Amex Platinum Card Review (2020)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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5x points
on airfare
$200
annual Uber credit
no foreign
transaction fees
Annual Fee: $550
| Terms Apply.

Back in the day, American Express more or less had the premium card market all to itself, with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Unfortunately for Amex — and fortunately for consumers — competition has really heated up. Several years ago we saw the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and that was only the beginning.

Of course 2020 has completely changed the value proposition of premium travel credit cards, given that not as many people are traveling, and consumer behavior has changed.

In this post I wanted to take a comprehensive look at all of the benefits of the Amex Platinum Card, and try my best to answer the question of whether the Amex Platinum Card is still worth it. The card is especially worth considering right now, given the incredible bonus currently available for new cardmembers.

Amex Platinum Card Basics For December 2020

There are some cards out there that I think are “no brainers” for most consumers, though the Amex Platinum Card isn’t necessarily one of them. I do think it’s a fantastic card, but only if you use it correctly. It’s more niche than some other cards.

The Amex Platinum is a card you should get for the rich benefits that it offers, and not necessarily a card you should spend a lot of money on under normal circumstances, since there are more rewarding cards for that.

So let’s first look at the basics of the card, then we’ll look at the value proposition of spending money on the card, then we’ll look at the benefits of the card, and lastly we’ll talk about whether or not this card is worth it.


The metal Amex Platinum Card

Welcome Bonus Of 75,000 Points & More

The Amex Platinum Card has a phenomenal new welcome bonus, potentially worth up to 225,000 Membership Rewards points:

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within six months
  • Earn 10x points at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership

That’s an amazing bonus, especially when you combine both components. Personally, I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so if you maximize both parts of the bonus (you’d earn at least 225,000 Membership Rewards) those points are worth at least $3,825!

Redeem your Amex points for travel in SWISS business class

Card Eligibility Restrictions

The welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have had the card in the past. If you’ve had the card in the past you’re still eligible to be approved, you just won’t get the bonus.

$550 Annual Fee

The Amex Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee (Rates & Fees). This is on the high side of credit card annual fees, though for many people the perks will more than offset the fee.

If you want to add authorized users to the card, you can add up to three authorized users on the card for $175 (Rates & Fees). You pay a total of $175 regardless of whether you choose to add one, two, or three authorized users.

I’ll talk more about that below, but there’s potentially huge value in adding authorized users to the card. After all, with three authorized users you’re paying under $60 per authorized user, and they get some awesome perks as well.

What Is A Charge Card?

The Amex Platinum Card is a charge card. What’s the difference between a credit card and a charge card?

  • The basic distinction is that a credit card allows you to finance charges over time, while a charge card requires you to pay off your balance in full each month
  • While credit cards have a credit limit, charge cards don’t

A charge card can be useful if you’re making a big purchase, since it’s more likely to be possible on a charge card than a credit card where you have a defined limit.

There’s another important distinction here if you’re considering applying for this card:

  • Typically you can have at most five American Express credit cards at a time
  • Typically you can get approved for at most two American Express credit cards in a 90 day period

American Express charge cards are not subjected to this limit. This means that you could be approved for the Amex Platinum Card even if you already have five American Express credit cards, and even if you’ve already applied for two American Express credit cards in the past 90 days.

Lastly, in my experience charge cards are often easier to be approved for than credit cards, so you may be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get approved. Just because this is a premium card doesn’t mean it’s that difficult to be approved for, assuming you have excellent credit.

Earning Points With The Amex Platinum Card

Personally, I think the Amex Platinum Card is worth having for the benefits it offers, though it’s not a card that I spend much money on (with the exception of the 10x points currently being offered as part of the bonus for new members).

Some other Amex cards offer big bonus categories. For example:

Unfortunately, the Amex Platinum Card isn’t as generous in that regard (again, aside from the current bonus for new members, which offers up to 10x points).

The Amex Gold Card is an excellent choice for dining

5x Points On Flights

The best bonus category on the Amex Platinum Card is that it offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or through Amex Travel, which is spectacular. This makes it the best card for airfare purchases, in my opinion.

Officially booking through online travel agencies (except amextravel.com) wouldn’t earn you bonus points, though in practice it may still sometimes code for 5x points. That’s because often online travel agencies still have the airline bill you directly when you book flights through them.

I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me, that’s the equivalent of an 8.5% return on airfare spending, which is incredible.

Earning 5x points on airfare is an excellent return on spending

The card even offers travel delay and cancelation coverage, which makes this an even better card for airfare purchases. More on that below.

