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If you’re looking for a solid, do it all travel card, then The Platinum Card® from American Express should be on your radar. This one card brings you great airport lounge access, hotel status, and more.

Let’s keep it short, because there’s a lot to get into with this great card and we’re going to take a deep dive into everything you need to know about the Amex Platinum.

The Basics of The Platinum Card from American Express

Before we dive deep into the perks of the Amex Platinum, we need to go over all the basics. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the annual fee, welcome bonuses, and how to get the best bonus possible.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

LEARN MORE 

The Amex Platinum Annual Fee

I’m not going to lie, as amazing as the Amex Platinum is, the annual fee is what usually makes people hesitate when looking at the card.

The Amex Platinum comes with a $550 annual fee (Rates & Fees).

That’s a lot for any card, but there’s more than meets the eye.

When deciding to get any card, you have to decide if the benefits outweigh the annual fee. For the first year you own the card, the welcome bonus often makes it easy to get more from the card than what you’re paying for the annual fee. After that, however, it does become a bit more challenging.

That’s why it is important to understand all of the benefits that come with the card, so that you can better decide if year after year ownership makes sense to justify the expense you’re paying.

We will get into those details a bit more later, but for new cardmembers, the welcome bonus easily offsets the annual fee.

The Amex Platinum Welcome Bonus

For new cardmembers, the welcome bonus is what usually draws you into a new card. The Amex Platinum definitely has an attractive welcome bonus.

The standard bonus on the Amex Platinum is 60,000 Membership Rewards. But I’ll tell you now, unless you need the other perks you should hold out for a higher bonus. You’ll frequently see 75,000 points, but sometimes you can get up to 125,000 points.

While the value you can get from Membership Rewards varies, at an absolute minimum value of 1 cent each that makes the bonus worth anywhere from $600 to $1,250. You’ll easily be able to offset the first year’s annual fee with the welcome bonus.

I said you should hold out for a bonus higher than 60,000 points, but what if that’s not what’s being advertised? There are some quick ways to try and find an elevated offer.

Before I show you the best way, I want to be transparent, because this doesn’t always work and it isn’t guaranteed. I used this same method to get an offer of 100,000 bonus points myself, and it took about a year of trying before it showed up. Just because it doesn’t show up the first time doesn’t mean you should give up. It can be very hit or miss, but you only need it to hit once.

The best way to try and get 100,000 Membership Rewards Points as the welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum is using the CardMatch tool.

Once you’re in the CardMatch tool, you’ll be prompted to fill out some information to search for prequalified offers. Fill it all out, and don’t worry because it doesn’t do a hard pull on your credit, and then you’ll see what cards you matched with.

If you’re lucky, you’ll see The Platinum Card from American Express with a 100,000 point offer shining right at you. If not, try again in a few weeks.

Another tip is trying the CardMatch tool in a private browser, or from your mobile phone over mobile data (turn your wifi off). You can try quite a few ways, but it doesn’t always work.

Being patient can be key in getting this elevated welcome bonus. American Express limits you to just one bonus per lifetime. So if you sign up for a 60,000 point bonus you, won’t be eligible for a 100,000 bonus offer until your next lifetime (aka 7 years according to Amex!).

The 125,000 point bonus is a new one that some people are getting this same way. Just try your luck and see if you’re eligible!

How to Redeem Membership Rewards

There are a few different ways that you can redeem your Membership Rewards earned from your welcome bonus. Most of you are here to redeem them for travel, so let’s focus on the two biggest ways to redeem Membership Rewards for travel: transfer partners or through American Express Travel.

Amex Transfer Partners

One of the best ways to get the most value out of your points is to utilize transfer partners. This isn’t always the case, but is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Knowing the Amex transfer partners is key to putting your points to good use. Hint: Amex points are really good to use for flights. They have a lot of unique airline transfer partners that open up some nice sweet spots. Below is a list of all transfer partners, with those unique to American Express italicized.

  • Aer Lingus
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore
  • Virgin Atlantic

For hotels, you can transfer to one of three hotel partners:

  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Rewards

While there are a lot of choices amongst Amex transfer partners, you aren’t restricted to just transfer partners. You can also redeem your points for travel through the Amex travel portal.

Booking Travel through Amex Travel

While you can access a lot of hotels and airlines through transfer partners, you may find a better deal booking in cash. Maybe your destination doesn’t have any chain hotels or you’d rather use your points to save on a more boutique experience.

This is where the flexibility to redeem points through Amex Travel comes in.

When you login to Amex Travel, you’ll be given the option to redeem points for your trips, instead of paying cash.

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Keep in mind that when redeeming your points through Amex Travel, unless there’s some deal, you’re only getting 1 cent per point. Sometimes, however, this is better than what you’ll get from a transfer partner. It can be worthwhile to do some comparison shopping before making your final booking.

