Review: Amex Platinum Card

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This month I’ve reviewed several popular Amex cards that accrue Membership Rewards points, including the following:

Continuing this series, in this post I wanted to review The Platinum Card® from American Express. Back in the day this card had the premium card market more or less to itself, though over the past couple of years American Express has gotten some stiff competition from both Chase and Citi, which have introduced premium cards as well.

Recently I reviewed the benefits of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. While there’s some overlap in benefits, there are also quite a few differences between the two cards, which is why I think this is worth a separate post.

So, is the Amex Platinum Card still worth having? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the card:

Amex Platinum Card sign-up bonus

The Amex Platinum Card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months.

That’s a really generous sign-up bonus. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$1,020.

Amex Platinum Card annual fee

The Amex Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee. This annual fee is $100 higher than on the Amex Business Platinum Card, though the card also has some extra benefits.

One awesome aspect of the card is that you can add up to three authorized users to the card for a total of $175, and they get many of the same benefits you do, so I’ll talk more about that below. Meanwhile on the business version of the card, adding authorized users is more expensive.

Amex Platinum Card return on spend

The only worthwhile bonus category that this card offers is 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines. Personally this is a bonus category with which I earn tons of points, given that I spend a significant amount on airfare. However, I realize most people don’t spend as much on airline tickets as I do.

So in general the Amex Platinum Card is worth getting for the benefits it offers, rather than the return on spend it offers. Fortunately the card accrues Membership Rewards points, so you can pool the points you earn on this card with the points you earn on other Membership Rewards cards.

I’ll have more on the best cards to pair this with to maximize your points below.

Amex Platinum Card perks

This is where the Amex Platinum Card shines, as it offers some incredible perks, including:

That annual fee pretty quickly pays for itself. I value the $200 annual airline fee credit at pretty close to face value. Keep in mind that it’s also awarded based on the calendar year rather than the cardmember year. That means if you signed up now you’d get a $200 credit now, and another $200 credit on January 1.

I also more or less value the $200 Uber credit at face value. I use Uber all the time, and at the beginning of the month a $15 credit is deposited in my account, and then in December you get a $35 credit.

So when you take those two things out of the equation, the real “out of pocket” on the card is around $150 per year. For that you get access to Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta same day, a Priority Pass membership, free Hilton and Starwood Gold status, and much more.

As I mentioned earlier, one fantastic thing is that you can add three authorized users for just $175, which is the equivalent of paying under $60 per authorized user. Those users receive all the lounge access perks, including access to Centurion Lounges, SkyClubs, a Priority Pass membership, etc. This is a perk I love for family members.

Amex Platinum Card approval odds

The Amex Platinum Card is a charge card, meaning you have to pay your balance off in full each month. While Amex typically limits you to five credit cards, that limit doesn’t include charge cards. So if you’re otherwise maxed out in terms of the number of Amex credit cards you can get, this is a fantastic card to consider.

On top of that, for those with excellent credit, I find Amex charge cards to be easy to be approved for. Anecdotally most people I’ve heard from have reported instant approvals on this card, so it really shouldn’t be very tough to be approved for.

Amex Platinum Card best complement

As I said above, to me the Amex Platinum Card is about the awesome perks you get, rather than the return on spend. The one exception is airfare purchases, where you earn 5x points with the card. Fortunately you can pool points earned on this card with points earned on other Membership Rewards cards.

If you’re looking to maximize your points, there are three cards that best complement this one:

  • The no annual fee Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers 2x points on the first $6,000 spent annually at US supermarkets, plus a 20% points bonus when you make 20 or more purchases per billing cycle; so you could use the Premier Rewards Gold Card at restaurants, gas stations, and on airfare, and then use the EveryDay Card to earn 1.2x points on everyday spend and 2.4x points at supermarkets
  • The $95 annual fee Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card offers 3x points on the first $6,000 spent annually at US supermarkets, 2x points at US gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make 30 or more purchases per billing cycle; so you could use the Premier Rewards Gold Card for dining and airfare, and then use the EveryDay Preferred to earn 1.5x points on everyday spend, 3x points at gas stations, and 4.5x points at supermarkets
  • The $195 annual fee (waived the first year) Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers 2x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, so can supercharge your points earning; the card also offers a $100 annual airline fee credit that can help offset the annual fee

Amex Platinum Card best substitute

I’d have to say the two best substitutes to the Amex Platinum Card are the premium cards issued by Chase and Citi:

  • The $450 annual fee Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit, triple points on dining and travel, a Priority Pass membership, and more
  • The $450 annual fee Citi Prestige offers a $250 annual airline credit, 3x points on air travel and hotels, 2x points on dining and entertainment, a fourth night free hotel benefit, a Priority Pass membership, and more

There could potentially be value in having more than one of these cards, so arguably they’re complements in a way. For example, I have all three of the cards, though I realize I’m an exception.