5x Points On Prepaid Hotels Through Amex Travel

The card also offers 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels that are booked through Amex Travel. As a general rule of thumb, this isn’t worth it. That’s because you’re usually not earning loyalty points with your preferred hotel program when you book through Amex Travel, so that’s quite an opportunity cost.

The one exception is Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, where prepaid reservations earn 5x points. That can be a good deal because of the perks you get, and also because you still earn points with your preferred hotel loyalty program. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.

1x Points On Other Purchases

The above are the only bonus categories — otherwise, the card offers 1x points per dollar spent, which isn’t especially good. There are other Amex cards offering 1.5x-2x points per dollar spent, so I would much rather put my spending on those cards, or on another card that’s best for everyday spending.

Redeeming Points With The Amex Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum Card earns Membership Rewards points. This is one of the four major transferable points currencies and is a favorite points currency for many. While I love Membership Rewards, I’d say that not everyone should be earning these points. Let me explain who should and shouldn’t earn Membership Rewards points.

Transfer Points To Airline & Hotel Partners 

The best way to redeem your points is to transfer them to one of the Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the following 22 partners, including 19 airline partners and three hotel partners:

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubChoice Privileges
Aeroméxico Club PremierHilton Honors
Air Canada AeroplanMarriott Bonvoy
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Alitalia MilleMiglia
ANA Mileage Club
Avianca LifeMiles
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Delta SkyMiles
El Al Matmid
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The reason this represents such a good option is that you can get outsized value towards premium airfare, especially for travel in first and business class. These tickets are often super expensive if paying cash, while they can be a good deal with points.

On top of that Amex often has transfer bonuses, which can get you even better value. While a lot of people aren’t traveling right now, this is a great opportunity to rack up rewards towards future adventures.

Redeem your points for Lufthansa’s incredible first class

How Not To Redeem Membership Rewards Points

I’d note that while you can redeem Membership Rewards points towards the cost of merchandise, towards gift cards, or to pay off your statement, these aren’t good uses of your points. You’ll typically get less than one cent of value per point, so that’s not how I’d redeem them.

Furthermore, while you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards the cost of a paid travel purchase at a good rate (up to 1.5 cents per point), such a good rate isn’t available with Amex Membership Rewards.

So, in general, I’d recommend earning Membership Rewards points if your primary interest is transferring points to partner programs.

Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Up To $500 In Credits

The Amex Platinum Card offers up to $500 in credits annually. The catch is that there are some hurdles to using these, so it’s not exactly $500 of free money.

Some people will get the full $500 of value out of these credits, while others will only get a value that equates to a fraction of that. So let’s take a look at what you need to know about these credits, and how you can maximize them.

$200 Annual Airline Fee Credit

The card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit, which can be used towards airline incidentals and fees. One is offered every calendar year, so it follows a strict January 1 through December 31 calendar.

Every year you can designate on which airline you want to receive the credit, of the following:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

You can change your airline selection in January of each year. If you don’t change your selection then you automatically keep the same airline choice as the previous year.

Unfortunately, you can’t use your credit towards the following:

Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.

So this is useful for airline ticket change fees (of which there aren’t many nowadays), baggage fees, and other costs you may incur with an airline. Personally, this is something I have no trouble maxing out.

You can designate Frontier as your airline of choice

$200 Annual Uber Credit

The card offers up to $200 per year in Uber credits. The way this is broken up, you get a $15 credit per month, and then in December, you get a total of $35 in credits.

To activate this benefit you need to enter your Amex Platinum Card number on your Uber account, and then you should see the benefit unlocked. You’ll see an amount added to your Uber Cash balance every month, and the discount will automatically be applied to the first eligible ride (or rides).

Having the card also gets you Uber VIP status, though that has limited perks.

Get up to $200 per year in Uber credits

$100 Annual Saks Credit

The card offers up to $100 per year in Saks credits. This is broken up so that you get a $50 credit for the first half of the year and a $50 credit in the second half of the year.

It’s valid for Saks purchases in-store or online, and there’s no minimum purchase amount. So you could make a $50 purchase and have the entire purchase reimbursed.

Registration is required.

Get up to $100 per year to spend at Saks

Temporary Amex Platinum Card Benefits 2020: Up To $520 In Additional Credits

Given the constantly evolving landscape in 2020, American Express has added some limited time benefits to select travel cards, including the Amex Platinum. I suspect we’ll see more of these types of benefits in 2021, given the unprecedented situation.

