit through 2021, $200 in Uber credits, and the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Any frequent traveler should be able to take advantage of most of these perks, helping you save quite a bit of money and occasionally making your trips much more enjoyable.

  • Global Lounge Collection: Cardholders get complimentary access to a wide selection of lounge brands, including Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta Sky Clubs, and more. You can bring up to two guests at no charge at many of these lounges. Most lounges will require you to show your Platinum Card, a boarding pass for same-day travel, and your ID.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Every year you can select an airline, and you’ll get a statement credit for up to $200 in fees (like checked bag fees or in-flight meals) charged by that airline (through 2021).
  • Streaming & wireless telephone credit: Get up to $320 in statement credits when you use your card to purchase select streaming and wireless telephone services from U.S. providers (up to $20 per month each, until 12/31/20).
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Global Entry ($100) and TSA PreCheck ($85) are programs that provide expedited screening at airports, and Amex will refund the application fee for one of these programs. You’ll get up to $100 in statement credits to pay for this fee: once every four years for Global Entry, and once every four-and-a-half years for TSA PreCheck.
  • Hilton Honors Gold status: Enroll in this benefit and get some nice perks when staying at hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. These include room upgrades, your 5th night free on reward stays, and an 80% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Enroll to get a number of convenient services when staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties. You’ll get perks like room upgrades, late checkouts, a 25% point bonus, and other nice amenities.
  • $200 in Uber credits each year: You’ll get a statement credit for up to $15 in Uber rides each month, except for December, which has a $35 credit. These credits are good for regular Uber purchases along with the UberEATS meal delivery service, which makes it much more useful for people who don’t often use Uber to get around.
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties.
  • Platinum Dining Program: Perfect for a night out on the town, American Express holds a reservation for you at over 1,000 top restaurants. Just call your concierge service and select “Dining” from the menu.
  • Amex Offers: You’ll have access to extra point opportunities and discounts at a wide variety of merchants.

American Express offers a wide variety of benefits with this card, and we’ve only mentioned the most valuable ones here. You’ll also get even more travel perks, a concierge service, complimentary ShopRunner membership, and travel insurance and shopping protections to make sure you stay safe and always get your money’s worth.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
See Pay Over Time APR None 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$550 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
See Rates & Fees Up to $40 Up to $40

Things are pretty simple here. You’ll need to pay off your full balance every month by the due date, or you’ll incur late fees and potentially damage your credit (unless you use the Pay Over Time feature for eligible purchases; those purchases will accrue interest until you pay them off).

Eligible charges can be included in a Pay Over Time balance, up to the Pay Over Time Limit. Eligible charges include purchases, foreign transaction fees, and annual membership fees. The following are ineligible for Pay Over Time: cash advances, including cash and other cash equivalents, certain insurance premiums, and any other fees owed to American Express. Pay Over Time Limit applies to the total of the Pay Over Time, cash advance, and Plan balances.

All charges not added to a Pay Over Time balance, a monthly payment plan, or a cash advance balance must be paid in full each month by the payment due date.

Take note that there’s no foreign transaction fee for this card, so you can use it outside the country without being penalized. As long as you always pay your bill on time and in full, the only cost you’ll ever have to deal with here is the annual fee.

This card has no preset spending limit, meaning you should have plenty of purchasing power. This doesn’t mean that it has an unlimited spending limit, however. It only means that the credit limit is not set in stone, and will adjust based on your usage of the card and some other factors.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, The Platinum Card® from American Express has a lot to offer a frequent traveler. To decide whether it makes sense for you, think about how much you travel, how much you spend, and figure out how much the benefits are worth to you.

If you could use airport lounges every week or month, this card could be worth it for that benefit alone. However, if you rarely travel by airplane this card is probably not a great fit for you.

The key to using the Platinum card effectively is to be aware of the many benefits and enroll in the member programs it offers. There are so many that it’d be easy to forget about some, and miss out on a nice discount or pleasant experience. These include the Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credit, the Uber credits, the Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy hotel programs, and the Amex Offers, all of which could save you a nice chunk of cash.

Travel credit cards come in many shapes and sizes, and this is just one of your options. Check out the alternatives below for some other cards with similar costs and benefits. If the Platinum Card isn’t right for you, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for.

How Do I Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express?

Simply follow the link below to apply for this card. You’ll be directed to the card issuer’s website where you’ll need to submit an application. Before applying, check to see if you’re prequalified for any offers, which in some cases could get you a better deal.

What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Platinum Card from American Express?

It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying.

To have good credit, your credit scores would need to fall within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.

Keep in mind credit card issuers will look at other factors aside from your scores when determining your approval. Credit card companies will look at things like income and monthly rent and mortgage payments, so there’s a chance if your scores are lower than what’s recommended you might still be approved.

