American Express Platinum Card® Review 2019: For Luxury Travelers
There are some people who want to enjoy the finest things available. And while it may cost over $100,000 for a fancy car or a million dollars for an incredible house, a luxury credit card can be had for far less. Having a luxury credit card like the Platinum Card® from American Express can offer you numerous travel and shopping benefits. And like other credit card cards, the Platinum Card® also offers reward points that can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise or award travel reservations.
However, compared to other credit cards, these perks and benefits don’t come cheap. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a high annual fee, but if the value of all of the perks and benefits that you can use exceeds the cost of this card, then it can actually be a good deal.
What Is the Platinum Card® from American Express?
This is American Express’s premier travel rewards credit card, and its benefits are exceeded only by the black Centurion card, which is available only by invitation. And while American Express is known for providing cardholder benefits, the Platinum Card®’s benefits exceed them all. This card offers a wide range of benefits including discounts, statement credits and even elite status with hotels and rental car companies. It also offers you Membership Rewards points, which are incredibly flexible and valuable.
Platinum Card® from American Express Features
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in three months (individual offers may vary)
Rewards for Spending
5x points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.comOne point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Elite status with Hilton and MarriottElite status with Avis, Hertz and National$200 annual air travel fee credit$100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheckDelta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select and American Express Centurion airport lounge access$200 annual Uber credit
$100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue creditPurchase protection against damage and theftReturn protectionExtended warranty
Mobile Wallet Compatibility
Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Fitbit Pay
Contactless Payment Compatibility
Live Chat, Phone: 24/7
Who Is the Platinum Card® from American Express Good For?
This is a card for frequent travelers who want to receive the most perks and benefits on their journey. The $550 annual fee will scare off many potential applicants, but those who travel frequently will find its benefits to be worth it. For example, the fee credits you receive each year can approach the price of the annual fee and the Delta SkyClub and Priority Pass Select airport business lounge memberships normally sell for between $400 and $500 each.
How Does the Platinum Card® from American Express Compare?
The closest competitor to the Platinum Card® from American Express is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both cards give you access to hundreds of airport lounges across the globe. But we think the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers better rewards when it comes to travel and dining — 4.5%.
However, the Platinum Card® from American Express is the clear winner when it comes to luxury services and concierge benefits.
How to Earn the Platinum Card® from American Express Bonuses and Benefits
The standard welcome offer to new applicants is 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening. However, different terms may be available to you through a targeted offer.
This card features 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel. You can also earn 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. These Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards or travel reservations.
However, you can also exchange your points for miles with 14 frequent flyer programs or points with three hotel programs. When you’re able to use this feature to book expensive flights in business or first class, last-minute flights or luxury hotel rooms, it’s possible to receive several cents in value per point redeemed.
But the Platinum Card® from American Express is about much more than earning reward points:
Its benefits include membership in the American Express Centurion, Delta SkyClub and Priority Pass Select airport business lounge networks.
You also receive a $100 credit toward the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (which includes PreCheck) and a $200 annual airline fee credit.
You even receive $200 in annual credits toward Uber and $100 in credits toward Saks Fifth Avenue purchases.
Other benefits include Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Gold Elite status, as well as elite status with Hertz, Avis, National and Sixt car rentals. Booking hotels through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program offers you late checkouts, room upgrades and free breakfasts, while The Hotel Collection offers room upgrades and a $100 credit toward dining, spa and resort activities.
Platinum Card® from American Express Fees
This card has an annual fee of $550. You can order additional Gold Card®s for authorized users at no cost, but these users won’t have access to the airport business lounges. You can also order up to three additional Platinum Card®s for authorized users for $175 total (not each).
This is a charge card, so cardholders are expected to pay their entire balance each month. So while there’s no standard interest rate for this card, American Express does offer the Pay Over Time feature that allows customers to extend payment on select purchases. The late payment and returned payment fees are up to $38, and there’s no foreign transaction fee for purchases made outside of the United States.
Signing Up for the Platinum Card® from American Express
American Express requires that applicants have excellent credit to be approved for this card. You can apply for the Platinum Card® online at americanexpress.com or in response to an offer you receive in the mail.
You can call a customer service agent 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s also an option for live chat.
Platinum Card® from American Express Mobile
American Express offers a mobile app that’s available free at both the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s compatible with fingerprint or face ID logins. Features include the ability to view statements and to activate replacement or renewal cards. You can also check your rewards balance and redeem points and view special Amex offers.
Other features include the ability to view recent transactions, configure Apple Pay and set purchase alerts. Finally, you can set card payment alerts, pay your bill and view a six-month spending history.
Platinum Card® from American Express Pros and Cons
Strong Welcome Bonus — Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. This can be worth $600 or much more when transferred to airline miles.
Receive Bonus Points — One of this card’s best benefits is the ability to earn 5x bonus points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Transfer Rewards to Airline Miles or Hotel Points — By transferring your Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, you can receive more value than other redemption options.
Enjoy Great Airport Lounge Access — Be productive when you travel by accessing any facility in three of the largest airport lounge networks.
Earn Lots of Fee Credits — Between the $200 annual airline fee credit, the $200 annual Uber credit, the $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit and the $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, this card can save you more than the value of the annual fee.
Leverage the Benefits of Elite Status — This card offers you elite status with multiple hotel and car rental companies. When staying at these hotels, you could receive room upgrades, late checkouts and even free breakfasts. When renting a car, you could also receive upgrades and bonus points.
High Annual Fee — The $550 annual fee is one of the highest of any consumer credit card and will be worth it only to those who can take advantage of many of this card’s benefits.
Complicated Rewards — Membership Rewards points are very valuable because they are so flexible. But with that flexibility comes complexity. It’s hard for some people to figure out all of the different hotel and frequent flyer programs you can transfer your points to.
Confusing Fee Credits — These fee credits are not straightforward. For example, the $200 Uber credit comes as $15 a month and $35 in December. The $100 Saks credit is given out as $50 from January to June and another $50 from July to December. And the $200 airline fee credit counts only for some purchases made from a single airline that you have to choose in advance.
Opt-in Rewards — You have to enroll in most of the fee credits, the Priority Pass Select Membership and elite status with airlines and hotels. Little of this is automatic.
Limited Delta Lounge Access — The Delta SkyClub membership is valid only when you have a flight on Delta. And unlike the Priority Pass Select and Centurion Club memberships, you can’t bring any guests with you into the Delta SkyClubs.
Beyond all of the perks and benefits, the Platinum Card® from American Express has a competitive rewards program. The ability to earn 5x points on many airline and hotel purchases will stand out, while the one point per dollar spent elsewhere isn’t anything special. Thankfully, your Membership Rewards points are combined with other American Express business and personal cards you may have, allowing you to use your Platinum Card® where it best suits you.
By offering competitive rewards and a wealth of benefits, the Platinum Card® from American Express continues to appeal to those who want a taste of luxury whenever they travel.