BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSAMERICAN EXPRESS PLATINUM REVIEW: LUXURY ISN’T CHEAP

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 Soucy Author Avatar
Jun 13, 2024 10:22 a.m. PDT
Edited by
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The Bottom Line

5.0

NerdWallet rating

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

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual Fee
$695
Rewards Rate
1x-5x
Points
Intro Offer
80,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended credit score
Annual Fee
$695
Rewards Rate
1x-5x
Points
Intro Offer
80,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Rewards rate

    1x-5x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: See Pay Over Time APR

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

View Rates and Fees
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $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®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Bonus categories

Transfer partners

Luxury perks

Lounge membership

Automatic elite status

Cons

Has annual fee

Complicated rewards

Requires good/excellent credit

Detailed Review

Even within the ranks of "premium" cards — 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is most definitely the latter.

The card's $695 annual fee, which increased from $550 in 2021, is among the highest in the industry. 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express: Basics

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Card type: Travel and premium.

Annual fee: $695.

Bonus offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards:

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 spent per year.

  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

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 Membership Rewards as much as 2 cents each when redeemed this way.

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus (1:1 ratio).

  • AeroMexico (1:1.6 ratio).

  • Air Canada. (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France/KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • ANA (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • British Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Cathay Pacific (1:1 ratio)

  • Delta Air Lines (1:1 ratio).

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Iberia Plus (1:1 ratio).

  • JetBlue Airways (2.5:2 ratio).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Qatar Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways (1:1 ratio).

Hotels

  • Choice Hotels (1:1 ratio).

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts (1:2 ratio).

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (1:1 ratio).

For details on transfer ratios, see AmEx's website.

Interest rate: See terms.

🤓Nerdy Tip

This card has an unusual payment structure due to its history as a charge card. Unlike traditional credit cards, charge cards don't let you carry a balance and require instead that pay your bill in full every month. However, this card offers two different features — "Plan It®" and "Pay Over Time" — that allow it to function more like a traditional card. Plan It® lets you set up a payment plan for eligible purchases, during which you pay a monthly fee instead of interest charges. With this feature, you know how much you'll pay each month. "Pay Over Time" lets you finance eligible purchases over a term with interest. There is a limit to the amount you can finance with a Pay Over Time plan. Purchases that aren't covered by Plan It® or Pay Over Time must be paid in full.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Additional benefits:

  • More than $1,500 in annual statement credits toward eligible purchases.

  • Access to airport lounges through the American Express Global Lounge Collection.

  • Cell phone protection.

  • Terms apply.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$695
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
See Pay Over Time APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$550
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
22.49%-29.49% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$250
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
See Pay Over Time APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Benefits and Perks

With most travel cards, the rewards you earn for your spending are the signature feature. Not with The Platinum Card® from American Express. To be sure, the welcome 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.

Automatic credits

  • $200 a year for airline incidental fees. This is reimbursement for things like checked-bag fees or in-flight refreshments, but not airfare or upgrades. It applies to a single airline you choose when you enroll; you can change airlines once a year.

  • $200 a year for hotel bookings. This credit applies to prepaid bookings through American Express Travel at the more than 1,700 hotels that are The Hotel Collection (two-night minimum stay required) or Fine Hotels + Resorts properties.

  • $200 a year for Uber. These credits are issued on a monthly basis — $15 each month and $35 in December — good for rides or eats orders in the U.S. They don't roll over; if you don't use them in the month they're issued, you lose them. You also get Uber VIP status, if you live in a city where that matters.

  • $300 a year for Equinox gym memberships. You can use this credit on Equinox memberships and the on-demand fitness app Equinox+.

  • $100 a year at Saks Fifth Avenue. When you enroll you get $50 worth of credit for in-store or online purchases from January through June, and another $50 for purchases from July through December.

  • Fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry.

  • $189 a year for Clear. Speed through airport security and get into stadiums more quickly with a credit that’s enough to cover Clear’s annual cost.

  • $240 a year for digital entertainment. Get up to $20 per month toward eligible subscriptions for Peacock, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Enrollment required.

  • Terms apply.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you're an Equinox+ member and you use The Platinum Card® from American Express to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike, you'll receive a $300 statement credit.

Airport lounge access

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers unmatched access to airport lounges worldwide — more than 1,300 and counting. They include:

  • The issuer's own Centurion Lounges and International American Express lounges.

