Platinum Card from American Express Credit Card Review

(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Platinum Card from American Express Credit Card
Platinum Card from American Express Credit Card

The Platinum Card from American Express 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.

As the icing on the cake, this card allows you to earn an impressive 5 points per dollar on qualifying flights. There’s also a generous one-time introductory points bonus available to new members.

With a $550 annual fee, the card doesn’t come cheap. We reviewed The Platinum Card from American Express in more detail to help you decide whether it’s worth the higher price tag.

Premium Travel Perks for Major Savings

AMEX Platinum Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • One of the best cards for people who want to earn high rewards points and added perks for shopping - especially for travel
  • Tons of added perks for cardholders
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in qualifying airports
  • $550 annual fee
  • Card balance is due in full every month, or interest is assessed
  • AMEX may not be accepted at every merchant
  • If you don't travel often, it can be costly

The Platinum Card from American Express 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 costs. You just have to make sure you’re charging those incidentals to your card.

Also, before your purchase eligible for a fee credit, you must let American Express know by selecting an airline through your online American Express account.

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 a statement credit every five years after applying for either one with your card.

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
  • Free 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 Status in the Starwood Preferred Guest Program without having to meet any additional membership requirements.

Normally, you’d have to complete 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year to do that. Gold 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.

Travel Support

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.

Complimentary WiFi Access

If you need WiFi on the go, you’ll have unlimited access through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan.

You can get free Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than one million hotspots worldwide.

Earning Rewards

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 2X points on other travel arrangements made through American Express Travel
  • Earn 1X on all other 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:

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.

Besides that, you’re covered by things like:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Return protection

APR and Fees by the Numbers

The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card.

That means 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.

The downside:

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, which is good if you travel outside the U.S. Both the late payment and returned payment fee go up to $37.

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 American Express Gold Card, the annual fee lower is $250.

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

There is an airline fee credit of up to $100 per year. The statement credits apply to incidental fees charged by an airline.

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.

Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card

This is a top-tier cobranded hotel card that is issued in partnership with American Express.

The SPG Luxury Card offers:

  • 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points on all other purchases

There's a $300 statement credit for SPG or Marriott Rewards hotels. Plus, get one free night every year after your account anniversary.

The card has a $450 annual fee.

Final Verdict: Should You Get This Card?

The Platinum Card from American Express 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.

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