American Express Platinum Review: Luxury Isn’t Cheap

For a steep price, the original premium card gives you 5X points on certain flights and hotel stays, hundreds of dollars a year in credit for travel and shopping, and a suite of perks for high-end lifestyles.
Paul SoucySep 2, 2021

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The rewards are solid and the perks are outstanding, but the annual fee can't be ignored.

American Express Platinum Credit Card

on American Express's website

Annual fee

$695

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Bonus categories
  • Transfer partners
  • Luxury perks
  • Lounge membership
  • Automatic elite status

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Complicated rewards
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Flat-rate rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Unlimited 2 miles on every dollar spent

For a fraction of the annual fee, this card gives you a high rewards rate on everything. It has a sign-up bonus, and miles are redeemable for statement credit against any travel expense.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$695

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

Even within the ranks of — which we can roughly define as those with annual fees of $250 or more — some cards are more premium than others. Many of them exist primarily to give regular folks a little taste of the high-end lifestyle. Others, however, are designed to make that high-end lifestyle tastier for people who are already living it.

is most definitely the latter.

The card's annual fee, which increased from $550 on July 1, 2021, is among the steepest in the industry (existing card holders are spared the fee increase until January 1, 2022). But that fee unlocks an extensive portfolio of benefits focused on travel, entertainment, dining, retail and wellness. It's not about saving money. It's about getting more for the money you spend. If you spend a lot and expect a lot, then the original luxury card may be for you.

To view rates and fees of , see .

Card type: and.

Annual fee: .

Bonus offer: 

Rewards:

Membership Rewards points are worth a baseline value of about 0.5 cents to 1 cent each, depending on how you redeem them. Travel and gift card redemptions are generally the most valuable.

Points are also transferable to and can be worth even more if redeemed strategically after being transferred to other travel loyalty programs. Travelers can often get outsized value for their points by taking advantage of the transfer options, and NerdWallet values when redeemed this way.

Interest rate: See terms.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Additional benefits:

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With most travel cards, the rewards you earn for your spending are the signature feature. Not with . To be sure, the bonus offer for new cardholders is lucrative, but even earning 5X points on eligible flights and hotel stays, you'll have to book an awful lot of travel before you earn back that fat annual fee. The bulk of this card's value lies instead in its annual statement credits for specific purchases, along with automatic upgrades, premium services, exclusive access and other "soft" benefits.

offers unmatched access to airport lounges worldwide — more than 1,300 and counting. They include:

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If "getting your money's worth" from a card means that every dollar you spend has to make its way back to your pocket in the form of spending rewards, credits or discounts, you'll probably find plenty of reasons to pass on . The most obvious potential deal-breakers for some are:

In a world where many travel cards charge less than $100 a year for excellent rewards and benefits, and $450 is more or less standard for premium cards, a annual fee could push anyone off the fence into "no" territory on this card. That's especially true considering that so many of the benefits on aren't easily quantifiable. How much is late checkout worth to you? Or a spa package and breakfast? How about an exclusive opportunity to spend $8,900 for VIP seating at the Grand Prix de Monaco?

Certain travel spending excepted, you won't earn more than 1 point per dollar with . Other cards concentrate more of their value in spending rewards. The popular, for example, gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed for any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent apiece. You also get a solid sign-up bonus and reimbursement for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee for an annual fee of just .

The $200 annual credit for airline fees and incidentals was a great deal at one time, but the competition has improved on it. The offers $300 a year in credit for any travel expense — not just incidental fees and not just on airlines. The gives you $250 a year.

And while the full list of annual statement credits are, combined, worth more than the annual fee, you actually need to use them to get any benefit. That might not be easy to do if you don’t live in a city with Equinox gyms or an airport served by CLEAR. The credits aren’t going to save you much if you’re enticed to spend more on luxuries just to use the credits once.

The most prominent competitor of among premium travel cards is the .

You can. You can also see how this card matches up against other travel card alternatives by checking out our list of .

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If you're an occasional traveler who flies coach and stays at the Holiday Inn, isn't going to magically get you into first class and the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton at no extra charge.

For many, the usability of the card's many annual credits may make it or break it. If you can maximize the credits, they can more than make up for the card's steep annual fee. But if you won't be able to make use of many of the annual credits that come with the card, it may not make sense for you.

If you're a frequent-to-constant traveler who doesn't mind spending money for quality and would love to be rewarded for doing so, then it might be a perfect fit for your wallet.

NerdWallet team members who carry say using the exclusive perks is the key to getting your money's worth:

To view rates and fees of , see . To view rates and fees of the , see .

Information related to the has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Frequently asked questions