  • Delta Sky Clubs, when flying Delta.

  • Priority Pass Select lounges (enrollment required).

  • Lounges in the Plaza Premium, Escape and Airspace networks.

Hotel benefits

  • Marriott. You can enroll to upgrade to Gold Elite status in Marriott's Bonvoy rewards program without meeting any stay requirements.

  • Hilton. You get automatic Gold status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program when you enroll.

  • The Hotel Collection. Book a stay of at least two nights at one of these properties (search for locations here), and you'll get an automatic upgrade, if available, and a $100 credit for dining, spa, resort or other activities at the hotel.

  • Fine Hotels & Resorts. Book a stay at one of these ultra-high-end places (search for locations here) and get upgrades and amenities that the issuer says are worth an average of $550 per stay. They include automatic room upgrades, if available, early check-in, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and amenities unique to each property.

Other goodies

  • Cell phone protection. This increasingly popular benefit joins the card’s already robust return and purchase protections, along with extended warranties. Coverage goes up to $800 per claim, or $1,600 (two claims) per 12-month period. Each approved claim carries a $50 deductible. Terms apply.

  • Concierge service. Cardholders get 24-hour access to concierge services by phone.

  • Global Dining Access by Resy. Special access to reservations and events, like chef meet-and-greets at high-end restaurants, when you add your card to your Resy profile.

  • By Invitation Only. This program offers members-only VIP experiences at events such as Wimbledon and the Kentucky Derby. It's important to note that your card only gives you the ability to buy tickets for these experiences — it doesn't get you in for free.

  • Preferred Seating. Your card may let you jump the line to buy tickets for select sports or cultural events.

Drawbacks and Considerations

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 Platinum Card® from American Express. The most obvious potential deal-breakers for some are:

That annual fee

In a world where many travel cards charge less than $100 a year for excellent rewards and benefits, and even other premium cards charge much less, a $695 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 The Platinum Card® from American Express 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?

Limited rewards earning

Certain travel spending excepted, you won't earn more than 1 point per dollar with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Other cards concentrate more of their value in spending rewards. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, for example, gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases. Miles can be redeemed for any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent apiece. You also get a $300 travel credit on purchases made through Capital One Travel, a solid sign-up bonus, and reimbursement for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee — all for an annual fee of $395.

Limited-use credits

The $200 annual credit for airline fees and incidentals was a great deal at one time, but the competition has improved on it. The $300 travel credit on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is much more flexible. And even more flexible, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers $300 a year in credit for any travel expense — not just incidental fees and not just through a travel portal.

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.

Platinum vs. Sapphire Reserve

The most prominent competitor of The Platinum Card® from American Express among premium travel cards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You can read our comparison of the two cards here. You can also see how this card matches up against other travel card alternatives by checking out our list of the best credit cards.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

If you're an occasional traveler who flies coach and stays at the Holiday Inn, The Platinum Card® from American Express 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.

• • •

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

Coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per Eligible Card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.


Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 spent per year); 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotel purchases booked through amextravel.com; 2 points per dollar on other travel expenses booked through amextravel.com; and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. Terms apply. Keep in mind that the spending rewards provide only a portion of this card's overall value. To get the most value for your hefty annual fee, you'll want to make use of the card's extensive list of perks.

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers some lucrative perks and benefits. These include access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide; an annual $200 airline fee credit; VIP status and credits with Uber; elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotel loyalty programs; concierge service; reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees; and more. More about the card's benefits.

The card has a $695 annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express requires good to excellent credit to qualify. This is typically defined as a credit score of 690 or better. Issuers will usually also consider your current debts, income, and other pertinent information.

Cardholders have access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, including American Express Centurion Lounges, International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Priority Pass Select lounges and lounges in the Plaza Premium, Escape and Airspace networks.

The Platinum Card® from American Express was introduced as a charge card, meaning your balance was due in full every month. However, cardholders can now carry a balance on certain purchases with American Express's Pay Over Time feature, which allows the card to function more like a traditional credit card.

The American Express® Gold Card may be the better choice if you're primarily interested in earning rewards on everyday spending. The Platinum Card® from American Express is geared toward travelers who want VIP perks. Gold has a significantly lower annual fee, too: $250, compared with $695 for Platinum. See our comparison article for more details.

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