$160 On Select Streaming Services

Cardholders can get a $20 monthly credit on U.S. streaming subscriptions, which includes everything from Spotify to Hulu to YouTube Premium. Learn more about this benefit in our guide to Amex streaming credits.

$160 On Select Wireless Telephone Services

Cardholders can also get a $20 monthly credit on their U.S. cell phone bill, as long as you have service with certain providers. Learn more about this benefit in our guide to Amex cell phone credits.

$200 Amex Travel Credit

Selected cardholders may also be eligible for a $200 credit towards bookings made through Amex Travel. This is good as cash towards many types of travel purchases.

Amex Platinum Card Lounge Access

The Amex Platinum Card offers one of the most comprehensive lounge access benefits of any card. This is called the Global Lounge Collection, and it offers access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries. This includes proprietary Amex lounges, as well as access to lounges run by other airlines and companies.

Amex Centurion Lounge Access

Amex is well known for its Centurion Lounges, which are significantly better than what you’ll find in most US airline lounges.

The lounges have hot food, cocktails, and some even have complimentary spa treatments (though these have largely been suspended for now due to coronavirus).

Currently, US locations include Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York LaGuardia, New York JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle, with more to come. There’s also a Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong, and some other American Express branded lounges at other airports.

When accessing Amex Centurion Lounges you can bring two guests, and you can access the lounges up to three hours before departure of your flight (if you’re connecting then the three hour limit doesn’t apply).

Access Amex Centurion Lounges with the Amex Platinum

Delta SkyClub Access

When flying Delta the same day you can access any Delta SkyClub. You aren’t allowed to bring in guests for free.

Access Delta SkyClubs with the Amex Platinum

Priority Pass Membership

The Amex Platinum Card offers a Priority Pass membership, which gives you access to 1,300+ lounges around the world. Do note that those with the Amex Platinum don’t get access to Priority Pass restaurants.

Access 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges around the world

Air Space & Escape Lounges

The Amex Platinum offers access to the growing network of Air Space and Escape Lounges. Just present your Amex Platinum Card and you’ll be admitted, and you can even bring in guests.

The new Escape Lounge Phoenix

Select Lufthansa Lounge Access

The Amex Platinum Card also offers access to select Lufthansa Business & Senator Lounges in Frankfurt and Munich. Cardmembers will receive access to the following lounges when flying on a Lufthansa Group flight (Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian):

  • Platinum cardmembers have complimentary access to Lufthansa Business Lounges (regardless of ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying business class) in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport
  • Centurion cardmembers have complimentary access to Lufthansa First Class, Senator and Business Lounges in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport, regardless of ticket class

As of now, this is only valid through December 31, 2020, though it’s likely to be extended beyond that, at least based on the fact that it has been extended several times already.

Enjoy Lufthansa lounge access with the Amex Platinum

Other Amex Platinum Card Hotel & Airline Perks

Beyond the annual credits that potentially more than justify the annual fee, as well as an incredible lounge access program, the Amex Platinum Card also offers status with two hotel loyalty programs, access to a program that gets you valuable hotel perks, and discounts on many premium cabin airline tickets.

Hilton Honors Gold Status

You receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card. This status is useful, and offers the following perks:

  • Free breakfast and/or executive lounge access
  • Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Preferred rooms
  • 80% points bonus
  • Fifth night free on award stays

Receive complimentary breakfast as a Hilton Gold member

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status

You receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as you have the card, which offers the following perks, among other things:

  • 25% bonus points on hotel stays
  • 2PM late check-out
  • A room upgrade

Receive upgraded rooms as a Marriott Gold member

TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry Credit

The Amex Platinum Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. Just charge the $85-100 membership fee to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.

Amex International Airline Program

With the Amex International Airline Program, you can save on the cost of international first class, business class, and premium economy airfare, on nearly two dozen airlines. This typically provides discounts even on already discounted tickets, so is a spectacular value.

If you book paid international premium cabin travel with any frequency, this could pay the card’s annual fee over and over.

I’ve saved big money on Qatar Airways business class tickets with this perk

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

With the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you can receive extra perks for stays at over 1,000 luxury hotels around the world. These benefits include the following:

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • A unique property amenity (usually a $100 property credit, free massage, car transfer, etc.)
  • Guaranteed 4PM check-out
  • Noon check-in, subject to availability
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi (exclusions apply)

Best of all, the rate is typically in line with the best available rate. I get a lot of value out of this program. Having the Amex Platinum Card gets you access to this, and if you prepay your reservation you even earn 5x points.

