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Amex Platinum card review: High annual fee with loads of perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express overview

While it has a high annual fee, The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top premium travel rewards cards. As a cardmember, you’ll earn valuable Membership Rewards points, receive up to $1,500 in annual statement credits (as long as you can take advantage of them) and receive access to an extensive network of airport lounges worldwide. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Nowadays, it seems every bank, airline and hotel offers a premium travel rewards card. But for a long time, The Platinum Card from American Express was the only premium rewards card on the market. If you had an Amex Platinum Card, with its sleek design and hefty metal weight, there was a sense of cachet.

That still exists, even though a few competitors in the luxury card category have emerged in recent years, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees). When you stack them up against one another, the Amex Platinum shines in ways the others don’t. Then again, it falls flat in some areas, too.

The Amex Platinum has undergone significant changes in recent years and carries a steep $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) — one of the highest on the market. That’s why people often ask whether the Amex Platinum is still worth the annual fee, even with the new perks.

It still ranks as one of the best travel cards out there. However, that doesn’t mean it’s right for every traveler.

Let’s dig into the details and benefits to see whether having the Amex Platinum in your wallet makes sense for you.

Apply now: The Platinum Card from American Express with an 80,000-point bonus.

Amex Platinum Welcome offer

The current welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum is 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. According to TPG’s monthly valuations, Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, making this bonus worth $1,600. That’s nearly three times the card’s $695 annual fee.

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Amex sometimes offers up to 150,000 points to targeted individuals through other channels — including the CardMatch tool, snail mailings or even when logging in to other card accounts online. These offers are subject to change at any time and are not necessarily available to everyone.

Related: How to redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value

Earning points on the Amex Platinum

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly with the airlines or through the Amex Travel portal (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year). Plus, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel.

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These 5-point categories are an excellent way to earn lots of Membership Rewards points. Based on TPG valuations, earning 5 points per dollar provides a 10% return.

All other purchases earn just 1 point per dollar, but Platinum cardmembers are eligible for targeted Amex Offers that could boost earning rates at various merchants (including Amazon).

Related: The ultimate guide to saving money with Amex Offers

Redeeming points on the Amex Platinum

Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable and flexible loyalty currencies ever created for redeeming points.

Each Membership Rewards point is worth 2 cents, thanks largely to the program’s 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners. Those include at least one helpful option in each major airline alliance (SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld).

Transferring your points to the right airline or hotel program is usually the best way to maximize your Membership Rewards points’ value. Point transfers are instant to the vast majority of these partners. And even the laggards only take 48 hours at most to transfer in our frequent testing.

THE POINTS GUY

You can also use your Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through American Express Travel. But if the personal Amex Platinum is the only Amex card in your inventory, using points for airfare and hotel redemptions this way won’t get you amazing value. You’ll get only 1 cent per point when you redeem the points directly for airfare at Amex Travel and less than 1 cent per point when redeeming for hotel rooms.

However, suppose you also have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. In that case, you’ll get one of the very best direct point redemptions available. This results from the 35% points rebate for first-and business-class flights on any airline plus economy flights on your selected airline (up to 1 million bonus points back per calendar year).

Related: Here are 9 of our favorite ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points

Amex Platinum benefits

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Of course, what truly sets The Platinum Card from American Express apart is the fact that it confers some of the best perks of any card. Let’s take a look:

  • Up to $200 in statement credits annually for incidental fees charged by one airline you select.*
  • Up to a $200 annual hotel credit, in the form of a statement credit, on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with Amex Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum (Hotel Collection stays require a two-night minimum).*
  • Up to $200 annually in Uber Cash, valid on Uber rides and Uber Eats orders in the U.S. (split into monthly $15 credits plus a $20 bonus in December).*
  • Up to $189 in statement credits to cover your Clear Plus annual membership.*
  • Up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credit, given as $20 in monthly statement credits when you pay for eligible purchases with the Amex Platinum at eligible partners.*
  • Up to $300 in annual Equinox credit on Equinox gym and Equinox+ app memberships.*
  • Up to a $155 statement credit that covers the cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership when paying with the Amex Platinum (subject to auto-renewal). Plus Ups are excluded.
  • A $100 statement credit for Global Entry every four years or an up to $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4½ years (depending on which application fee is charged to your card first).
  • Up to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, split into two $50 statement credits between January and June, then July through December.*
  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, Plaza Premium lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when traveling on same-day Delta flights).*
  • Complimentary Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.*
  • Complimentary car rental status: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle, Avis Preferred Plus and National Emerald Club Executive.*
  • Access to Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection.
  • If your trip is delayed by more than six hours because of a covered reason, you may be eligible to be reimbursed up to $500 per covered trip for reasonable additional expenses.**
  • If you need to cancel or interrupt your trip because of a covered reason, you may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $10,000 per covered trip.**
  • Extended warranty benefit extends eligible manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less by up to one additional year.***
  • Purchase protection protects recent purchases against theft, accidental damage or loss for up to 90 days from the purchase date.***

Even if you can use just a handful of these perks, it’s easy to cover most (or all) of the Amex Platinum’s annual fee.

Here’s how TPG director of content Nick Ewen describes it:

Your exact situation may vary, but crunch the numbers to see just how much real-life value you can get out of the card.

*Enrollment is required for select benefits.

**Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

***Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Related: How to maximize benefits with the Amex Platinum

Which cards compete with the Amex Platinum?

Some other compelling premium credit cards go head-to-head with the Amex Platinum:

  • If you want a slightly lower annual fee: Try the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which comes in at a $550 annual fee but offers a $300 travel credit and some of the best travel protections available. However, it can’t beat the Amex Platinum when it comes to perks such as lounge access and hotel benefits. For more information, read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • If you want a much lower annual fee: Capital One’s premium rewards card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees), packs a punch and comes with a more affordable $395 annual fee. The Venture X is potentially more lucrative than the Amex Platinum when it comes to earning, accruing 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked via Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel and an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on everything else. For more information, read our full review of the Venture X.

For additional options, check out our full list of the best cards for travel rewards and lounge access.

Read more: The best premium credit cards: A side-by-side comparison

Bottom line

If you can take full advantage of more than $1,500 in annual statement credits yearly, The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the most compelling rewards cards, especially if you travel enough to make the hotel statuses and lounge benefits useful or shop enough to get substantial value from the shopping protections.

The Amex Platinum’s $695 annual fee is steep, but the various annual credits can recoup the entire cost (and more), even before considering the card’s other perks.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express

Check the CardMatch tool to see if you’re targeted for a 125,000-point Platinum Card offer (after meeting minimum spending requirements). These offers are subject to change at any time.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.

Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Ryan Wilcox, Chris Dong, Stella Shon, Katie Genter and Eric Rosen.

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