Cardholders can benefit from top-notch benefits, like airport lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit and up to $200 annual airline fee credit, that help offset the card's $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
When CNBC Select crunched the numbers and analyzed over 200 credit cards, we found that consumers can earn competitive rewards with The Platinum Card® over a five year period. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)
Below, we break down the rewards, benefits and fees associated with The Platinum Card® to help you decide if it's the right card for you.
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com, 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases
60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within 3 months of account opening
See Pay Over Time APR
The Platinum Card® offers rewards geared toward frequent travelers: Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Plus earn 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases.
In order to earn the most rewards for your travel purchases, you have to book travel at Amextravel.com or directly with the airline. If you book airfare and hotels through third-party sites, such as Expedia or Booking.com, or directly with hotel chains, such Hilton, you'll only earn 1X points.
New cardholders can benefit from 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening.
CNBC Select calculated how many rewards the average American can earn if they optimize the way they use The Platinum® Card from American Express. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.
The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).
Here's a breakdown of how many Membership Rewards® points you can earn in each category, annually:
To determine how much your points are worth, Amex provides a helpful points value calculator, which allows you to select how many points you have (1,000; 5,000; 10,000, then increasing by increments of 10,000) to check the value. The value of points varies based on redemption method, so here are some examples of what 60,000 points are worth, which is what you'd earn by meeting the welcome bonus requirements.
*Note that you have to pay for travel using your Platinum® Card through Amextravel.com to get these redemption rates. There are no blackout dates when travel is booked on this site. Plus points don't expire while your account is open.
Based on the annual spending budget from Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $818 in the first year of card membership, thanks to the welcome bonus, and $1,290 over five years with The Platinum® Card from American Express, net the annual fee. This assumes that cardholders are redeeming points for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point. Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value, and you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.
The Platinum® Card has over a dozen premium perks that can allow you to travel in luxury and benefit from insurance and protection. Here are the most notable benefits.
Terms apply for all benefits.
This card has a steep $550 annual fee, but if you take advantage of the annual credit maximums including the $200 Uber credit, annual $200 airline fee credit and annual $100 Saks credit, you can offset the fee to an effective $50 (see rates and fees). Plus, the complimentary American Express Global Lounge Collection access, Marriott Bonvoy gold elite status and Hilton Honors gold status more than offset the remainder of the fee.
There is no regular purchase APR since this is a charge card, and you're required to pay your bill in full every month and you can't do balance transfers. However, AmEx provides a Pay Over Time feature where eligible purchases over $100 can benefit from payment flexibility, with interest. See rates and fees for the Pay Over Time APR.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a top-notch travel credit card that can add comfort and convenience to your travels. Cardholders who take advantage of the numerous annual statement credits, travel perks and shopping features can easily offset the fee and maximize the card's benefits.
If you don't want to pay $550 for a credit card, consider the American Express® Gold Card, which has a lower $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). The fee is more manageable, and you can still benefit from many of the same perks, such as Amex Offers, ShopRunner and The Hotel Collection.
There are also travel credit cards with no annual fee, like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. This card allows you to earn 3X points per dollar spent on travel reservations made anywhere — they don't have to be done through Amextravel.com.
To determine which credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.
CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.
Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.
CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.
While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.
Information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
For rates and fees of The Platinum® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.