Review: American Express Platinum Card (US)

As a Canadian, if you haven’t already entered the US credit card game through either nabbing an ITIN, or via Nova Credit, you’re missing out on a lot of potential credit card points and benefits. One of the foremost cards available in the American market is The Platinum Card from American Express

With its impressive benefits and rewards program, this card is designed for high net worth individuals who are looking for luxury and convenience. From access to exclusive airport lounges, to concierge services, the Platinum card offers a range of perks that make it a popular choice for frequent travelers and those who value high-end experiences. 

In this review, we will delve into the features, benefits, and drawbacks of the American Express Platinum credit card to help you determine whether it is the right choice for you (hint: we think the answer should be an emphatic “YES” 😉).

Overview

Welcome Bonus

The welcome bonus is one of the most attractive features of the American Express Platinum card (US). The welcome bonus offers for the Amex Platinum card can vary — depending on your personal information, you may see 1 of several different available offers. In the past we have seen the welcome bonus offer on this card fluctuate between 75,000 and 150,000 Membership Rewards points, so keep that in mind before you apply. 

The current publicly available offer is: 

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
American Express Platinum Card (US)

The American Express Platinum card (US) earns Membership Rewards and offers cardholders over $1,000 in annual benefits.

Check out our American Express Platinum (US) card review for more details.

BONUS
80,000 Membership Rewards
MINSPEND
$6,000
NET VALUE
$1,065+
ANNUAL FEE
$695
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

However, just because there’s a current offer below 100,000 points, doesn’t mean you can’t find other offers elsewhere. Sometimes the offer is different when going through different channels, or via a referral link for example. 

Earning Rates

The American Express Platinum credit card offers generous earning rates across a variety of spending categories.

Here are the current earning rates on the American Express Platinum credit card:

  • 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
  • 1x point on all other eligible purchases.

The 5x points earning rate on flights and prepaid hotels is particularly attractive for frequent travelers, as it allows cardholders to quickly accumulate points that can be used towards future travel expenses. Additionally, American Express regularly offers limited-time earning promotions and bonuses, allowing cardholders to earn even more points for certain purchases or spending thresholds.

It’s important to note that not all purchases will qualify for earning points, so it’s important to review the terms and conditions of the card to understand what is eligible. Overall, the American Express Platinum credit card offers strong earning rates for travel-related spending, making it a popular choice for those who frequently travel for business or leisure.

Annual Fee

The biggest drawback of the American Express Platinum credit card is its astronomical annual fee of $695. While this fee may seem steep, the card’s extensive range of benefits and rewards can easily make up for it (including up to $400+ in statement credits discussed below). Additionally, the card’s earning rates and welcome bonus can help cardholders quickly accumulate points. 

Overall, the American Express Platinum credit card’s annual fee is a justifiable tradeoff for the numerous perks and benefits that it offers to big spenders and frequent travelers.

Benefits

Below are some of the most notable Amex Platinum benefits (not exhaustive by any means).

Annual Statement Credits

The American Express Platinum credit card offers several annual credits that can help offset the card’s annual fee. These credits include (but are not limited to):

  • Hotel Credit – Get $200 back in statement credits each year on select prepaid hotel bookings through American Express Travel. Book through Fine Hotels & Resorts (minimum one night stay), or the Hotel Collection (minimum two night stay). 
  • Airline Fee Credit – Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by airlines, such as baggage fees and in-flight purchases (must pre-select one select qualifying airline).
  • Uber Credits – Up to $200 in annual Uber (credits ($15 per month, plus an additional $20 in December) that can be used for rides or Uber Eats orders (USA only).
  • Digital Entertainment Credit – Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. 
  • Saks Fifth Avenue Credits – Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for purchases made at Saks Fifth Avenue (divided into two $50 statement credits, one for January through June and one for July through December).
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit – Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.
  • Clear® Credit – CLEAR® uses unique attributes, such as eyes or fingerprints, to digitally verify identity to help its members move faster through security at select airports nationwide. You can cover the cost of a CLEAR membership with up to $189 in statement credits per year after you pay for CLEAR with your Platinum Card.
Example of using Amex Airline Credit on JetBlue airways

These statement credits can help cardholders offset the annual fee and make the card more valuable for frequent travelers. It’s important to note that these credits may have certain restrictions and limitations (for example the Uber credits must be used in the USA), so it’s important to review the terms and conditions of the card to fully understand how they work.

