Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
The Platinum Card from American Express is meant for people who can be summed up in two words: luxury travelers. You won’t earn any cash back, you won’t earn a lot of points from non-travel purchases, and you won’t be able to pay off existing credit card debt by transferring it to this card.
What you will get is access to unrivaled luxury travel benefits that cover every stage of your journey, from opulent Saks Fifth Avenue clothing to pack for your trip to the Uber ride back home from the airport.
The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card, although it offers “Pay Over Time” and “Plan It” features (for a fee, of course). Unless you absolutely need the extra time to pay for a purchase, we always recommend paying off your charges in full each month, especially with travel rewards cards. The interest you’ll pay far outweighs the value of the rewards you earn.
Luxury travel perks galore
Lots of reward redemption options
High annual fee
Limited financing options
Low rewards-earning rate on non-travel spending
- Luxury travel perks galore: This card offers a plethora of benefits such as airline and hotel credits, status upgrades at luxury hotels, and access to exclusive events and experiences. These perks add lots of value to this card for travelers who enjoy things like early hotel check-in times, room upgrades, statement credits for expenses like checked luggage and in-flight food and drinks, and airport lounge access to relax while on the go.
- Lots of reward redemption options: You can redeem your points for travel booked through American Express Travel, purchases from popular online retailers, electronics and merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, and more.
- High annual fee: An annual fee of $550 is a lot to spend for a charge card, and you’ll have to take advantage of many of this card’s perks to justify it.
- Limited financing options: Because this is a charge card and not a credit card, you can’t easily carry a balance month-to-month. However, Amex does offer a couple of financing tools if you would like to pay a charge over time— “Plan It” and “Pay Over Time." Each has different rules and fees, although you can only use them on purchases of $100 or more.
- Low rewards-earning rate on non-travel spending: If you don't spend a lot of money on travel, you won’t earn many points. Unless your purchases are made through American Express Travel or directly with an airline, you'll earn a measly 1 point per $1 spent—a lot less than many of this card’s competitors.
The Platinum Card From American Express Welcome Offer
If you spend $5,000 within the first three months after you get the card, you’ll earn a welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points. (It can take eight to 12 weeks for the points to be credited to your account after you’ve earned them.)
This is a good welcome offer, worth about $720, according to our valuation of credit card rewards points, although you can stretch the value much further with some redemption options. That’s about on par with many of the card’s competitors.
One thing to note: the welcome offer you see may vary depending on your internet browsing history.
Earning Points & Rewards
When you open this card, it’ll be linked to your Membership Rewards account so that if you open any other American Express credit cards (or if you already have one open), all of your points will fall into a single account.
To maximize your earnings, you should use this card to pay for travel. You'll get 5 points per $1 spent on airfare and hotels booked by calling American Express Travel, on flights or prepaid hotel packages booked at amextravel.com, and on flights booked directly with airlines. For everything else, you'll earn the pretty low rate of 1 point per $1 spent.
It’s important to know that unless you’re using this card to buy travel on American Express Travel frequently, you probably won’t be earning many points. There are no opportunities to earn extra points outside of travel purchases. Most other luxury travel cards offer other bonus categories, notably at restaurants, but you won’t get that option with the Platinum Card.
To spend your points earned from this or other American Express cards, access your Membership Rewards account, where all of your points are tracked and stored. The value of each point will depend on how you redeem them:
- Book travel: 0.5 cents to 1 cent, depending on type of travel and destination
- Redeem for gift cards: Up to 1 cent
- Pay with points at checkout: 0.5 cents to 1 cent, depending on retailer
- Cover your card charges with a statement credit: 0.6 cents
- Shop the Membership Rewards shopping portal: 0.5 cents
One of the best parts about earning Membership Rewards is the option you'll have to transfer them to the airline or hotel loyalty programs that partner with American Express. Most of the more than 20 eligible programs let you convert them at a one-for-one ratio, which is a big advantage if the partner has high-value rewards.
