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American Express Platinum card review: A welcome bonus worth $1,000+ (and that’s just the start)

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American Express Platinum card review: A welcome bonus worth $1,000+ (and that’s just the start)

Joseph HostetlerAmerican Express Platinum card review: A welcome bonus worth $1,000+ (and that’s just the start)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, two round-trip flights to Hawaii, or free nights at luxury Hilton hotels, all of which can be worth thousands.

Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express here.

We’re talking about one of the best travel credit cards on the market. That said, the card comes with a hefty $550 annual fee, not waived the first year (See Rates & Fees). But it also includes benefits that can more than outweigh the cost, even for a casual traveler. Opening the Amex Platinum may be worth it for many of you.

Want to visit jolly old England? This Amex Platinum review will point you in the direction you need for free flights AND hotel! (Photo courtesy of 

Who is the Amex Platinum for?

The Amex Platinum is one of most premium travel credit cards created, so I wouldn’t recommend applying unless your credit score is at least in the mid-700s.

This card is good for frequent travelers looking for a charge card. Charge cards differ from credit cards in that you have to pay the bill in full at the end of every billing cycle.  You can’t carry a balance month to month — but you also don’t have a firm credit limit. If you find yourself making big purchases, and if you’re comfortable with paying the card each month, it’s an excellent card to have in your wallet.

This card is also great for anyone who values airport lounge access, or likes staying with Marriott and Hilton. You’ll see why!

Current offer

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 round-trip flights to anywhere in the US, Hawaii, South America, Europe, and more. For example, you can fly round-trip in coach between the South Pacific and Los Angeles by transferring 60,000 points to Virgin Atlantic and flying on their partner Air New Zealand. Or, you can transfer 55,000 points to Air Canada Aeroplan and fly one-way in business class to Europe.

Here’s an example of Air Canada’s business class seats. (Photo by Zach Honig)

Some of those flights could cost thousands of dollars. In that case, your bonus would definitely make the annual fee worth paying for the first year. Just note that if you’ve ever received the welcome bonus on this card in the past, you’re not eligible to earn it again.

Benefits and perks

Tons of credits

Let’s talk about the credits you get with the Amex Platinum card:

The $200 airline fee credit, Uber credits and Saks Fifth Avenue credits reset every calendar year. You can also use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every four years.

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 two and a spa or resort credit to use during your stay. 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, Meghan used Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts to book a room at the Loews Regency San Francisco and received:

  • Noon check-in
  • A room upgrade
  • $100 food and beverage credit
  • Daily breakfast for 2 people
  • Guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out
She used the $100 food & beverage credit for a bottle of pink rosé and a piece of cheesecake! (Photo courtesy of Meghan Hunter/Million Mile Secrets)

Lounge access all over the world

You’ll get airport lounge access with:

  • American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Delta Sky Club Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select Lounges
  • Escape Lounges
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • International American Express Lounges
  • Lufthansa Lounges

With this extensive lounge access, you’ll have a lounge waiting for you just about everywhere. You can even 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. He loves to grab an entree, a couple of drinks, and fast Wi-Fi before 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

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 two hotel chains

You can get free Gold elite status with Hilton and 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

No foreign transaction fees

The card is excellent for swiping abroad, because it doesn’t incur a foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees). Many cards charge an extra 3% when you use them overseas. Always be sure you bring a travel credit card like the Amex Platinum before you cross the border (I saved $71 on a recent trip from

How to redeem points

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn:

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

The ability to earn 5 points per dollar on airfare is one of the best around. 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 dollar). That’s like earning another welcome bonus just for using the card regularly. Then you can use them to travel even more.

This bonus category enough makes the Amex Platinum one of the best airline cards.

Swiping the shiny card is nearly as fun as earning gobs of points. (Photo by Wyatt Smith)

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 eight 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 two round-trip coach flights from anywhere in the mainland US to Hawaii
  • Transfer 60,000 points to Delta for two round-trip coach flights to the Caribbean
  • Transfer 60,000 points to British Airways for six one-way coach flights to Northern South America from Miami
Delta is a great Amex transfer partner because it’s constantly publishing award sales to exotic locations. You may find yourself flying in a Delta One lie-flat seat for the price of a coach seat. (Photo by Nick Ellis)

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!

For example, you could stay at the DoubleTree Resort & Spa Seychelles for 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points (~35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points X 2). 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.

Is the annual fee worth it?

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.

Insider secrets

The Amex Platinum charges $175 per year to add up to three authorized users (see Rates & Fees). In other words, you can add three other cardholders for about $60 each. That’ll give your authorized users the exact same lounge access available to the primary cardholder (by far the most comprehensive of ANY card), as well as a credit to TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (worth up to $100).

Being an authorized user will even enhance hotel stays, as everyone will receive Gold Elite Status with Marriott and Hilton. They can also use Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, just as the primary cardholder can.

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 Amex transfer partners like Delta, Flying Blue, or Singapore Airlines!

You’ll also get benefits like:

  • 5 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar 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
  • Terms Apply

Smaller perks like Amex Offers add to the value. But be confident you’ll use the benefits because the $550 annual fee is no joke.

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

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.

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 amextravel.com.
  • 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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is 60K miles the best they offer now? Or can you still get 100K sometimes? if so, when?

Hi DM! From what I can tell it looks like 60k right now is what the public offer is. In the past they have bumped it up, but we really don’t know when that might happen again.

If I were in your shoes, I might think about how much the card could benefit me. If you can take big advantage of the welcome bonus (say you have a big trip coming up and you can redeem the welcome bonus points for a free flight or hotel room), or if you see yourself taking advantage of the many perks the card has to offer, you might be better served going for the card now rather than waiting.

One big con to me is that Amex Platinum doesn’t have trip delay/cancellation insurance like Sapphire Reserve. Hard for me to book flights without that even though it earns 5 points/$1.

Also the annual fee is just exorbitantly high. $200 airline credits (a bit hard to redeem for giftcard but can bear that) + $200 Uber credits + $50 Saks credits (only worth about $50 to me seeing how overpriced items are there) still leaves one -$50, from $550 annual fee.

Adding to the less acceptance of Amex in general (esp international) I would pass on this card and get the Sapphire Reserve instead, which has more generous perks in general.

If you have Schwab account you can get an American Express yearly credit of upto $200 dollars depending on your portfolio value.

For an added AMEX bonus tell them Corbin Walls referred ya.

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: https://creditcarrots.com/american-express-platinum-review/

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