Airport Lounge Access

The Centurion American Express Lounge in Denver.

The American Express Platinum credit card provides cardholders with access to a range of exclusive airport lounges around the world, including the popular Centurion Lounges. In addition, cardholders can also access the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes partner lounges such as Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select Lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Plaza Premium Lounges. 

These lounges typically offer a range of amenities, including complimentary food and beverages, Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating. The Centurion Lounges, such as the Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas, in particular are known for their high-end experience, with features such as signature cocktails and gourmet cuisine. Some lounges also offer additional services such as shower facilities and spa treatments for an additional fee. 

Overall, the expansive global airport lounge access provided by the American Express Platinum credit card can make traveling more comfortable and convenient for frequent flyers.

Amex Offers

If you are a holder of a credit card issued by American Express, you are likely already with the lucrative Amex offers. These offers will appear on your card dashboard from time to time, with rebates and deals on shopping, dining, travel, and more.  

Related: Amex Offers: Earn Rewards and Cash Back

Complimentary Loyalty Status: Hotel and Rental Car

Amex Platinum cardholders are granted automatic complimentary status with several different hotel and rental car loyalty programs, including:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status 
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards
  • Avis Preferred
  • National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive

While Marriott and Hilton Gold aren’t much, and rental car status isn’t hard to come by (hint: status match), these benefits are certainly worthwhile for someone looking to hold a smaller number of cards and achieve the maximum value possible. 

On the other hand, if you’re like us and tend to chase higher status tiers with Marriott through holding multiple Bonvoy cards and elite night promotions, the above benefits can be less significant for you.

Insurance Coverage

The American Express Platinum Credit Card offers a range of strong insurance coverage for its cardholders. Here are some of the main types of insurance coverage that come with the card:

  • Travel Accident Insurance: This coverage provides up to $500,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage while traveling on a common carrier such as a plane, train, or bus.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If a round-trip is paid for entirely with your eligible card and a covered reason delays your trip more than 6 hours, this coverage can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased with your same eligible card, up to $500 per trip, and to a maximum 2 claims per card per 12 consecutive month period. 
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance: If a trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason such as illness, injury, or severe weather, this insurance can provide reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses, up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period. 
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: If a cardholder’s checked or carry-on baggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, this insurance can provide reimbursement up to $3,000 per trip.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: This coverage provides protection against theft or damage to a rental car when the cardholder pays for the rental with their Amex Platinum card. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Coverage is not available for vehicles rented in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand.
  • Premium Global Assist Hotline: This service offers cardholders 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial, and other select emergency coordination and assistance services when traveling more than 100 miles from home. Emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost through this hotline.

It’s important to note that terms and conditions apply to all insurance coverage provided with the Amex Platinum card, so cardholders should carefully review the details of their coverage to understand any limitations, exclusions, or requirements. Additionally, some coverage may require enrollment or activation before the benefits can be accessed.

Amex “Do Anything” Concierge

The American Express Platinum Credit Card offers a concierge service to its cardholders, which provides personalized assistance with a wide range of tasks, from making restaurant reservations to booking travel and entertainment experiences. Here are some key features of the Amex Platinum concierge service:

  • 24/7 Assistance: The concierge service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be accessed via phone, email, or online chat.
  • Personalized Service: The concierge service assigns a dedicated representative to each cardholder, who can assist with a variety of tasks and can even make personalized recommendations based on the cardholder’s preferences.
  • Travel Assistance: The concierge service can help with travel-related tasks such as booking flights, hotels, and car rentals, as well as providing recommendations for local activities and experiences.
  • Event Planning: The concierge service can assist with planning special events, from arranging a private dinner to booking tickets to a popular show.
  • Dining Reservations: The concierge service can help cardholders secure reservations at some of the most exclusive restaurants in the world, even during peak times.

