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Platinum Card from American Express review: The travel card with luxury perks

Select breaks down the rewards, benefits and fees associated with the Amex Platinum Card to help you decide if it's the right card for you.

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If you prefer to travel in style, a luxury travel card, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, offers cardholders a host of high-end perks — but at a high cost.

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 $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

When Select crunched the numbers and analyzed over 200 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.

The Platinum Card from American Express review

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you shop small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of Card Membership, 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber savings
  • Complimentary Global Lounge Collection access with more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130+ countries
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times (enrollment required)
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card (cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • No special financing offers on new purchases

The Platinum Card from American Express rewards

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 (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year) and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Plus earn 1X points on all other purchases.

In order to earn the most rewards for your travel purchases, you have to book travel at with American Express Travel 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 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months of card membership. Earn 10X points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you shop small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership.

Additional benefits

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.

  • Up to $200 Uber credit: Receive Uber VIP status and a $15 credit each month for U.S. rides, plus a bonus of $20 in December.
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit: Receive up to $200 in statement credits annually for incidentals, such as checked bags, in-flight refreshments, and other fees after you select an eligible airline.
  • Up to $100 Saks credit: Get up to $50 in statement credits from January through June and up to $50 in statement credits from July through December for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or Saks.com. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee: Receive a statement credit for Global Entry every 4 years or TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years. (Read how to apply for Global Entry.)
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • American Express Global Lounge Collection: Access to over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries around the world.
  • The Hotel Collection: Book hotel stays with The Hotel Collection to receive complimentary benefits including: room upgrades, free breakfast for two, late check-out, early check-in and up to a $100 hotel credit, when available. Minimum stay of two consecutive nights is required.
  • Complimentary gold status in select travel programs: Cardholders can upgrade to gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs.
  • Amex Offers: Receive exclusive shopping discounts at select retailers through Amex Offers. These offers typically give you a set dollar amount of cash back, credited to your account within 90 days after you meet the requirements.
  • Global dining collection: Get special access to reservations and experiences at popular restaurants, and the opportunity to meet the chefs at exclusive events.
  • Entertainment access: Receive access to exclusive entertainment events, presales and preferred seating for concerts, sporting events, and more in select cities. (Check out the best credit cards for entertainment spending.)
  • By Invitation Only® events: Enjoy exclusive events from sporting and fashion to fine dining, art and performances.

Terms apply for all benefits.

Fees

This card has a steep $695 annual fee, but if you take advantage of all the annual statement credits, you can more than offset the cost (see rates and fees).

There is no regular purchase APR, 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.

Bottom line

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a top-notch travel 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 $695 for a 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 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 with American Express Travel.

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, 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.

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.

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 Select 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.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.