The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best “premium” travel rewards credit cards on the market.
It offers travelers top-notch perks, including access to airport lounges and discounts on airline flights and hotel stays, but it comes at a price.
With an annual fee of $695, it’s one of the most expensive consumer credit cards in your wallet.
What is the American Express Platinum Card®?
American Express’ Platinum Card® is a travel credit card that offers valuable benefits and rewards with a high annual fee.
Available for $695 per year, the card is one of the most expensive consumer credit cards available (see rates and fees). It competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One® Venture X® for frequent flyers looking for premium benefits.
Annual consumer benefits advertised by American Express are worth more than $1,500 per year. That’s before you earn Extended Rewards points for spending categories like hotel and flight bookings.
American Express Platinum®: Specifications and Benefits
Let’s take a look at the fine print to examine some of the pros and cons of this card.
The rewards program for this card is based on the American Express Membership Rewards Points system. These can be redeemed for a range of items, including travel or settlement points.
You get the following multipliers for each type of purchase you make with this card:
- Earn 5x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or through the American Express travel portal (up to $500,000 per year)
- 5x points per dollar spent on hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
- 1x point per spend on everything else
- Conditions apply.
As you can see, when the reward is spent, it’s a trip or a bust. A card with no annual fee will likely exceed 1x points purchased during all travel.
This card has one of the longest lists of cardholder benefits on the market. You can use this card in your wallet in a number of different ways.
I’ll highlight some of the best, but you might want to dig deeper into the card’s website to get a full overview of what American Express has to offer.
- Welcome Bonus: Beginning in June 2022, American Express will offer 100,000 Membership Rewards® points if you spend $6,000 or more with your Platinum Card within the first six months of membership.
- Airport Lounge Access: With the American Express Global Lounge Collection®, you have free access to more than 1,400 airport lounges in 650 cities in 140 countries. You can recharge with food and drink and other perks.
- Premium Membership: Card membership includes automatic “Gold Status” in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotel rewards programs. You’ll also get free premium memberships with major car rental companies including Hertz and Avis.
- Free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Receive a $100 Global Entry Statement Credit or up to $85 TSA PreCheck Statement Credit through an authorized registered provider of the Five-Year Plan.
- Purchase Coverage: Purchases made with this card are eligible for rental car insurance, cell phone protection and extended warranty.
- Over $1,500 in potential annual points: You can pay your annual fee with this card by taking advantage of annual points opportunities in the hotel, airline, streaming, and carpool spending categories. I’ll go into more detail about these later in this article.
Below is a brief description of some of the fees that may apply to the Platinum Card:
Annual fee: $695
Balance transfer fee: Not available
Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of each cash advance amount, whichever is greater
External transaction fees: none
Late Fee: Up to $40
View duties and fees
Who is this card for?
He usually reserves it for business expenses rather than day-to-day personal activities.
But don’t confuse him for owning the card with admitting that everyone pays the $695 annual fee with him.
Believes that the card will always benefit only certain groups of people:
- Small business owner charges company fees with credit card
- Business travelers handling large hotel and flight bookings
- Financially affluent individuals who require at least $20,000 per month
He said if you don’t fall into one of those three categories, you might want to take a break and consider this type of card.
The welcome bonus is nice, and I’ll discuss later how some perks can be used to offset the cost of the annual fee, but still says it could be a losing battle for “aspiring” travelers. A map will help you.
Can you use the stipend alone to cover the annual fee?
In order for this card’s annual fee to make sense for most consumers, you must feel confident in your ability to take full advantage of the benefits offered to cardholders.
American Express advertises that it offers Platinum cardholders more than $1,500 worth of benefits each year.
Here’s a rough sketch of how American Express does this calculation:
- $300: Equinox Digital Fitness Subscription Credit ($25 per month)
- $240: Digital entertainment credits for streaming service subscriptions (up to $20 per month)
- $200: Annual hotel bill credit
- $200: Credit on Airline Expenses Statement (applies to airline-incurred incidental charges only)
- $200: Uber Cash (Uber Cash is $15 per month, with a $20 bonus in December)
- $189: delete membership balance
- $155: Walmart+ loyalty points ($12.95 per month)
- $100: Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credit (up to $50 twice a year)
If you use everything in the list above, the value adds up to $1,584 per year.
It may seem unrealistic to expect to tick off every single one of these rewards every year, but how close you can get may be the deciding factor in whether this card is right for you.
If you can easily squeeze more than $695 worth of value out of these perks per year, then you can at least cover the cost of the annual fee and unlock the card’s rewards for your spending as profit.
American Express Platinum®: Pros and Cons
Considering adding a Platinum Card to your wallet? Before making our final decision, let’s take a look at some of the card’s main advantages and disadvantages.
|Access to premier airport lounges during travel
|$695 annual fee is expensive.
|Rewards points and discount perks with hotels and airlines
|Spending rewards outside of travel are weak.
|Cardholder benefits that could total up to $1,500 in annual value
|There’s no promotional APR on new purchases.
Bottom Line: If you are an occasional or aspirational traveler who actually gets only three or four trips in per year, this card probably isn’t the best fit for you.
While you could certainly use some of the perks that come with this card to make your vacation more enjoyable, you really have to weigh the $695 fee that you’ll be charged annually against your long-term travel outlook.
Bottom line: If you’re an occasional or aspiring traveler who actually only travels three or four times a year, this card may not be the best option for you.
While you can certainly take advantage of some of the perks associated with this card to make your vacation more enjoyable, you do need to weigh the $695 annual fee charged to you against your long-term travel prospects.
However, if you’re a small business owner or someone who travels a lot, you may find that this card gives you far more value than the hefty annual fee.