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American Express Platinum: Why It’s Worth the Fee

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American Express Platinum

With its high annual fee, you may think The Platinum Card® from American Express is overpriced for anyone outside the Rockefeller family. But you may be surprised to find that the annual fee is easily outweighed by this card’s awesome perks and signup bonus. When it comes to combining luxury and practicality, no one does it like The Platinum Card® from American Express. Here’s what you need to know about this card.

American Express Platinum Credit Card
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At a glance
Annual fees $450
Foreign transaction fee None
Rewards program Membership Rewards points to use for travel, dining, merchandise, etc.
Signup bonus Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Verdict: If you travel frequently and luxuriously, go for it
Good for:
  • Someone who wants luxury travel perks
  • Someone who flies frequently
Bad for:
  • Someone who hates annual fees
  • Someone who typically flies to countries that don’t widely accept American Express

In this article:

The Platinum Card® from American Express: The basics
Fringe benefits, front and center
Where The Platinum Card® from American Express shines
Where The Platinum Card® from American Express falls short
The bottom line: Should I get The Platinum Card® from American Express?

The Platinum Card® from American Express: The basics

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on anything, redeemable for a multitude of things, including travel and merchandise. It also has a killer signup bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Annual Fee

$450

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • Purchase: N/A

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply

The Platinum Card® from American Express has an annual fee of $450 and no foreign transaction fees.

Fringe benefits, front and center

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a number of auxiliary perks that aren’t exclusively the domain of the ultra-rich. Most of these perks are quantifiable, obliterating any doubt: The $450 annual fee is an investment that’ll pay for itself and then some if you use the benefits.

  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders have access to more than 600 airport lounges worldwide with the Priority Pass program, as well as Centurion and select Delta and Airspace lounges. American Express offers Select access, which means cardholders get complimentary access to lounges all over the world (and pay only $27 for guests). This access normally costs around $400 and is definitely worth it to anyone who flies overseas regularly.
  • $100 credit toward the Global Entry program: Global Entry is a government program that allows certain individuals “expedited clearance” upon re-entry to the United States. American Express can’t guarantee that cardholders will be approved — an extensive application and background check process are necessary to prove you aren’t a risk — but it will rebate the $100 application fee.
  • Up to $200 credit toward expenses on your favorite airline: Register your preferred airline with American Express to get refunded up to $200 per year on incidentals like baggage fees, change fees and in-flight meals.

Where The Platinum Card® from American Express shines

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great travel credit card for the right cardholder. Here are the perks of getting The Platinum Card® from American Express:

Killer signup bonus. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a signup bonus worth writing home about: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

EMV technology and no foreign transaction fees. Provided your overseas destination widely accepts American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great travel card for international travel. It has an EMV chip for more secure transactions, domestically and abroad, and no foreign transaction fees on your overseas purchases.

Luxury perks. Frequent travelers, especially those who travel overseas, will enjoy the luxury perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express. Between the incidentals credit, access to airline lounges all over the world and application fee reimbursement for the Global Entry program, it will be hard not to get used to traveling like a rock star.

Where The Platinum Card® from American Express falls short

Of course, this card isn’t for everyone. If you fit one of the below profiles better, you may want to consider one of the recommended cards.

You travel, but aren’t likely to use the travel perks.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
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on Chase's
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If you do travel, but you probably won’t apply for Global Entry or spend any time in an airline lounge, The Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t for you. The annual fee is simply too large to justify it. Instead, opt for a travel credit card with a lower annual fee and less luxurious perks, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point on every dollar spent elsewhere, plus an impressive signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. On top of that, if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months, you’ll get an additional 5,000 points. Rewards are best redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transferred to a partner program.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95, which is much more manageable for smaller travel budgets. It boasts no foreign transaction fees, so you can enjoy using this card overseas as well.

You want the perks, but you also want higher ongoing rewards.

Citibank Prestige Credit Card
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on Citibank's
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The Platinum Card® from American Express has great perks and a high signup bonus, but its ongoing rewards structure is relatively low. Instead, you might prefer the Citi Prestige® Card. It offers 3X points on airlines and hotels, 2X points on dining and entertainment and 1 point on every dollar spent elsewhere. It also has a signup bonus: 50,000 ThankYou points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account. Points are redeemable for a variety of rewards, including cash, travel, gift cards and merchandise.

If you’re worried about missing out on the perks, don’t! The Citi Prestige® Card boasts an annual $250 airline credit, a complimentary 4th night on all hotel stays, and access to luxury perks, like chauffeured cars and private jets. The card has an annual fee of $450 and no foreign transaction fees.

The bottom line: Should I get The Platinum Card® from American Express?

If you travel frequently and internationally — where American Express is widely accepted — The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great card. Provided you can stomach the high annual fee, you’ll be rewarded with luxury perks like airport lounge access and an annual incidentals credit. Enjoy traveling in style, we have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it.

  • Hugo Rodriguez

    Does anyone know if there are charges to use ATMs abroad with the amex platinum?

