The Platinum Card® from American Express Review

Consumers looking for a travel rewards credit card with premium features might want to check out the Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s one of the best travel rewards credit cards and it includes lucrative membership benefits. From lush airport lounges to travel credits and cash-back rewards, this card has a lot to offer. 

One concern consumers might have with selecting this card is that it has a steep annual fee. However, the available rewards privileges far outweigh the costs. The Platinum Card® is best suited for business and leisure travelers who want a luxury card that includes perks like purchase protection. This card isn’t ideal for consumers who don’t want to pay an annual fee. It’s also not for those who don’t want to pay a lot in order to earn points. 

The Essentials of the Platinum Card®

  • Introductory Offer: N/A, the APR is variable and based on the prime rate. It’s currently 26.99% for cash advances.
  • Annual Fee:  $550.
  • Primary Feature: Annual bonuses give cardholders lucrative rewards. They can have priority pass select membership, up to $200 in an airfare credit. They can also receive an $85 credit towards a TSA Precheck or $100 in a global entry credit every four years. Additional benefits include a credit for $75 to $100 toward a hotel, up to a $200 credit for Uber, and up to $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Introductory Bonus Offer: Cardholders can earn 60,000 points if they spend $5,000 within the first 90 days. They can then receive their cash-back rewards in a statement credit, check by mail or gift card.

What’s Interesting about the Platinum Card®

American Express caters to travelers who want shopping and travel rewards perks. Cardholders can receive up to $550 in complementary benefits from hotels and resorts partnered with American Express. They will have access to global airport lounges and popular Centurion lounges in locations like HKG, IAH, LAS and DFW. 

Cardholders can receive 5x rewards points for flights and can book directly through airlines or American Express Travel. Additionally, they can receive 5x rewards points on hotels they pay for in advance through amextravel.com. The card includes Elite status for the Hilton and Marriott hotels. 

Other incentives include VIP status with Uber and Uber Eats for $200 annually in savings. Cardholders can receive up to $15 monthly in free rides and an extra $20 credit in December. 

Airline fee credits are up to $200 annually. Cardholders can use this for baggage fees and towards drinks and snacks purchased on board. Cardholders who enjoy shopping can receive a $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue as a statement credit each year. 

Things to Consider

The Platinum Card® is not for everyone. The high annual fee can be a deal breaker. Cardholders have to spend $5,000 to earn the 60,000 points. This might be fine for business travelers or a family booking a vacation, but not everyone wants to spend that much for a reward.

Another drawback is that while there’s access to global airport lounges, there’s no priority boarding access. Additionally, the Platinum Card® is also not the best card for consumers who don’t travel a lot. They may not benefit from Uber, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Hilton and Marriott hotel credits if they don’t prefer these brands. 

Lastly, not everyone will be eligible for the card and have excellent credit. Cardholders will also have to pay their balances in full each month. 

How to Get the Most from This Card

To maximize the rewards, cardholders might want to use the Platinum Card® as their go-to card for travel. Because it offers rewards for car services, hotels and flights, they can use their Uber credits first each month, for example. Then, when they exceed the $15 credit, they can pay out-of-pocket for subsequent trips. Likewise, cardholders might want to use the Hilton and Marriott hotel credits first. They can apply the $75 or $100 credit toward their stay and use the elite status privileges for upgrades.

Cardholders can also maximize their benefits by using the Saks credit for end-of-year holiday purchases. Additionally, they have the extra $20 Uber credit in December that’s helpful if they’re traveling to meetings or the airport for holiday travel. 

Other Card Options That Might Interest You

Consumers who want lucrative rewards without having to pay their balance in full each month might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Similar to the Platinum Card®, they can earn 60,000 points but they only need to spend $4,000 within the first 90 days. The annual fee is only $95, and the variable APR ranges from 17.99% to 24.99%. The 60,000 points amount to around $750, which they can accept as a statement credit or apply toward other purchases like future travel. 

Another great travel rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It includes a 50,000 point bonus after cardholders spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. While the annual fee is $450, a $300 annual credit can help to offset this. Cardholders can also earn 3x points on dining and travel and access premium travel benefits. 

The Final Word

While the Platinum Card® is not for everyone, it caters to travelers who want access to exclusive lounges and perks like airline credits, free Uber rides and hotel upgrades. It’s one of the best total value rewards cards and includes both travel and shopping rewards perks. A drawback is the high annual fee of $550. However, the lucrative incentives more than make up for it. 

Cardholders will quickly find that they have about $1,250 in credits and benefits. There’s $750 in annual bonuses and 60,000 bonus points in their intro offer. They can use the points for a business-class flight and explore one of the airport lounges included with their card benefits. Membership does have its privileges.