Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Adding Authorized Users
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Uber Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Hotel Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Airport Lounge Access
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: 5x Points On Airfare & Hotels
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Rental Car Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Fine Hotels & Resorts
Recently we saw The Platinum Card® from American Express relaunched with new benefits, a bigger welcome bonus, and a higher annual fee. The card now has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. On top of that, the card’s annual fee increased by $100, though I think for most people the new benefits will more than make up for the increased annual fee.
I get a lot of questions about the details of the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, so I’m writing a series about the various benefits of the card.
In this post I wanted to talk about the 5x points on airfare and hotel bookings offered by the Amex Platinum Card. Up until recently I kept this card primarily for the benefits, since it didn’t have any useful bonus categories. However, thanks to the 5x points on airfare, this is the card that has been earning me among the most points, so I’m thrilled about that.
How does the 5x points category on the Amex Platinum Card work?
The Amex Platinum Card offers:
- 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines; this benefit has been around since October 2016
- 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com; this benefit was just recently added, in March 2017
How does the 5x points on airfare with the Amex Platinum Card work?
When you use your Amex Platinum Card to purchase airfare, you’ll automatically be awarded 5x points. This bonus category should apply to just about any purchase made directly with an airline. There’s no limit to how many points you can earn with this bonus category.
Many people like to book travel through online travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, etc.). Technically you have to book directly through the airline to get 5x points, though often when you make bookings through OTAs, the reservation is still processed directly by the airline. So you may still earn 5x points on these bookings, though it’s not a risk worth taking, in my opinion.
Is the Amex Platinum Card even the best card for airfare purchases?
Previously I could earn at most 3x points on airfare with the Citi Prestige® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve℠. Now I can earn 5x points on airfare. I value all of the above points roughly equally, at ~1.7 cents each. In other words, this is an additional ~3.4% return on airfare.
However, one thing that makes the Citi Prestige and Sapphire Reserve better than the Amex Platinum Card is that they offer travel insurance. For example, here are some of the cards that offer noteworthy travel protection:
|Card||Benefit active after:||Reimbursed expenses:||Includes award tickets:|
|Citi Prestige® Card||3 hours||$500||Yes|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||6 hours||$500||Yes|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||12 hours||$500||Yes|
Meanwhile the Amex Platinum Card doesn’t offer anything in the way of travel protection.
Personally I find it worthwhile to put the spend on the Amex Platinum Card. I’d rather earn a consistent return that’s 3.4% better than to have some travel protection. Do note that there are a lot of terms associated with the travel protection on other cards. I’ve had one successful claim in the past, though I’ve also received a countless number of emails from readers stating their disappointment about all the restrictions with the coverage.
Everyone has to decide for themselves which card is best for airfare purchases. Given how much I travel, the additional 2x points really adds up, and outweighs the value I’d get out of earning 3x points with some protection. However, occasional travelers might be more at ease using a card that comes with travel protection. Just make sure you read up on all the terms of the protection, so you have realistic expectations.
How does the 5x points on hotels with the Amex Platinum Card work?
While the 5x points on airfare presents huge new opportunities, the 5x points on hotels isn’t quite as exciting. You only earn 5x points on hotels when booking pre-paid reservations through amextravel.com.
Unfortunately all other kinds of hotel bookings, including those made directly through a hotel, refundable bookings made through amextravel.com, or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings, aren’t eligible for this benefit.
If you do make a pre-paid reservation through amextravel.com, you typically won’t be eligible for points accrual with your preferred hotel loyalty program.
If you’re looking at booking an independent hotel, you’re likely to get a better return through programs like Rocketmiles, which offer airline miles or other rewards for making hotel bookings through them.
So I don’t see myself ever taking advantage of the 5x points opportunity on the Amex Platinum Card.
Personally I get a lot of value out of the ability to earn 5x points on airfare with the Amex Platinum Card. Not everyone will get as much value out of that perk, but as someone who spends a fair bit on airfare, I benefit greatly from that. However, do be aware that while you’re earning bonus points, you’re forgoing the travel protection that’s offered by some other cards.
Meanwhile I don’t see myself using the 5x points hotel bonus, given how narrow that category is. It’s only valid for pre-paid bookings on amextravel.com, and I think you can do better with those bookings elsewhere.
So the Amex Platinum Card is more rewarding for spend than it used to be, but most of my Amex spend still goes on The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.