The American Express Platinum Card is one of the premier travel rewards credit cards available. Frequent travelers will love accessing over 1,200 airport lounges, 5x points on flights and prepaid hotel reservations, and $500 in annual credits. Cardholders also receive automatic Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, which brings elite status perks starting with your first stay.
New applicants receive a 60,000 point welcome offer after spending $5,000 within the first three months. These points are worth about $600 when booking travel and possibly more when redeeming with an American Express transfer partner. In fact, I recently traveled to Europe in Business Class with my kids by transferring some of my Amex points to KLM Flying Blue.
In this American Express Platinum Card review, I’ll show you what makes this card so special, tips for getting the most from your card, and how you can use it to travel in style for less. Let’s get started!
There is a lot to like with the American Express Platinum Card. Here are some of my favorite benefits:
- Welcome Offer: 60,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. You can use these points to book $600 in travel with Amex Travel or transfer them to a partner.
- Earn Points on Spending: You’ll earn 5x points when booking flights directly with the airlines or through Amex Travel. Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel also earn 5x points. All other spending earns one point per dollar spent.
- Attractive Travel Partners: The points you earn can be transferred to 19 airlines and 3 hotel transfer partners. Savvy travelers can find fantastic value by transferring points to popular airlines and hotels such as Delta, Qantas, Air Canada, Hilton, and Marriott.
- Complimentary Hotel Benefits: Upon approval, you can request Gold elite status from Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. You can also book stays at the Fine Hotels & Resorts (FH&R) collection. FH&R guests receive daily breakfast for two, guaranteed late checkout, and a unique property amenity worth at least $100.
- Lounge Access: You have access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries. Enjoy complimentary entry to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass airport lounges, and Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta).
- Annual Fee and Credits: The annual fee is $550 and is not waived in the first year. However, annual credits for airline fees, Uber, and Saks Fifth Avenue total $500. This results in a net annual fee of $50 if all credits are used. Plus, cardholders can be reimbursed up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees.
American Express Platinum Card: Where It Shines
The American Express Platinum Card is one of the few credit cards that should be in your wallet.
Starting with the generous 60,000 point welcome offer, you’ll have a head start on booking your dream vacation. You’ll earn the bonus once you spend $5,000 within the first three months of opening the account. Additionally, you’ll earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotel reservations with Amex Travel and one point per dollar everywhere else.
Complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott provides great hotel benefits when staying with those brands. Meanwhile, the Fine Hotels & Resorts perks provide elite-level benefits no matter which program the hotel belongs to.
There are no foreign transaction fees, which comes in handy when traveling internationally. Plus, cardholders are covered with secondary car rental insurance to ensure the vehicle is protected in case of loss and damage.
Tips for Getting the Most from Your Card
To get the most value from your American Express Platinum Card, get to know your benefits well. Many cardholders overlook transfer partners that aren’t household names or forget to compare Fine Hotels & Resorts offers when booking vacations.
American Express has the more transfer partners than Capital One, Chase, and Citibank. You may not be familiar with all of them, but most are alliance partners of popular domestic airlines. For example, with the American Express Platinum Card, you can transfer points to spoil yourself with a premium cabin international flight. Or you can top off balances to redeem points for that award flight you’ve been meaning to book.
You should pay attention to airline transfer bonuses since American Express offers them on a regular basis. For example, in the past, active promotions have included 25 percent bonuses to Flying Blue and JetBlue and a 20 percent bonus to Qantas. These promotions help you stretch the value of your rewards.
The Fine Hotels & Resorts benefit can hold a lot of value. Even if you don’t have status with participating hotels, the FH&R program ensures that you’re treated like you do. With noon check-in and 4 p.m. late checkout, complimentary daily breakfast for two, and guaranteed upgrades, you’ll feel like royalty. Plus, some properties run additional promotions offering the third or fourth night free for even greater value.
What You May Not Like About the American Express Platinum
The American Express Platinum Card is a great travel rewards credit card for many travelers, but there are reasons why it may not be the right card for you.
1) Annual Fee
You have to be comfortable paying the $550 annual fee up-front. With many of the Platinum Card’s perks being offered by competing credit cards, it may not make sense for some travelers to pay this large annual fee.