Receive extra benefits at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

Amex Platinum Card Travel Protection & Insurance

As of 2020, the Amex Platinum Card has some exciting new travel coverage, which can offer valuable protection when you pay for your travel with the card. This is especially useful for buying airfare, since you can earn 5x Membership Rewards points while also getting great protection.

So, what are the benefits?

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Coverage

The Platinum Card offers reimbursement when your trip is canceled or interrupted, as follows:

  • You can be reimbursed for up to $10,000 in non-refundable travel expenses per trip, up to $20,000 per 12 consecutive month period
  • This applies to covered reasons, which includes accidental bodily injury, inclement weather, military orders, terrorist action, call to jury duty, one’s dwelling made uninhabitable, and a quarantine imposed by a physician for health reasons
  • Coverage applies to you and your family members (including domestic partners) and traveling companions who purchase a trip with your card
  • You must file your claim within 60 days of the covered event

Trip Delay Coverage

The Platinum Card offers reimbursement for trip delays, as follows:

  • This applies if you’re delayed by at least six hours
  • If eligible, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per trip for necessary expenses, like hotels, meals, and other essentials

Coverage Basics

In the case of all of these benefits:

  • This is valid for roundtrip tickets paid for entirely with your eligible Amex card (“roundtrip travel may consist of roundtrip, one-way, or combinations of roundtrip or one-way tickets”)
  • Paying taxes on an award ticket with your card would qualify for this, as would using the Amex Pay With Points feature to pay for your ticket

There are a lot of other terms to be aware of, so you’ll always want to consult your benefits guide (here’s a sample of that).

Be covered in the event that your travels are interrupted

Amex Platinum Authorized User Benefits

As I explained above, you can add up to three authorized users to the Amex Platinum Card for a total of $175, and that can be a great deal. You’re potentially looking at paying under $60 per person, and authorized users are getting most of the card benefits.

This includes all the lounge access perks, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, Hilton and Marriott Gold status, access to the Amex International Airline Program, additional Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credits, and more.

The main things that authorized users aren’t getting are some of the additional credits, including airline fee credits, Uber credits, and Saks credits.

Is The Amex Platinum Card Worth It?

Obviously, the answer to this question is “it depends” for just about every credit card.

The first important thing to understand is that this is a card you get for the benefits, and not for the return on spending it offers (not including the current welcome bonus), unless you spend a lot on airfare. Heck, get this card and don’t spend much on it, but then get other cards for your spending.

The card has a $550 annual fee, so here’s how I go about doing the math on the card:

  • How much do you value the $200 airline fee credit, $200 Uber credit, and $100 Saks credit?
  • How much do you value the temporary credits offered on the card, and what are the odds that this is extended into 2021?
  • How much do you value the Marriott and Hilton Gold status?
  • How much value will you get from Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and the International Airline Program?
  • How much do you value the incredible lounge access perks offered by the card?
  • How many bonus points are you earning by putting airfare spending on this card at the rate of 5x points per dollar spent?

For me, the math very much adds up when I start subtracting all of those factors. I value the $500 in credits pretty close to face value:

  • I rack up quite a few airline fees, so the $200 comes in handy
  • I use Uber constantly, so get full value out of the Uber credit
  • I use the $100 Saks credit
  • The cell phone and streaming credits for 2020 have saved me over $300

While I don’t want to go so far as suggesting that all of those are worth face value, I would say I get pretty close to face value out of those benefits.

Then I at least historically value the lounge access perks offered by the card at a few hundred dollars per year, and we’re not even factoring in Fine Hotels & Resorts or the International Airline Program. So for me the math very much checks out.

This is also the card I use for my airfare purchases, and I spend a good amount every year on airfare.

How Does The Chase Sapphire Reserve Compare?

A lot of people view the Amex Platinum Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card as the biggest competitors. The way I view it, the Sapphire Reserve is very different, and in many cases, it could make sense to have both cards. Looking at the Sapphire Reserve:

  • The card has a $550 annual fee, but offers a $300 annual travel credit that can be used towards any travel purchase
  • The card offers 3x points on dining and travel, so this is a card you actually want to spend money on
  • The card offers a Priority Pass membership, excellent travel protection, discounts with Silvercar, and more

Amex Platinum Card Summary

I love my Amex Platinum Card and find it well worth the annual fee. I think it can definitely be worth getting, though I also do think most people are using this card wrong. This isn’t a card you should be using for all of your credit card spending, but rather it’s a card you should get for the perks that it offers, as well as the 5x points on airfare.

