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The Platinum Card from American Express: Is It Worth the High Annual Fee?

The answer depends on whether you can take advantage of this card's annual credits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel card with a benefit structure unlike other credit cards. This card boasts a long list of annual statement credits that improve your comfort while traveling or save you money on your other lifestyle purchases. You'll want to make sure you'll be able to take advantage of at least a handful of these credits though, as this card is relatively expensive with a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

The rewards on your everyday spending will probably not be enough on their own to make this card worth it. You can maximize your rewards with this card by using them to redeem for flights or prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, Amex's online travel booking portal, but other cash-back credit cards will offer better rewards otherwise.

We've laid out in detail the Platinum Card's many credits, incentives and rewards, as well as some suggestions on how to value them. 

Read more: The Platinum Card vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

In this article

The Platinum Card® from American Express

See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Annual Fee$695
Additional Details
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

The Platinum Card annual benefits

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The Platinum Card advertises you can earn over $1,500 in value across its many credits and perks. If you don't generally spend money on these categories already, they may not be worth much to you. Make sure you take the time to review them instead of assuming you're getting more value than you are.

Annual credits and perks:

  • Up to $200 airline fee statement credit (incidental travel fees on one selected qualifying airline, including things like checked bags and in-flight refreshments)
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash on U.S. rides and eats (up to $15 each month, with an extra $20 in December)
  • Up to $200 hotel statement credit for select prepaid bookings, made through American Express Travel at a Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection property, which requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $155 Walmart+ credit (monthly statement credit reimbursement for your Walmart+ membership; Plus Ups are excluded)
  • Up to $300 back on eligible Equinox membership fees (up to $25 statement credit each month)
  • Up to $240 digital entertainment credit (up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with Peacock, Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, SiriusXM and The New York Times)
  • Up to $189 statement credit back on CLEAR® membership
  • Unlimited access to participating locations in the Global Lounge Collection for you and up to two guests, depending on the location. Includes AmEx Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Club Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and more. Over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries
  • Global Entry, TSA Precheck statement credit ($100 for Global Entry every four years, $85 for TSA Precheck every 4.5 years)
  • Complimentary status upgrades with hotels (Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status) and rental car companies (Avis, Hertz and National)
  • Exclusive access to tables and events through Resy

Note that with perks like access to airport lounges and hotel status upgrades, there are no clear monetary values, so these aren't reflected in the "over $1,500 in value."

If you can't take advantage of these credits, other credit cards with lower annual fees can offer comparable rewards on the purchases you make. The benefit of no foreign transaction fees on any purchases is also standard for any midtier or premium travel card.

Read more: Best Credit Cards for TSA Precheck and Global Entry

Rewards rates and redemptions

For a premium travel rewards card, The Platinum Card is surprisingly average when it comes to reward rates used for a statement credit, but packs more of a punch when used toward travel booked through American Express. Cardholders earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. All other eligible purchases earn 1x points.

If you want redeem your points as a statement credit, they are worth 0.6 cents each. That means 5x points earns you 3% back on eligible travel purchases, and you earn a flat rate of 0.6% on all other eligible purchases. If you just plan on redeeming your points as statement credits, The Platinum Card wouldn't hold water against other options, with typical rewards cards yielding at 1% to 2%, and some travel rewards rates coming in at 5%. Therefore, you'll get the best value with this card if you use it definitively for booking travel.

The two best ways to redeem your points are using them to book travel through the American Express Travel portal and transferring them to one of over a dozen partner airlines. When booking flights through American Express Travel, you will get a better redemption rate on your Membership Rewards points. Points are then valued at 1 cent each -- but only at 0.7 cents for hotels, cruises and rental cars. Many other credit card review sites assign a higher rate (1.8 to 2 cents per point) for travel redemptions, but our point valuations for The Platinum Card come straight from American Express itself.

When you transfer your points to an airline partner, you'll usually get a 1-to-1 transfer value, so MR points are worth 1 point of the partner's currency, whether that's Delta SkyMiles, British Airways Avios, etc. (I personally tend to favor Delta when I fly, and I can usually get 1 cent per point or a little more when I redeem SkyMiles, so I transfer most of my points that way.) 

With the welcome offer on The Platinum Card from American Express, you can earn 100,000 points after spending $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership. 

Learn More

Other cards to consider

Given that The Platinum Card presents such a particular proposition, it's not easy to compare it with other cards. But depending on the perks you're looking for, there are a few contenders worth considering.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

If you value airport lounge access and want to earn good reward rates on travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth a look. The Sapphire Reserve earns 5x Ultimate Rewards points on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase, 3x points on other travel purchases (earn elevated rewards on travel purchases after receiving $300 annual travel credit) and 3x points on dining. Ultimate Rewards points are often valued similarly to AmEx's Membership Rewards points, but we give them a higher value of 1.5 cents per point, thanks to Chase's 50% boost when you redeem them through the travel portal. That makes the reward rates better than the Platinum in the case of travel booking, and for a lower annual fee ($550). Finally, Sapphire Reserve cardholders have access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges around the world. 

We think the Sapphire Reserve makes more sense than The Platinum Card in most situations. The main difference is the list of available credits and Centurion lounge access, which will not be beneficial to all cardholders.

For more information, see our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a more affordable premium travel card. Its annual fee of $395 comes in lower than Chase and American Express's premium cards, and the reward rates are similar. Venture X cardholders earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases. 

Check out our full review of the Capital One Venture X for more information about redemption methods and rates.

FAQs

How do travel credit cards work?

Travel credit cards turn purchases into points or miles that can be redeemed for travel purchases, like flights and hotel stays. Sometimes you can redeem those points for cash or a gift card, but you typically get the best rate when using them to book travel. The top cards have their own travel booking portals through which you can find flights, hotels and rental cars. Sometimes, points are worth more when used in those credit card company portals.

Airline credit cards and hotel credit cards operate like loyalty programs in that you stay in a closed-loop rewards system. You earn rewards when you purchase flights or hotels through your chosen airline or hotel company, and you can use those points for perks or future bookings through the same airline or hotel group.

What extra benefits do travel credit cards usually offer?

Most premium travel credit cards -- which carry hefty annual fees -- include benefits that add additional value to those cards. The most typical benefits are travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay reimbursement or protection, lost luggage reimbursement and rental car collision insurance.

How do you choose the best travel credit card?

The points and travel benefits that you accrue through a travel rewards program are often redeemed through your credit card issuer's website (or app) or appear as a statement credit that reimburses you for past travel-related and everyday purchases you made with your travel credit card. Points or miles can also be transferred to travel partners -- mostly hotels and airlines -- at a fluctuating conversion rate, where they can then be used to book a flight or hotel room. To choose the best travel credit card, there are a few key factors to consider: 

  • Annual fees: Most travel rewards programs have annual fees, with some climbing as high as $695, but those fees are usually mitigated by monthly or annual credits. 
  • Exclusive perks: Some travel rewards card options also grant access to exclusive travel perks, like airline lounges, priority boarding or VIP welcomes at hotels. The value of those perks is subjective and something you'll have to evaluate based on your needs and wants.
  • Foreign transaction fees: The best travel cards don't make users pay a foreign transaction fee, so that's not something you have to worry about.

Our approach to credit card evaluation

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren't any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them to other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn't right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, click here.


The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.