A Review of the Platinum Card from American Express and Its New Benefits
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a one-of-a-kind charge card that offers consumers perks that most issuers can’t match. In this review we cover all of the pros and cons of the card.
- 60,000 Point Intro Bonus
- Platinum Perks
- Global Lounge Access
Learn More: Compare this and other rewards cards, and apply online HERE.
Usually, I like to start reviews with positives but let’s get this one out of the way: the annual fee on this card is $550 (as of January 4th, 2018), and that is not waived during the first year. Many consumers consider a $50 annual fee to be too much, so $550 will really turn off many applicants. This card, however, is not designed for most applicants. If the $550 fee doesn’t scare you — and it won’t, as the perks and rewards are worth it — please read on.
American Express will be adding onto their already very large list of perks and benefits (for an additional $100 added to the annual fee). New benefits include:
- Uber Rides with Platinum: Through an exclusive Uber in-app experience, Card Members will receive up to $200 in annual credits for rides within the U.S., as well as VIP status where available.
- 5X Membership Rewards: In addition to the recently unveiled 5X points for flights when booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, Card Members will receive 5X Membership Rewards points for eligible hotel bookings.
- Expansion of the Global Lounge Collection: Card Members will have access to the growing Global Lounge Collection — over 1,000 airport lounges, located in 500 cities, across 120 countries.
- Complimentary Additional Gold Cards: Card Members will be able to add additional Gold Cards on their Platinum Card Account for no annual fee.
- Access to a New Global Dining Collection: American Express is partnering with world-renowned chefs to provide one-of-a-kind dining experiences around the world.
- More Global Events: American Express is expanding its By Invitation Only® program to include more experiences in top destinations around the world, such as the Grand Prix de Monaco, French wine country tours, and fashion tours with Harper’s Bazaar to celebrate the magazine’s 150th Anniversary.
- Continued Value at Fine Hotels and Resorts: Card Members will receive benefits such as complimentary daily breakfast for two and guaranteed 4PM late checkout.
- New Card Design: American Express is introducing a new, sleek metal card design.
Rewards points never expire, and there is no limit to the amount of points that can be earned. Membership rewards points are earned with every purchase and can be earned in the following two increments:
- 60,000 Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
- 5 points for booking your next trip online through AMEX Travel
- 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
Rewards points can be used for just about everything. You can, of course, use them for travel, including booking travel with the points. Rewards can also be used for shopping. You can use the points to shop on Amazon. And you can use the points to pay your Amex bill.
Here’s where this card gets really interesting. American Express is known for the extras they provide cardholders, and the The Platinum Card® from American Express does not disappoint. It offers travel perks for both air travel and hotels, including:
$200 To Cover Airline Fees
This perk is what convinced me to get the card. Each year American Express will reimburse you for up to $200 in airline fees from any airline of your choice. This feature covers incidental fees such as checked bags, in-flight snacks, and even change fees. I use the credit for checking bags, and this one benefit covers 40% of the annual fee.
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you’ve never spent time in an airport lounge, you don’t know what you’re missing. For those long layovers, nothing is better than having a comfortable place to relax or work. With the Platinum Card® from American Express, you get complimentary access to over 900 airport lounges.
You can also enroll in Priority Pass™ Select for free and gain access to over 600 participating airport lounges worldwide. It literally took me 30 seconds to enroll.
Breeze Through Airport Security
American Express will reimburse you for the cost of the Global Entry program, which allows for expedited travel for pre-approved passengers during international travel. Global Entry enables you to bypass arrival lines at most major U.S. airports when returning from international travel. Just use the card to apply, and Amex will credit the application fee. Once approved, membership in the Global Entry program is valid for 5 years.
Learn More: Compare this and other rewards cards and apply online HERE.
Travel and Baggage Insurance
The card offers two types of insurance any traveler would want. First, and most important, you get lost or damaged baggage insurance. If you pay your entire fare with the card, you’ll be eligible for this coverage. The insurance covers lost, stolen, or damaged carry-on or checked baggage.
On top of baggage insurance, you also get up to $500,000 in Travel Accident Insurance. This insurance provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. Not a pleasant thought, but an unfortunate reality from time to time.
American Express has partnered with over 700 luxurious hotels around the world when you book through Platinum Travel Service. The perks include:
- Noon check-in upon arrival, when available
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- 4pm late checkout
- Additional special amenities unique to each property, such as a $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two people
I’m a big fan of the Starwood program, which is arguably the best rewards network available. With this card, you also receive Gold Preferred Membership without meeting frequent-stay minimums. This status nets you room upgrades when available, late checkouts, and the opportunity to earn free nights and award flights.
Gold Hotel Collection
Book your hotel with Amex’s Gold Hotel Collection and stay a minimum of two consecutive nights, and you’ll receive a $75 hotel credit. You can also earn free upgrades where available.
No Foreign Transactions Fees
The card is one of the few credit cards that doesn’t charge a transaction fee when you make purchases in other countries.
This feature gives the card loads of flexibility. Rather than being locked into one airline or hotel program, you can transfer points from the card to several airlines or hotel programs.
Generally, the transfer rate is 1-to-1, although they do run specials from time to time that can result in even better deals.
Car Rental Perks
Amex makes it easy to enroll with Avis®, Hertz®, and National Car Rental®. Once enrolled, you can bypass lines and get free upgrades when available. For example, I enrolled with Avis, which provided me the following benefits:
- You won’t have to tell Avis your rental preferences every time you reserve because they will be on file.
- When you arrive at Avis, you can skip the lines and the paperwork and go straight to your car at over 1,400 locations worldwide.
- The Avis courtesy bus will drop you off by one of the newest cars, or you’ll find it in a convenient parking space.
- When you enroll in Preferred Service online, you’ll also enjoy automatic enrollment in My Avis — the personal service dedicated to enhancing your online Avis experience.
- Save up to 25% when using code AWDA756900 and an upgrade when using code UUNA007.
- Plus, receive a Free Weekend Rental Certificate when you use code AWD# A756900 and rent twice within a six-month period of time.
You receive similar benefits when you enroll with Hertz and National.
In addition, the Platinum Card® from American Express provides car rental loss and damage insurance. According to the Amex website,
- You can have access to theft or damage coverage on eligible vehicles when you reserve and pay for a car rental with your eligible card.
- You can receive up to $75,000 for damage to or theft of a rental vehicle, and your personal property can be covered for up to $1,000 per person and up to $2,000 per vehicle. Coverage is in EXCESS of other sources of indemnity.
- Can provide coverage for medical payments up to $5,000 per person. Coverage is in EXCESS of other sources of indemnity.
The card offers several benefits when you use it for shopping.
When you use the card to make purchases, eligible purchases are automatically protected against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. You can even be protected when you lose a new purchase. This protect applies worldwide.
With purchases that comes with a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less, the card will extend the warranty for up to one additional year. This feature can make purchasing an extended warranty unnecessary.
This is the coolest of the shopping protections. If you make a purchase with your card in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands and the merchant won’t accept returns within 90 days of purchase, Amex will refund the purchase price. There is a limit, however, of $300 per purchase and $1,000 annually per card.
This benefit can save you money instantly. With roadside assistance, when your car breaks down, Amex can send help your way for “towing, winching, flat tires, battery boost, fuel delivery or emergency lock-out.” This service is available in the United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As a result, you don’t need to add this feature to your car insurance or pay for AAA.
Pros and Cons
- 60,000 Point Intro Bonus
- Amazing Platinum Perks
- $200 Annual Uber Credit
- Global Lounge Access
- $550 Annual Fee
- Balance Must be Paid in Full Each Month