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Updated May 16, 2017

What are the Benefits of the Amex Platinum Card?

Read more about The Platinum Card® from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser
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At $550, the Platinum Card® from American Express has a hefty annual fee. Are the benefits worth it? Read this in-depth guide on how to make the best use of the benefits.

American Express Platinum
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Overall Score

4.0

Rewards

4.0

Fees

3.0

Benefits

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Airline Fee Credit
  • Uber Savings
  • Lounge Access
  • Concierge
  • $550 annual fee

The AMEX Platinum comes with a big price tag. But savvy cardholders can help make up for it by taking advantage of its perks and rewards.

Maybe you're debating whether to add a Platinum Card to your wallet. Or maybe you're just not sure you're getting the most out of it. Either way, keep reading.

We'll break down each benefit and its true value. We also give you tips on how to maximize the value.

REWARDS

Before we dive into the benefits, let's summarize how the rewards program works. You get:

  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases

To sweeten the deal, American Express offers a 60,000-point bonus to new members when they use their card to make at least $5,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.

What can you do with the points? The points you earn with the Platinum Card can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages, shopping, gift cards, and more. Redemption starts at 5,000 points, and each point is worth 1 cent when you are using them for flights. Points can be transferred to select frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs.

But for most people, the value of the card lies with the travel benefits. Let's review.

$200 Airline Credit

© hernanpc (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

You receive up to a $200 airline credit per year. This credit is for incidentals such as:

  • checked bags,
  • overweight/oversize baggage fees,
  • seat assignment fees,
  • phone reservation fees,
  • airport lounge day passes,
  • in-flight refreshments

To receive the statement credit, you need to select and enroll a qualifying airline. This isn't as flexible as Chase Sapphire Reserve's $300 travel credit, which can be used for any airline, any travel expense.

Tip: Select an airline that typically charges for a checked bag (make sure you fly with it though). For example, for domestic travel, Southwest and JetBlue already give you a free checked bag (Southwest even gives you 2). But airlines like Delta and United will both charge baggage fees.

Estimate Value: $200

$200 Uber Savings

One of the newest card benefits is the annual $200 Uber savings. You get:

  • $15 in Uber credits each month
  • $35 in December

Keep in mind, unused credits do not roll over and this is only valid for rides within the United States. Just add your AMEX card in your Uber account in the "Add Payment" section. You'll then automatically receive the credits.

To get the most out of this, just make sure you take a couple of Uber rides every month. If you're going somewhere where the parking fee is typically high, use your Uber credit instead and save on parking at the same time. This credit also applies for food deliveries with UberEats, so you can take advantage of it that way too if you live in a city with this service. Get free food deliveries using the monthly credit.

Estimate Value: $200

$100 Global Entry Or TSA-Pre Credit

Every four years, you get a $100 statement credit towards either Global Entry OR TSA Pre. To receive the statement credit, you must charge the application fee to your Platinum card.

We suggest that you apply for Global Entry. The application normally costs $100 and if accepted, it's valid for 5 years. This program essentially gives you pre-approved clearance to enter the U.S. And it also comes with TSA-Pre benefits. But TSA-Pre (which costs $85 for 5 years) doesn't come with Global Entry. So you basically kill both birds with one stone if you sign up for Global Entry. To understand how it works, read our detailed guide on Global Entry.

Tip: To maximize the value even more, you can put 3 authorized users on your card. It costs $175 to add 3 authorized users. All authorized users also get Global Entry or TSA-Pre application credit as well. So that's essentially getting Global Entry for 3 other people at less than $60 each.

Estimate Value: $100/every 5 years = $20 per year

AIRPORT LOUNGE Access

The Platinum Card features complimentary access to 5 airport lounge networks:

  • Delta Sky Clubs
  • Centurion Lounges
  • American Express International Lounges
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Priority Pass Network lounges

At a participating airport lounge, you need to show your Platinum Card, photo ID, and same-day boarding pass to get in.

To a lot of people, lounge access is worth the fee and more. Many lounges cost about $50 to enter, so for $550, 11 visits will make up the annual fee. Some of the lounges, such as the luxury Centurion Lounges, offer exceptional amenities, including complimentary gourmet food.

