AMEX Platinum Review: Travel Like You’re Rich (Even If You’re Not)

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AMEX Platinum Review: Travel Like You’re Rich (Even If You’re Not)

Joseph HostetlerAMEX Platinum Review: Travel Like You’re Rich (Even If You’re Not)Million Mile Secrets Team

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Right now, you can earn 60,000 valuable AMEX Membership Rewards points when you open The Platinum Card® from American Express and meet the minimum spending requirements.  That’s enough for a Business Class flight to Europe, 2 round-trip flights to Hawaii, or free nights at luxury Hilton hotels that can be worth thousands!

That said, it comes with a hefty $550 annual fee, NOT waived the first year.  But it also includes benefits that can more than outweigh the cost, even for a casual traveler.  So getting the card could make sense for lots of folks!

You can apply here for The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Want to See Buckingham Palace?  Use AMEX Membership Rewards for a Free Flight to London AND a Hotel Nearby!

I’ll dig into all the perks of this lucrative card and welcome bonus.  And help you decide!

The AMEX Platinum Welcome Bonus Is Worth $1,000+

Apply Here:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points is enough for flights to:

Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Fly to Peru and Explore the Quaint Town of Cusco

Some of those flights could cost thousands of dollars otherwise!  In that case, your bonus would definitely make the annual fee worth paying for the first year!

How to Earn Points With the AMEX Platinum Card

With the AMEX Platinum, you’ll earn:

  • 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through AMEX Travel)
  • 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked on AMEX Travel
  • 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point per $1 on everything else

The ability to earn 5 points per $1 on airfare is an industry best!  You can earn 3X with other cards, but the 5X perk is unique to AMEX Platinum cards.

If you spent a lot on airfare, you can earn huge rewards.  For example, if you spend $1,000 per month for flights, that would translate to 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points per year ($12,000 X 5 points per $1).  That’s like earning another welcome bonus just for using the card regularly.  Then you can use them to travel even more!

How to Use Your Points

AMEX Membership Rewards points are some of the most flexible, because you transfer them directly to several airline or hotel travel programs.  For example, with this welcome bonus alone, you can:

  • Transfer 60,000 points to British Airways for 8 one-way short-haul flights in the US under 1,151 miles each-way in coach
  • Transfer 55,000 points to Air Canada Aeroplan for a one-way Business Class flight to Europe
  • Transfer 60,000 points to Flying Blue for 2 round-trip coach flights from anywhere in the mainland US to Hawaii
  • Transfer 60,000 points to Delta for 2 round-trip coach flights to the Caribbean
  • Transfer 60,000 points to British Airways for 6 one-way coach flights to Northern South America from Miami

You can also transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to certain hotel partners, including Hilton.  With a 1:2 transfer ratio, 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points gets you 120,000 Hilton points.  Which is enough for a night at nearly any Hilton luxury hotel in the world!

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points for a Free Stay at DoubleTree Resort & Spa in the Seychelles

For example, you could stay at the DoubleTree Resort & Spa in the Seychelles for 70,000 Hilton points (~35,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points because of the 1:2 transfer ratio).  If you paid cash, you’d easily spend ~$450.

Using points to avoid higher prices during peak travel season – anywhere – is a smart way to save money! 😉

Benefits of the AMEX Platinum Card

Tons of Credits

Let’s talk about the credits you get with the AMEX Platinum card!

You get:

The $200 airline fee credit and Uber credits reset every calendar year.  And you can use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years.

Enjoy Expedited Security Lines With Global Entry or TSA PreCheck!

AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts

AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts offers competitive rates for paid luxury hotel stays.

When you book this program, you’ll receive automatic perks like free breakfast for 2 and a spa or resort credit to use during your stay.  And you’ll even get a guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out.  Plus, they have limited-time offers at certain hotels for complimentary nights with a paid stay.

For example, team member Sara used AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts to book a room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and received:

  • Noon check-in
  • A room upgrade
  • $100 food and beverage credit
  • Daily breakfast for 2 people
  • Free self-parking (a $30 value)
  • A bowl of fresh fruit and chocolates delivered to her door
  • Guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out
Sara Was Upgraded to a LAKE VIEW Room Simply for Booking Through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts

Lounge Access All Over the World

You’ll get airport lounge access with Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta SkyClub, and AirSpace Lounges around the world.  And you can visit an unlimited number of times!  Just be sure to carefully check the guest policy if you travel with a partner or family.

If you’re near a Centurion Lounge, you can enjoy a full meal, drink, and sometimes even a spa treatment – for free!

Team member Harlan lives in Dallas, where the Centurion Lounge is about to get big improvements.  And he loves to grab an entree, a couple of drinks, and fast Wi-Fi before or after a flight.  He values each visit at ~$50 and visits about once a month.

Depending on how often you visit, and if you have any guests, you can get real value from:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Food and drinks
  • Showers
  • More comfortable seating
Lots of Lounges (Especially Internationally) Have Proper Meals.  Not Just Crackers and Trail Mix

Perks like these can make all the difference when you’ve come off a long flight and want to shower and grab a bite!

Elite Status With 2 Hotel Chains

That’s right!  You can get free Gold elite status with Hilton and Starwood (Marriott) with the AMEX Platinum Card.

Depending on where you stay, folks with elite status can get:

  • Free breakfast (Hilton hotels only)
  • Upgrades to bigger rooms where available
  • Late check-out
  • Better rooms (views, higher floors, etc.)
  • More points for paid stays

Team member Harlan enjoyed a big room with a clawfoot bathtub, a beautiful tiled floor, and huge king bed in Barcelona.  That was better than the room with the queen bed he originally booked!

