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By: Caroline Lupini
The Platinum Card from American Express has long been regarded as the travel card to have. After all, it comes with a ton of benefits such as lounge access, flexible points and even Uber credits.
But, is the card worth a place in your wallet? In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the American Express Platinum Card and discuss whether it’s worth the hefty annual fee.
The American Express Platinum Card has a long list of benefits. Here are some of the most important for travelers like you.
Let’s dive in!
The American Express Platinum might be most well known for providing access to tons of airport lounges. With this card, you’ll have access to the following lounges:
- American Express Centurion Lounges
- Delta SkyClub (when flying Delta)
- Airspace Lounges
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Lufthansa Business Lounges when flying SWISS, Austrian, or Lufthansa through Munich and Frankfurt in any class of service. Lufthansa Senator Lounges when flying these airlines in Business Class.
The highlight of the list is the American Express Centurion lounges. These lounges offer high-quality food and beverage options and are a step above many U.S. domestic lounges. You can find a Centurion Lounge at several major airports in the United States including:
- Dallas (DFW)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York (LGA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Seattle (SEA)
If you find yourself flying out of Hong Kong (HKG), you’ll even find a great Centurion Lounge there. American Express continues to expand the number of airports with Centurion Lounges and currently has plans to open
$200 Airline Incidental Fee Credit
If you need to take care of any change fees, cancelation fees, baggage fees and more up to $200 each year on your preferred airline. You can choose from most U.S. carriers as your preferred airline, so pick the airline you fly most. Make sure you select your preferred airline before you make qualified purchase so that you can be reimbursed. You can choose from the following carriers:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airline
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
$100 Global Entry; $85 TSA PreCheck Statement Credit
If you travel even a little bit, you can save a ton of time and energy by enrolling in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Do yourself a favor and get Global Entry which also provides access to TSA PreCheck. Once you’re enrolled, using Global Entry and TSA PreCheck is simple.
To receive the statement credit from the Amex Platinum, just pay for the application fee—$100 for Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck—and you’ll get reimbursed automatically. You can receive the credit once every five years which is how long your membership with Global Entry and TSA PreCheck lasts.
$50 Saks Fifth Avenue Credit Twice Per Year
Every six months, American Express will reimburse you $50 towards your Saks Fifth Avenue purchases online or in-store. This means free shoes or other clothing—not bad!
$200 In Uber Credit Per Calendar Year
American Express will deposit a $15 credit into your Uber account every month. In December, you’ll get a bonus $20 for a total of $35 in credit that month. You can use this in any U.S. city where Uber operates or toward food delivery through UberEATS.
You’ll also have your Uber account upgraded to UberVIP. This service pairs you with top-rated Uber drivers in select cities such as New York and Dallas.
Earn Membership Rewards Points
The American Express Platinum card has an interesting award earning structure. All purchases earn 1X point per $1 spent, so you shouldn’t use it for daily purchases. However, the card does have a great bonus category: 5X points per $1 spent on airfare purchased directly with the airline, through Amex Travel, and prepaid hotel bookings through Amex Travel.
The card earns 5X points per $1 spent on airfare purchased through American Express travel or directly from the airline. Third party bookers do not count. Those spending lots of money on airfare will quickly rack up huge point balances through this benefit.
We recommend using the American Express Platinum card only for airfare purchases. Using it for other purchases will net you less of a return than other American Express cards like the EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred which earn bonuses on select categories.
As with many American Express cards, the standard offer can vary quite a bit. Some consumers have been targeted for the 100,000-point bonus via the Card Match tool or occasionally via mail. However, the most common offer for the Amex Platinum is 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 spend in the first 3 months.
These points can be incredibly valuable if you know how to use them. Here is what each member of the 10xTravel team would do with them.
Transfers Membership Rewards Points To Airline Partners
The Platinum Card earns valuable American Express Membership Rewards points. These points can be transferred to a number of different airline and hotel partners, so you have a ton of flexibility in how you redeem them.
While you can use the points for gift cards, merchandise or paid flights, you won’t get the maximum value from your points by doing so. Here’s a quick rundown of the different partners as well as some sweet spots for each program.
Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
|Aeromexico||1:1.6||None as far as we know.|
|Air Canada (Aeroplan)||1:1||Booking Star Alliance awards, except on Lufthansa and Austrian where huge fuel surcharges are imposed.|
|Air France KLM (Flying Blue)||1:1||Booking SkyTeam awards for any partner.|
|Alitalia (Millemiglia)||1:1||Cheap round-trip tickets on Alitalia.|
|All Nippon Airways||1:1||Round-the-world trips.|
|Asia Miles||1:1||Booking Oneworld awards on all carriers.|
|British Airways||1:1||Booking short haul tickets, especially in Asia and Europe where awards start a 4,500 miles.|
|Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles)||1:1||Booking Delta award tickets, mainly discounted Flash Sale awards.|
|El Al Israel Airlines||1,000:20||None as far as we know.|
|Emirates||1:1||Booking Emirates experiences.|
|Etihad Airways||1:1||Booking Brussels Airlines award tickets.|
|Hawaiian Airlines||1:1||None as far as we know.|
|Iberia Plus||1:1||Off-peak Iberia award tickets, especially from the east coast and Chicago.|
|JetBlue Airways||250:200||JetBlue awards.|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||Booking tickets on Singapore Airlines.|
|Virgin Atlantic Airways||1:1||Booking Delta tickets at a steep discount, booking Premium Economy from the East Coast.|
|Hotel Program||Transfer Ratio||Benefits|
|Choice Privileges Rewards||1:1||Booking hotels in the Nordic states.|
Is The American Express Platinum Worth It?
All in all, the Amex Platinum card can easily be worth it for frequent travelers. The larger annual fee is offset by the limited time offer, airline fee credits, and Uber credits. Furthermore, the exceptional lounge benefits make this a go-to card for many who enjoy relaxing before flights.
Before you jump in, decide if the points and benefits work with your travel habits. If you have another card with lounge benefits or aren’t comfortable with the annual fee right now, it might be worth looking for an alternative.
If you’re not set on the Amex Platinum Card, a good alternative is to look into the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Sapphire Reserve has some similar benefits, but even for a less frequent traveler it may be possible to justify.
Since it’s a Chase card, keep in mind you won’t be able to get approved if you have gotten 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months due to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Premium credit cards sometimes come with a lot of premium benefits that make travel much more enjoyable. I love having my American Express Platinum Card because of all of the lounge access benefits, and I’m able to get enough use out of it to easily justify paying the higher annual fee. It’s not a cheap card, so make sure to think about how you plan to use the benefits of the Amex Platinum card before you apply, especially since the annual fee isn’t waived the first year.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.