You also have the option of enrolling in Priority Pass Select (at no additional cost). This program offers unlimited access to more than 950 lounges at airports around the world. This coverage is equivalent to Priority Pass's Prestige membership, which costs $399/yr. It's even a little better as you're also allowed to bring in 2 guests at no extra charge.

What's even more: Each Additional Platinum Cardholder also get Priority Pass Select membership. So if you fully take advantage of this, this means 3 additional people can get Priority Pass Select membership (a $1,197 value) for just the $175 it costs to add 3 additional Platinum cards.

Each lounge has specific policies about bringing guests, so you'll need to review the rules carefully before you pay a visit. For instance, there may be limits on the number of guests you can bring or a minimum age limit. You may also have to pay a separate guest fee, which is automatically charged to your card.

Estimate Value: Depends on how often you fly per year. And also on if your airports have any of these lounges.

CONCIERGE SERVICE

Take advantage of the Platinum Concierge service. Many Platinum cardholders may forget that this is available for them. This service is actually quite valuable, though maybe not in the monetary sense.

Concierge staff is available to help you with a number of different tasks, including:

  • finding tickets for a popular event
  • arranging for shuttle transport between the airport and your hotel
  • making reservations at restaurants in your travel destination
  • helping you buy a bouquet for someone special from a local florist

These are really time-consuming tasks that you may not have time for. So ask the Platinum concierge to help instead. You free up time and stress, and after all, time = money.

There is no service fee to use the Platinum concierge (unless you need extensive help, like planning a large-scale event or meeting). Of course, you'll be charged whatever the request costs. Usually, you tell the concierge a not-to-exceed amount, and they'll perform the task within your budget.

Value: How much do you value your time?

Did you know: The Platinum Dining Program allows you to use Concierge service to reserve a table at more than 1,000 restaurants worldwide. Consultants can also help with reviewing menu selections, providing travel directions, or request any other special arrangementsbefore you arrive at the restaurant.

There's another service called the Platinum Travel Service. Travel Counselors are available 24/7 to provide recommendations, help you find special offers or other travel benefits, and guide you on how to use your Membership Rewards points.

BOINGO WI-FI

You get complimentary Boingo Wi-fi, which connects you to over 1 million hotspots worldwide. There are no roaming fees and no data limit. And you can connect up to 4 devices.

This is the same coverage as Boingo's Global Plan, which costs $39/mo. In fact, it's even better as you get unlimited access; whereas the Global Plan is just 2,000 minutes a month.

Boingo hotspots are in just about most major airports worldwide. They're also in many hotels and public spaces. So this benefit could really come in handy when you're in an airport without wi-fi. And this could save you from expensive roaming charges while traveling in another country.

Estimate Value: $468. But most likely you won't be using the entire value, unless you travel internationally often.

FINE HOTEL AND RESORTS PROGRAM

AMEX has a FINE HOTELS & RESORTS (FHR) program, an exclusive booking site for luxury hotels around the world. Some of the extras benefits include:

  • noon check-in times when available
  • room upgrades upon arrival
  • daily breakfast for two
  • guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
  • complimentary wi-fi
  • $100 food and beverage credit or complimentary spa treatments

Note: FINE HOTELS & RESORTS bookings are not eligible to receive 5x points.

But to really get the best value, you have to make use of the complimentary night feature. This benefit isn't as advertised, but many hotels have special offers for a complimentary 3rd or 4th night. One free night could save you hundreds. We find that the FHR rates aren't always the cheapest you can find, but the free night would still be significant savings.

However, keep in mind that the hotels in this program are already expensive. They usually already cost hundreds a night (even up to $1,000/night). But if you do use this benefit, with a free night, $100 food & beverage credit, and complimentary breakfast (just eat later and make it a lunch), you can easily save hundreds on a luxury vacation.

Tip: Another great thing is that you can still usually collect hotel loyalty program points with bookings made through FHR.

Estimate Value: Depends on if you'll use it or not. If you do, it can easily be worth over $500 savings for a stay.

Hotel Collection

If you book an eligible hotel stay of 2 or more consecutive nights with AMEX's The Hotel Collection, you get a $75 credit. This credit can be used for qualifying purchases such as dining, spa, and resort activities. You could also be eligible for room upgrade at check-in, if available.