American Express Platinum Review
Team Member Harlan Scored an Upgrade at a Hilton in Barcelona Thanks to His Elite Status!

Depending on how often you stay at these hotel brands, elite status can go a long way towards little comforts along your journeys.

Travel Insurance and Purchase Protection

If everything above wasn’t enough, consider all the other perks of your AMEX cardmembership, like:

All of these built-in perks are there for you if you need them.  They’re sort of like insurance – it’s great to know they’re there, but hopefully you’ll never have to use them!

If you buy big-ticket items, or gifts that need return protection, you’ll have that should you need it.  Same goes for the roadside assistance and travel accident insurance.  It would be great if every trip was free from mishaps like cancellations, missed luggage, or an issue with the rental car.  But your AMEX Platinum Card can help you in a bind.

There’s no way to put a defined value on any of these services.  So consider them “extras” and look into them if there’s one you think you might really benefit from.

Oh, and don’t forget, you can get free 2-day shipping at many merchants with a free ShopRunner subscription, too!

AMEX Offers

The AMEX Platinum Card is eligible for AMEX Offers, which are deals from AMEX for all sorts of common purchases and services like online orders, eating out, and travel.

American Express Platinum Review
Team Member Jasmin Saved $195 Last Year With AMEX Offers

Team member Jasmin saved on snacks for her kids and her phone bill, for example.  And other team members take advantage of these special deals, too.

They’re a handy way to help offset the cost of the annual fee.

Is the AMEX Platinum Card Worth the Annual Fee?

Everyone will find different value from the AMEX Platinum card because it offers so many different perks and benefits to the cardholder.  The more you can take advantage of the these great benefits, the more you can offset the annual fee.  And come out way ahead!

For example, you’ll receive $500 in credits annually ($200 for airline incidentals + $200 for Uber + $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue).  If you use those, you’re effectively bringing the annual fee down to $50 per year.  You’ll get WAAAAY more than $50 in value from the other perks of the card, like free food and alcohol at airport lounges, room upgrades and food credits through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts, discounts with AMEX Offers, and complimentary hotel elite status.

You Can Use Your Annual $200 in Uber Credits to Get Free Food From Uber Eats!

Does the AMEX Platinum Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?


Who Is Eligible for the AMEX Platinum Card?

If you’re just starting in the miles & points hobby and don’t have a lot of new credit card accounts open, I suggest getting the Chase personal cards that best fit your travel goals first.  That’s because Chase has some of the best rewards credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, that’s our favorite card for beginners.

But if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards from any bank within the past 24 months, you’ll likely be denied for most Chase credit cards.  So start there, then add others, like the AMEX Platinum Card.

It’s also important to remember that the AMEX Platinum Card is a charge card.  That means you have to pay the bill in full at the end of every billing cycle.  So you can NOT carry a balance month to month.  If you’re comfortable with paying the card each month, and love the perks, it’s an excellent card to have in your wallet!

In fact, the AMEX Platinum is one of the best cards on the market, so I wouldn’t recommend applying unless your credit score is at least in the mid-700s.

Cards Similar to the AMEX Platinum

If you’re hesitant to give the AMEX Platinum a go, there are other cards that will give you a similar experience.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express comes with many of the same perks as the AMEX Platinum.  It’s got identical airport lounge access, a $200 statement credit for airline incidentals, hotel elite status, etc.  And the annual fee is $100 less ($450)!

The card comes with up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points:

  • 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 25,000 more AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months

You can read our review of the AMEX Business Platinum here.

You should also consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve for similar benefits to the AMEX Platinum.  It comes with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Lots of Travel Partners That Fly to Fun Destinations, Like Sunny Cancun!

The card comes with a $300 annual credit that can be used for nearly anything travel related.  So you’re effectively paying a $150 annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit).  You’ll also receive airport lounge access, rental car discounts, and much more!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived for the first year.  But the annual travel credit and airport lounge access can more than offset the annual fee!

Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve here.

Bottom Line

You can earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening a new Platinum Card® from American Express.  That’s enough to travel nearly anywhere in the world with an AMEX travel partner like Delta, Flying Blue, or Singapore Airlines!

You’ll also get:

  • 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on the AMEX Travel Portal
  • $200 for annual airline incidental fee credit
  • Up to $200 in Uber credit per year
  • Airport lounge access to Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta SkyClub, and AirSpace Lounges
  • Statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85)
  • Hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott / Starwood
  • And so much more!

Smaller perks like AMEX Offers and free ShopRunner shipping add to the value.  But be strategic with the benefits because the $550 annual fee is NOT waived.  And if you’re new to miles & points, start with Chase cards instead.

What’s your favorite perk of the AMEX Platinum Card?

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Solar Consultant

Our entire executive team swear by this card when they travel. We also bought a batch of laptops on the platinum, and was able to take advantage of the buyer protection plan.

The bottom of this page has a good list of other perks as well:

How does the American Express Platinum Card work with United Airlines??
Anybody have any insight??

My favorite perk is access to Centurion lounges, but the 5x points for air tickets are also a good feature. I also love the free credits towards Uber rides!

Good solid offering, though their new offerings (uber, etc.) are a bit random. Have had a hard time with ill-informed customer service reps not wanting to process airline fee reimbursements. It isn’t the pinnacle of luxury and service that it once was…

The AMEX Platinum 5x pts for air and hotel are attractive if you are reimbursed for business travel. Travel credits and lounge access are more attractive for frequent personal travellers. Smaller set of persons who benefit from each.

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