The Platinum Card® from American Express has a hefty $450 annual fee, but if you are a frequent “luxury” traveler it can more than pay for itself. It is a general travel rewards card that offers the ability to redeem Membership Rewards points for merchandise gift cards, airline miles, car rentals or hotel points and free night vouchers.
The Platinum Card from American Express is not a credit card, it is a “Charge Card” that must be paid in full each month. The card has a nice sign up bonus of 40,000 points and offers one membership reward point for every dollar spent.
The real differentiator of this card is long list of luxury travel benefits you will receive, such as free airline lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts Program Benefit, $200 in airline fee credits, etc. (more details on these later in the review).
Sign up Bonus, Rewards and Transfer Options
The Platinum Card® from American Express has a sign up bonus of 40,000 points, when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. You will earn 1 membership reward point per dollar on all purchases and 2 membership reward points per dollar spent on travel when you book your travel online with American Express.
The membership rewards points earned with this card can either be used for travel, such as flights, hotels, cruises and vacation packages, or merchandise, dining, gift cards and statement credit. Although the best value for using membership rewards points is definitely the airline mile transfer option.
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 16 different airlines and 5 major hotel groups.
Airlines with Membership Rewards Transfer:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alitalia Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
- Asia Miles
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- EL AL Israel Airlines
- KLM / Air France Flying Blue
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
Hotel with Membership Rewards Transfer and Free Night Vouchers:
Transfer Membership Rewards Points to your Account with these hotels:
- Best Western Rewards (1 MR Point : 1 Best Western Point)
- Choice Privileges (1 MR Point : 1 Choice Privileges Point)
- Hilton HHonors (1 MR Point : 1.5 HHonors Points)
- Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts (23 MR Points : 1 Jumeirah Sirius Point)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (3 MR points : 1 Starpoint)
Or, Get a Voucher for Free Nights at these hotels:
- ARIA Resort & Casino
- Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
- Bellagio Las Vegas
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
- Caesars Palace Las Vegas
- Choice Privileges
- Destination Hotels & Resorts
- Fairmont, Raffles, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
- Harrah’s Las Vegas
- Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
- Loews Hotels
- Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
- Mandarin Oriental
- MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
- Omni Hotels
- Preferred Hotel Group
- Radisson Hotels & Resorts
- The Leading Hotels of the World
- The Mirage
- The Peninsula Hotels
- The Ritz-Carlton
- The Signature at MGM Grand
- Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
- Wynn Las Vegas
Rental Car Companies with Membership Rewards Benefit:
Points earned in the first year with the AMEX Platinum Card
Assume you spend $3,000 per month on the Credit Card in the first 12 months
+ 40,000 Membership Rewards Points – Bonus for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
+ 36,000 Membership Rewards Points – 1:1 ratio of Membership Rewards per dollar charged on the card.
= 76,000 Membership Rewards Points earned in the first year.
That is enough for at 3 domestic airline tickets, with a few points left over. Possibly even more if you transfer when American Express is offering an airline transfer bonus (they often have limited time transfer bonuses ranging from 30-40% to Delta and British Airways).
However, the points are just one bonus with the Platinum Card. The BIG bonus is the long list of premium travel benefits mentioned previously.
Apply here with this secure link to the The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Additional Benefits of the American Express Platinum Card
In additional to the ability to earn Membership Rewards Points, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers the following benefits:
- Airline Lounge/Club Access –
American Admirals Club, Delta Sky Club, US Airways Club – This will provide club access for you, your spouse, and two children under 21 or if you are not traveling with your family it will provide access for you and two guests.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit –
You will get a statement credit for all airline fees such as baggage fees, food/drinks purchased on board, ticket change fees, award fees, etc.. This is even a great feature for flyers with elite status – the baggage fees won’t be an issue, but the more you fly the more likely you have been hit with a hefty change fee at some point over the course of the year. Not even elite flyers are immune to those.
- Centurion Lounge –
Amreican Express’s high end airport lounge. Now open in New York LaGuardia, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami Airports.
- Gold Status @ Hilton and Starwood –
Receive complimentary Gold status with both Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors
- No Foreign Transaction Fees –
This will save you almost 3% on every dollar you spend internationally.
- Fee Credit for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry –
Receive a statement credit every 5 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓TM ($85) with an eligible Platinum Card.
- Complimentary Companion Airline Ticket –
Receive a companion ticket offer when you purchase a qualifying, full-fare First or Business-Class ticket through Platinum Travel Service. Note – full fare tickets are very expensive, so this feature may not be very useful.
- Return Protection –
If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item.
- Fraud Protection
- Purchase Protection
- Platinum Dining
- Concierge Services
- Event Ticket Protection Plan
Our take on the American Express Platinum Card.
Is it right for you?
This is the best “Luxury” Travel Rewards Credit Card on the market. If you like to travel in luxury, this card will pay for itself immediately with the Airline Club/Lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts program, and $200 airline fee credit. The lounge access alone can justify the annual fee – a lounge pass to one airline alone will cost anywhere from $300 – $450 depending on you level of elite status.
For international travelers, the credit for global entry and no foreign transaction fee features are great and further help justify the high annual fee.
Apply here…with this secure link to the Application Page for The Platinum Card® from American Express.
If you are just in it for the Membership Rewards points, and all of the luxury travel features are not worth it to you, then don’t pay the $450 fee, go with the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, as it will allow you to rack up a lot of membership rewards points faster.
Know Your Credit Score:
Before you apply for any credit card, you should make sure you have an understanding of your credit score and credit history. Most Travel Credit Card Companies require you to have a strong credit score, ideally they will prefer a FICO score of at least 700.
Once you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will perform a credit inquiry. Be aware that credit inquiries will affect your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card (or any type of loan for that matter), the inquiry will reduce your score anywhere from 2-5 points.
By law, you are allowed to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year. The free annual copies of your credit report will give you all of the data that provides the foundation for your credit score, but the Credit Reports don’t provide the Credit Score itself. You will need both your Credit Report and Credit Score to get the full view of your credit situation.
Here are four links to get your Free Credit Score: (Note: CreditReport.com and TransUnion will ask for credit card information to participate in a trial offer, but will not charge you until after the 7 day free trial period. After 6 days you can either continue with the service or cancel and keep your credit score for free. The third and Fourth options, CreditSesame and CreditKarma do not require a credit card and truly are Free.)
- CreditReport.com Free Credit Score
- TransUnion 3 Bureau Credit Report and Free Score
- CreditSesame (no card required – provides Experian Score)
- CreditKarma (no card required – provides TransUnion Score)
Here is the link to get your Free Credit Report:
Finally, please only apply for any travel credit card if you pay your bills in full each month. Carrying a balance on any travel credit card will eliminate the benefit of the travel rewards due to the higher interest rates associated with these cards.