2) Charges For Authorized-User Cards
American Express charges a total of $175 for the first three authorized users, then another $175 for every additional cardholder. Many of the primary cardholder perks are included for authorized users, such as airport lounge access and Global Entry and TSA Precheck reimbursement. However, the $175 fee is larger than the annual fees of many other great travel cards like the Capital One Venture or Chase Sapphire Preferred.
If this fee is too steep, you can add up to 99 authorized user Gold Cards for no charge. Keep in mind that these authorized user Gold Cards are not the same as the American Express Gold Card that you can apply for. Before adding an authorized user, contact American Express customer service to see if you are eligible for any bonus offers. I called and was offered 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user who spends $500 within three months on their card.
Authorized user cards have their own reimbursement credits for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and can place charges on their account that use the Platinum card’s $200 airline credit. Additionally, these cards are eligible for Amex Offers to earn statement credits or bonus points when you register for the promotions. Plus, you can set individual spending limits for each authorized user so they don’t have access to your full spending power. However, they do not receive the Platinum Card extra benefits such as lounge access.
3) Limitations on $200 Annual Travel Credit
Like other premium travel credit cards, the American Express Platinum Card has an annual travel credit. However, unlike the competition, American Express will require you to pick one airline to use your travel credit at the beginning of the year. The credit is only good for fees and incidentals, not for booking a flight or paying for a hotel room.
4) Restrictions on Lounge Access
Although access to Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass airport lounges is one of the key selling features for frequent travelers, American Express has started limiting this perk.
Cardholders no longer have access to Centurion Lounges upon arrival and cannot enter the lounge more than three hours before departure. This is a huge blow to travelers who show up to the airport early or who want a quick meal or hot shower after a long flight.
If you have a family of four or more, limits on the number of guests cardholders can bring into the lounge are also an issue. Previously, you could bring in your spouse and children, but now you are restricted to two guests. I added my wife as an authorized user to get over this hurdle for my family.
Priority Pass membership provides access to select airport restaurants across the country. Members and guests each receive up to $28 to spend on food and drink for free. While the Chase and Citibank have kept this benefit going, the American Express Platinum eliminated this benefit.
Alternatives to the American Express Platinum Card
In recent years, many credit card issuers have entered the premium travel rewards card space to compete with the American Express Platinum Card.
One of the most popular premium travel credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The benefits begin with a 50,000 point signup bonus worth $750 in travel. There’s an annual travel credit worth $300 and points are worth 1.5 cents each when booking flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. Your points can also be transferred to 13 airline and hotel partners for even more value. Plus, the annual fee is $100 lower than the fee for the American Express Platinum Card.
When deciding between these two credit card options, review their transfer partners to pick the program with the most attractive airlines and hotels and look closely at their perks.
American Express Platinum Card Review: Wrapping Up
If you’re a frequent traveler, having a premium travel credit card is a must. You’ll enjoy perks like airport lounge access, bonus rewards on flights and hotels, and credits that offset most of the annual fee. The American Express Platinum Card provides all of these benefits and much more.
Although there is an annual fee of $550, the net cost of the credit card is only $50 when you maximize the annual credits available to you. When you factor in additional benefits like Marriott and Hilton Gold status and Fine Hotels & Resorts perks, the Amex Platinum Card can be a must-have for today’s travelers.
Amex Platinum Card Review
- Welcome Offer
- Point Value
- Rewards Flexibility
- Transfer Partners
- Additional Benefits
- Annual Fee
American Express Platinum Card Review
The American Express Platinum Card is an excellent choice for frequent travelers searching for a premium travel rewards credit card.
This card provides a welcome bonus of 60,000 points for spending $5,000 during the first three months. Those points can be redeemed for $600 in travel through the Amex Travel portal or transferred to over 20 travel partners. Additional benefits include hotel and airline perks, airport lounge access, travel credits, and more. On the flip side, the card does come with a hefty $550 annual fee. Although that may be enough to turn off some users, the annual credits, benefits, and points more than make up for the cost of carrying the card.
All things considered, we think the Amex Platinum Card deserves a spot in every frequent travelers wallet. Learn how to apply here.