The Platinum Card® from American Express review: Big benefits balance big annual fee

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The Platinum CardⓇ from American Express comes with a substantial annual fee, but the card offers many travel rewards and perks that could more than make up for the annual fee. (iStock)

American Express is one of the most recognized names in the credit card marketplace, and few cards have the level of prestige enjoyed by the Platinum Card® from American Express.

Getting an American Express Platinum card for the first time can make you feel like you’ve arrived at the threshold of financial success. And that success doesn’t come cheap — the Platinum Card comes with a substantial annual fee.

But if you travel extensively, it’s possible to pile up benefits and rewards to offset the annual fee.

Top card highlights 

  • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and domestic Shop Small business locations
  • 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership
  • 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year) and for prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Multiple ways to get statement cash credits and savings

Learn about the Platinum Card® from American Express and other credit cards when you compare credit cards with Credible.

How rewards work

Platinum cardholders have access to an impressive array of rewards and benefits. Members can earn points and benefits based on their purchases.

With a rewards rate of one point per qualifying dollar spent, the Platinum Card gives members an opportunity to amass a significant number of points. Points are quintupled for certain types of purchases, including:

  • Flights booked with airlines or American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year)
  • Prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

Additionally, the Platinum Card offers a number of credits when you use your card for certain purchases, including:

  • $200 in statement credits per year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection when booked with American Express Travel
  • $240 in statement credits for digital entertainment purchases from Audible, Peacock, SiriusXM and The New York Times (enrollment required)
  • $200 in statement credits per year for baggage fees and other airline fees at one qualifying airline
  • $200 (or less) in Uber Cash and Uber VIP status on Uber rides or eats orders in the U.S. every year
  • $25 back each month (up to $300) on select Equinox memberships (enrollment required)
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit on your Clear membership
  • Complimentary entry and exclusive perks at 40-plus Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide

The Platinum Card also comes with a host of other benefits, including access to preferred seating when you use your card to purchase tickets to some events, rental car upgrades and more. You can find details in the card’s terms and conditions.

What to know about the welcome offers

Welcome offers are benefits that are available to new cardholders for a limited time — typically during the first months of card membership. The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with two welcome offers that can help new members save big.

If you use your card to make $6,000 of eligible purchases within the first six months of membership, you’ll earn 100,000 rewards points. The points will be credited to your account after you meet the threshold amount within the qualifying time frame.

You can also enjoy a significant welcome benefit when you use your Platinum Card at restaurants worldwide, or for eligible purchases at a business on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory — up to $25,000 combined during the first six months of card membership. If you meet qualifications, you’ll receive 10 points per dollar for eligible purchases.

What to know about rates and fees

While the Platinum Card offers outstanding benefits, rewards and perks, it all comes at a significant price. Platinum cardholders pay an annual fee of $695. 

The purchase APR varies with the market based on the prime rate, and currently ranges from 15.99% to 22.99%, based on your credit and other factors when you open the account.

Platinum Card pros 

  • Ample opportunities to earn rewards for using your Platinum Card
  • Points can add up quickly, depending on the types of purchases you make with the card
  • Access to a large network of airport lounges around the world
  • No foreign transaction fees

Platinum Card cons

  • High annual fee
  • High penalty APR of 29.99% (or higher)
  • Rewards structure is complicated
  • Generally, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for this card

Who the card is good for (and who it’s not)

With hotel credits and access to room upgrades, airport lounge access, dining out, rideshares and flights, the Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel card. It’s a good option for luxury travelers and business people who log thousands of miles on the road each year. Using the card to pay for travel costs could accumulate points quickly.  

If you’re looking for a card to pay for common, everyday expenses, or one that will give you rewards for less frequent travel purchases, American Express likely has a better option for you — one that pays cash back or has no annual fee.

Alternatives to the Platinum Card 

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can be a good option if you want cash back for everyday spending. It has no annual fee and a rewards rate of 1% to 3%, depending on what you use it for.

And for a travel rewards card with no annual fee, check out the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. You can earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of membership.

You can compare the Platinum Card® from American Express, Blue Cash Everyday® card and other credit cards by visiting Credible.

Some final observations

Keep in mind that credit card terms and conditions can change, so be sure to check the card issuer’s website for the most current information before applying for any credit card. Paying off credit card balances on time and in full every month is the best way to avoid interest charges and prevent credit card debt from accumulating.