Overall, the Amex Platinum concierge service provides a high level of personalized assistance to cardholders, helping them save time and access unique experiences that may otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Learn more about Amex Concierge Services here.

How Can I Justify the Amex Platinum Annual Fee?

Although the annual fee is steep, it isn’t hard to justify paying, particularly in the first year of card membership. Let’s do the math.

Value (Minimum)
Welcome Bonus (150K MR)+$1,500
Hotel Credit+$200
Airline Fee Credit+$400 ($200 per calendar year)
Annual Fee-$695
Lounge AccessPriceless
Flexing when the check arrivesAlso priceless
Net Value$1,405

At a very conservative estimate of 1 cent per point, we still come out with a net value of $1,405. Most savvy travel hackers would have no problem redeeming 150k MR points for $3,000 of value, which would instead be a net value of $2,905. 

However, I wanted to use this conservative estimate to reinforce the fact that even for someone who doesn’t travel, it can be a no-brainer to sign up for this card, as long as you can meet the minimum spend requirements of the card.

Redeeming Membership Rewards Points with the Amex Platinum Card

American Express Membership Rewards is one of the most flexible points travel programs and currencies available in both Canada and the United States.

Each Membership Reward is worth on average, 2 cents (USD), thanks to its numerous airline and hotel transfer partners, including:

  • Airlines: Aer Lingus AerClub, Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, All Nippon Airways Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Delta SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Transferring to one of these partners typically garners the highest value for your points. Transfers occur instantly or up to 48 hours at most for most partners.  

Learn more: Amex Membership Rewards: Earn & Redeem Effectively

Competitors to the Platinum Card from American Express

In our opinion, the primary competitors to the Amex Platinum card are the Amex Business Platinum card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve (Visa), and the Capital One Venture X (Visa). Several of these options provide comparable, albeit slightly lesser benefits for travel. It’s also worth considering the higher merchant acceptance worldwide of Visa as opposed to Amex as a credit card issuer. 

Amex PlatinumAmex Business PlatinumChase Sapphire ReserveCapital One Venture X Rewards
Earn Rate5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel. 

5X points on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com.

1X points on other purchases.
5X points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com.

1.5X points on eligible purchases in key business categories at construction suppliers, electronic retailers, software providers and more. Cap Applies. 

1.5X points on eligible purchases of $5K or more

1X points on other purchases.
Earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards

Earn 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.

Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
10X Miles on hotels & rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

5X Miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel

2X Miles on all other purchases, every day
Welcome Bonus and Spend Requirement

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards upon spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards upon spending $15,000 in the first 3 months

Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards upon spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Earn 75,000 Capital One Rewards upon spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Annual Fee$695$695$550$395
Net Points Value$1,065$2,605$470$993
Travel Credit$200 Hotel Credit and $200 Airline Fee Credit$200 Airline Fee Credit, $400 Dell Credit and $120 Wireless Credit$300 travel credit (flexible statement credit)$300 towards bookings through CapitalOne travel.
Lounge AccessCenturion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, and Airspace LoungesCenturion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, and Airspace LoungesPriority PassCapital One, Priority Pass, and Plaza Premium
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNoneNoneNone

Amex Business Platinum

American Express Business Platinum Card (US)

The American Express Business Platinum card (US) earns Membership Rewards and offers cardholders over $1000 in annual statement credits.

BONUS
150,000 Membership Rewards
MINSPEND
$15,000
NET VALUE
$2,605+
ANNUAL FEE
$695
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

The American Express Business Platinum card (US) is similar to the Platinum card on many levels, and as such can be considered a strong competitor. As implied in the name, the Business Platinum card offers some features that make it more attractive to business owners, namely 1.5X earn rate on eligible business purchases and large purchases of $5,000 or more. 