Bottom line

I love my Amex Platinum Card more than ever before. I earn a ton of points thanks to the 5x points on airfare offered with the card. However, much more valuable are the perks it offers, including a $200 airline fee credit, a $200 Uber credit, Amex Centurion Lounge access, Delta SkyClub access, a Priority Pass membership, discounts on many premium cabin airfare deals, and much more.

If you don’t yet have the card, it has a generous 60K point sign-up bonus, doesn’t count towards the Amex five credit card limit, and is anecdotally quite easy to be approved for. This is an especially good time to apply, as you can earn a $200 airline fee credit shortly after applying, and then another one as of January 1, 2018, meaning you’ll get two of them before your second year’s annual fee is due.

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Comments

  1. its depressing to read this. if you want to know why, go check out the amex UK platinum card benefits. While you are at it, check out the other UK amex/visa/mastercard bonuses that are basically miniscule in terms of bonus point offers and perks (closest decent card is amex gold).

    You guys have it really good in the US of A!

  2. Can non-rev fliers on a delta buddy pass, standby, or plain-clothes employees use their delta seat request card to access the delta skyclub with this card?

  3. I don’t value the airline fee credit very highly. You have to pick a single airline in advance, and can’t change it that year once you’ve partially redeemed the credit. Also, it’s only for _fees_ like change fees and baggage fees. So if you’re flying in premium cabins or with airline status, there aren’t baggage fees anyway.

  4. @AMPfromBNA yes you can access Skyclubs as a nonrev. However, you cannot access the Centurion lounge prior to your flight as a nonrev without a seat assignment. You are allowed to access them upon landing though, since you’d then have a seat assignment on your ticket.

  5. I like the Cruise Privilege Program, getting onboard credit and onboard perks for the cruises I go on. Thats usually $600-$800 a year in benefits just on that.

  6. FYI, if anyone wants to apply, don’t go for the 60k points offer. There is a publicly available 75k points sign up bonus, also for $5k spend in the first 3 months, which I just took advantage of a few weeks ago. Google it, it’s very easy to find and doesn’t require crazy tricks like those borderline fraudulent leaked 100k links that were going around a few months ago.

  7. Any Chicago based travelers have this? I currently have the CSR and have been considering getting this card due to targeted offers of 100k MR points. I would probably only put air fare spend on it. I know only I can make the call if it’s worth it, I’m just curious if others based out of ORD have this card and get value from it.

    Uber – easily use these credits
    Global Entry – my wife would use this as we already have it via CSR
    Hotel Status – nice to have

    $200 credit – I value this less than $200. Already get free checked bags on American. Maybe I’d use this for United?

    Centurion lounge- If Chicago had one this is a no brainer. Otherwise.. I’m not sure? I guess if they continue to expand.

    Delta Lounges – Being based out of ORD, I almost never fly Delta

    Priority pass – already have via CSR

  8. Lucky, do you know if the perks are identical with the Amex Platinum card through Charles Schwab? There is a $100 or $200 annual statement credit depending of the value of your Schwab account. Seems like a great way to reduce the effective annual fee. Thanks

  9. @Jim @Vinka
    Anecdotally, You can buy flight gift cards to the airlines as long as you break the card up into smaller denominations ($50 or less each).

    United recently discontinued gift cards (they still offer “wedding registrys” but that site never works for me) but it still works for Delta, AA, and others.

  10. @Greg

    I’m ORD-based and have this card. If you fly AA, you should still be able to just buy American gift cards with the $200 credit (in smaller increments – I usually split it into $50, $50, and $100 so that the purchase looks more like a ‘fee’). Then you can turn around and use these on AA airfare directly. Don’t think this trick works for UA gift cards (do they sell those?), but I’ve never tried.

  11. I have both the CSR and the Amex Plat and will keep both. One unsung benefit of the Amex Plat is the Fine Hotels program. You have to book through the Amex site but the room upgrades, early/late checkout, $100 amenity are very worthwhile.
    Also recently used the $200 airline credit to upgrade from economy to premium economy on international flight with Delta.