To decide if you should get the card, take the $550 annual fee, subtract how much value you’d get out of the credits, and then consider how much more you value the other perks of the card, including the great lounge access benefit.

For a frequent traveler or anyone who buys international premium cabin tickets with any frequency, I think the card is well worth it.

And even for those who don’t, I’d argue the card could be worth it right now. With the incredible bonus that includes 10x points in popular categories, as well as the temporary credits being offered on the card, this really is an unbeatable time to pick up the card.

If you want to learn more about the Amex Platinum Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Comments
  1. This card would be a no brainer if it included travel insurance. I’m not willing to pay the premium fee for this card without that. This card would be even more valuable than CSR if Amex would include travel insurance.

  2. I cancelled mine after 3yrs of holding it for the benefits.
    Too many hoops and it just seemed like year after year amex was starting to be “cheap” as they downgraded benefits little by little. The other thing I didn’t like is that while booking airfare and earning 5x you have to be careful because there aren’t travel protections. For that alone I found myself using chase cards and so I wasn’t getting much value beyond the lounges, Saks, airline, and Uber…the Uber was hard for me to really use though.
    if I start booking paid international travel for business expensing it I could see myself getting the card again and using the discount service.
    But with the trajectory AMEX has taken which I’ve already mentioned chipping away benefits here and there I doubt that will be available by that time.

  3. In the past, it was easy to justify the annual fee. But with airline gift cards no longer triggering the $200 airline fee credit, that perk has become useless for me and the math has changed. I’ll be cancelling when my AF becomes due.

  4. @Ben, my authorized user got the Global Entry Credit, albeit a few years ago…Was that a change I missed…???

  5. A charge card have no limit??really???
    No preset limit doesnt mean no limit,it means your limit can fluctuate depending on your history and thats why you have the spending power tool on Amex to give you an idea if a futur big spending will be approved or not so please clarify this or some readers will find themselves with a declined transaction.
    Am talking from experience not just ideas.

  6. You travel like an old person. Nice resorts and hotels close to $1000/night. Are you even 30 yet? What ever happened to getting an AirBnB in a local neighborhood and having, say, and authentic and local Japanese experience. Yeah an Aman is awesome, but you could put one in Omaha and it would still be sweet. My point is that a nice hotel takes the character experience out of a city and makes the hotel itself become the experience. Just my 2¢

  7. Although I have several other Amex cards that get Amex offers, I feel like the offers I get with the Platinum Card are sometimes better or more suitable for me. I typically save a couple hundred a year with offers, so that gives me a good amount of value, too.

  8. Well, in Germany the card has loads of benefits with lots of travel insurance. Yes the price is higher than in the US. Currently it’s at €600 but will increase to €660 with the new metalic card we’re getting.

    Priority Pass will now include a guest and a €200 credit on Sixt car hire. Unfortunately you only earn 1 Membership reward per Euro spent. With Turbo (€15 per annum) it rises to 1.5 Rewards per Euro spent.
    For me, still the best card to have in Germany.

  9. Thanks, Ben. I’ve had the CSR for a few years, and just got the Amex Platinum in Feb. Two additional area where the Amex Plat really shines:

    (1) the Amex Offers, which add a lot of value and increase the opportunities to earn extra Membership Rewards points on purchases. To date, I’ve received $145 in credits plus over 15,000 extra MR points, compared to $10.10 back from the Chase offers through the CSR. I’m also currently getting 3 total MR points for all gas purchases at BP/Amoco through Sept). This immediately makes the Amex Plat my go-to card in this category.
    (2) the partnership with ebates/Rakuten, which allows you to earn MR points for purchases through that portal. Rakuten has been running some 15% back specials, and it has allowed me to earn thousands of extra MR points for minimal purchases (even some purchases made with the CSR card – such as hotel bookings).

    I’ve found that the Amex offers and Rakuten partnership really add a lot of value to the Amex Platinum card, and may increase the the opportunities where it makes sense to make purchases with the card.

  10. Wait! How am I using AmEx MR to fly 1st Class on Lufthansa?

    It’s not listed as a transfer partner anymore?

    If so, I’m ready to lock down RTW20 1.0 and fly twice in Qatar 1st on A380 .
    DCA-JFK-HKG-CAN-DOH-FRA-IAD.

    Also. I do enjoy the $50 Saks credit. I’ve used it to buy sale items $191.00 belt on sale and covered by the credit. Bought Xmas presents last fall. Earlier this year nice wash cloths and hand towels. Otherwise I would not buy at Saks 😉

  11. You didn´t mention the option to add AU for free with Gold cards (though they award points the same way as the Platinum).

