The Platinum Card® from American Express has a hefty $550 annual fee, but if you are a frequent “luxury” traveler it can more than pay for itself. It is a general travel rewards card that offers the ability to redeem Membership Rewards Points for merchandise gift cards, airline miles, car rentals or hotel points and free night vouchers.
The Platinum Card from American Express is not a Credit card, it is a “Charge Card” that must be paid in full each month. The card has a nice sign up bonus of 60,000 points and offers one membership reward point for every dollar spent.
The real differentiator of this card is long list of luxury travel benefits you will receive, such as free airline lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts Program Benefit, $200 in airline fee credits, etc. (more details on these later in the review).
Sign up Bonus, Rewards and Transfer Options
The Platinum Card® from American Express has a sign up bonus of 60,000 points, when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. You will earn 1 membership reward point per dollar on all purchases and 2 membership reward points per dollar spent on travel when you book your travel online with American Express.
The membership rewards points earned with this card can either be used for travel, such as flights, hotels, cruises and vacation packages, or merchandise, dining, gift cards and statement credit. Although the best value for using membership rewards points is definitely the airline mile transfer option.
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 16 different airlines and 3 major hotel groups.
Airlines with Membership Rewards Transfer:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alitalia Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- EL AL Israel Airlines
- Etihad Airlines
- Emirates Airlines
- KLM / Air France Flying Blue
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
Hotel with Membership Rewards Transfer and Free Night Vouchers:
Transfer Membership Rewards Points to your Account with these hotels:
- Choice Privileges (1 MR Point : 1 Choice Privileges Point)
- Hilton HHonors (1 MR Point : 1.5 HHonors Points)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (3 MR points : 1 Starpoint)
Or, Get a Gift Card for Free Nights at these airlines and hotels:
- Best Western Hotels and Resorts
- Carnival Corporation (Carnival Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Cunard)
- Delta Airlines
- Four Seasons
- Hilton Hotels
- Mandarin Oriental
- The Ritz-Carlton
Points earned in the first year with the AMEX Platinum Card
Assume you spend $3,000 per month on the Credit Card in the first 12 months
+ 60,000 Membership Rewards Points – Bonus for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
+ 36,000 Membership Rewards Points – 1:1 ratio of Membership Rewards per dollar charged on the card.
= 96,000 Membership Rewards Points earned in the first year.
That is enough for at 3 domestic airline tickets, with a few points left over. Possibly even more if you transfer when American Express is offering an airline transfer bonus (they often have limited time transfer bonuses ranging from 30-40% to Delta and British Airways).
However, the points are just one bonus with the Platinum Card. The BIG bonus is the long list of premium travel benefits mentioned previously.
Apply here with this secure link to the The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Additional Benefits of the American Express Platinum Card
In additional to the ability to earn Membership Rewards Points, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers the following benefits:
5X Point Category Bonus –
5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
5X Membership Rewards points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Airline Lounge/Club Access –
The American Express Global Lounge Collection provides access to more than 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries and counting. The lounges include The American Express Centurion Lounge and The International American Express lounges, as well as American Express partner networks, Delta Sky Club® and Priority Pass Select lounges.
$200 Airline Fee Credit –
Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card.
$200 Uber Credit –
$15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides each month plus a bonus $20 in December
$100 Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ –
When you apply for and receive your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ you’ll receive a credit for the application fees on your statement.
Complimentary Starwood and Hilton Mid-Tier Elite Status –
Receive complimentary Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest Program and Hilton Honors Gold Status as a Amex Platinum cardholder
No Foreign Transaction Fees –
This will save you almost 3% on every dollar you spend internationally.
Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefits –
Benefits include daily breakfast for two, room upgrade when available, property amenity, guaranteed 4PM late check-out, noon check-in when available, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Room upgrade not guaranteed; certain room categories not eligible for upgrade. Amenity varies by property and valued at a minimum of US$100 or EUR85 at properties in Europe.
Complimentary Companion Airline Ticket –
Receive a companion ticket offer when you purchase a qualifying, full-fare First or Business-Class ticket through Platinum Travel Service. Note – full fare tickets are very expensive, so this feature may not be very useful.
Return Protection –
If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item.
DEPARTURES magazine is published seven times a year for Platinum Card Members. Featuring the latest in luxury, DEPARTURES focuses on travel, style, culture, shopping, dining, and the interesting, inspiring, and unexpected.
If you try to return an eligible item purchased with your Card within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, Return Protection may provide a refund
With Extended Warranty, the length of your warranty can be matched for up to 1 additional year when you use your American Express Card for eligible purchases
Our take on the American Express Platinum Card.
Is it right for you?
This is the best “Luxury” Travel Rewards Credit Card on the market. If you like to travel in luxury, this card will pay for itself immediately with the Airline Club/Lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts program, and $200 airline fee credit. The lounge access alone can justify the annual fee – a lounge pass to one airline alone will cost anywhere from $300 – $450 depending on you level of elite status.
For international travelers, the credit for global entry and no foreign transaction fee features are great and further help justify the high annual fee.
Apply here…with this secure link to the Application Page for The Platinum Card® from American Express.
If you are just in it for the Membership Rewards points, and all of the luxury travel features are not worth it to you, then don’t pay the $550 fee, go with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, as it will allow you to rack up a lot of membership rewards points faster.
Know Your Credit Score:
Before you apply for any credit card, you should make sure you have an understanding of your credit score and credit history. Most Travel Credit Card Companies require you to have a strong credit score, ideally they will prefer a FICO score of at least 700.
Once you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will perform a credit inquiry. Be aware that credit inquiries will affect your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card (or any type of loan for that matter), the inquiry will reduce your score anywhere from 2-5 points.
By law, you are allowed to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year. The free annual copies of your credit report will give you all of the data that provides the foundation for your credit score, but the Credit Reports don’t provide the Credit Score itself. You will need both your Credit Report and Credit Score to get the full view of your credit situation.
Here are four links to get your Free Credit Score:
- CreditReport.com Free Credit Score
- CreditSesame (no card required – provides Experian Score)
- CreditKarma (no card required – provides TransUnion Score)
- myFICO (link to the Free credit score estimator page)
Here is the link to get your Free Credit Report:
Finally, please only apply for any travel credit card if you pay your bills in full each month. Carrying a balance on any travel credit card will eliminate the benefit of the travel rewards due to the higher interest rates associated with these cards.