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American Express Platinum: Why It’s Worth the Fee

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American Express Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express Editor's Rating: 3.4 / 5

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 sign-up 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply

Annual Fee

$450

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • Purchase: N/A

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards ® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card. ®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

At a glance
Annual fees$450
Foreign transaction feeNone
Rewards programMembership Rewards points to use for travel, dining, merchandise, etc.
Signup bonusEarn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply

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 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel; 2 points per dollar spent on other trips booked through AmEx; and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are redeemable for a multitude of things, including travel and merchandise. It also has a great sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms 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, meaning the $450 annual fee could pay for itself if you use the benefits.

  • Complimentary airport lounge access: Cardholders have access to more than 900 airport lounges, via the American Express Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion, Delta, Priority Pass and Airspace lounges.
  • $100 credit toward the Global Entry program: Global Entry is a government program that allows 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:

Sign-up bonus. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a competitive sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

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 because it has 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
Learn More
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 sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 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 $0 for 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
Learn More
The Platinum Card® from American Express has great perks and a high sign-up 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 sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.. 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.