You can book the stay either through amextravel.com or through Platinum Travel Services. You can book up to 3 rooms at once, and each room will receive the $75 credit, making it $225 total. The hotels offered by The Hotel Collection are usually a lot less expensive than the ones in the Fine Hotel and Resorts Program.

However, you only get 2x Membership Reward points per dollar (instead of the 5x on regular hotels on amextravel.com). And you also won't earn any hotel points if you're part of the hotel's loyalty program. But the $75 credit may be worth a lot more than any loyalty points you may have received.

Estimate value: up to $75 per eligible stay

Tip: AMEX has a Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee, where if you have booked a hotel stay on amextravel.com, and then later found a cheaper rate elsewhere online, you'll be refunded the difference. The cheaper rate must be for the same hotel, same room type, same dates, and same number of adults and children.

ELITE STATUS WITH SPG AND HILTON

You are also fast-tracked to elite status with SPG and Hilton:

  • Get Gold Status with SPG. At the Gold Status, you'll enjoy bonuses like free room upgrades, late checkout (subject to availability), and your choice of a complimentary welcome gift.

  • Get Hilton Honors Gold Status. At this level, you'll enjoy benefits like late checkout (subject to availability), complimentary wi-fi, discounted rates, complimentary gift such as bonus points or snacks, and 5th night free when booking a reward stay with points.

You usually need to stay a certain number of nights with the hotel per year to get elite status. So it's a nice perk that you just automatically get it with the AMEX Platinum.

Did you know: With the merger of Starwood and Marriott, you now automatically get status match too. This means that since you get Gold Status with SPG, your Marriott account will also be automatically upgraded to Gold Status as well. You just need to be a member of both programs and link the accounts.

As a Marriott Gold Status member, you get: room upgrade (subject to availability), free continental breakfast (in the Executive Lounge at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance and Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels - resorts excluded) and snacks or bonus points, and guaranteed late checkout.

Estimate Value: depends. If you stay for a couple of nights a year with any of these hotel chains, it could still be worth $50-$100. Especially if you're able to score a room upgrade.

COMPANION TICKETS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

When you book an eligible Business or Flight class international flight aboard one of 25 participating airlines, you can add a companion ticket at no extra charge. You can do this as many times as you want a year. You have to pay American Express a non-refundable service fee of $39 per ticket. And you'll still pay any government imposed taxes/fees and airline imposed fuel/security surcharges and fees.

It sounds good - a free premium cabin for a 2nd person for only $39 and taxes & fees. But is this really a bargain?

  • This applies to refundable fare only. Refundable fare is a lot more expensive than just a normal Business or First Class ticket. It's often twice the price. So sometimes, just buying 2 tickets yourself is cheaper than trying to use a companion fare.

  • You still have to pay taxes and surcharges. This alone can cost over $1,000 for an international flight, especially since many airlines impose heavy fuel surcharges. Unfortunately, United (one of the few airlines without fuel surcharges) does not participate in this program.

In our opinion, this benefit offers very limited value. There are some ways you can save, such as on pricier airlines that usually don't offer discounts (like Emirates). But you will still be looking at paying five-figure numbers out-of-pocket.

Value: Limited

STATUS WITH AVIS, HERTZ, AND NATIONAL

Members get complimentary memberships in Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental's premium programs. This gives you perks such as:

  • discounts
  • free upgrades (if available)
  • fast check-in and check-out process
  • guaranteed a car even if you didn't make a reservation beforehand (for some programs).

The Platinum card also comes with loss and damage insurance coverage for eligible rental cars.

This benefit can surely make it a little less hassle-free to rent a car. And with status, it's a good chance you'll get an upgrade as well. For example, National offers a guaranteed upgrade if you reserve a car at the mid-size rate.

Value: Depends on how often you rent a car. The value isn't humongous, but it's a nice perk nonetheless.

Cruise Privileges Program

If you book an eligible cruise of 5 nights or more with AMEX Travel, you get shipboard credit on most cruise lines. This is only for double occupancy rooms. The credit can be used towards shore excursions, spa services, on-board specialty food and drinks, on-board shopping, and even gratuities.