Travel Benefits

If you’re opening an Amex Platinum card, what may make it worthwhile to hold onto the card year after year are the travel benefits associated with the card. If you want just one card for travel benefits, the Amex Platinum is hard to pass on.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

LEARN MORE 

Lounge Benefits

Amex Platinum cardmembers get a large amount of lounge access.

First and foremost, you get access to the American Express Centurion Lounge network. Although small, Centurion Lounges are amongst some of the best in North America. You’ll rarely have access to better lounge access unless flying a few select airlines in international first class. Most business class lounges in the US don’t even come close to the caliber of a Centurion Lounge.

Currently, you can find Centurion Lounges in the following airports worldwide:

  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York – JFK (JFK)
  • New York – Laguardia (LGA)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

Additionally, Denver (DEN) and London (LHR) will welcome the newest Centurion Lounges in the next few months.

With your Platinum Card you and two guests can access the lounge for free before your departing flight.

If you don’t live in one of these airports, you’re not out of luck. Platinum cardmembers also get complimentary access to the following lounge networks:

  • Airspace Lounges
  • Delta Sky Club (when flying on a Delta operated flight)
  • Escape Lounges
  • The International American Express Lounge Network
  • Lufthansa Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select Lounges (Enrollment Required)

With these programs, you will find you’ll have lounge access to most airports across the country and the globe.

Travel Credits

In addition to lounge access, cardmembers receive a variety of credits. These credits directly offset your purchases that you make on various products and services throughout the year. Some credits reset annually while others reset monthly.

Airline Incidentals Credit

Cardmembers receive up to $200 every year (Enrollment Required) to spend on a designated airline for incidentals. Your incidental credit can be used for almost everything except the purchase of the ticket directly. Most people use the incidental credit for seat selection fees or baggage fees, but it can also be used to upgrade your seat (after purchasing your ticket) or for onboard purchases such as food and drinks.

You get to designate one airline to use the credit with at the beginning of the year. If you have earned the Southwest Companion Pass, for example, you can use the credit to pay for early bird check in or to upgrade to business select after purchasing your ticket.

This is a good companion credit if you don’t have a cobranded credit card providing benefits such as free checked bags. Another good use for the credit is for paying for good seats on positioning domestic flights. You can upgrade to Spirit’s big front seat, or upgrade to business class on another domestic carrier with the credit. Given the length of some positioning flights, this is a great way to add 3-4 hours in comfort.

Monthly Uber Credit

Another frequently used travel credit is the monthly Uber credit with the Amex Platinum. You’ll get up to $15 a month January through November. In December, you’ll get a holiday bump up to $35 for a total of up to $200 in credit every year.

If you’re a frequent Uber or Uber Eats user, this credit will easily help offset the annual fee. Keep in mind, the credit does not roll over and expires at the end of the month if unused, so you’ll have to be at least a monthly Uber user to get the value from this credit.

Another bonus for those of you who will use the credit mostly for Uber Eats is that Platinum cardmembers can get 12 free months of Uber Eats Pass when you enroll by December 31, 2021 (Enrollment Required).

Access to American Express International Airlines Program

The American Express International Airlines program is a good way to save money on international flights paid for with cash. There are 20 participating airlines in the International Airlines program. The program allows you to book business and first class flights on these airlines with discounts up to 40% (Enrollment Required).

It can be hit-or-miss, but considering Platinum cardmembers receive complimentary access, it is worth checking before paying cash for any international flights in business or first class. Additionally, you can redeem points instead of paying cash for the flights.

Complimentary Hotel Status

Amex Platinum cardholders can register to receive complimentary hotel elite status with Marriott and Hilton.

You’ll be eligible for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status (Enrollment Required) which qualifies you for 25% extra points on all paid stays, complimentary room upgrades, and priority late check out.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold does not come with free breakfast – that perk starts at the next level of Marriott Gold. That slightly limits the value, but if you’re not already loyal to Marriott then Gold Elite Status can provide some perks to help enhance your next stay.

In addition to Marriott, you’ll receive Hilton Honors Gold Status (Enrollment Required). Hilton Gold does come with complimentary breakfast at many Hilton properties worldwide, in addition to 80% extra points and complimentary room upgrades at check-in.

Both of these are mid-tier status options. Don’t expect upgrades to suites (although it does happen sometimes), but you may find yourself getting a better room or a room with a view.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

Another travel perk is access to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Program. The program grants you some extra perks for hotels booked through Amex Travel. These perks will be similar to what you may get with top-tier hotel status, but without the loyalty requirements.

Booking through the program entitles you to late check out, daily breakfast for 2, guaranteed 4pm late check out, room upgrade, and a unique property amenity (typically a spa or dining credit around $100 per stay).

