One of the most sought-after American Express cards is undoubtedly the American Express Platinum Card, which offers a tremendous variety of benefits to its cardholders and a sweet introductory spending bonus as well (40-60,000 Membership Rewards® points or even 100,000 MR points if this is your first American Express Platinum Card and are able to find this elusive offer).
Of course, these benefits come with a hefty annual fee – which is not waived during the first year the way many other cards do for new cardholders – yet the benefits could be worth the expense if you travel frequently by air and stay in hotels.
Apply for an American Express Card. You can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Platinum Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
If you’ve considered applying for an AMEX Platinum card but you haven’t made the leap just yet, here’s everything you need to know about the Platinum card before submitting your application.
Charge Cards: What They Are and How They Work
First and foremost, it’s important to note that the American Express Platinum Card is not a credit card, which means you cannot carry a balance. It’s a charge card, which must be 100% paid off by your designated due date each month (as opposed to a debit card, which simply deducts from your bank account balance immediately after each purchase).
With the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll typically start out with no spending cap. This does not mean cardholders can spend as much money as they want without paying it back, but rather they can spend money without worrying about maxing out the card – so long as they pay off the balance every month. AMEX’s website offers a nifty tool to check your spending power so you can determine whether your card will be accepted or declined for a big purchase.
Earning Membership Rewards® Points
American Express’ points program allows cardholders to earn Membership Rewards® for all of their purchases. Dining, entertainment, gas, grocery, recurring bills and other eligible purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. While there are better rates out there for these types of purchases – such as 4x points on restaurants with an AMEX Gold card or 2% cash-back on the Citi Double Cash credit card – the AMEX Platinum blows away its competitors’ points programs when it comes to airfare and hotels.
For flights booked directly with airlines or through the American Express Travel portal, you’ll earn 5x points per dollar spent. The same 5x rate applies to prepaid hotels booked through AMEX’s website. There are so many things you can do with Membership Rewards® points, including:
- Use points to book travel through American Express Travel
- Transfer points to participating loyalty programs with AMEX partners (multiple airlines and hotels)
- Use points to pay for purchases with partner retailers (Apple, Best Buy, Google, GoPro, Lululemon, Sephora and many more)
- Redeem for gift cards (too many different options to list!)
- Cover recent charges (functionally a cash-back benefit)
AMEX Platinum Air Travel Perks
In addition to earning 5x points on airfare (only when booked directly with the airline or through amextravel.com), the American Express Platinum Card comes with plenty of air travel perks. As an American Express Platinum cardholder, you can get a free credit for TSA Pre-Check™ or Global Entry, a $200 annual airline fee credit (checked baggage, in-flight purchases, etc.) for an airline of your choice, and Priority Pass Select™ membership (giving you complimentary access to 1,000+ lounges across 500+ airports in 120 countries; this benefit costs $429 per year if purchased separately).
American Express Platinum cardholders and their guests (2) also get complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection (Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClub, Lufthansa Lounges, Plaza Premium, Escape and Airspace). Considering these lounges charge anywhere from $20-50+ for a day pass – and some are so exclusive that they don’t even let people pay to get in – this airline travel benefit could be worth hundreds of dollars or more for frequent travelers.
AMEX Platinum Hotel Perks
Just like the American Express Platinum’s airfare rewards, you’ll earn 5x points on hotels booked through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts® program. But it doesn’t stop there for Platinum cardholders: you’ll also be eligible for a complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, as well as Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite Status. Gold members for Hilton and Marriott get access to awesome perks such as late check-out times, higher points earning potential on bookings, enhanced/upgraded rooms upon check-in, complimentary in-room internet, and many more.
The American Express Platinum Card also offers a $100 annual hotel credit for qualifying dining, spa and resort activities for a 2+ night stay at one of 600+ hotels offered on amextravel.com.
Uber Rides with an AMEX Platinum Card
If you frequently use the rideshare app Uber, then you’ll love having an American Express Platinum Card. Platinum cardholders get Uber VIP status (drivers with 4.8+ ratings and highest quality cars) and $15/month for rides within the U.S. every month ($20 for December rides).
This results in $200+ in annual savings if you take full advantage of this card perk!
Shopping with an AMEX Platinum Card
Beyond its travel benefits, the American Express Platinum Card comes with some decent shopping perks as well. You’ll get $50 statement credits semi-annually ($100 per year) for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, access to 24/7 Platinum concierge services, purchase protection for damaged/stolen/lost items (up to 120 days), and complimentary enrollment in ShopRunner, which gives you free 2-day shipping and free returns at more than 140 stores.
There’s also an American Express Auto Purchasing Program, which allows Platinum cardholders to use their card for a down payment on a vehicle (minimum $2,000) and get up to $2,000 auto repair and auto deductible benefits after purchasing from a certified dealer and reporting your purchase to American Express.
AMEX Platinum Annual Fee
So what are all of these benefits going to cost you? Since it’s a charge card, there’s no interest rate, but you will be paying $550 per year for the perks of owning an AMEX Platinum card. It’s also $175 for adding authorized users (who get access to many of the same perks as primary cardholders, including airport lounge access for themselves and 2 guests).
If you’re a member of the military, there’s also an added perk for the card. American Express waives the annual fees on all their cards for active duty military servicemembers. This includes the $550/year AMEX Platinum card.
Should You Apply for an American Express Platinum Card?
If you are able to meet the minimum spend requirement ($5,000 in 3 months) to qualify for the introductory point bonus (between 40,000 and 100,000 Membership Rewards® points) and you travel frequently, then the American Express Platinum Card would be a great addition to your wallet.
The perks are worth hundreds of dollars (if not thousands for people who travel and visit airport lounges multiple times per year), and the ability to transfer points to travel partners can help you make the most of your AMEX Platinum card to counteract the high annual fee.