  12. @mojo

    I’m guessing his parents were players back when he was born too. Or maybe there was a time where AMEX matched the member since to the primary card holder. All I know is AMEX used to honor the member since even if you had a gap with no AMEX at all.

    Infant with an AMEX, now that sounds like a Robert Rodriguez movie.

  13. @Ben,

    “Personally this is something I have no trouble maxing out.” Curious on exactly how you are maxing out this benefit (I’m assuming is not on checked bags or buying food on-board)

  14. I don’t really understand how you could use $200 in ancillary airline credits (for 1 designated airline no less) when you presumably have status enough to waive all of those fees. That is where I am frustrated with AmEx. The gift cards were great, but locking into 1 airline with only “extra” fees is meaningless for folks with status.

  15. Update on LH Thoughts – you were probably referring to using other miles for LH 1st Fair enough, I’m focused on getting M&M to reserve early! 😉

    Is Carlos correct that my AU with the free Gold is not getting 4x on grocery stores? 🙁

  16. @Ben,

    “The above are the only bonus categories — otherwise the card offers 1x points per dollar spent, which isn’t especially good. There are other Amex cards offering 1.5-2x points per dollar spent, so I would much rather put my spending on those cards, or on another card that’s best for everyday spending.”

    I think the only flaw in your logic, is that unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve there are retention offers on the American Express Platinum. The folks that put big spending on the card to include more than just the bonus categories, IMHO is more likely to get a big retention bonus based on my review of the relevant Flyertalk Thread. I know you would argue that the incremental value of the retention offer would likely not offset category bonuses on another card, but some people would prefer the statement credit to offset the annual fee vs more points/miles earned through category bonuses.

  17. I just got a Platinum because I’m increasing travel this year. The combination of club access and Hilton status are what did it for me; the Uber, Saks, and airline credit will be nice bonuses. Amex Offers are pretty impressive sometimes too.

    I’m most wary of the various restrictions on club access (Sky Club only when flying Delta; Centurion only at departure, not arrive; etc.), but am curious to find out how much trouble these really end up causing.

  18. Well, I just figured out to use the airline credit (although on the HH Aspire) without the gift cards and as a Platinum with the Citi AA Exec card – mistakes!!! I bought a ticket with the return a day too early. so the $200 change fee is only ‘costing’ me $30 🙂

  19. Maybe I missed this in the article, but I’d it no longer that you get 5x points when booking directly through airlines and hotels as well as through AmEx. I don’t often check that miles add up to spend, but I thought that was a thing…

  20. For a person who flies paid premium class, Lucky sure does undervalue the International Airlines Program.

    I routinely save 8% to 12% on published J and F class fares and those savings alone more than offset the $550 annual fee.

  21. For the free Gold card for additional members, does that carry the same benefits as when Gold is the primary card (as you’ve recently described)?
    And additional Platinum members do receive credit for TSA pre/Global.

  22. Meh, my 3 Plats (1 biz/2 personal) will all get canceled. Almost all the benefits I get elsewhere, and Uber/Saks are just a pita to use.

    Amex has done a fine job of convincing me that my 7-figure spend is best spent elsewhere.

  23. @ dc nomad – pretty sure Ben books a ton of award flights, and with status, he can cancel w/out penalty. However, in the meantime, Amex will reimburse him for fees and will get a credit to his card. When he requests a refund from the airline, his card is refunded but Amex doesn’t claw back the airline credits.

  24. As others have mentioned, Authorized Users do indeed get TSA PreCheck / Global Entry credits. Even better, they don’t have to be Platinum Card AUs! Even free Gold Card AUs on your account qualify for this benefit.

    There’s a handy reference table at the Amex web site under Account Services -> Add Someone to Your Account. I’ve uploaded a screen shot to https://imgur.com/a/Cch7O1v that shows this more clearly.

  25. I appreciate this article as I just had to pay my annual fee. It will be the last annual fee I pay however as I’ll cancel the card next year. I hope a AmEx employee reads this in my meager attempt to get them to add value back to the card. Slim chance, I know. The reasons I”m cancelling include:

    1. The fact that the $200 travel credit cannot be used on airfare anymore. (I don’t incur the fees it covers.)
    2. American Express dropped the Priority Pass Restaurant benefit. Who wants to eat the lame cheese and crackers at a Priority pass lounge? All of which have become way too overcrowded with the proliferation of travelers with PP lounge access.
    3. The card does not let me into the Centurion Lounges the times I travel as a non-rev Delta employee. Why would the not let me in if I’ve already paid the $550 fee?

