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The Platinum Card from American Express Review

overall rating
3.1

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The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium travel card that offers benefits commensurate with its $550 fee, at least for frequent travelers. It offers an exceptional 5 points per dollar spent on hotels/airfare when booked through Amex travel on eligible flights and hotel purchases and an outstanding one-time offer of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. There’s also a significant bundle of luxury travel perks.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

overall rating
3.1
The Platinum Card® from American Express
On American Express' Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) N/A
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee This card does not offer balance transfers.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Currently rated one of our

Full Review of American Express Platinum Card

Pros
  • Outstanding membership rewards on flights and hotel stays

  • Generous welcome offer for new cardholders

  • Exceptional luxury travel perks

Cons
  • $550 annual fee, on the high side even for a premium travel card

  • Restrictive options for booking airlines and hotels

  • No non-travel high-rewards categories

Pros Explained

  • Outstanding Membership Rewards on Flights and Hotel Stays: This card’s 5x rate is one of the highest Membership Rewards points rates on flights and hotels in our database. When redeemed through amextravel.com, points are worth 1 cent apiece for flights, 0.7 cents for hotel stays.
  • Generous One-Time Offer for New Cardholders: The one-time offer—60,000 membership points after spending $5,000 within the first three months—is one of the most generous currently available on travel cards. The bonus is worth $600 if used to buy flights, which is $50 more than the annual fee. Alternatively, used to book hotels, it almost yields the fee in value, being worth $420. 
  • Exceptional Luxury Travel Benefits: This card offers a portfolio of benefits that serve to make trips extremely comfortable and convenient. Some also save you money on frequent travel purchases. Cardholders get $15 per month towards Uber rides, a $200 airline fee credit for incidentals on one eligible airline of your choice, a fee credit towards Global Entry or TSA Pre, access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries, complementary benefits with Fine Hotels & Resorts worth an average total value of $550, and additional shopping and entertainment extras. 

Cons Explained

  • $550 Annual Fee: American Express charges a very steep $550 a year to use this card, which makes it among the priciest cards on the market. Indeed, even with its generous travel rewards rate, you’d need to spend five figures a year on flights and hotels to recoup the cost of the fee.  
  • Restrictive Options for Flights and Hotel Bookings: It isn’t uncommon for premium travel cards to encourage or require booking through the issuer’s travel service in order to earn the most generous rewards rates. In order to earn the 5x membership rewards with this card, flights must be booked directly through an airline or American Express Travel, by phone or online. Hotels must be booked through amextravel.com.
  • Limited High-Rewards Categories: Where some other premium cards offer generous rewards beyond air and hotel transactions, such as for gas or restaurant purchases, the American Express Platinum offers no such diversity. Cardholders earn 5x points on flight and hotel purchases, but an unremarkable one point for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for International Traveler Persona
    Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
    International Traveler

This card is best suited for frequent (even constant) travelers who spend a lot and want to travel in style with a host of luxury perks. The rewards rate of 5 points per dollar spent on airlines and hotels is one of the highest rewards rates of any travel card. And the breadth of its travel extras really help this card to stand out from competing premium cards. 

Yet generous rewards are necessary for this card to pay off, since its $550 annual fee is also among the highest on the market. A number of spending combinations will allow you to recoup that expense, but none of them involve modest spending. For example, if you spend $7,000 per year on flights, you would earn 35,000 points, or the equivalent of $350 if the points were redeemed for flight purchases through American Express Travel. Spending an additional $6,000 a year on hotels would net you 30,000 points, which would yield $210 if spent on hotel purchases through American Express Travel. 

That spending combination, then, would earn you the equivalent of $560 from your resulting points, justifying the annual fee. But you’ll have to spend $12,000 to earn that reward, and that’s just on air and hotel expenses. Restaurant meals, other transportation, and incidental spending could easily add half again to that amount, and you’d earn only $60 or so on that additional spending by using this card, given its meager point-per-dollar-spent default rewards rate. 

Admittedly, some of the card’s travel benefits, like those for Uber and incidental airline fees, will also help justify the annual fee. The credits for incidental airline fees, Uber rides, shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Global Entry or TSA Precheck alone add up to $600 in annual value. Access to 100-plus American Express Global Lounges is both a valuable extra and a comfortable one.  

However, study the fine print on perks. For example, the airline fee credit cannot be used to pay for seat upgrades and the cardholder’s companions may be charged to enter the lounges—and these fees can be hefty. The Uber credit is awarded monthly, and doesn’t carry over to the next month if it isn’t used. 

The Platinum Card from American Express' One-Time Offer 

New cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after making $5,000 or more in purchases within the first three months of membership. The points are credited to your account after you meet the minimum spending threshold. 

That's one of the highest travel card bonuses available, but it's also a hefty spending requirement. By comparison, the one-time offers of other cards come with spending requirements as low as $1,000 and bonus rewards of up to 60,000 points. 

The value of points, how they can be redeemed, and what they can be redeemed for varies by credit card. With this card, points for flights are valued at 1 cent per dollar while points for hotels are worth 0.7 cents per dollar. 

Rewards Earning Details

This card offers 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flight purchases directly through an airline or American Express Travel. You’ll also earn 5x Membership Rewards points on hotel purchases booked through amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn one point per dollar spent.

In order to be eligible for the rewards, you must reserve and charge the travel purchase with your card.

Non-eligible purchases include those on charter flights, private jet flights, flights that are part of travel packages, tours, or cruises, and flights booked on airlines that do not accept American Express. Prepaid hotels, hotel group reservations or events, car rental or cruise purchases, ticketing service, interest changes, travelers checks, purchasing or reloading prepaid cards, or purchasing other cash equivalents also don’t count.