But that means there’s also a chance you won’t be approved, even if you have those credit scores or higher.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status, and potentially driver’s license number
  • Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
  • Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits come with the Platinum Card from American Express?

The most valuable benefits are probably the annual credits, airport lounge access, and elite hotel statuses. There’s a $200 Uber credit and a $200 airline fee credit (through 2021).

You and two guests will be able to enter a wide variety of airport lounge brands including Priority Pass, Delta, Centurion, and more. You’ll get Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status — both feature extra points, room upgrades when available, and other amenities.

Check out a full list of benefits right here.

What are my Amex Membership Rewards points worth?

How you choose to redeem your points will determine their value. If you follow the normal redemption method (redeeming for flights, hotels, or gift cards) your points will be worth up to 1 cent for a maximum 5% cash back equivalent.

If you redeem for a statement credit, your points are only worth 0.6 cents equating to a maximum 3% cash back equivalent.

Or, you could transfer your points to Amex’s travel partners, where you could potentially find a point value of 2 cents or more, making for a cash back equivalent of 10% or more when earning 5X points per dollar.

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Alternatives to the American Express Platinum Card

If you don’t like what you see here, take a look at some other high-end travel cards currently on the market.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Regular APR16.99%-23.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is a popular new entry to the world of high-end travel cards. But there are a few differences to be aware of between this and the Platinum.

The Sapphire Reserve offers an annual travel credit of $300 which can be used for pretty much anything from airfare to hotels, making it a little bit more handy while also being higher than what the Platinum Card provides.

However, the Platinum Card has some benefits that are better than the Sapphire Reserve, like access to more airport lounges, more useful elite hotel statuses, and up to $200 in Uber credits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve will provide higher rewards than the Platinum Card in some ways, earning 3X points on dining expenses. But if you spend a lot on airfare directly with airlines or book hotels through American Express’ portal, you’ll earn more with the Platinum Card. And you could always use a different reward card to earn points at restaurants.

So if you’d prefer to earn rewards on food, could make better use of a more flexible travel credit, and don’t need extensive airport lounge access, perhaps this is the card for you.

Spending Rewards
  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

The Sapphire Reserve features a 50% point bonus when you redeem for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That could net you the equivalent of 4.5% cash back in the 3X categories, not too bad.

Like the Platinum Card, you can also transfer your points to airline and hotel partners where you can get a better value. But with the Sapphire Reserve all your transfers will be at a 1:1 rate, a nice feature the Platinum Card lacks.

  • 50% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfer: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott Bonvoy.
  • $300 annual travel credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection provides some complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, including room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and special gifts.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of signing up for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85).
  • Elite hotel benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call 1-877-660-0905 for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show.
  • Special car rental privileges: Get rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at rental companies like Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental.
  • Lyft Pink membership: One free year of Lyft Pink, which includes 15% off rides, relaxed cancellations, surprise offers, and priority airport pickup
  • DoorDash membership: A free membership (DashPass) for a year, which provides free delivery for orders of $15 or more
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit: Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in credits in 2021.
  • Shopping protections: You’ll get Purchase Protection when shopping, Extended Warranty protection, and Return Protection.
  • Travel protections: Travel and Emergency Assistance, Emergency Medical and Dental Protection, Trip Delay Reimbursement, and much more
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550

Citi Prestige® Card

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securely on the issuer's website

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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$495
  • Regular APR17.99%–24.99% Variable

The Citi Prestige® Card (Review) is a high-end travel card with a lower yearly cost, featuring a $250 annual travel credit that can be applied to plane tickets, hotel rooms, fees, and more. That’s far more flexible, and $50 more, than what the Platinum Card offers for airline fees.

The Citi card has a few different benefits as well. You’ll get a complimentary fourth night free at any hotel you choose, twice in a calendar year. That’s a valuable feature, especially for people who stay at high-end hotels. The Prestige, however, doesn’t offer access to as many lounges as the Platinum Card. It also doesn’t come with the elite hotel statuses, which provide complimentary services and discounts, or many shopping and travel protections.

The Citi Prestige earns 5X ThankYou points on air travel and dining, with 3X ThankYou points on hotels and cruise lines. As long as you’re booking directly with airlines or through the Amex portal, the Platinum Card will be as rewarding for airline spending (and more rewarding at hotels), but it won’t get you that point bonus at restaurants.

