[Review] American Express Platinum Card

At a Glance

The American Express Platinum Card is one of the most iconic cards out there. When one thinks of wealth and excess, theplatinum Platinum Card generally comes to mind. While it does carry one of the highest annual fees, it also comes with the quality perks to match it. Suddenly this card makes the luxuries of traveling, dining, and entertainment attainable for more people.

The Facts

Card American Express Platinum Card
Rewards ~1% cash back
Annual Fee $450
Sign-up Bonus $400 – $1,000 (40,000 – 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days)
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%
Interest Rate N/A (charge card)
Miscellaneous Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Airspace Lounge, and Priority Pass Select Access

$200 Yearly Airline Fee Credit

Fine Hotels and Resorts Program

Personal Concierge Service

Free International Companion Business/First Class Ticket Program

Baggage Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance

Car Rental Insurance

Premium Global Assist® Hotline

Fee Credit for Global Entry

Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Gold Status

Boingo American Express Preferred Plan

Platinum Dining® Program

By Invitation Only® Program

Purchase/Return Protection

Extended Warranty

Credit Portfolio Role Force Multiplier Card
Credit Score Needed High

In Depth Discussion

The American Express Platinum Card is a traveler’s best friend granting a very long lists of benefits, especially for air travel. This card is the perfect companion for experiencing new places and having to spend time in airports in between. It is worth noting that is this card is not a credit card, but rather a charge card. Therefore it has no interest rate since you have to pay the monthly balance off in full each month (which you should be doing with all your cards anyway!). The Platinum Card has some of the most extensive benefits any card has to offer making its benefits worth much more than its overall cash back rate. For every dollar spent you get one point. Depending on how you choose to redeem your points you will typically get around $.01 per point. Gift cards usually give you the best value but you can also transfer your points to airline miles programs among other ways. But you shouldn’t get this card purely for the cash back value. As a force multiplier card, its purpose should be to enhance your other cards while also giving you extra benefits not related to cash back rewards. As listed in the chart above, the benefits are very extensive.

The card comes with the typical purchase/travel insurances and protections many other American Express cards have, but with a few enhancements like travel accident insurance that can cover injuries or even death while traveling. There are a number of useful perks for entertainment and dining starting with the exclusive Platinum Personal Concierge service. Just call the number on the back of your card and you are instantly on the phone with a concierge who will help book a hotel or a dining reservation which is especially helpful while traveling abroad in unfamiliar cities. The concierge service can also be enhanced further by Platinum Card’s Fine Hotels and Resorts Program which gives Platinum cardholders a variety of upgrades and perks when staying at certain hotels around the world. At a minimum, most of these benefits include a room upgrade and $100 credit at the hotel for things like the property’s spa or restaurants. In addition, all Platinum card holders can register to automatically become Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Gold members. This is particularly beneficial if you hold the SPG American Express which will maximize your cash back potential up to 11.5%. Along similar lines, the Platinum Dining® Program and By Invitation Only® Program gives cardholders access to restaurants where you would normally need reservations months in advance or access to events before they are offered to the general public.

The Platinum Card has a series of benefits specifically with the air traveler in mind. Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Airspace Lounge, and Priority Pass Select Access is given free to all card members which provides hundreds of options all over the world. The card also grants you access to a free Boingo Wi-Fi plan which can be useful while on the go. You can save time while traveling through security and customs too by getting statement credit when you apply for the Global Entry program. Two other great airline centric perks are the International Companion Business/First Class Ticket Program (free companion ticket minus associated tax/other fees) and $200 airline fee credit each year (one airline can only be selected per year). These last two benefits together could end up saving you thousands of dollars a year if you travel internationally on a regular basis.

The Platinum Card, like many of the other American Express cards, comes with a very competitive sign-up bonus. This bonus can range anywhere from 40,000 points to 100,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. Depending on how you redeem your points, this can translate to anywhere from $400 to $1,000 based on what offer you are eligible for. Currently, the 40,000 MR point bonus is the typical bonus to expect. However, American Express will occasionally send out personal invitations to people for a 100,000 MR point bonus. Keep an eye out for that personal offer as it is one of the best sign-up bonuses ever offered and is very difficult to turn down.

This card comes with a very high annual fee ($450) and needs a high credit score (700s or higher) to be accepted. For many, this will immediately make them ineligible or uninterested. I do not recommend this card for people just beginning on their journey towards credit card nirvana as its cash back rate is not very high compared to many other cards out there. However, for someone who travels a lot (especially via flying), the benefits you gain will quickly compensate for the high annual fee. For those looking for exclusive experiences, fine dining, and luxurious perks from hotels, this card will quickly give you access you never had before. Military Active Duty members might also be interested in this card because not only does it cater to people who travel a lot, but you will also be able to get the annual fee waived (as with all other AMEX cards) which then makes the card even more lucrative.

Conclusion

The American Express Platinum card is a card that stands out from the rest. Whether it is because of its high annual fee and somewhat exclusive attainability or its endless amount of benefits and perks, this card turns heads. The key is to maximize its benefits rather than focusing on its cash back rate. The perks alone can easily pay dividends if used correctly and in the right situations. While this card might not be practical for the average consumer, any seasoned traveler should have this card in their credit portfolio.

 

Last updated 21 June 2015

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