Who Is the Platinum Card From American Express Good For?
Though American Express has recently introduced a line of EveryDay cards, aimed at the more run-of-the-mill credit-card-holding public, it was previously known for its premium cards, which conferred lavish benefits on big spenders. And the Platinum Card from American Express is one of the most popular holdovers from this heyday, particularly for people looking for travel rewards from their credit card.
The Platinum Card comes with a high annual fee of $450, which is among the highest fees for travel reward cards. Even the United MileagePlus Club Card is less, at $395. But the Platinum card heaps on exclusive benefits to make it worth your while.
This card, like many older American Express cards, is a charge card, which means you must pay off your balance in full each month. If your goal is to earn travel rewards, you are probably already doing this, but its worth noting.
none; charge card cannot carry a balance
The sign-up bonus on this card is quite generous, considering that many cards with high annual fees and valuable subscription benefits typically offer little to no bonus.
Generally, you can get the card with 40,000 Membership Rewards points after a $3,000 minimum spend in the first three months after the account is opened.
- 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on travel purchased through American Express
- 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent
What Do Your Points Get You?
In corporate settings, American Express is basically synonymous with travel, and its easy to see why. The Platinum card sets you up to have an upgraded experience wherever you go, regardless of what airline you use to get there. But using points to book free travel through the American Express Membership Rewards network is just as easy and rewarding.
You have two options for using points to pay for travel. Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can book directly through the American Express website for any flight on any airline using the Pay with Points option. You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to any of the Membership Rewards partner airlines, and every month the program offers a different transfer bonus for a particular partner. Sometimes they’re as high as 67 percent.
- $200 credit on airline fees each year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs
- Priority Pass lounge access membership
- Credit for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry membership
- Discount on companion ticket in business or first class on 25 partner airlines
- Chip technology
- Pay with Points to get flights on airlines that aren’t transfer partners
- Pay with Points option gives $0.0125/point value for Platinum cardholders
- Most transfers take effect instantaneously, with 48 hours for long transfers
- Ability to link other individuals frequent flyer accounts to your membership
- Rewards account for transfers to family and friends
- Free advances up to 60,000 points that must be earned back within the next year
- Points only transfer at a 1:1 ratio
- Card must be paid off in full every month
How Far Do Your Dollars Go?
When you use your American Express Membership Rewards points to Pay with Points for any flight on any airline, you get a 25 percent bump on the value of your points over the 1-cent-per-dollar return on your spend typically provided for Membership Rewards points.
Using points on flights with partners, you can get anywhere from around a 1-cent-per-dollar value on domestic flights on partners such as Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Virgin America during peak periods to a 10-cent-per-dollar value on such high-end redemptions as Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines long-haul flights in first class suites.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
- Automatic Starwood Gold Status
- Free WiFi with Boingo
- American Express travel services
- Benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts properties
- Access to By Invitation Only events
- Platinum card concierge service
- Extended warranty
- Departures magazine subscription
- Purchase and return protection
- Partnerships for additional benefits on car rentals