Platinum Card® from American Express review

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In a Nutshell

The Platinum Card® from American Express is geared toward luxury travelers. If you don’t mind spending (a lot) more for quality, you’ll appreciate the generous welcome bonus, handsome travel rewards, helpful concierge service and world-class lounge access. But you might have to put in a little extra effort to use the travel credits.

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Pros Cons
Big welcome bonus Big annual fee
Rich travel rewards Complicated travel credits
Lounge access No enhanced rewards rate for restaurants
Lots of airline and hotel transfer partners

 


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Platinum Card® from American Express

From cardholders in the last year

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Key features of the Platinum Card® from American Express

$550 annual fee will make you gulp

The Platinum Card® from American Express charges an exceptionally high $550 annual fee that could drive away many would-be cardholders.

But the premise behind the card is that you must spend more to get more, with those forking over the cash lavishly rewarded.

Enjoy world-class lounges

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with complimentary access to more than 1,200 lounges around the world through the Global Lounge Collection.

The Global Lounge Collection is a consortium of airport lounges spanning seven networks: The Centurion Lounge, The International American Express, Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass Select, Airspace Lounge, Escape Lounge and Plaza Premium.

This is the highlight of the card for many people.

Welcome bonus raises the stakes

The Platinum Card® from American Express boasts a generous welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points, but to earn it you must spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from the date your account is approved.

That’s a lot of points, but can you afford it?

You’ll need to spend an average of about $1,667 per month to qualify for that bonus. We don’t want to encourage you to spend more than you normally would — but if you already spend that much on a regular basis or you have a major purchase coming up, going after this bonus might be worth it.

Earn more rewards when you travel

The Platinum Card® from American Express features top-notch travel rewards.

You’ll earn five points for every $1 you spend on flights and prepaid hotels booked through the American Express travel portal. You’ll also get five points per $1 on flights booked directly through airlines.

And you’ll earn one point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Jump through hoops to use the travel credits

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers hundreds of dollars in travel credits, but don’t count on them to offset the annual fee, because using the credits can be a little complicated.

Take a look.

  • You could get up to $200 worth of statement credits each year to pay for Uber rides and UberEATS. But you can’t use the credit all at once. Instead, you’ll get reimbursed $15 per month from January through November and $35 in December. So if you don’t use Uber every month, you’ll forfeit that portion of your credit.
  • You could also use up to $200 in airline fee statement credits each year. The money can be used to pay for things like checked bags and in-flight food and drinks with certain airlines. But you can’t use it to pay for your airfare or the cost of upgrading to a first- or business-class seat. This credit is limited to the purchases you make on one eligible airline of your choice, which you can select or change once a year. That means you can only use this credit on a single airline every year. If you don’t travel often or you use a lot of different carriers when you travel, you might struggle to use the entire credit.

A few more things worth considering

We mentioned two of the most popular travel credits offered by the Platinum Card® from American Express above, but here are a few more credits to keep your eye on.

  • When you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights at a Hotel Collection property using your card through American Express Travel, you’ll receive a credit of up to $100. You can use it to pay for things like the spa and room service, but not the cost of the room.
  • When you book a cruise of at least five nights with your card through an American Express portal, you might qualify for up to $500 in credits to spend onboard, depending on the cruise line and type of room you book.
  • When you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, your application fee of up to $100 will be covered once every four years, helping you speed through airport security lines.
  • When you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, you’ll receive up to $50 in statement credits every six months, for a total of $100 per year.

It’s also worth pointing out the Platinum Card® from American Express is renowned for its concierge service.

Understanding your points

You can redeem your points for travel, statement credits, shopping, gift cards and charitable donations.

But that’s not your only option.

American Express operates what’s known as a “flexible rewards program,” which means you can transfer your points to a number of airline and hotel partners. In some cases, you might get more bang for your points if you do this.

We calculated your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed through American Express Membership Rewards®. But you might get a higher value if you redeem through an American Express transfer partner. Depending on which you choose, your points could be worth an estimated 1.32 cents each. See Credit Karma’s point valuations to learn more.

Just keep in mind, American Express charges a small $0.0006 fee for every point you transfer. That comes out to about $1 for every 1,667 points you transfer.

Who this card is good for

The Platinum Card® from American Express certainly wasn’t designed with budget-conscious travelers in mind.

It’s intended for big spenders who aren’t afraid to pay more. If you manage to claim a majority of the credits, this card could be a great deal, even with its annual $550 price tag. If you can’t take advantage of these credits, it’s probably not worth it.

If you’re looking for a credit card that could make your journey more comfortable though, this might be a good fit for your wallet.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If the Platinum Card® from American Express is too big of a pill for you to swallow, take a look at these other premium travel cards.