The Platinum Card® from American Express – Review

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is an exclusive charge card that carries a $550 annual fee and provides a host of luxurious and practical benefits for frequent travelers. As a charge card, the Platinum Card doesn’t come with any preset spending limits or regular interest charges, but it does require that cardholders almost always pay their balances in full each month. If you own a small business, consider the very similar Business Platinum Card from American Express.

The Platinum Card is tied into American Express’s Membership Rewards® program and offers excellent earning power on certain travel purchases made directly with merchants and/or through the American Express Travel portal. Its primary competitors are other high-end credit and charge cards, including Citi Prestige Card, Diners Club Elite, American Express Delta Reserve, and Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard. All require near-flawless credit.

For aspirants with less-than-perfect credit, slightly lower-end (but still attractive) rewards cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express, and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can serve as ladders up to the Platinum Card’s rarer air.

When you spend at least $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points. That’s worth up to $600 when redeemed for merchandise and certain other items at American Express’s Membership Rewards® portal.

Airfare purchases made directly with airlines earn an unlimited 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent. So do airfare and hotel purchases made through American Express Travel, the company’s in-house travel portal. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, transportation, travel, gift cards, and statement credits at American Express’s Membership Rewards® portal.

Points are generally worth $0.005 to $0.01 at redemption, depending on method. Cash-like redemptions, such as statement credits, have lower point values, while merchandise redemptions have higher values.

Under most circumstances, you’re required to pay your Platinum Card’s balance in full at the end of each billing period or risk account closure. However, American Express’s Pay Over Time feature allows longtime cardholders in good standing to carry balances from month to month without negative consequences. Pay Over Time balances accrue interest charges at variable rates.

Every year, you get up to $200 in Uber ridesharing credits as long as you add the card to your app. You get up to $15 in credits per month, plus a $20 bonus in December.

You get a $200 annual airline fee credit, good for offsetting incidental purchases such as baggage fees and in-flight meals, with one airline of your choice.

Enjoy access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which bills itself as “the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.” Other participating lounge brands include The Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select.

Every four years, you’re entitled to take a statement credit of up to $100 toward your TSA Precheck or Global Entry program application.

You get complimentary WiFi access at more than 1 million Boingo wireless Internet hotspot locations worldwide.

You automatically enjoy Hilton Honors Gold Status as long as your Platinum Card account remains open and in good standing. Gold Status benefits include a 25% bonus on base Honors point earnings and a 5th night free on stays of 5 nights or longer.

You can also upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status with no spend or stay requirement. Benefits of Gold Status include a 50% bonus on base Starpoint earnings, flexible check-out, room upgrades where available, and your choice of a welcome gift at check-in.

Enjoy special rates and complimentary perks at properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection, which includes nearly 1,000 high-end hotel and resort properties worldwide. According to American Express, benefits include “daily breakfast for two, room upgrade when available, $100 amenity, guaranteed 4pm late check-out, 12pm check-in when available, and complimentary WiFi.” The average benefit value, assuming a two-night stay, is $550.

When you book a minimum of two nights at participating hotels (the Hotel Collection) through the American Express Travel portal, you get a complimentary room upgrade if available and a $75 hotel services credit that can be applied toward spa appointments, dining, and more.

The Platinum Card also has some general travel benefits, including complimentary car rental upgrades (for instance, from a compact to full-size sedan), complimentary car rental insurance against loss and damage, and 24/7 global assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home.

The Platinum Card’s other cardmember benefits include extended warranties on all items with original warranties of five years or less, up to $300 per item protection against returns rejected by merchants within 90 days of purchase, and purchase protection against theft or damage for 90 days from covered items’ purchase.

The Platinum Card carries a $550 annual fee, starting in the first year of card membership. There is no foreign transaction fee. If you don’t have the Pay Over Time feature, the late fee is the greater of $38 or 2.99% of the total late balance, starting after 2 consecutive billing periods of nonpayment. The returned payment fee is $38.

This card requires stellar credit. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have the resources to make on-time, in-full payments on a card without a preset spending limit.

American Express makes no bones about The Platinum Card’s exclusivity. To be blunt, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a status symbol for a well-heeled, jet-setting minority – and for those fortunate enough to have ample corporate spending accounts. If you live frugally, Platinum isn’t an ideal first, second, or even third card to carry. In fact, it may never have a place in your wallet.

On the other hand, if you travel frequently and take full enough advantage of the card benefits to offset or come out ahead of the $550 annual fee, it’s hard to do better than The Platinum Card. Which side are you on?

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is an exclusive charge card for frequent travelers with ample budgets and a penchant for luxury benefits in flight, in the airport, and in hotels. With low rewards on everything except travel, it’s definitely not an everyday-type card for the vast majority of the card-holding public. For those who can afford to take full advantage of its benefits, however, it’s a great asset to have.

This card’s super-valuable airline and hotel benefits, lack of preset spending limits, and lack of foreign transaction fees are all great. However, its high annual fee, mediocre Membership Rewards® baseline earning rate, pay-in-full requirement, and qualification requirements are drawbacks. Overall, this card is excellent for high-spending travelers who like to jet in style, but has limited appeal for everyone else.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: American Express, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Reviews

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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