The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best travel rewards credit cards in the marketplace today, full stop.
While many shy away from its hefty annual fee, it offers a ton of benefits that make it relatively easy to get the annual fee amount back in value each year. In fact, even occasional travelers can come out way ahead with the Platinum Card.
We’ll run through all the fantastic benefits of the Platinum Card and explain why it can be a great travel companion.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
American Express Platinum Welcome Offer Bonus
You can currently earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. But you may be able to get much more.
If you have never had an American Express credit card, you may be targeted for a welcome offer for 100,000 points via the CardMatch tool from creditcards.com.
We place a high value on Membership Rewards points, as they are extremely flexible. I typically have no problem getting at least 1.6 cents for every one point, making the welcome offer alone worth somewhere between $900 and $1,000. And with a network of premier airline transfer partners, it’s fairly easy to do far better.
Take, for example, the ANA first class flight I booked from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo Haneda (HND). The cash price of this flight was over $22,000, yet I booked it for only 93,000 American Express Membership Rewards points. That means I got nearly 24 cents out of every point I used, making it one of the best deals in the world of points and miles.
Read our guide on the best ways to use your Platinum Card welcome bonus.
$200 Annual Uber Credit
Each year you hold the Platinum Card, you will receive $200 toward Uber rides. You will be issued $15 each month, and $35 in the month of December ($200 total).
You must use the full credit each month or you will lose any remaining value. The credits do not carry over from month to month. And even if you don’t often take Uber rides, the credit can also be used on UberEats, Uber’s food delivery platform. If Uber eats is available in your area, it makes it relatively easy to maximize this benefit each and every year.
Having the Platinum card also qualifies you for Uber VIP status. Uber VIP is the special view that will offer you trips with drivers with the highest ratings, for the same price of Uber X. You can read more about Uber VIP on their FAQs page.
$200 Airline Incidental Fee Credit
Each year you hold the Platinum Card, you also receive a $200 credit to use with one selected airline. The credit is intended to be used for things like checked bags, change or cancelation fees, seat assignments, lounge access and more.
And it’s important to stress that buying airfare outright generally won’t work to get your credit. Cabin upgrades, buying miles, and several other similar purchases also aren’t eligible. Because airlines have farmed out their connectivity to third-party companies, buying in-flight Wi-Fi generally won’t work, either.
The benefit follows the calendar year, so each January you will get $200 to use. If you have any remaining credit from the previous year, it won’t carry over.
So what airlines can you select for your credit? All the big U.S. carriers are eligible.
- Delta Air Lines
- United Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- American Airlines
- jetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
And make sure to read our guide on the best ways to maximize your Amex Airline credits.
Earn 5x Membership Rewards Points on All Airfare
If you spend a lot of money on airfare, you won’t find a more rewarding card than the Platinum Card. That’s because it earns 5x Membership Rewards points for every dollar you spend directly with any airline or through the American Express travel portal at amextravel.com. There is no cap on how many points you can earn at the 5x rate.
Outside of this spending category, the Platinum card will earn 1x point for every other dollar you spend.
The Best Airport Lounge Access Offered From Any Credit Card
The Platinum Card offers the best lounge access of any travel rewards credit card, and it isn’t particularly close.
Just for holding the Platinum card you will get access to the following lounge networks through their global lounge collection:
Amex Centurion Lounges: These are the American Express flagship lounges and can only be accessed by Platinum cardholders. You are allowed to bring in up to two guests free on each visit. There are currently Centurion lounges in Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO), Las Vegas (LAS), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL), New York (LGA), and Hong Kong (HKG), with many new lounges on the way. If you frequent any of these airports with any regularity, the Platinum card is a no brainer for this reason alone. See our master guide to the Centurion Lounges.
Priority Pass: The Amex Platinum Card also offers Priority Pass Select membership. If you are not familiar with Priority Pass, it is a network of airport lounges all over the world that are typically not affiliated with any airline. Just for holding the Platinum card, you will get free membership and be able to bring in up to two guests free with you on each visit. Priority Pass will even allow you to eat at a growing list of airport restaurants at no additional cost. However, as of Aug. 1, 2019, Priority Pass memberships issued from American Express have lost that restaurant benefit. See our master guide to Priority Pass Lounges.
Delta Sky Clubs: If you often fly Delta, the Platinum Card is a no brainer. Just for holding the card, you will receive complimentary access to any Delta Sky Club as long as you are flying with Delta. You will not receive any free guesting privileges with this lounge access, but you can bring up to two guests in with you for $29 each. See our master guide to the Delta Sky Club.
The Escape Lounge: The Escape Lounge is quickly becoming one of my favorite airport lounges. It offers a great alternative to the Delta Sky Club at MSP as it is often less crowded. There are Escape Lounges all over the country at many smaller regional airports. The Escape Lounge allows Amex Platinum cardholders to bring in up to two guests at no additional cost.
$100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
If you apply for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and pay with the Platinum Card, the application cost will be reimbursed ($100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA PreCheck). You are eligible to receive this credit once every four years, and membership in either program is good for five years.
Global Entry includes a TSA PreCheck membership so if you plan to do any international travel, that’s likely the best option.
