May 6, 2017
Review: Here’s Why I Got the Platinum Card from American Express

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I finally applied for and received my Platinum Card from American Express! My shiny new laser-engraved, stainless steel credit card arrived in the mail yesterday and I already love it. The Platinum Card will be the eleventh credit card I maintain in my travel card portfolio. While eleven credit cards may sound like a lot, I receive far more value by maximizing each of those credit cards than it costs me to keep them open. And because I always pay my balances in full, I never pay interest for my credit card purchases. A couple months ago, I wrote about a slew of changes coming to the Platinum Card, but I just realized that I haven’t yet written a comprehensive review of the card. So here we go.

 

Points

The Platinum Card is currently the #1 credit card when it comes to earning points on airfare. Here’s the key points earning breakdown-


  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or through AMEX Travel
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 on hotels booked through AMEX Travel
  • Transfer points to 20 airline and hotel partners

If you spend a lot on airfare, earning 5X is a huge benefit. The Platinum Card’s main competitors, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige, both offer 3X on airfare.


Air Canada Business Class (Bookable with Amex Points)


Earning 5X on hotels seems great at first, but it comes with some significant drawbacks. In order to get the 5X, you need to book your hotel stay through AMEX Travel. Hotel chains view bookings made through AMEX Travel as a third-party booking, so you typically won’t get hotel points for your stay, won’t get stay or night credit towards status, and might not get the full host of hotel status perks. It you want to maximize your hotel status perks while staying at a chain hotel, it doesn’t make sense to book through Amex travel. However, if you’re staying at an independent hotel where you don’t care about status, it would make sense to book through Amex travel.


Perks

The Platinum Card really shines when it come to perks. Here’s what you get-

  • Access to American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Access to Priority Pass Lounges
  • Access to Delta Sky Club Lounges, when flying Delta
  • Access to Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounges in Munich, subject to restrictions
  • Starwood Gold Status (which you can match to Marriott Gold)
  • Hilton Gold Status
  • Hertz Gold Status, Avis Preferred Status, National Emerald Club Executive Status
  • Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts access
  • Platinum concierge services

Centurion Lounge, Courtesy of American Express


The first standout here is the massive inventory of lounges available at your disposal. Priority Pass Select alone nearly ensures you’ll have a lounge waiting for you wherever you travel, the Centurion Lounges are Amex’s flagship premium lounges, and if you ever have to fly Delta, you can checkout their lounges as well. You also get elite status at three hotel chains! This can lead to perks like late checkout, room upgrades, VIP check-in lines and more!


Fees & Credits

The Platinum card isn’t cheap. It comes with a whopping $550 annual fee. But before you panic, know that most of that fee is offset by Amex’s generous credits.

  • $200 Annual airline fee credit-Used to offset incidental fees like bag fees, seat selection fees, change fees etc. on the airline of your choice
  • $200 Annual Uber credit, applied as $15 per month, with a $20 bonus in December
  • $100 Global Entry credit every four years or $85 TSA Pre-Check credit every 4 years
  • $100 Annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit 
  • No foreign transaction fees

Courtesy of Getty Images


I expect to use the $200 airline fee credit and the $200 Uber credit (I Uber a few times a week). So right off the start, the effective fee I’m paying is $150 per year ($550-$200-$200). For that $150 per year, I get 5X on airfare, 20 airline and hotel transfer partners, Centurion Lounge access, Priority Pass lounge access, Delta Sky Club access (although I don’t really fly Delta), and hotel status. This point earning structure and collection of perks significantly outweighs the effective $150 per year I have to pay for this card.


The Platinum Card definitely make s strong play as one of the best travel cards on the market right now. You can compare it to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige, which each offer their own unique and awesome travel benefits. It’s always exciting to welcome a new credit card to your travel wallet 🙂

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