The world of premium travel credit cards is larger than ever. Chase has been competing in the space with its Sapphire Reserve card, while Capital One has also put out some solid offerings such as the Venture card.
There’s one card name, however, that’s been nearly synonymous with travel since its inception: the Amex Platinum. But while this card has a storied history, how does it stand up compared to today’s premium travel credit cards?
In this post, we’re going to find out. Below, we’ll take a look at the benefits of the Amex Platinum, as well as help you decide if it’s worth the $550 annual fee.
Amex Platinum at a Glance
If you just want the basic stats about the Amex Platinum, here are some key facts to know:
- Credit score required: Good – Excellent
- Annual fee: $550
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
And here are some of the card’s key benefits:
- Free Uber rides: Get $15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides each month.
- Airline fee credit: Get up to $200 reimbursed each year for checked bags, in-flight refreshments, and other incidental fees.
- Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Get reimbursed for the application fee for each program.
- Free airport lounge access: Get free access to Centurion, International American Express, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select lounges around the world.
- Saks Fifth Avenue credit: Get up to a $100 statement credit each year for purchases you make at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Curious to learn more? Keep reading for an in-depth breakdown of the benefits you get with Amex Platinum:
10 Compelling Amex Platinum Benefits
The annual fee for this card is high — in fact, it’s the highest of any of our recommended travel credit cards. However, in exchange for this fee, you get a lot of cool perks. Let’s take a look at the most important benefits of Amex Platinum:
1. Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points
You know we love a good sign-up bonus here at Extra Pack of Peanuts, and the Amex Platinum definitely delivers. When you make $5,000 of purchases within 3 months of opening your card, you’ll get 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
While not as versatile as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, that’s still a lot of points to use on booking travel. You can book flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises directly through the Membership Rewards portal.
Or, you can transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel partners. Notable partners include British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, and Hilton.
2. Get Free Uber Rides Every Month
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you’ll get $15 in Uber Cash each month (and $20 in December). You can use Uber Cash to pay for any Uber rides you take in the U.S.
Note that you’ll need to add your Amex Platinum as a payment method in your Uber account before you can start receiving your Uber Cash. You’ll also need to select Uber Cash as your payment method for a ride before you take it. If you just pay with your Amex Platinum, you won’t get reimbursed.
3. Earn 5x Points on Flights and Hotels
When you use your card to book a flight through American Express Travel or directly with an airline, you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points. You’ll also get 5x points on any prepaid hotels that you book through amextravel.com.
If you intend to do your travel booking either directly through airlines or through American Express Travel, this is a nice perk to have.
4. Get a $200 Airline Fee Credit
One interesting benefit of the Amex Platinum is its airline fee reimbursement. When you charge baggage fees, in-flight refreshments, or other incidental airline fees to your card, Amex will reimburse you with a statement credit (up to $200 per calendar year).
Note: You can only receive reimbursements for one airline of your choice. Your options are:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
You are allowed to change the airline every January if you want.
5. Get Reimbursed for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
TSA PreCheck allows you to go through expedited airport security at U.S. airports, while Global Entry allows you to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection more quickly.
With Amex Platinum, you’ll get a statement credit for any TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees that you charge to your card. You can receive this statement credit every 4 years for TSA PreCheck application fees and every 4.5 years for Global Entry application fees.
7. Free Access to Premium Airport Lounges
While airport lounge access is now a standard perk of most airline and travel credit cards, the Amex Platinum offers some of the most comprehensive lounge access around.
As a cardholder, you’ll receive free access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in 130 countries. This includes Amex’s Centurion Lounges and The International American Express lounges, as well as Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Select lounges. If you value better WiFi, free food and drink, and a break from the madness of the airport, then this can be a valuable perk.
8. Free $100 Credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
If you’re an avid clothing shopper, you’ll be excited to hear that Amex Platinum cardholders can get up to a $100 statement credit each year for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue and saks.com.
Specifically, you can get up to a $50 statement credit for purchases made January through June and another $50 statement credit for purchases made July through December.
This is a bit confusing, but it essentially means that you’re eligible for $50 in statement credits every 6 months for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue and saks.com.