  12. @Jim the key is to use it for one of the airlines that processes gift cards as “fees,” purchase them in ~$50 increments to trigger the automatic fee credit and hope Amex doesn’t notice. I’ve also found it useful for guest fees at the delta lounge (only the cardholder gets in free)

    Lucky, I think by assigning face value to the airline fee credit, you do a great disservice to the Citi and Chase cards that outright allow reimbursement for tickets. I also think that the uber credits are extremely situational. It’s not $200 in uber credit, which would be much more useful. It’s a monthly credit only good within the US. Obviously YOU use uber enough to get full use. I think the average reader with a car probably only uses uber in spurts (eg, while on vacation) and would achieve significantly less than face value.

    I keep the card for the medical evac insurance built in. Everyone who travels should have it, and if you assign any value to the other perks, it’s much cheaper to keep the amex plat than buy separate insurance.

  13. @Janeway

    Ah good call on the American gift cards. That makes sense and helps a ton. The sign up bonus alone (esp if I am still be targeted for 100k MRs) is worth $150 a year. My guess is I’d end up in a centurion lounge airport 2x a year.

  14. My understanding is that the Uber credit does not work on rides outside the US. Is this correct? This would be a major issue to maximizing this benefit as I am in Europe often for business.

  15. At the end of the day I can’t justify having both the CSR and the Platinum Card since they are very similar in many cases. So let’s pretend that I can maximize the Uber and Airline benefits (200+200), that still leaves a $150 fee. How do I justify that when CSR also has Priority Pass, Global Entry Credit, Primary rental insurance, other travel insurance, etc.

    Really it comes down to whether you spend enough on airlines to make back the extra 2 points you’d be getting, how much you value Centurion + Delta Sky Lounges, and Gold status with Hilton + Starwood.

  16. The $200 airline credit is worth 200!!!!, how do people on this blog not know that you can buy gift cards and other work arounds for the credit. Yes I get free bags on AA and have no use for the “airline credit” but I have bought 4x$50 gift cards online for 3 years now and never had a problem. They are always reimbursed immediately, and if they aren’t you call them and they are reimbursed immediately.

  17. “Really it comes down to whether you spend enough on airlines to make back the extra 2 points you’d be getting, how much you value Centurion + Delta Sky Lounges, and Gold status with Hilton + Starwood”

    Yes, and for those with a centurion lounge I cant tell you how much value I get out of that. 2 guests (breakfast/lunch) before flight and I always eat dinner when I land before heading home. Why wouldn’t you its free. Gold with Hilton is automatic free breakfast for your room that’s big $$ there. Also one layover or delay at a centurion location where you can take 2 guests and relax and get food and wine for 3+ hours would cost you north of $150 at any airport restaurant.

  18. Get the Schwab Amex instead. If you put a million with them they will reduce the fees by 200.

    If you don’t have a million why are you even posing to be someone that is entitled to premium travel?

  19. I have the AMEX Platinum card for the benefits Luck named. I do not use it for airline spend because it does not offer Trip Interruption Insurance. My Citi Aadvantage Executive MC does, and that is where my airline spend goes. That is a tremendously valuable benefit that picks up expenses when flights are delayed or cancelled. I wish the AMEX Plat card had it.

  20. @Debit: maybe some people are better investors, and don’t value a .0002 return on $1MM quite as highly as you do.

  21. There is a trick for a bigger bonus on the Amex Plat website. Leave it open for more than 15 minutes than refresh and the bonus offer is switched to 75k instead of 60k after spending 5k in 3 months.

  22. Downside is AMEX is accepted less and less places. And the Centurian Lounges are nice, but way oversubscribed. They are packed with ravenous travelers stuffing themselves with the free food, which is of high quality. Centurian is not a good experience.

  23. It is not a very flexible card; meaning, it is difficult to get the Uber credit and the annual airline fee credit. They need to make the card perks flexible enough so people consider getting it over CSR, Citi Prestige, or any other top tier cards.

  24. LOL, @Clem

    You don’t want to apply using a typo’d version of your father’s name and your cousin’s barber’s address and then call in and tell them you had amnesia when you switch it to your real information?!?!

  25. My husband has the Platinum card. If we add me as an authorized user will I get SPG gold/Hilton gold status on MY SPG/Hilton accounts? Or is the gold status only for the primary card holder?

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