Moreover, the statement credits on the Business Platinum are geared towards businesses rather than travel, including the $400 Dell credit and $120 Wireless Credit.

The Business Platinum also generally comes with a larger bonus along with a larger spending requirement, albeit the annual fee on both cards is currently equal. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a premium credit card that offers a number of benefits including complimentary Chase Sapphire Lounge access for the cardholder and up to two additional guests.

BONUS
60,000 Ultimate Rewards
MINSPEND
$4,000
NET VALUE
$470+
ANNUAL FEE
$550
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card (US) and American Express Platinum card are two of the most popular premium travel rewards credit cards on the market, and for good reason. There are some notable distinctions that may help you decide between the two. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns points in Chase Ultimate Rewards, while the American Express Platinum earns points in the Membership Rewards program. Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to 11 airline and 3 hotel programs, which is extremely flexible, albeit not quite as many options as the Amex Platinum.  

The earning rates are also slightly different, with the Sapphire Reserve offering 3x points on dining and travel, offering a more flexible earning category than the Amex Platinum. 

On the other hand, the CSR includes Priority Pass lounge access, but lacks the global lounge collection offered by Amex including the Centurion Lounge network.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve includes a $300 annual statement credit which can be redeemed flexibly towards a wide array of travel purchases, directly against your statement.   

All this comes with a slightly lower annual fee of $550. 

If you are confident in maximizing all the available benefits and credits of the Amex Platinum, it can be the better card, but if you value flexibility and simplicity, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has something to say.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards

The Capital One Venture X Rewards card earns Capital One Miles and offers unlimited airport lounge access for the cardholder and their authorized users. The card also offers an annual $300 USD travel credit to be used on the Capital One Travel Portal.

Click to learn how to obtain and optimize the Capital One Venture X Rewards card as a Canadian!

BONUS
75,000 Capital One Rewards
MINSPEND
$4,000
NET VALUE
$993+
ANNUAL FEE
$395
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

The Capital One Venture X Rewards card (US) is a premium rewards credit card offered by Capital One which packs almost as strong a punch as the Amex Platinum, but with a significantly lower annual fee of $395. With this reduced fee, you still get a $300 travel credit towards Capital One Travel bookings, and strong lounge access with Priority Pass and Plaza Premium. You will miss out on the Centurion Lounge Network however, among others. 

The earn rate on the Venture X is strong, with 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. You also get an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on everything else. Consider that the value of Capital One Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards is similar, and Capital One has nearly the same plethora of airline and hotel partners to transfer to (18 vs 21, respectively). 

If you’re looking for a go-to premium travel card that is slightly more affordable than the Amex Platinum, the Venture X may be just the card for you. 

Conclusion

The American Express Platinum is a contender for the most premium rewards card in the US market, as evident from the preferred metal card design. If you are a frequent traveler and hotelier that can make use of the statement credits and benefits, this card is a screaming deal, particularly when you factor in the welcome bonus.

American Express Platinum credit card next to a golf tee.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to both the Canadian and American credit card markets, you have the privileged dilemma of having to choose between this card and the Canadian version. Perhaps a comparison we’ll cover in a future article! 

Frequently Asked Questions

The annual fee for the card ranges from $550 to $695 depending on the current offer and additional card options.

Cardholders earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, and 1x points on all other eligible purchases.

The card offers a range of benefits, including airport lounge access, airline fee credits, Uber credits, Saks Fifth Avenue credits, travel insurance, concierge services, and much more.

Cardholders can access a range of lounges, including the popular Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass lounges, and Airspace Lounges.

No, the American Express Platinum card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Cardholders can receive up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.

While there is no official minimum credit score required, typically a score of 700 or higher is recommended for approval.

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the art of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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