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This month I’ve reviewed several popular Amex cards that accrue Membership Rewards points, including the following:
- The Business Gold Rewards Card
- The Blue Business Plus Credit Card
- The Business Platinum Card
- The Premium Rewards Gold Card
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 welcome bonus
The Amex Platinum Card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months.
That’s a really generous introductory 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
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:
- A $200 annual airline fee credit
- A $200 annual Uber credit
- Access to Amex Centurion Lounges
- Access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta same day
- A Priority Pass membership
- Free Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Access to the Amex International Airline Program, which can save you a ton on premium airfare
- A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry free credit, once every four years
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.
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 welcome 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.