9. Access to Premium Hotel Perks
When you use your Amex Platinum to book a stay at one of Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll get complimentary benefits that Amex values at an average of $550. Benefits include:
- Daily breakfast for 2
- Room upgrades (when available)
- Guaranteed 4PM late check-out
- Noon check-in (when available)
- Complimentary WiFi
- Property amenity valued at $100 (usually this is something like a spa credit or dining credit)
To make this perk worth it, you’ll need to stay at the luxury properties that are part of the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection (which won’t come cheap).
10. Access to Exclusive Experiences
This last perk has always been one of Amex’s staples. Amex Platinum cardholders get access to special invitation-only experiences, such as wine tastings, concerts, and art exhibits. You can also use the card to book reservations at exclusive, high-end restaurants and get premium seats at sporting and cultural events.
As with the previous perk, you need to be the sort of person who attends such events in order to make this matter. After all, the card merely gets you access — you still have to pay for the cost of attending the experiences.
What Credit Score Do I Need for Amex Platinum?
As with all credit cards, there is no exact answer to this question. When evaluating your application, Amex will use a variety of factors. Your credit score is one of the most important ones, but they’ll also look at your income and available lines of credit.
Generally speaking, however, you’ll need a Good – Excellent credit score to get the Amex Platinum. This means a FICO score of at least 700, and ideally higher than 800. If your score is lower than 700, it’s still possible to get approved, but it’s less likely.
Is the Amex Platinum Worth It?
For certain people, the Amex Platinum can be a great card to get. However, it’s not a card we’d recommend to everyone. To decide if the Amex Platinum is worth it for you, answer the following questions:
- Can you responsibly meet the minimum spend?
- Do you spend money on luxury travel and experiences?
- Do you regularly spend money with Amex’s rewards partners?
1. Can You Responsibly Meet the Minimum Spend?
This is a crucial question to answer when you sign up for any rewards credit card. The $5,000 minimum spend is high, higher even than the $4,000 minimum spend for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you regularly spend more than $5,000 in 3 months, then you should consider the Amex Platinum. But if spending that much would require you to go into debt that you can’t immediately repay, stay away. It’s never worth going into debt just to earn credit card sign-up bonuses. The math always works out in the credit card company’s favor.
2. Do You Spend Money on Luxury Travel and Experiences?
The Amex Platinum is perfect for people who like to live large. Just reading through the cardmember benefits, you quickly realize that Amex expects their typical user to stay in the finest hotels, attend the opera, and not blink at the idea of spending $500 on dinner.
If that does describe your lifestyle, then Amex Platinum is a good fit. But if not, then the luxury hotel benefits and access to exclusive, high-ticket events aren’t going to matter to you. In that case, you’d be better off with cards that reward other types of spending.
3. Do You Regularly Spend Money with Amex’s Rewards Partners?
While Amex Platinum offers some solid travel rewards, the ways to earn them are a bit more restricted than some other competing travel credit cards. Specifically, this card is best if you usually book your flights directly through airlines and plan to book your hotels through Amex.
If you generally book your travel through travel websites or directly from hotels, then you won’t earn the 5x points bonus. Likewise, if you don’t use Uber and don’t shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, those perks won’t matter to you. Finally, if you never spend money on baggage fees and don’t buy in-flight refreshments, then the $200 reimbursement for airline fees won’t benefit you.
Certainly, the Amex Platinum does have benefits that will be useful for almost any traveler. Anyone who travels regularly can use the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry reimbursement, and the wide network of airport lounges is also helpful.
Overall, however, the Amex Platinum is a less versatile travel credit card than competitors such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Reserve offers 3x points on all travel purchases, as well as 3x points on dining. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers a $300 travel credit that isn’t restricted to airline fees, and it also offers lounge access (though it’s limited to Priority Pass Select lounges).
Bottom Line: Should You Get the Amex Platinum?
In the end, the Amex Platinum is a solid travel credit card that offers some premium perks. In general, we’d recommend that you apply for the Amex Platinum if you:
- Already spend on luxury travel and experiences.
- Plan to book most of your travel through Amex.
- Regularly spend at Saks Fifth Avenue and Uber.
- Value reimbursement for in-flight refreshments and baggage fees.
Otherwise, we think that Chase Sapphire Reserve is probably a better choice. It offers many of the same benefits as the Amex Platinum, has a lower annual fee, and overall offers more value to the average traveler.