Cardmembers get:

  • $100 shipboard credit for inside and outside staterooms
  • $200 shipboard credit for balcony, veranda, and mini-suite staterooms
  • $300 shipboard credit for suites on Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines
  • $300 shipboard credit for Queen Mary oceanview staterooms category ED or higher, and Queen Victoria/ Queen Elizabeth oceanview staterooms category FA or higher on Cunard Line.
  • $300 shipboard credit for stateroom categories on Ama Waterways, Oceania, Regent, Azamara, Seabourn, Crystal, Silversea, Uniworld, and Windstar.

Each cruise line usually also offers additional exclusive amenities for Platinum cardmembers. These can include private galley tours, spa credit, complimentary bottle of wine/champagne and hors d'oeuvres, etc.

Plus, you also get one extra point per dollar when booking with American Express Travel or any eligible Travel Associate Platform agencies.

If you are planning on taking a cruise, this benefit can potentially save you hundreds of dollars on your trip. You can use the extra shipboard credit on items or activities you usually wouldn't splurge on, making your trip more fun and memorable.

Value: Depends on if you're taking a cruise. If you do, you can save $100-$300 per room.

ENTERTAINMENT EXCLUSIVES

Another benefit the Platinum Card offers members is access to special events. Subject to availability, you can purchase tickets to Broadway shows, score prime seats for Wimbledon, see your favorite artist live in concert, or sit in the front row at a New York fashion show. Discounts are available for selected events when you use your Platinum Card, and you're always eligible for Preferred Seating.

By Invitation Only is a separate entertainment program for card members who are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at an affordable price. Most event tickets are all-inclusive and trips are already planned out, so the only thing you need to do is show up. If you've ever wanted to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from a VIP yacht or enjoy wine tasting in Napa Valley, the Platinum Card can try to make it happen.

ShopRunner free 2-day shipping

You get a complimentary ShopRunner membership. This is a service that partners with hundreds of brand-name stores to provide free 2-day shipping, free returns, and exclusive deals to members. This service usually costs $8.95/month (or $79/year).

You can shop either on ShopRunner or directly on the stores' websites. As long as an item has a ShopRunner logo next to it, it means it's eligible for free 2-day shipping with membership. You'll receive this perk as long as you don't log out of ShopRunner.

This is a small perk but it's great for the online shopping lovers.

Estimate value: $79

ADDITIONAL PLATINUM CARD BENEFITS

The Platinum Card also offers lots of other perks beyond the various travel, dining and entertainment benefits that are available. Some of the other features cardholders have access to include:

  • Special offers on shopping
  • Premium roadside assistance
  • Return and purchase protection
  • Extended warranty program
  • Premium global assistance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance

There are also no foreign transaction fees associated with the Platinum Card, so you won't have to pay extra for purchases made outside the U.S. You also never have to worry about paying interest on what you charge since your balance must be paid in full each month.

CONCLUSION: IS THE PLATINUM CARD WORTH THE ANNUAL FEE?

In general, if you travel often, you will find that the benefits are worth the hefty annual fee. To recap, here are the most valuable benefits, in our opinion (estimate based on 4 trips):

  • Airline credit: worth up to $200/year
  • Uber savings: worth up to $200/year
  • Global Entry credit: worth $20/year ($100/5 years)
  • Airport lounge access: worth about $400
  • Boingo Wi-fi: worth about $100
  • Starwood and Hilton Gold Status
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Platinum Concierge

But some of the benefits aren't so easy to assign a value. It all depends on if you use it or not. If you travel several times a year, you will definitely make use of the airline credit, airport lounge access, and Boingo wi-fi. And it's easy to use up the Uber credit too. All this alone could easily justify the $550 annual fee.

This card is mostly about benefits that allow you to travel in style. You can have better travel experiences and get perks like free room upgrades. And don't forget about the value of the Platinum Concierge too.

As always, terms and conditions apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on June 3, 2015. This content may have been updated on May 16, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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The Platinum Card from American Express
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • New! Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can 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. Terms Apply.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsPoint RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitConciergeEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityIdentity Theft Assistance
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$550

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