    • Hugo Rodriguez

      I checked, there are. Hefty too.

      • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

        You can use your Amex Platinum to get cash from an ATM by enrolling in Express Cash, but it’s expensive as all get out. There’s a 3% fee ($5 minimum, no maximum) plus any surcharges imposed by the ATM owner.

        You’re far better off using the Capital One 360 checking account, which has no foreign transaction fee and reimburses ATM surcharges.

  • Eric Gilbert

    The problem with the Centurion lounges is they do have one in Vegas (concourse D) but I can’t see how they will be successful in larger airports such as Miami being they would have to have multiple ones in different terminals such as terminal A, B, C, D, etc …Customers are not going to want to use a lounge then have to check in their luggage afterwards plus possibly walk a mile or more to get to their gate and go through TSA. I can no longer justify the 450.00 for this card. The Platinum card used to be prestigious now anyone can get one who is willing to pay the 450.00 annual fee. They used to let you in the Continental (United AIrlines ), US Airways/American and Delta and you could bring in two guests when the annual fee was 300.. Now that benefit is gone accept Delta and any guests you have to pay for. Furthermore, they only give you one dollar for every dollar you spend while competitor cards give you up to 3 points for every dollar you charge for gas. I am going to apply for the American Airlines card which has a 450.00 fee and allows you to use the US Airways and American lounges which are located in the terminal where you are flying out from.Not

  • Parkerthon

    I’ve come to the conclusion after going back and forth on this card, that it’s really aimed at people with a large amount of disposable income that like to travel and live well. The nicest perks are all really more like convenient VIP customer care services than freebies. This is not a freebie card and this is not a cashback/miles card really. I travel a lot and I know a number of people that have recommended this card to me that have fantastic stories about the perks, but since my wife and I have a young child, I’m passing for now because of the high annual fee and lack of exotic blow it out travel plans in our future. Amex knows the market it’s going after here and it isn’t people trying to score some free vacation.

  • Robert

    Need an AMEX platinum alternative. I am spending $350k to $500k a year with American Express credit cards and after 15 years as a loyal customer it is time to say goodbye. Let me start off by saying I swore by AMEX for years as the best credit card company out there, referred tons of my friends, clients and even did a case study about how great they where while at UCLA. Today was the straw that broke the camels back. Their customer service has been progressively getting worse over the years and their offerings have dwindled. Today the supervisor I spoke with could not have been more rude, insulting and less helpful. So, why be loyal to a company that does not seem to care about you as a customer. Are there any other premium cards that have come on the market? Has anybody had great experiences with Visa Black or Citi Prestige?

  • Verdkey2222

    The platinum concierge is a luxury not in the respect as they will be able to get un-obtainable tickets or reservations. Its an easy 1 stop shop for these things. You call, tell them a few restaurants that you want at what time, or events. They will call you with all of the options. They will actually book everything for you in advance, you then select what you want and they will cancel the rest. If you want the service you are referring to, you need to be invited to have the centurion card.

  • solomonshv

    i thought this card had no foreign transaction fee? they still charged you?

  • solomonshv

    my former employer spent nearly $1 million a year on supplies, travel and expenses for his business. and he never got the invitation either. they do however waive his annual fee on his business platinum card.

  • Eric Gilbert

    The problem with the Centurion lounges is they do have one in Vegas (concourse D) but I can’t see how they will be successful in larger airports such as Miami being they would have to have multiple ones in different terminals such as terminal A, B, C, D, etc …Customers are not going to want to use a lounge then have to check in their luggage afterwards plus possibly walk a mile or more to get to their gate and go through TSA. I can no longer justify the 450.00 for this card. The Platinum card used to be prestigious now anyone can get one who is willing to pay the 450.00 annual fee. They used to let you in the Continental (United AIrlines ), US Airways/American and Delta and you could bring in two guests when the annual fee was 300.. Now that benefit is gone accept Delta and any guests you have to pay for. Furthermore, they only give you one dollar for every dollar you spend while competitor cards give you up to 3 points for every dollar you charge for gas. I am going to apply for the American Airlines card which has a 450.00 fee and allows you to use the US Airways and American lounges which are located in the terminal where you are flying out from.

  • Guest

    Honestly the only reason I have this card is travel. I use it for entry to the lounges. I live in Dallas and American Express has a top notch lounge in the airport. Real food, real drinks, even mini spa treatments. The airline fees are useful as well when traveling with my family because it covers in-flight food purchases when we all fly in coach. And covering the global entry program fees is huge. There are also a slew of travel benefits not listed here. The 450 dollar price tag is large, but I would probably spend about that much anyways on an Admirals Club membership.

  • Darren vao

    my question had always been, if you are spending 250k a year on your card, does that 3700 you get back really matter??

  • Eric Westby

    False. United hasn’t allowed Priority Pass Select cardholders into United Clubs for three years.

  • RyAN LiNK

    I’ve also been frustrated with the Priority Pass Select, it’s pretty useless. I think only Delta lounges take Amex Platinum now.