Rewards Redemption Details

In order to redeem and pay with points, you must be enrolled in Amex’s Membership Rewards program and charge an eligible purchase to your American Express Platinum card through the Amex travel program.

Once you make a purchase, points are debited from your account and the dollar amount is credited to your card. The balance of the purchase will remain on the card if points don't cover the entire amount.

Amex has a minimum redemption amount of 5,000 points. 

Transferring Points

The Amex Membership Rewards program allows you to transfer to frequent flyer programs of domestic airlines and certain international carriers like AeroMexico. Most domestic partners charge an Excise Tax Offset Fee of .06 cents per point (up to $99), but not all airlines impose this fee (notably JetBlue, for example). Fees are charged to your card account, and Amex may offer the ability to redeem points to cover the fee.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

In order to really get the most out of this card, use it for every travel expense you can, and take advantage of its signature feature: perks. Ensure that you use the card for all flight and hotel purchases, in order to earn the 5-points-per-dollar spent rewards rate. 

Then max out the credits for Uber ($200), incidental airline fees ($200) and purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue ($100) each year, as well as using the $100 credit to get and renew Global Entry every five years. You can also offset spending in flights or in airports by using the access to airport lounges, which typically offer free food and drinks along with other perks.

Average Case

Let's say you're a family who plans to take one vacation per year where you fly to your destination and stay in a hotel. You spend $3,000 on airfare and $2,000 on hotel lodging. That spending would earn 25,000 rewards points on this card. That would yield the equivalent of $250 when redeemed for flights through American Express Travel.

We’ll further assume that you also took advantage on the trip of the $200 credit on incidental airline fees to check bags and the $15 Uber credit for that month to get to and from the airport and around your destination. Combined with the $250 value of the points earned by your air and hotel purchases, you'd earn the equivalent total of $465 in cash. That’s almost enough to make up for the card’s $550 annual fee, not to mention the intangible value of enjoying some of the card’s luxury travel perks.

Aspirational Case

Naturally, those who travel more than the norm—whether roaming families, road warriors, or true digital nomads—can enjoy commensurately larger returns on owning this card, as well as taking fuller advantage of its luxury extras.

Families, for example, who take a trip each quarter and spend $12,000 on airline tickets annually and $8,000 on hotel lodging annually would earn 100,000 rewards points. When redeemed for flights through American Express Travel, that points haul is the equivalent of $1,000—which is nearly twice the annual fee.

Maxing out credits for Uber, incidental airline fees, and Saks Fifth Avenue each year could add an extra $500 to the card’s benefit, which alone is almost enough to justify the annual cost of the card.

The Platinum Card from American Express' Outstanding Benefits

  • Uber credit of $15 per month and an additional $20 bonus in December
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Precheck
  • Complimentary benefits with Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • $100 credit to the American Express Hotel Collection to spend on spa, dining, or resort activities on stays of at least 2 consecutive nights
  • Travel counselors who provide customized itineraries and recommendations

Standard Benefits

  • Global assistance hotline
  • Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Rental car loss and damage insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Invitation-only experiences
  • Extended warranty for purchases made with the card 

Cardholder Experience

American Express earned second place in J.D. Power's 2018 customer satisfaction survey with a rating of 830. That's just below Discover at 836.  

The American Express app allows members to get fraud alerts, explore rewards, and discover offers nearby.

Platinum cardholders also get access to invitation-only events, such as sporting events, musicals, and dinners.

Customer service is available at 800-528-4800 or via the website or app.

Security Features

All credit cards from American Express offer a range of security perks, including free credit reports, credit score updates, and fraud alerts.

Like other Amex cards, this one also ensures online security with measures such as encrypting data, utilizing automatic time-outs, and assigning a personal security key to each cardholder.

American Express also uses pre-purchase verification, monitors for suspicious transactions, and sends alerts when irregular activity is detected.

It will replace your card for free if you lose it and virtual credit card numbers are available through the American Express Go portal. 

Fees to Watch Out For

This card's ongoing annual fee of $550 is high when compared to other cards in the premium travel card category. It also charges an annual fee of $175 for additional users (up to three), higher than cards in the same category like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which charges a single $75 fee for each authorized user.

Amex also levies fees for transferring its rewards points to domestic partners’ programs, something few if any other card issuers do. While the rate is low ($0.0006 per point), it does add up; for example, you’d pay $18 to transfer 30,000 Amex points to an airline.)

Otherwise, this card's fees are in line with industry standards.  

Our Verdict

Just about everything about The Platinum Card from American Express is in a premium category, beginning with its hefty $550 annual fee and continuing to its outstanding travel rewards and extras. For a frequent traveler, the card offers the likelihood of recouping its fee through points and credits, and the comfort and convenience of such perks as airport lounge access and room upgrades at Amex hotels. 

Beyond its airfare and hotel rewards, though, this card is relatively measly, earning only 1 cent per dollar spent. Pairing this card with another Amex travel points card that emphasizes other categories could make for a powerful combination. For example, you could earn 4x membership rewards points for restaurant spending with the American Express Gold card. Platinum card holders have the option of adding a complementary Gold card to their Platinum card account, though when going this route the Gold card has the same earning structure as the Platinum card (so no 4X MR points would be earned on restaurant spending like the standard Gold Card) and does not include the lounge access benefit that would be provided with adding an additional Platinum card to the account (for an additional $175 annual fee).

Only travel maximalists will make back what they spend to get the American Express Platinum card, or will even be able to take full advantage of its perks. Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, make more sense for intermittent vacationers who don't want a high annual fee but still want to earn rewards on their travel and enjoy some perks along the way.

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For The Platinum Card® from American Express
on American Express' Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
The Platinum Card® from American Express
overall rating
3.1
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) N/A
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.