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When it comes to premium credit cards, few are as recognized as The Platinum Card® from American Express. The card's perks are aimed primarily at frequent travelers with a focus on offering value at hotels and flights. With an extremely high annual fee, the card is suitable only for high spenders that can maximize the travel benefits to make it worthwhile. As a charge card, cardholders are required to pay off the entirety of their balance at the end of each billing cycle.
- Review: Is It Worth $550?
- How Does It Compare To Other Cards?
Review: Our Thoughts On The Platinum Card® from American Express
To this day, The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of our favorite luxury cards around. However, its $550 annual price tag makes it suitable for one group of people — frequent travelers seeking luxury amenities. If you're more interested in earning discounts and saving every penny, this card isn't for you. There are many cards that outperform The Platinum Card® from American Express when it comes to earning travel points and earning free flights. That list includes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or even the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.
You should get The Platinum Card® from American Express if you want to increase your overall travel experience. The card provides some of the best airport lounge access of any card. Most importantly, you get to use Amex Centurion lounges. As far as airport lounges go, these are some of the most luxurious ones. On top of this, you get access to Priority Pass lounges, though the coverage and quality for these can be a bit spotty. For those who frequently stay in hotels, The Platinum Card® from American Express also gives its users gold status with Hilton and Starwood hotels. To get the most out of The Platinum Card® from American Express card holders need to value travel amenities and rewards very highly. All of the card's standout features revolve around access or discounts to travel-related benefits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express also provides access to the Platinum Concierge that can help you make travel arrangements and book hard-to-get reservations to restaurants and events. Historically, other concierge services offered by credit cards have lackluster. However, the Platinum Concierge is reportedly very good and much more competent at being your personal assistant.
When it comes to spending your points, the Membership Rewards earned using The Platinum Card® from American Express are most valuable when used to make travel arrangements. Despite the high annual fee, taking advantage of the annual benefits can easily compensate for the majority of your yearly costs.
If you don't travel enough other cards are much more rewarding. If you're unable to take full advantage of things like the airline fee credit and other discounts that are primarily achieved through travel, it's hard to justify paying the $550 annual fee. Many other credit cards have significantly lower annual fees, while also providing greater rewards through bonus points and miles on any spending you make through the card.
Bottom Line: If you frequently find yourself at an airport throughout the year, The Platinum Card® from American Express can be a useful tool in making sure you get from point A to B while surrounded by a type of luxury seldom found in other cards.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Benefits & Features
We conservatively value all the benefits on The Platinum Card® from American Express at around $1,400 per year. As we mentioned in our review, the majority of the major benefits on The Platinum Card® from American Express are centered around travel. Therefore, the actual value you'll be able to get out of this card will heavily depend on what benefits you're actually likely to use. Below you'll find an in-depth look at each of these perks to help you better evaluate them for yourself.
Airport Club Access and Priority Pass Select — Estimated Value: $900/year
For some, the sole reason to get The Platinum Card® from American Express is for its lounges. No other credit card can give you access to Centurion lounges, which are some of the best as far as domestic lounges go. As a Platinum cardholder, you can also get into Delta Sky Clubs® and Priority Pass™ Select lounges. Note that you have to be flying with Delta that same day to be allowed entry into their Sky Club. A single year of Sky Club® would otherwise cost you $495. The Priority Pass membership itself is valued at about $399 per year. Between these two lounges alone, you would be walking away with far more value than what you'd be paying through the $550 annual fee.
With The Platinum Card® from American Express you are also allowed to bring guests in with you to these lounges. Priority Pass allows you to bring in two guests and no charge, with each additional one running you $27. With Centurion lounges, you are also limited to two guests or immediate family. Sky Clubs® have a more restrictive policy, charging $29 per guest.
Global Entry / TSA Pre Fee Credit — Estimated Value: $20/year
Platinum members are compensated for applying for either the TSA Pre or Global Entry programs, both expediting the process for travelers going through security and customs at airports. With the perk only available once every 5 years the value is really only 20% of the cost of either program. While the TSA Pre costs a little less at $85 vs. the $100 of Global Entry. However, Global Entry includes TSA Pre, so we'd recommend choosing that one.
When you go through security with TSA Pre Check, you don't have to remove your shoes, coats or belts during screening. You can also leave your laptop inside a bag. According to some sources, the average wait time for a TSA Precheck member is five minutes, compared to the 20 minute average for regular travelers.
The Amex Platinum Concierge — Estimated Value: Varies
The concierge service available through the Platinum card is probably the most difficult benefit to put a value on. The program can help you make arrangements or purchases for any number of wants or needs. Think of it as outsourcing some of your to-do list, especially for anything that you would be spending money on.