So if you’re looking for a top-tier travel rewards card that provides some added flexibility with its annual credit, a free fourth night stay at your favorite hotel, and earns points on dining, the Citi Prestige might be the one for you.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Point transfer: To a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses (due to the impact of COVID-19, from 5/1/20 through 12/31/20, the $250 travel credit benefit will be expanded to include purchases made at supermarkets and restaurants)
  • Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years
  • Citi Prestige Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
  • World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at Avis, Silvercar, and National
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 17.99%–24.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $495
  • 5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
  • No limit to the amount of points you can earn
  • Rewards never expire
  • $250 travel credit
  • Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $495 annual fee

American Express® Gold Card

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securely on the issuer's website

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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

The American Express® Gold Card (Review) is another above-average travel card that features strong perks and benefits for the credit card aficionado on the go.

Like the Platinum, the Gold Card features an annual travel credit and perks geared at saving you money and making travel more comfortable. However, its travel credit is $100 less (through 2021). It does feature a $120 dining credit in addition to that, which might even the playing field depending on how often you eat out or order in.

The Gold Card doesn’t offer enrollment in any membership programs, or grant you access to airport lounges. The aforementioned benefit is a pretty valuable one, and can make traveling, especially if you do it often, far more comfortable. So in terms of benefits, the Platinum Card has the Gold Card beat.

The Gold Card earns 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25K spent per year), and 3X points on flights booked through Amex Travel (amextravel.com). While the Platinum earns 5X points on flights, you very well could reap more rewards with the Gold Card depending on how often you use it for groceries and dining. And considering the dining credit, you’ll probably be eating out with it fairly often.

Both cards are pretty good choices. The Gold Card has a lower annual fee, but the Platinum boasts a stronger collection of perks for frequent travelers. So you’ll have to think about if you’d get more value from the benefits of the Platinum Card, or from the rewards and lower fee of the Gold Card.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • $100 airline credit: Get up $100 for incidental fees when you fly, like airline meals or checked baggage fees. You must select a qualifying airline ahead of time to use the credit (through 2021).
  • $120 dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express Gold Card at participating restaurants and merchants, including Grubhub, Seamless, and Boxed.
  • The Hotel Collection: Get a $100 credit for qualifying charges, and room upgrades when available.
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you find your room being advertised for a lesser price you can be reimbursed for the difference.
  • The Travel Collection: Join the Travel Collection at no additional cost and access discounts and perks at select hotels, airlines, and car rental companies.
  • Gold Card Destinations: Get a $100 credit on eligible new bookings of vacation packages and cruises that cost at least $3,000.
  • Entertainment Access: You’ll be eligible for exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events.
  • American Express Preferred Seating: With Preferred Seating, you can get premium seats for concerts, sporting events, and more.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Enroll in ShopRunner to get free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers.
  • Shopping protections: Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection
  • Travel protections: Personalize Travel Service, Travel Accident Insurance, Baggage Insurance Plan, Global Assist Hotline, Rental Car Insurance, and more
  • Purchase APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Mastercard® Black Card™

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securely on the issuer's website

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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$495
  • Regular APR14.99% Variable

The Mastercard® Black Card™ (Review) is a more recent addition to the high-end travel card category. There are quite a few important differences to be aware of.

Chief among them, the Mastercard Black Card has a lower annual credit, no welcome bonus, and more limited airport lounge access. It also doesn’t feature the elite hotel statuses, Uber credits, and a few other benefits that the Platinum Card offers.

However, the $100 airline credit, which is $100 less than what the Platinum Card has, is more flexible. You can pretty much use it for whatever airline-related purchases you’d like, unlike the Platinum’s. It also has a lower annual fee.

But, it still can’t really compete with the Platinum Card’s 5X point multiplier when you pay for airfare or hotel stays through the Amex portal. And since we’re talking about travel cards here, those flight and hotel bookings are the purchases that really matter.

The Mastercard Black Card doesn’t exactly stack up to the competition, considering most high-end travel cards offer more for their fees. You’d probably be better off going with one of the other cards collected here.

Spending Rewards
  • 1X point per dollar on every purchase

You’ll get 2 cents per point for airfare redemptions, giving you a 2% cash back equivalent.

Statement credit redemptions will get just 1.5 cents per point, for a 1.5% cash back equivalent.

  • $100 airline credit: This annual $100 airline credit can be applied to travel expenses like airfare, baggage fees, and in-flight purchases.
  • Global Entry credit: A $100 Global Entry application fee credit. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that provides expedited entry to the U.S. (it can include TSA PreCheck).
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Get unlimited visits and guests for the available airport lounges, with no need to call in advance.
  • Luxury Card Concierge: Personal 24/7 concierge service, you can call or chat live through the
  • Luxury Card app.
  • VIP Hotel & Travel benefits: Access to numerous discounts and amenities at a variety of different properties.
  • Mastercard Priceless Program: Exclusive access to invitation-only events
  • Purchase APR: 14.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $495
  • Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
  • Enrollment in Priority PassTM Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR
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securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

How do you use your Platinum Card from American Express? What are the most valuable features to you? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

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

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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