Not sure which option is best for you? See our guide on Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck.
$100 Annual Credit to be used at Saks Fifth Avenue
Each year of card membership, you will receive two $50 credits to be used at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. One $50 credit will be available from January through June, with another available July through December. Like the other credits available on the Platinum card, you will lose any remaining balance you have after the expiration date.
The offer can be used both in-store and online, but per the terms and conditions of this offer, it will not work to purchase gift cards.
Saks Fifth Avenue isn’t the cheapest place to shop, but you should be able to find a few things each year to use your credit on.
Read our post on 7 ways to use your Saks Fifth Avenue credit.
Hilton Honors & Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
Just for holding the Platinum Card you will receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold Elite status without having to meet any stay requirements.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status typically requires 25 eligible stays in a calendar year. With the status, you’ll earn 25% more points on stays, receive enhanced room upgrades upon availability and enjoy a late checkout during your stays.
Hilton Honors Gold Elite status typically requires 20 stays or 40 nights in a calendar year. With the status, you’ll earn an 80% more points on stays, complimentary space-available upgrades and complimentary breakfast for you and a guest at all Hilton hotels during your stay.
It’s the main reason we think Hilton Honors Gold Elite status is the best mid-tier hotel program. Free breakfast during your travels for you and a guest can save you hundreds of dollars during your travels.
Trip Delay & Cancellation Coverage
Starting Jan. 1, 2020, American Express is adding trip delay and cancellation coverage to the Platinum Card. Add in the 5x points per dollar you earn when booking flights directly with the airline, and the Platinum Card will become the absolute best way to book flights starting in 2020.
If you pay for your round-trip flight with the Platinum Card – or put the taxes and fees from an award flight on it – you will be eligible for:
- Trip Cancellation Insurance: You can get reimbursed for up to $10,000 of nonrefundable expenses – and up to $20,000 a year total – if your flight is canceled due to weather, an injury or illness, and other “covered reasons.”
- Trip Delay Insurance: If your flight is delayed by more than six hours, you are eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement for lodging, food, and other associated expenses.
To qualify for coverage, flights must be round-trip. One-way flights will not qualify for these travel coverages.
Read more about Amex’s travel coverage here.
Access to the Platinum Concierge
Just for holding the Platinum Card, you will receive around-the-clock assistance with travel planning and booking, shopping advice and other personal requests through their Platinum cardholder concierge service. Simply email the platinum concierge at [email protected] or give them a call at 1-800-525-3355.
Platinum Cardholders can also search, book, and manage restaurant reservations from more than 10,000 restaurants (and growing) around the world through the American Express mobile app thanks to their recent acquisition of the restaurant reservation service, Resy.
If you hold the Platinum card, head to the “Membership” tab in the mobile app. You will see the “Access Top Restaurants” button in your account.
Amex International Airline Program
The Amex International Airline Program (IAP) is an exclusive benefit available to both Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders that allows you to get exclusive savings on select airlines when you book your airfare through the American Express travel portal. It is only valid for international itineraries booked in first class, business class, and premium economy – so there are no additional savings here when flying economy.
American Express claims that the average savings are $150 on premium economy, $300 in business class, and $600 on international first-class round trip fares. In practice, we’ve seen these numbers vary depending on the routing, fare class, and the airline.
The discount will only apply on flights originating in the U.S., and from select Canadian airports. Additionally, Amex will allow you to apply the international airline program discount on up to eight tickets booked on the same flight.
Read our full guide on the Amex International Airline Program.
The Platinum Card boasts an annual fee of $550 which is not waived in the first year. Because of all the benefits the card offers listed above, that can easily be a fair price. If you are using the benefits, you should get far more value out of the card than you are paying for the annual fee.
If you want to add an authorized user to your account, it will cost another $175 each year – which certainly isn’t cheap. But there are some alluring reasons why you should consider adding an authorized user – or several additional users.
Your new authorized user won’t get every single benefit that you do. Namely, some of the big-dollar credits don’t pass over to your guest. But there’s more than enough value here to offset the additional fee for many travelers. Here’s a brief rundown of what your authorized users will get.
- American Express Centurion Lounge Access: Yes.
- Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership: Yes.
- Delta SkyClub Access (When Flying Delta): Yes.
- $100 Credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Yes.
- Earn 5x Points on Airfare Booked Directly with Airlines and Hotels Booked Through Amextravel.com: Yes.
- $200 in Annual Airline Fee Credits: No.
- $200 in Annual Uber Ride Credits: No.
- $100 in Annual Saks 5th Ave. Credits: No.
- Instant Hotel Status with Marriott and Hilton: Yes.
- Instant Rental Car Agency Status with Hertz, Avis, and National: Yes.
- Boingo Preferred WiFi Access Plan: Yes.
And there’s an overlooked aspect of adding authorized users to your Amex Platinum card. You can add up to three total users for the same, $175 annual fee. So if you have several family members who could benefit, it won’t cost you any more to add up to three additional users.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards. While the annual fee large annual fee isn’t for everyone, there is no single credit card that will improve your airport and travel experience more than the Platinum card will. With locations around the world, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a lounge to take advantage of.