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If you had considered getting the Platinum Card from American Express a few years ago and thought it wasn’t worth the fee, you might want to look again. In early 2017, American Express overhauled the Platinum Card to make it a very competitive rewards card again. This Platinum Card from American Express Review will help you decide if this is the next credit card for your wallet.
The Amex Platinum Card is Best For…
Before we dive into the full review, let’s cover the highlights about you may or may not like this card. The Platinum Card from American Express is a great addition for these reasons:
- Quickest way to earn travel rewards points from airline purchases
- Receive an annual $200 airline fee credit
- Receive up to $200 in Uber credits annually
- Access to several airport lounge networks
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee is reimbursed
- Complimentary Boingo wifi hotspot access
- Upgraded membership status to Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel Rewards Programs
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
The Amex Platinum Card Isn’t Good For…
While the American Express Platinum is a highly valuable travel rewards card in the right hands, there are a few drawbacks:
- Annual fee of $550 is too high for occasional travelers
- Airline Fee Credit and Uber credits have redemption restrictions
- Some transfer partners charge a small fee when you transfer miles
- Only earn bonus purchase rewards on airline and hotel reservations
For those that don’t want to pay the $550 annual fee on the Amex Platinum card, the Premier Rewards Gold is the best option, since its annual fee is waived for the first year, then the annual fee is $195. The PRG it earns 3x on airline purchases and has a $100 airline incidental credit.
New Platinum Card owners also have the opportunity to Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
The Best Travel Rewards Card for Airline Purchases
While either of the Chase Sapphire credit cards can also be very valuable for earning and redeeming points for air travel, the Platinum Card probably has the edge in most instances. You earn five points per $1 on airfare purchased directly from the airline or using AmexTravel.com.
This is a better rate than many co-branded airline rewards cards that might offer two or three points. If you own the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will only earn three points per $1 on airfare purchases.
When it comes time to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for award flights (through AmexTravel), points are worth one penny each. A $300 ticket will cost you 30,000 points. The same ticket with the Sapphire Reserve would only require 20,000 points because Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be worth up to 1.5 cents each when redeemed for award travel.
You earn more with the Platinum Card from American Express but you also have to spend more than with other flexible travel rewards cards. But, as you earn points with every purchase, the lower value can still be worth the higher purchase rewards if you spend a lot of money on airlines and hotels.
Transferring Membership Rewards Points for Rewards
You might also consider transferring Membership Rewards points to one of the 20 Amex Travel Partners. You can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to airline partners including Delta, Air France Flying Blue, Aeroplan (Air Canada), Emirates, and Etihad. This can be a good way to boost the value of your points as it can sometimes be more advantageous to book partner flights than directly from the airlines you plan to fly.
Before transferring points, be sure to read the fine print as some airlines charge a transfer fee that can add up to $100. Many people think that the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred are the best cards for transferring miles to airline and hotel partners, but, this is also possible with the Amex Platinum card.
You can also earn five points per dollar on hotel stays you book on the Amex Travel Portal (amextravel.com). If you like to stay at Hilton or Starwood Properties, you also receive upgraded status with both programs with Gold membership status with both programs.
Having Gold status with Starwood means you can earn 3 Starpoints with every visit, receive 4 p.m. late checkout, free in-room internet, and 5th night free when you redeem rewards points for the first four nights. Your upgraded membership status will also be reciprocated at Marriott due to the merger of both loyalty programs allowing you to indirectly earn complimentarily upgraded status for a third program as well.
Hilton Gold status allows you to get free breakfast, a 25% point bonus, and a free 5th night on a multi-night stay.
If you stay at one of the FINE Hotel & Resorts, you can also qualify to receive a $100 amenity credit.
Air Travel Perks
The Platinum Card has “frequent flyer” written all over it. Jetsetters will benefit the most from this card because of the bonus purchase rewards for airfare and also for the additional perks.
Annual Air Travel Credit
You will receive the $200 air travel credit every year. It can only be used for one airline that you select each year and it only covers incidental fees such as checked baggage or in-flight purchases. These two facts do put a damper on the credit, but, it is $200 of “free” money and helps justify the annual fee.
Complimentary Lounge Access
Get free access to over 1,000 airport lounges that belong to The Centurion Lounge, International American Express, Delta Sky Club, or Priority Pass Select lounge networks. No other travel rewards card offers access to so many different lounge networks.
If you ride Uber, you receive $200 in Uber credits each year. You will automatically receive a $15 credit every month and a $20 bonus credit for a total credit of $35 in December. This can be another way to save money at home or when you travel.
Rental Car Benefits
As a Platinum cardholder, you will also receive complimentary membership and upgrade status for several of the leading national rental car agencies.
Whenever you rent a car, you will automatically receive complimentary secondary collision damage waiver insurance in case your rental car is damaged in a car accident or theft. If you’re looking for a business card alternative, consider the Business Platinum® Card from American Express.
Summary – Platinum Card from American Express Review
The Platinum Card from American Express is an ideal option for frequent fliers that want to maximize their earning potential for airline or hotel purchases and want a card full of additional perks. While the annual fee of $550 is higher than most cards, $400 in credits in addition to the many other travel benefits and accelerated purchase rewards make this a very powerful travel rewards card.
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