The Platinum Card® from American Express Card Review: Premium Travel & Shopping Benefits
is an ideal travel companion for frequent flyers.
The card comes loaded with travel benefits, including an annual airline fee credit, complimentary lounge access, and special benefits at more than 900 hotels and resorts worldwide.
With a very high annual fee, the card doesn’t come cheap. We reviewed the American Express Platinum in more detail to help you decide whether it’s worth the higher price tag.
*See Rates & Fees. Terms apply.
Premium Travel Perks for Major Savings
The Platinum Card from American Express Card Pros & Cons
The is designed for people who travel often and want to have a first-class experience every time.
We’ll explain the card’s travel rewards program a little later on but for now, let’s focus on the various travel extras that members enjoy.
Annual Airline Fee Credit
Things like baggage fees and in-flight meals can make air travel more expensive.
Fortunately, Platinum Card from American Express members get a $200 annual statement credit towards those incidental costs at one select qualifying airline (selected once a year in January).
Note: Airline tickets, upgrades, points purchases, points transfer fees, gift cards, duty-free spending, and award tickets do not fall under the category of “incidental fees.”
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Fee Credit
The Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ programs are designed to help you get through the screening process faster when you fly internationally.
Global Entry costs $100 to join while TSA Pre✓ has an $85 fee. American Express will give you statement credit (one credit per four-year period for Global entry or per 4.5-year period for TSA Precheck, which is charged first) toward the application fee for either program.
Note: TSA Pre✓ is already included with Global Entry membership.
Global Lounge Collection Access
Spending time in the airport lounge is a great way to relax between flights.
With The Platinum Card from American Express, you’ll have entry into over 1,000 lounges in 120 countries.
That includes The Centurion lounge network, the International American Express lounges and Delta Sky Clubs.
As an added bonus, you can enroll in Priority Pass Select at no charge. This gives you complimentary lounge access for yourself.
Normally, the annual membership fee is $399 so that’s a pretty sweet deal if you like frequenting the lounge.
Hotel and Resort Benefits
Relaxing in a cozy hotel room can make your day after a long flight - but you don’t want to overpay.
When you use your card to book rooms at participating hotels and resorts, you’ll get competitive rates.
Besides that, your card offers complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550.
Those benefits include things like:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrades
- $100 amenity credit
- Guaranteed late check-out
- Early check-in when available
- Complimentary WiFi
It pays to use your card to book hotels through American Express Travel.
When you stay at least two consecutive nights, you’ll get a free room upgrade if available, plus a $75 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities.
Status Upgrades in Selected Hotel Loyalty Programs
Enrolling in a hotel loyalty program can put you on the fast track to free nights.
As a Platinum Card from American Express member, you can upgrade to Gold Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy Program without having to meet any additional membership requirements.
Normally, you’d have to complete 10 nights in a calendar year to do that. Gold Elite Status members enjoy late checkouts, room upgrades, bonus amenities, and extra points.
You also get an instant upgrade to Gold Status in the Hilton Honors program. That gives you benefits like guaranteed discounts, digital check-in, and free stays for a second guest on your reservation.
Car Rental Protections
If you’re going to rent a car on your next trip, you can use your Platinum card to unlock discounts on rental rates.
You’re also covered by a collision damage waiver in case the car is stolen or damaged.
The Premium Global Assist Hotline is on standby 24/7 in case you run into an emergency when you’re more than 100 miles from home.
This service helps with things like cash wire transfers, medical referrals, and passport replacement.
You’ve also got access to Platinum Travel counselors if you need help planning your itinerary.
We briefly mentioned the rewards program earlier but now it’s time to dig a little deeper.
The Platinum Card from American Express is part of the Membership Rewards program. You can earn rewards points three different ways:
- Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel
- Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com
- Earn 1X on all other eligible purchases
There’s no cap on how many points you can earn so the sky’s the limit.
You can add to your points total faster if you qualify for the new account points bonus.
Redeeming Rewards Points
If you’re looking for a card that gives you lots of ways to use your rewards, The Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t disappoint. You can redeem points for:
- Dining and entertainment gift cards
- Merchandise from top brands
- Air and hotel gift cards
- Airbnb stays
- Tickets to concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows
- Uber rides
- Statement credit
- Shopping at Amazon.com
Using Points Towards Travel
If travel is a big part of your routine, you’re in luck. You can use your points to pay for flights, hotel stays, cruises, and more when you book through American Express Travel.
If you’re enrolled in a frequent flyer program, you’ll still earn miles when you pay with points.
There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions so using your points this way is virtually hassle-free.
You’ve also got the option of transferring your points to selected frequent traveler programs. The list of partners includes:
- British Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Choice Privileges
Generally, points transfer on a 1:1 basis but there are a few exceptions.
You’ll want to check out how points transfer to a particular program before making a move.
Entertainment and Shopping Benefits and Protections
The Platinum Card from American Express is primarily a travel rewards card, but the benefits don’t stop there.
For example, Platinum Card Concierge service is there when you need help making dinner reservations or tracking down the perfect gift.
Preferred seating means you get the best seats in the house for sporting and cultural events.
By Invitation Only is a special feature that gives you VIP access to once-in-a-lifetime events and experiences.
APR and Fees by the Numbers
With The Platinum Card from American Express you have to pay your balance in full each month. The upside of that is that you’re not paying any interest charges on your balance.
You don’t have the option of carrying a balance if you need to.
Excluding the annual fee, the fees are minimal. There’s no foreign transaction fee (see Rates & Fees; terms apply), which is good if you travel outside the U.S. Both the late payment and returned payment fee go up to $40 (see Rates & Fees; terms apply).
Compare to Other American Express Rewards Cards
American Express has a stable of rewards cards designed for spenders of all kinds.
Here are other choices you may prefer.
American Express Gold Card
With the , the annual fee is $250 (see Rates & Fees; terms apply).
As far as rewards go, you can earn:
- 4X points at U.S. restaurants
- 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (applies to the first $25,000 per year in this purchase category)
- 3X points on flights booked directly with the airline or amextravel.com
- 1X points on all other purchases
Additionally, there's a dining credit of up to $10 per month at select participating dining establishments.
Like the Platinum Card, the Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees.
Final Verdict: Should You Get This Card?
The is going to appeal most to people who spend a lot of time flying or staying in hotels.
Between the $200 airline fee credit, the $550 in hotel benefits, free lounge access, and automatic hotel elite status, this card easily pays for itself.
If you only take one or two trips a year, on the other hand, you’re probably not going to get as much value out of this one.
Ultimately, we think it’s best for frequent travelers who want to get more than just rewards points out of a travel rewards credit card.