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.
|No Foreign Transaction Fee||Lounge Access On The Decline|
|Companion Offer On Business/First Class Tickets||High Annual Fee: $450|
|Numerous Complimentary Travel Benefits|
|Membership Rewards Transfer Program|
|5X on airline bookings made through American Express Travel or directly through the airlines|
A card designed for frequent travelers: To get the most out of The Platinum Card® from American Express card holders need to value travel amenities and rewards very highly. The recent upgrade to the airline rewards rate makes this a strong choice for frequent flyers, and almost all of the card's other standout features revolve around access or discounts to travel related benefits. These include lounge access, airline fees and upgraded status at Starwood hotels. 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 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. When it comes to earning travel rewards the Barclaycard Arrival Plus will net you almost double the value of rewards, while the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% cash back with no annual fee at all.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Benefits
To help you better evaluate The Platinum Card® from American Express we took an in-depth look at the card's benefits and what the different features are worth.
Airport Club Access and Priority Pass Select
Historically one of the best perks of having The Platinum Card® from American Express was the lounge access you were given with many major carriers. So long as you were flying on the airline, you and one guest enjoyed complimentary access to the carrier's lounge. Unfortunately in the past two years both American Airlines and United have withdrawn from this partnership, leaving Delta as the one major US carrier still participating. Lounge access to Delta Sky Club® locations typically costs $50 without a membership, so there are some built in savings there. We think you should put a large discount on this perk, unless you're finding yourself waiting at airports quite frequently. This is probably only true for passengers that are on the road frequently for business.
To supplement the loss of lounge access with the major carriers, Amex has introduced their own Centurion airport lounges. These lounges have quickly gained a lot of attention from frequent travellers for their luxury. Currently, there are only 6 Centurion lounges throughout the United States - Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Las Vegas (LAS), New York (LGA), Miami (MIA), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), and San Francisco (SFO).
Global Entry / TSA Pre Fee Credit
Platinum holders are compensated for applying 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, TSA security screening applies to all flyers so it would be the first one we'd choose. Estimated Annual Value: $17 (85 / 5)
The Platinum Card® from American Express Concierge
The concierge service available through the card is probably the most difficult benefit to put a value on. With it you have access to a program that 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 weeks 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.
Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status Enrollment
Recently, American Express has added a new perk for The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders - automatic enrollment 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, you would need to earn either 75,000 HHonors base points, accumulate 20 stays, or spend a total of 40 nights at Hilton Properties - all within a single calendar year - in order to unlock this member status.
As we mentioned earlier the one weakness in the Platinum Offering is in earning Membership Rewards. With the card you simply earn 1 point for each dollar you spend on the card, with no bonus categories whatsoever. 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+|
The best way to use Membership Rewards points: Overall the best 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 in this way.
For more details on Membership Rewards including your redemption options and how we put a value on them see our article here.
Comments and Questions
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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.