  26. Having the Schwab AMX-Platinum makes it worthwhile for us–getting a $200 credit yearly, making the annual AMX-P $550 more palatable.

  27. I have a Platinum Card that is up in December. I am seriously thinking of downgrading for many of the reasons cited here. Plus

    1. Uber Cash means that my kids / wife can no longer use my monthly credit.
    2. Centurion lounges are pretty mediocre. Went to the one in PHI two weeks ago on a Thursday night – food was entirely vegetables. Yuck. Not that I’m expecting a gourmet meal but really. I left and went to the Admiral’s Club where the fare was much better.

  28. Amex Centurion lounge used to be an amazing perk, but now with overcrowding and capacity controls it is severely diminished. Coupled with not being able to use the lounges upon arrival to freshen up or grab a bite, it is maddening. PHL is my home base and this lounge is a joke. Food is always cold, there is never a meat option, breakfast is better at a 2-star hotel. It would have been smarter to start with eliminating kids (under 18) in the lounges than throttle business travelers; I say this as a father that travels with his kids a lot too. Meanwhile, at the only good Centurion in SFO, it’s hard to get any space at the bar or dining room there on weeknights. DL ATL lounges put Centurion lounges to shame- better food, better beer selection, and premium/super-premium options if you want. Larger, cleaner, and better service.

    There are a million cards that offer TSApre/Global, so this is generally pointless for most of us in these forums.

    Cannot use airline credit for gift cards anymore, and I almost never check a bag, and when I do it is covered by status or ticket class. This perk is now worthless.

    Uber credits on a monthly basis don’t match my travel needs, would rather have them lump sum to make this perk more interesting.

    Priority Pass is a joke, perks worse than ever. Yet, was it ever worthwhile? Meh. And the lounge locations are awful in many airports, especially internationally.

    The Saks $100 credit? Dumbest card perk from any provider, ever. EVER.

    5x points and DL lounge access were the only thing that kept this in my wallet in 2019, but with these changes and a decline in usable benefits and perks- this card is CANCELLED when renewal hits this winter.

  29. I use the roadside assistance benefit to the max on my card and the AU cards . even if not needed.
    I also deliberately injure myself and traveling companions in countries that lack sufficient hospitals to treat us, just to get the emergency evacuation benefit.
    For example last year, I exposed my entire family to Ebola in Africa just to get a private jet ride home. I’d say we’re getting more than the full benefit.

    Now if you want a useless benefit, try the Amex concierge.

  30. Bummer for us Canadians, as this is pretty much the only travel card for us now that Chase has pulled out. We don’t get the Saks or Uber credit and we’re paying $699 for the annual fee. The only reason I keep it is because they seem to realize that and have given me an annual points bonus of about 20,000 points each of the last 3 years.

  31. Can someone explain the FHR benefits?
    The breakfast and property credit, is that per room, per booking, per night?
    Two rooms for two nights, will result in how many breakfasts for how many guests and how many times the property credit?

    Thanks!

  32. @ DTS — The property credit is once per stay, and the breakfast is daily. The benefit applies to each room you book through FHR.

  33. Interestingly the ad at the top of the article doesn’t even mention the airline credits nor the Saks $100.

    A card like this is more valuable if you have no Marriott or Hilton cards. Without those cards you can save about $200 in AFs and get Gold status through the Platinum card which makes it more worthwhile.

    I’ve been using the Delta lounges more and I usually travel by myself. I’m not sure if I bring someone else into the lounge whether that fee would count as an airline credit.

    You have to do some serious stretching to find value with FHR or other high end programs.

  34. The challenge with the Amex Platinum is that benefits overlap significantly with the other high end Amex cards (Hilton, Marriott, Delta). Fees top $2,000 for those four cards. The credits make them theoretically all worth it but it would be great if the cards had some different benefits

  35. “There are some cards out there that I think are “no brainers” for most consumers, though the Amex Platinum Card isn’t necessarily one of them. ”

    @Lucky, which cards do you consider “no brainers?”

  36. @ Pooja — Depending on the type of consumer, I would say:
    — For the average consumer who doesn’t want to earn travel rewards, a no annual fee card earning the equivalent of 2% cash back (like the Citi Double Cash) is definitely worthwhile
    — For small businesses, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Business Plus Card
    — For someone who is looking for travel rewards and who travels pretty frequently, the Amex Green or Chase Sapphire Reserve are obvious choices

  37. @ Anthony — You’re absolutely right, and the overlap is probably by design. Ultimately that’s why it pays to crunch the numbers on each benefit and decide if a card makes sense for you or not.

