American Express Platinum Card Review

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Rewards rate:

Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

  • Intro bonus: 75,000 points
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Regular APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

From high-earning travel rewards categories to cash credits that can offset the cost of your next vacation, the Platinum Card from American Express has a long list of benefits.  Just make sure you can take advantage of them to make the high $550 annual fee worth your while.

At a Glance

  • 75,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first six months from account opening
  • 10x points at gas stations and supermarkets in the first six months, on up to $15,000 in purchases
  • 5x points on flights booked through American Express Travel starting Jan. 1, 2021, on up to $500,000 per year 
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2x on other travel booked through amextravel.com
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Fee credit for global entry or TSA precheck
  • $550 annual fee
  • Charge card (15.99% – 22.99% APR)

Pros

  • Valuable welcome offer

  • Tiered rewards structure 

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Metal card

Cons

  • Relatively high APR

  • Annual fee

  • Not great for rewards outside travel categories

Additional Card Details

This card offers a lot of added benefits that can elevate any travel experience. Here’s everything you’ll get with the Platinum Card:

  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash to use on rides or Uber eats annually ($15 per month and $20 in December), plus Uber VIP access
  • Up to $100 in annual statement credits toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • American Express Global Lounge Collection access
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts program, plus credits and benefits during your stay
  • $100 credit toward eligible onsite activities when you book stays with The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status Enrollment
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
  • Access to American Express Experiences
  • American Express preferred seating and presale access

The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card. It works the same way as a normal credit card when you spend, but you’ll have no credit limit. But unlike a credit card, which offers the option to make minimum monthly payments toward your balance, you must pay your full amount owed each month on a charge card. While making only minimum credit card payments can result in high interest accrual, not paying your full balance on a charge card can lead to high fees, denied charges, and account closure. 

Should You Get this Card?

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with premium travel rewards that can really enhance your trip. You’ll get access to top resorts, hotels, lounges, and experiences, along with the variety of available statement credits for certain travel-related purchases. 

But make no mistake — you must spend big to maximize your value from this card. While other premium rewards cards are useful for saving money on travel, the Platinum Card is more about elevating your travel experiences than saving money on them.

While the pandemic has put a damper on the potential upside of this card, newly-added benefits such as the 10x point welcome bonus on gas station and supermarket spending, and Uber Cash credits, can help ensure the Platinum Card is still valuable even while your travel plans remain grounded.  Still, you should only get this card if you anticipate a regular travel schedule as we look toward a post-pandemic life. 

If your regular travel spending (and your budget) is in line with the Platinum Card’s rewards categories, the $550 annual fee is pretty easily offset by all of the credits and freebies — a $200 airline fee credit, $100 Saks credit, and $200 in Uber Cash puts $500 of that fee directly back into your pocket. If you weren’t already going to be spending money on those things, though, then these perks aren’t going to be as useful, and may influence you to spend more dollars than you normally would.  

How to Use American Express Platinum Card

Make sure you secure your welcome bonus by spending $5,000 in the first six months from account opening. Those 75,000 Membership Rewards points are worth more than $700 when used to book travel through American Express Travel. 

You should also make sure you swipe your Platinum card every time you spend in rewards categories: gas stations and supermarkets for 10x for the first six months, plus 5x points on hotels booked through Amex Travel and flights booked directly with airlines or via Amex Travel. 

And after you book your next travel destination, live it up by taking advantage of the Platinum Card’s credits, your access to airport lounges, booking stays at Fine Hotels and Resorts properties, and Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite statuses.

Once you rack up your rewards points, you’ll get the most value by redeeming them for travel through American Express Travel. You can also transfer your points to Membership Rewards transfer partners to unlock potentially even more rewards with your favorite airline or hotel loyalty programs. 

While you’ll get the best value through travel booking, that’s not the only way to use your points. You can pay with points at checkout, cover charges with a statement credit for qualified purchases, get gift cards, upgrade your travel arrangements and more. However, these redemptions are often less valuable than travel. For example, 10,000 Membership Rewards Points are worth $70 of Amazon purchases or a $60 statement credit to cover a charge, but worth $100 toward a flight.

Since the top points-earning category for the Platinum Card is travel, it might make sense to pair it with another American Express card that earns Membership Rewards Points on everyday purchases. Any points you earn with a card like the American Express Gold Card or Amex Everyday Credit Card can pool into the same Membership Rewards account, so you can use their joint points-yield to book travel or redeem your points in another way. 

American Express Platinum Card Review Compared to Other Cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $550

  • Regular APR:

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site
American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $250

  • Regular APR:

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $550

  • Regular APR:

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    740-850 (Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site

Bottom Line

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

This card is the top-of-the-line travel card from American Express, and its benefits can be worth the high cost of having the card for a person who already does plenty of traveling each year. But it’s not for everyone. Make sure the spending required to use these benefits is realistic for your budget. If not, the steep $550 fee might not be worth it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there is a $550 annual fee for the Platinum Card.

You will need excellent credit to qualify for the Platinum Card.

If you use it correctly, the Platinum Card from American Express can be a great way to maximize your travel spending. But be sure you’re prepared to pay the annual fee, and evaluate whether the card’s perks offset the cost enough for it to bring value to your spending.