Review of the Platinum Card® from American Express

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Nov 23, 2015 | Updated Jun 27, 2016

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The Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself sitting in a plane or sleeping in hotels very often, however, you should give it a look to see if it could save you some money and make your trips more enjoyable.

It’s annual fee of $450 may seem like an unreasonable amount, but we’ll go through the many valuable benefits you’ll get with the card. These include a $200 airline fee credit, airport lounge access, and upgraded status at a variety of hotels.

This is a charge card, not a typical credit card. This means that you can’t carry a balance from month to month, and instead need to pay off your entire balance in full every billing period. Click here to learn more about the differences between charge cards and credit cards >>

This card has no pre-set spending limit, which means that the credit limit will adjust over time with your usage of it. This does not mean that you can spend an unlimited amount with the card, but only that the limit will be flexible.

Read on to learn more about this card, and why you should consider paying $450 each year for it.

Platinum Card® from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply

The Rewards

This card provides Membership Rewards® points every time you shop, and a nice bonus too:

  • 2 points per dollar on eligible purchases from the American Express Travel website
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the benefits section below for a whole lot more.

The Benefits

There’s a lot to this card, so check your terms and explore your options to be sure you’re taking advantage of the full range of benefits available to you.

Luxury Airline Benefits

  • Airport Lounge Access: A saving grace for frequent travelers. Cardholders have complimentary access to over 800 airport lounges around the world, including major brands like The Centurion® Lounge, Airspace Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs®. You can also enroll for free in Priority Pass™ Select, an independent lounge program.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Every year you can select an airline, and you’ll get credit for up to $200 in incidental fees charged by that airline.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™: Who likes waiting in lines? Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ are programs that provide expedited screening at airports, and Amex will refund the application fee for one of these programs.
  • International Airline Program: When you purchase eligible international tickets in Business or First Class, you can get a discount on a companion ticket.
  • Premium Private Jet Program: Book private jets to travel in comfort and style. You’ll get $300 credit per flight towards in-flight amenities, and another $300 towards limousine transfer services.

Luxury Hotel Benefits

  • Hilton HHonors™ 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 a 25% bonus on Hilton HHonors Base Points you earn.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Gold Status: Enroll in this benefit to get a number of convenient services when staying at Starwood properties. You’ll get perks like room upgrades, late checkouts, a 50% bonus on Starpoints® earned, and your choice of a welcome gift on every stay.
  • The Hotel Collection: Search through The Hotel Collection website, provided by Amex Travel, and book stays of at least 2 nights to get this benefit. You’ll get a room upgrade when available, and up to $75 credit for eligible charges when you check out.
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts: When you pay for eligible bookings through Amex Travel services you’ll get a host of great hotel perks, which may include:
    • Room upgrade upon arrival
    • Noon check-in
    • Daily breakfast for two
    • Complimentary WiFi
    • Various amenities specific to certain locations, like food and beverage credits

Other Travel Benefits

  • Platinum Destinations® Vacations: You’ll earn up to 25,000 points when you book eligible vacation packages through Amex Travel services. More expensive bookings will earn more points.
  • Cruises Privileges Program: Purchase eligible cruise trips of five nights or more through Amex Travel and you’ll get an extra point per dollar, $100 – $300 credit per stateroom, and additional amenities.
  • Car Rental Privileges: Provides a number of complimentary benefits when renting from these premium car rental services: Avis Preferred®, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards®, and National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive. You’ll need to enroll in each of these programs separately.
  • Amex Auto Purchasing Program: Get a discount on new or used cars by searching the Amex auto network and using your card for the down payment. The average cardholder has had a savings of $3,146 off the MSRP.