The perks you get won’t stack with any you have from your elite status, so if you get better benefits or rates from your elite status, you should book directly. Otherwise, the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Program can help you feel like an elite even when you’re not.

Travel Insurance

The Amex Platinum comes with a wide range of travel coverage to protect you and your belongings on your next trip. You’ll receive the travel insurance when you pay for your trip in full with your Amex Platinum. This doesn’t mean you have to pay full price – taxes and fees on award tickets as well as trips “paid with points” through Amex Travel are eligible for the benefits as well.

Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance

If your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason (such as illness, jury duty, or bad weather), you can receive up to $10,000 per trip (Enrollment Required). This can be used to reimburse you for the cost of your tickets and other travel expenses.

Trip Delay Insurance

Slightly different is trip delay insurance (Enrollment Required). Trip delay insurance kicks in when your trip is delayed for over 6 hours for a covered reason. Common reasons for a trip delay include bad weather or equipment failure. If this happens, you can file a claim with Amex and receive up to $500 per person to cover expenses such as lodging or meals that arise from the delay.

Baggage Insurance

If you’re unfortunate enough to have your luggage lost, stolen or damaged during your trip, you can use the Amex Platinum baggage insurance (Enrollment Required). The amount you can claim depends on what kind of baggage was affected.

Carry on bags can receive up to $3,000 per person while checked bags can receive up to $2,000 per person. For high risk items, such as jewelry, you can get $250 per person. The maximum amount you can claim per trip is $10,000.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

LEARN MORE 

Amex Global Assist Hotline

One of the lesser known benefits of the Amex Platinum is its Global Assist Hotline.

When you’re on a trip and more than 100 miles from home, the Amex Global Assist Hotline can help you resolve issues that you’re encountering during your travels. You can use the Global Assist hotline to have Amex help find your lost or delayed baggage, help replace your passport if it’s lost or stolen while traveling, or even wire cash to you in an emergency.

Simply call 1-800-345-2639 with any questions you may have for the Global Assist Hotline.

Anything that costs money you’ll be responsible for paying for, but the service itself doesn’t cost anything to use.

TSA PreCheck/Global Entry Credit

Platinum cardmembers are eligible for up to $100 credit for enrollment in Global Entry every 4 years or an $85 credit for enrollment in TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years (Enrollment Required).

I’d always recommend you just get Global Entry as it comes with PreCheck already. The credit is good every 4 years, so that gives you enough time to renew and schedule your interview before your Global Entry expires (every 5 years).

American Express Platinum Card Purchase Benefits

So while the majority of the Platinum Card’s benefits are in the travel category,  there are some good consumer benefits as well to help protect you and help pay you when shopping.

Twice Yearly Saks Credit

Platinum cardmembers receive up to $50 credit (Enrollment Required) to Saks twice a year. The first is eligible for purchases between January 1st to June 30th. The second credit is available from July 1st to December 31st. In total, this is another $100 free to buy something from Saks every year.

Personally, I like to use mine for premium bath products that I likely wouldn’t pay for normally, like scented candles and bath soaps. Another good use is to purchase some items from the clearance list and donate them to your local charity (shout out to Spencer Howard for the idea!).

Extended Warranty Protections

When you purchase an item with your Amex Platinum card, you can extend the manufacturer’s warranty at no cost. It will match the original warranty and add additional years, up to a total of 5 years of warranty including the original warranty.

You can now pass on paying for the extended warranty at checkout when you pay with your Platinum card. The warranty is secondary to the original warranty, so if you’re still within the manufacturer’s warranty period, file a claim with the manufacturer first. If you’re outside of that period, but within 5 years, then you would file a warranty claim with Amex.

Return Protections

Return protection is a fairly unique perk to Amex. Only a few cards offer this benefit, the Amex Platinum being one of them. If a store won’t accept an item for return within 90 days of purchase Amex, will reimburse you up to $300. You’re limited to only $1,000 a year in this benefit, but this can be helpful if you’re denied a return.

The item must have been denied a return, and the item must be in like-new condition. There are quite a few restrictions, such as seasonal items or jewelry. Sorry! You won’t be able to return those Christmas lights just because the holidays have passed.

Final Thoughts

From travel to purchase protections, there are a lot of great perks to using the Amex Platinum. Being able to know all the benefits can help you use the card to its full potential. Making sure you can use all of its benefits helps you to decide if it is worth it to keep the card year after year.

In the first year, getting the best sign up bonus possible is key to maximizing the value of the card. After that, knowing what credits you can use and how you can use them can help offset the high annual fee. The additional benefits, such as lounge access, can help make the card easily worth the fee for some people. Not everyone will find it worthwhile to keep after the first year, but there’s a lot going for the card to justify it for some.