Our interactions with the concierge have been very positive. Among the tasks we've requested was sending flowers and wine to a newlywed couple in their hotel suite as well as getting a week's worth of reservations at restaurants all over Italy. With the reservations request handling the time difference and language barriers was simply something we did not want to deal with. All we needed to do was send an email with our ideal itinerary and the concierge took care of the rest seamlessly.
Sometimes, the concierge can also help you get into hard-to-get events. Last year, cardholders were able to purchase tickets to the Broadway hit Hamilton, at face value. At the time, the the show was completely sold out, and tickets were going for thousands of dollars online.
Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status Enrollment — Estimated Value: Varies
With The Platinum Card® from American Express you are automatically enrolled into Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status. This membership tier allows you to earn a 25% Hilton HHonors base point bonus when booking stays with the hotel. Also, all Gold Status members receive every 5th night free, on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more. Normally, to get Gold status you would need to earn either 75,000 Honors base points, accumulate 20 stays, or spend a total of 40 nights at Hilton Properties — all within a single calendar year.
Annual Uber Credit — Estimated Value: $200/year
Amex provides their Platinum cardholders with $15 in Uber credits each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. The credit applies only to rides within the U.S., so don't count on the discount working when you travel abroad. The biggest issue with this perk is that any unused credits become forfeit. Therefore, you can get up to $200 per year, though realistically only diehard Uber riders will take full advantage of the offer.
Annual Airline Fee Credit — Estimated Value: $200/year
Every year, you get to designate one airline for which you can receive up to $200 in fee credits. This credit will apply to incidental fees only. That includes baggage fees, WiFi, or in-flight meals. The $200 does not help you pay for the actual airfare or seat upgrades.
As we mentioned earlier, the one weakness in the Platinum card is in earning Membership Reward points — the bank's flagship rewards program. With the card you simply earn 1 point for each dollar you spend on the card. In some categories, you'll earn more. You get 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express travel. Booking hotel stays through AmexTravel.com will also give you 5x points. It's a shame the card doesn't provide extra rewards on dining out, like some other premium credit cards do.
We estimate the value for Membership Rewards at a range of 1 - 1.2 cents per point. This assumes that the points are used for one of the options when it comes to value.
|Redemption Option||Value per Reward|
|Gift Cards||1 cent|
|Paying off a charge||.6 cents|
|Shopping on Amazon||.7 cents|
|Booking Flights with Points||1 cent|
|Booking Hotels with Points||.75 cents|
|Transfer Points||**1.2 cents+ **|
A great way to use Membership Rewards points: Overall a great way to get value out of points you've accrued is by taking advantage of the loyalty program transfer, which allows you to convert Membership Rewards into an airline or hotels loyalty awards. You can then use these awards to book free stays or flights. Generally speaking you should expect the highest dollar value per point this way.
For more details on Membership Rewards including your redemption options and how we put a value on them see our article here.
Amex Platinum Requirements
You'll need to have an excellent credit score and be a fairly high spender to get your hands on The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card is intended for high net worth individuals who are frequently on the move — like businessmen and young professionals.
It can sometimes help to have another American Express credit card. If you have one of their other charge cards, and consistently put a lot of purchases on it, you may get an invitation to apply for the Platinum card.
How Does The Platinum Card® from American Express Compare to Other Cards?
To get a better measure of this credit card’s value, we compared it against other options available to consumers.
The Platinum Card® from American Express vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the perfect card for those who want a mix of luxury benefits and great credit card rewards. Like The Platinum Card® from American Express, this card gives you access to hundreds of airport lounges throughout the world. While it’s not as many as you get through the Amex card, it can still make many flights more enjoyable. Beyond this, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides fantastic rewards on travel and dining – a 4.5% rewards rate in both categories. That is significantly better than what you get through The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can't compete is concierge services. While not bad, it simply doesn't have the same track record for getting good reservations, or help members qualify for deals as the Platinum concierge. Perhaps with time we'll see the Chase concierge step up to the plate, but for now it's the worse of the two.
You can read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® here.
The Platinum Card® from American Express vs Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a good alternative to those who don’t want to deal with a $550 annual fee. This card is significantly more affordable, charging just $195 per year ($0 intro annual fee for the first year). By paying less, you give up certain benefits, like airport lounge access. If you just want a good American Express charge card to earn Membership Rewards points with, this is a good choice. The card awards 3 membership reward points per dollar for airfare purchased directly from airline, and 2 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.