Other Entertainment and Shopping Benefits

  • Platinum Concierge Service: A 24/7 personal assistant to help you out with all sorts of non-emergency tasks. Particularly useful are the travel agent services, which will make recommendations and help you find special offers and benefits.
  • Platinum Dining® Program: American Express holds a reservation for you at over 1,000 top restaurants. Just call your concierge service and select “Dining” from the menu.
  • Membership Experiences: Search the Membership Experiences site and you’ll find pre-sale tickets to big events and other special offers.
  • Boingo WiFi American Express Preferred Plan: Get complimentary WiFi at over 1 million hotspots around the world. Enrollment required.
  • American Express® Preferred Seating: Provides access to premium seats at cultural and sports events.
  • Transfer Points to Frequent Traveler Programs: You can transfer the points you earn with your card to frequent traveler programs that you’re enrolled in. You’ll be charged a fee of $0.0006 per point, up to $99.
  • Subscription to Departures Magazine: Published seven times per year, this magazine focuses on the latest luxuries in culture, shopping, dining, travel, and style in general.
  • InCircle® Shopping Benefits: Enroll in this benefit to earn both Membership Rewards and InCircle points when shopping at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow, or Cusp.
  • Year-End Summary: Every year you’ll get an analysis of your spending from last year in a convenient, interactive summary with charts, broken down into categories like travel and groceries.

Travel Protections

  • Travel Accident Insurance: Provides reimbursement if the worst were to happen while on a covered trip.
  • Premium Global Assist® Hotline: Provides 24/7 help in emergencies, whether they be medical, legal, or financial.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost, damaged, or stolen, you can be reimbursed up to $2,000 for checked bags, and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for both checked and carry-on bags.
  • Premium Roadside Assistance: Provides emergency vehicle assistance when you’re in a jam, including towing, tire change, or jump starts. Third-party service costs will apply.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Provides theft and damage insurance for rented vehicles. You must decline the rental car company’s own insurance for this benefit to take effect.

Shopping Protections

  • Purchase Protection: Provides reimbursement when items you buy are lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of the date of purchase.
  • Return Protection: If the merchant won’t let you return an item you bought within 90 days, Amex may refund the purchase price up to $300 per item (up to $1,000 per year).
  • Extended Warranty: The original manufacturer’s warranty on items you buy can be extended by up to one additional year (for warranties of 5 years or less only).

The Costs & Fees

Annual Fee Regular APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$450 Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly 0%
Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to $38 Up to $38

Because it’s a charge card you won’t have to worry about interest payments. You’ll just need to pay off your full balance every period by the due date.

This card has no pre-set 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.

Insider Tip: You may be able to get the annual fee on this card waived. Just call customer service and ask nicely to have it waived, explaining that you’ve been a good, responsible customer for some time. Or, if you’re thinking of canceling the card, you can let them know that you’d consider staying with them if they waive the fee. In some cases they may offer a different incentive, like bonus points.

And if you’re in the military on active duty, you can submit an online request for SCRA benefits, which will probably include having the annual fee waived.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the Platinum Card from American Express has a lot to offer.

You’ll be earning 2 points per dollar on travel expenses, but the real value comes from all the extra benefits. Despite the $450 fee, you should be getting out ahead with this card as long as you’re traveling enough to make it worth it – probably at least four to five times per year.

Just think of the value you’ll get from some of the premium benefits: free access to airport lounges around the world, a $200 airline fee credit every year, a fee credit for TSA Pre✓, credit when traveling by private jet, and complimentary membership in Hilton and Starwood hotel guest programs.

Forget to make reservations for your night out? The Platinum Dining Program might have your back. In the market for a new or used car? You might be able to save thousands with the Amex Auto Purchasing Program.

Add all that to the discounts you’ll get from the points you’ll earn, and this card doesn’t seem so expensive after all.

The key to using the Platinum card effectively is to be aware of the many benefits. There are so many that it’d be easy to forget about some, and miss out on a nice discount or pleasant experience. Keep your card terms on hand, or check with customer service or your concierge if you aren’t sure.

You might be racking up a lot of expenses with this card, so remember that it’s a charge card and you’ll need to pay it off in full each month. This is a nice trade-off, because you won’t need to worry about interest payments or large balances hanging over your head from month to month.

How do you use your Platinum Card from American Express? What are the most valuable features to you? Click here to leave your own review for other visitors, we’d love to hear from you!

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