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The Platinum Card® from American Express is easily one of the top travel rewards credit cards available. This card comes with tons of recently revamped benefits and credits that are hard to beat.
Frequent travelers will love accessing over 1,400 airport lounges, 5x points on flights (up to $500,000 in purchases), 5x points on prepaid hotel reservations through American Express Travel, and several hundred dollars 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. (Enrollment required.)
New applicants earn a 100,000 point welcome offer after spending $6,000 within the first six months. These points are worth $1,000 when booking flights through Amex Travel – and possibly more when redeeming with an American Express transfer partner. Terms apply.
In this Amex Platinum 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!
Earn a 100,000 Point Welcome Offer – With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn a 100,000 mile welcome offer after spending $6,000 in the first six months. (Terms apply.) Learn How to Apply Here
Amex Platinum Card Highlights
There is a lot to like with the Amex Platinum card. Here are some of my favorite benefits:
- Welcome Offer: Earn 100,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months. You can use these points to book about $1,000 in flights or hotel stays with Amex Travel. You could also transfer them to a partner for even more possible value.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Enjoy a statement credit of up to $200 annually when you use the card for prepaid hotel bookings at Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection (minimum 2-night stay required).
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in annual statement credits towards baggage and other airline fees at one qualifying airline.
- Earn Points on Spending: You’ll earn 5x points when booking flights directly with the airlines or through Amex Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year). 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 14 airlines and 3 hotel transfer partners. Savvy travelers can find fantastic value by transferring points to popular airlines and hotel programs such as Delta, Flying Blue, Qantas, Hilton, and Marriott. Enrollment required.
- 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. Enrollment required.
- Lounge Access: With the Global Lounge Collection, you have access to more than 1,400 airport lounges in more than 140 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 $695. (See Rates and Fees.) However, you can enjoy up to $100 annually in Sax Fifth Avenue credit (enrollment required) and $100 in onsite credit at The Hotel Collection properties. Plus, cardholders can be reimbursed up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees when they use their card to pay the fee. They also receive complimentary benefits at over 1,100 Fine Hotels & Resort properties ($550 avg. value).
- Terms apply.
Amex Platinum: Where It Shines
The Amex Platinum is one of the few credit cards that should always be in your wallet.
Starting with the generous 100,000 point welcome offer, you’ll have a head start on booking your dream vacation. You’ll earn the bonus once you spend $6,000 within the first three months of opening the account. These points are worth $1,000 in flights or hotel stays when you book with Amex Travel. That is HUGE!
Of course, you don’t want to miss out on up to $200 annually in statement credits toward airline fees at one qualifying airline, either. You’re also eligible for up to $200 in statement credits each year toward prepaid hotel reservations at Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection, although this benefit does require a minimum stay of two nights.
To top it off, you’ll earn 5x points on up to $500,000 in flights purchased directly through airlines or through Amex Travel. You’ll earn the same 5x points on 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 (enrollment required). 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. (See Rates and Fees.) Plus, cardholders are covered with secondary car rental insurance1 to ensure the vehicle is protected in case of loss and damage. Terms apply.
Tips for Getting the Most from Your Card
To get the most value from your Amex Platinum, 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 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 Amex 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. Remember that enrollment in partner loyalty programs is required to transfer your Membership Rewards points.
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% bonuses to Flying Blue and JetBlue and a 20% 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. Keep in mind, using this benefit requires a minimum stay of two nights.
What You May Not Like About the Amex Platinum
The Amex Platinum 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 extremely hefty $695 annual fee up-front. That can be a hard pill to swallow. 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. Some of the primary cardholder perks are included for authorized users, such as airport lounge access and Global Entry and TSA Precheck reimbursement, but may aren’t. Also, the $175 fee is larger than the annual fees of many other great travel cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
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. Additionally, these cards are eligible for Amex Offers to earn statement credits or bonus points when you register for the promotions. (Enrollment required.) 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) 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 at their final destination 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 Amex Platinum eliminated this benefit.
Alternatives to the Amex Platinum
In recent years, many credit card issuers have entered the premium travel rewards card space to compete with the Amex Platinum.
One of the most popular premium travel credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The benefits begin with a 60,000 point signup bonus worth $900 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.
Like the Amex Platinum card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a ton of other benefits – including trip cancellation/interruption, a Priority Pass Select membership, a DoorDash Dashpass membership, and more. It’s a really great card that also deserves your consideration.
So, which of these awesome cards should you get? Before 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.
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is another excellent alternative. This card keeps thing simple, offering credits and benefits that are easy to understand and a breeze to redeem.
For starters, the Capital One Venture X comes with $300 in annual statement credits that you can use toward travel expenses that were purchased through the Capital One Travel portal. You’ll also receive 10,000 bonus miles ($100 value) each year on your account anniversary.
The welcome offer is also very solid. You’ll earn 75,000 miles after making $4,000 in purchases over the first 3 months. Those miles are worth $750 in travel statement credits and can be used with any travel brand at any time.
Like other premium travel credit cards, the Capital One Venture X Card provides access to over 1,400 Priority Pass airport lounges around the world. It also includes up to $100 statement credits toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees.
Here’s the best part: The annual fee is just $395. That is $300 a year less than the Amex Platinum Card, making the Capital One Venture X a super attractive option.
Amex Platinum 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 Amex Platinum provides all of these benefits and much more. (Enrollment in some benefit programs is required.)
Although there is an annual fee of $695, if you’re a frequent traveler, the card is likely worth it if you maximize the annual credits and Amex Platinum benefits available to you. When you factor in additional benefits like Marriott and Hilton Gold status (enrollment required) and Fine Hotels & Resorts perks, the Amex Platinum can be a great card for today’s travelers.
1 Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
Amex Platinum Card Review
Amex Platinum Card Review Summary
The Platinum Card from American Express is an excellent choice for frequent travelers searching for a premium travel rewards credit card. This card provides a welcome bonus of 100,000 points for spending $6,000 during the first six months. Those points can be redeemed for $1,000 in travel through the Amex Travel portal or transferred to their travel partners for even more value.
Additional benefits include hotel and airline perks, airport lounge access, travel credits, and more. Enrollment is required for some benefits.
On the flip side, the card does come with an extremely hefty $695 annual fee. Although that may be enough to turn off some users, the annual credits, benefits, and points can be enough to make up for the cost of carrying the card.
All things considered, we think the Amex Platinum deserves a spot in every frequent travelers wallet. Learn how to apply here.