We consider a points value of 1 cent per point a good baseline: avoid anything less and seek out anything more. Our analysis found that Membership Rewards points are worth an average 1.20 cents apiece when used for travel. You'll get the best value (2.28 cents per mile) when you transfer points to Air Canada or Avianca.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
The annual fee is high, but you can get your money’s worth out of this card by following a few rules. First, make sure you’re able to meet the spending requirement in order to get the welcome offer—the Welcome Offer is too good to pass up.
Whenever possible, book travel through American Express Travel to capture the 5 points per $1 reward. Also, be sure you sign up for any rewards that require enrollment, such as the $200 airline credit and premium hotel status upgrades.
Finally, steer clear of the low-yielding rewards redemption options, such as paying for charges you’ve already made with your card or using the Membership Rewards shopping portal.
Elevate your trips with this card's slew of travel perks, too. Enjoy little luxuries like airport lounge access, statement credits for airline and hotel purchases, and complimentary membership in premium rental car programs to get upgrades and special pricing to soften the blow of this card's sky-high annual fee. (More about this card's perks in the next section)
The Platinum Card From American Express' Excellent Perks
The Platinum Card from American Express offers plenty of travel perks and programs. Here are some we think are especially valuable:
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: American Express will issue a statement credit to cover the application fees for these programs once every four years (for Global Entry) or every four and a half years (for TSA Precheck).
- Airline fee travel credit: This perk—worth up to $200—covers “incidental fees” charged by an airline to your card, such as checked baggage, in-flight food and drinks, and in-flight internet. (It does not cover the fare, and you must pre-select the airline.)
- Airport lounge access: You’ll get access to The Global Lounge Collection, a network of 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide including Delta Sky Club lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges, and American Express’s Centurion Lounges. Cardholders can bring up to two guests into Centurion Lounges for no additional cost, too.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: If your travel plans are delayed by six hours or more, you can file for compensation for up to $500 to cover things you need to buy. Similarly, if your trip is cancelled or if it’s delayed for some reason, you can file for up to $10,000’ worth of reimbursement expenses.
- Insurance coverage for lost baggage: If you pay for the cost of your trip with your card and your baggage is lost, you may be covered for the cost of replacing your baggage, up to $3,000 worth of value.
- Elite hotel membership status: You can register separately for Hilton Honors Gold status or for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, both of which offer a variety of complimentary hotel guest perks. Hotel perks may include waived resort fees, breakfast, late check-out (and an online check-in option), and higher reward earning rates on stays with eligible hotels through each loyalty program.
You may have other (and easier) ways to earn/use this benefit right now, in light of recent travel disruptions. Read “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19” for more information.
The Platinum Card From American Express' Other Features
- Discounts and free perks through several hotel programs
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events
- Upgrades with select car rental companies
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
- $100-$300 credits for select cruise reservations
- Discount on Delta private jets
- Lowest hotel rates guarantee on amextravel.com
- Premium travel and emergency assistance
- Up to $200 of Uber credit annually
- Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
- Up to $100 of Saks Fifth Avenue credit annually
- Free shipping through ShopRunner membership
- Extra benefits when you use your card to help pay for a car
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
American Express is consistently one of the top-ranked credit card issuers in terms of customer service. According to a 2020 J.D. Power study, American Express ranked first among the largest credit card companies for overall customer satisfaction.
If you need to speak with someone, you’ll have access to an online account with live chat support. You can also contact customer service 24/7 over the phone.
American Express offers a smartphone app for account access and customer service; the app also provides notifications for nearby rewards and deals you may be interested in.
Security-wise, the Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t offer quite as many tools as some other cards. That said, if something fishy pops up with your account, you’ll receive a fraud alert. American Express also offers a free credit monitoring service called MyCredit Guide, which is available to anyone, even non-cardholders. It provides a VantageScore 3.0 credit score and other credit watching tools. Cardholders can also check their FICO Score 8 through their account page online or via the app.
The Platinum Card from American Express charges a $550 annual fee, one of the highest among cards we have surveyed. For many, the benefits will outweigh the high cost, but it's still worth noting.