  38. As someone mentioned upstream, the Schwab version of the AMEX Platinum and the annual $200 preferred client credit makes this card a no-brainer.
    Additionally, I find the 5x MR points for prepaid hotels useful in certain locations–e.g. smaller towns in New Zealand where the usual “points” hotels (in which I choose to participate) are not represented. All of these reservations can be canceled and are refundable; so, the only disadvantage is the upfront payment.

  39. @rich – Delta Sky Club guest fees do trigger the airline credit. Thats where I get the most use of the credit these days.

  40. Airline Credits only limited to one airline and not including gift cards = worthless. Priority pass – crippled with access only to lounges and not participating restaurants (unlike other premium cards). Overall – not worth the hype or the annual fee

  41. Any idea if the Saks credit applies to purchasing gift cards online from the Saks website? That’s the only way I could see myself using it…

  42. I’ve had the Business version of this card for years. It used to be a lot cheaper. You used to be able to go in most airline lounges. Now it’s $595 a year. Only Delta lounges, and you can’t bring guests. And the Centurian lounges are crowded and there aren’t that many of them. Plus last year they won’t let you enter until just before your flight; and you can’t go in after you land. And since you can’t buy gift cards anymore it’s incredibly difficult to use the travel benefits anymore.

    I cancelled mine when it came up for renewal. And my husband’s card will be cancelled next year. It’s not worth the money. Amex is stupid to do this. I always liked this card, but now we hardly use it. Their Blue Business card gives you 2X MR on anything.

    Too bad. They priced the cards too high, and decimated the benefits. Why bother?

    Chase Sapphire Reserve is my travel card of choice.

  43. WIth the $200 AA fee gone, agree not sure if the card is worth it to me.
    Rarely use Uber. Centurion Lounges have gone down hill along with their food. Plus you can’t use it when arriving. Prefer the AA Club at DFW now.
    Don’t use Priority Pass – few time I tried to use – if was not available.
    With UA and AA top tier and members on both – I can get in most lounges I need to.

    5x is good, but I usually prefer the Barclay Silver with 3x on AA. I want to earn miles on AA and UA – not really other airlines.

    May just drop back to Green – where I used to be for a long time.

  44. Ben, authorized users of Amex Platinum will get independent TSA PreCheck / Global Entry credits every 4 years. You should update your post ASAP and confirm it in your reply comments, as it is a valuable information to beginners.
    If you can also confirm about authorized gold (free) card users able to get the same benefit, it would be very helpful.

  45. i applied and they said i’m not eligible for the welcome bonus. the only other amex cards i have and applied for are gold and hilton aspire and i’ve never missed payments . do you know why this is?

  46. Here is interesting data point, I applied over the phone Nov 12 when OMAAT had the article of the 75,000 MR sign-up bonus and the 10x on groceries.

    I was approved over the phone and next day saw that some were getting 100,000 sign-up bonus – UGH

    I received the card this morning and after registering it, I called Platinum as asked it I could get the 100,000 bonus instead. The rep could not change the bonus – but he gave me 5,000 MR for trying ahahhahahahhaha

  47. 100k welcome bonus ALL OVER the internet. There’s even a 125k offer for some.

    Guess it’s ALL about the conversions

  48. This card is for true leisure travelers who have the money to not question the $550/year.

    If you have to nitpick to get every ounce of money out of this card, it’s not for you. There are much better options out there for that.

    Higher-level Amex is worth it to me, as I can call them and they always get the job done. There’s a level of customer service with them that I don’t get with 99% of my other cards.

  49. BC (before COVID) I was constantly flying between Orlando and LAS, and they only direct flights were on southwest, so I it was very easy to spend the $200 credit on A-List upgrades.

    Further, I use UBER constantly, so have no problems with that, and the cell phone and streaming reimbursements is a very nice (and used) perk.

    Finally, I practically lived in lounges last year and found that perk to be extremely valuable, especially the Centurion lounges. Personally, even though I’m not traveling right now, I’m going to hold on to it as I anticipate being back in the air next year.

  50. I can’t imagine how anyone gets their money’s worth for the incidentals any more. I guess I’ll just start seeing how much food and drink I can order when I’m flying in the cheap seats, which I try to avoid doing. How does anyone who plays this game ever get $200 of incidentals? Really curious. Please share!

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