The Platinum Card from American Express is Amex's premium travel personal credit card. The card offers many benefits and perks along with a high annual fee ($695). In this review, we discuss whether the Platinum card is worth holding despite the annual fee. The bottom line: the Platinum card's benefits can make it a keeper for many travelers, but not everyone.
Amex usually has many different welcome offers for its cards at any given time, including the Platinum card. The Platinum card has a $695 annual fee.
Due to Amex's “once in a lifetime” rule for welcome bonuses, we recommend not settling for a welcome offer below 100,000 Membership Rewards (MRs) points. We regularly see offers to earn up to 100,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months after accounting opening.
The Platinum card earns 5x points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 per calendar year. The card also earns 5x points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. This makes the Platinum card a better card for booking travel than the Business Platinum Card from American Express (review), which does not offer 5x on flights booked directly with airlines.
The Platinum card also earns 1x on all other purchases.
The Platinum card offers a lot of benefits and perks. Amex even boasts that the card offers over $1,400 in value through its many credits. This may be true, but few cardholders will manage to use every single credit without much work. That said, the Platinum card does offer a lot of good benefits that are sure to please many cardholders.
- Uber credits ($200): The Platinum card offers $15 in Uber cash for orders with Uber Eats or rides with Uber in the U.S. each month, plus a bonus $20 in December, for up to $200 per calendar year. To access this benefit, simply add your Platinum card to your Uber wallet.
- Lounge access: Like many other premium travel cards, the Platinum card offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This card also grants you access to the Amex Global Lounge Selection, which includes Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Plaza Premium lounges. This benefit is slightly different from that of the Amex Business Platinum card, which includes access to the Delta Sky Club when flying Delta, and select Lufthansa lounges when flying Lufthansa.
- Airline credit ($200): Once you select a qualifying airline, you will receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when you charge airline incidental fees to your Platinum card. Charges to any authorized user cards on your account also trigger the credit. Examples of qualifying fees include checked bags and seat selection. This benefit requires enrollment, so make sure to do so as soon as you receive your new card. This is the same benefit offered through the Amex Business Platinum card.
- FHR/Hotel Collection credit ($200): The Platinum offers an annual $200 credit towards a prepaid stay with American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts or the Hotel Collection. This credit can help you score a deeply discounted rate or even a free night at an excellent hotel. Amex FHR bookings receive such benefits as free room upgrade (when available), free breakfast for two, and an experience credit such as for food & beverage or spa services (at a minimum of $100). To use the credit, simply make your hotel booking through the American Express FHR website.
- Clear credit ($189): The Platinum card offers up to $189 in statement credits toward an annual Clear membership for expedited airport security. This is the same benefit offered through the Amex Business Platinum card. Clear can be a huge time saver, even if it is not available at your home airport. Clear is available at over 50 airports, stadiums, and other venues across the U.S. You can search for Clear locations here.
- Entertainment credit ($240): Platinum cardholders receive up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum card at participating partners. The participating partners are Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. The few partners make this benefit rather limited, but some folks could still find value.
- Walmart+ ($155): The Platinum card offers statement credits towards Walmart+ membership of up to $155 per year.
- Equinox credit ($300): The Platinum card offers $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox + digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your platinum card (enrollment required).
- Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check ($100): Cardholders receive a $100 statement credit every four years for Global Entry ($100 cost) or TSA Pre-Check ($85 cost).
- Saks credit ($100): Up to a $100 credit for Saks purchases, split into two $50 statement credits between January and June, and then July through December.
- Cell phone protection: The Platinum card offers cell phone protection for a maximum of $800 per claim, with a limit of two approved claims per 12-month period. A $50 deductible will apply. You must charge your monthly wireless bill to your Platinum card to be eligible for this benefit. The benefit covers stolen and damaged phones, including additional lines in your same wireless plan. Coverage is limited only to those amounts not covered by any other insurance or indemnity.
- Complimentary Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status: Cardholders enjoy complimentary Gold status with both hotel chains for as long as they hold the card. Registration is required.
The Platinum card offers some great benefits for travelers, despite the high $695 annual fee. Most travelers can benefit from credits towards Uber, airline fees, FHR/Hotel Collection, and Clear, along with lounge access. Of course, we all have different travel patterns and preferences. If these credits are of little use to you, then the Platinum card may not be a keeper for you. But the card's consistently high welcome offer makes it worth opening if you are over 5/24, even if just for the first year.
Whether the card is worth keeping after the first year requires you to crunch the numbers and figure out which credits you will actually use. Benefits like the Uber and airline credits are very easy to use. Others require a little more work, like the FHR/Hotel Collection and the Saks credits. Meanwhile, benefits like the Equinox and entertainment credits cater to a much smaller subgroup of cardholders.
One downside of all these different credits is that many are broken out monthly. Having to remember which credit(s) have been used every month gets quite tiresome. Those who have criticized the Platinum and Business Platinum cards for becoming glorified coupon books make a valid point.
As for spending, the Platinum card lacks many bonus categories. The card's 5x earning on flights booked directly with airlines beats all other major credit cards. But beyond that, the Platinum does not justify getting a lot of spend. Earning 5x on bookings through Amex Travel is similar to what the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Capital One Venture X cards all offer through their respective portals.
The Amex Platinum card offers plenty of benefits geared towards travelers. Folks should each analyze their own needs to decide whether the card is worth keeping for the benefits. With so many of its perks split into monthly statement credits, cardholders should also consider the effort required to have those credits actually be worth it.