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The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply. See rates and fees) originally launched in 1984 with an annual fee of $250—unprecedented at the time. Since then, it has become one of the most popular and sought-after travel rewards cards, as well as a status symbol.
Along with a roster of benefits and services that is constantly expanding, the card’s annual fee has also been raised multiple times in the decades since its inception. Last year, the Platinum Card upped its annual fee from $550 per year to a jaw-dropping $695 —leaving competitors like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the looking relatively affordable with their annual fees of $550 and $395, respectively.
However, The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders will find new perks to compensate for the higher pricing, including statement credits for things like digital entertainment and fitness programming.
Here’s a look at the current offerings to the Platinum Card and whom this card might be best for.
Features of the Platinum Card from American Express
First, a reminder of what exactly has changed about the Platinum Card since last year.
A Higher Annual Fee
The Platinum Card already charged one of the highest annual fees of any publicly available rewards card. In 2021, its annual fee was raised to an eye-popping $695 per year. If you open a new account, you’ll be responsible for that fee immediately.
New Benefits And Statement Credits
Along with the fee hike, the Platinum Card also introduced several distinct new perks in 2021. Here are the details on those.
- $200 Annual Hotel Credit: Cardholders receive up to $200 in statement credits each year for prepaid bookings through Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties, which requires a minimum two-night stay, made through American Express Travel (Terms apply).
- $189 Annual CLEAR Credit: Cardholders get up to $189 back in statement credits each year for a membership with CLEAR, the biometric identification company whose kiosks travelers skip TSA ID checks and head straight to the security line at select U.S. airports (Enrollment required).
- $300 Annual Equinox Credits: Receive up to $300 annually in statement credits, broken down into $25 per month on select Equinox memberships or on the Equinox+ digital fitness app when you pay with your card (Enrollment required).
- $240 Annual Digital Entertainment Credits: Platinum Card® from American Express members get up to $240 in yearly digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month) toward purchases or subscriptions with one or more of Audible, Disney Plus, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock, as well as access to exclusive experiences from these partners (Enrollment required).
- Premium Private Jet Perks: Receive up to 40% off a membership for the Premium Private Jet Program with Wheels Up, plus up to $2,000 in flight credits toward charter flights booked in the first year (Enrollment required.).
- Expanded Lounge Access: Cardmembers receive access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including the issuer’s own Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass member lounges, but will also find 14 Escape Lounges rebranded as Centurion “Studios” at airports in the near future (Enrollment required).
- Resy Global Dining Access: Add your card to your Resy profile and score hard-to-book reservations at some of the world’s hottest restaurants as well as access to exclusive member events through this program.
But not everything is changing with the Amex Platinum Card. Members can still take advantage of its many, many ongoing perks.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
5X Reward Rate
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel; earn 5 Membership Rewards perRead More
Earn 100,000 points
See Pay Over Time APR
Excellent/Good (700 – 749)
Ongoing Benefits of the Platinum Card from American Express
Among the most significant and potentially valuable benefits the Platinum Card offers, here are the ones to keep in mind (Note, these are not all the card’s perks, just the highlights).
- $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in airline fee statement credits for travel incidentals such as checked bags and seat selection. This benefit is for an eligible airline you select at the beginning of each year (Enrollment required).
- $200 Annual Uber Cash: Link your card to your Uber account and enjoy up to $15 per month ($35 in December) in Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber rides and Uber Eats orders. (Enrollment required).
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit: Receive a statement credit of up to $85 for TSA PreCheck or up to $100 for Global Entry.
- International Airline Program: Special pricing on premium economy, business- and first-class tickets with seven partner airlines when booking through Amex.
- $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits: Up to $50 statement credits between January and June and another $50 from July through December toward Saks purchases (Enrollment required).
- Fine Hotels + Resorts Bookings: Enjoy benefits including daily complimentary breakfast, on-property credits, space-available room upgrades and more when booking luxury hotel partners through Amex’s Fine Hotels + Resorts portal.
- Hilton and Marriott Elite Status: Automatic Gold elite status with both the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs (Enrollment required).
- Car Rental Privileges: Elite status with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred Club and National Emerald Club with enrollment.
All in all, these perks can add up to quite a lot of extra value each year.
Who Is The Platinum Card From American Express Right For?
If you were thinking about applying for the Platinum Card, or if you already carry it but are considering whether the card is even right for you any more, the crux of this question comes down to whether you will get more value from the Platinum Card each year than it costs to keep it in your wallet. If you’re not leveraging its perks to get at least $695 worth of discounts, credits and other benefits, then you should not get this card.
That said, if you travel a fair amount and can use those Uber Cash, Equinox and digital streaming credits, it’s actually quite easy to compensate for the higher annual fee. Here are a few types of cardmembers for whom the Amex Platinum Card is a good fit:
First and foremost, the folks The Platinum Card® from American Express really makes sense for are those who travel through airports quite a lot.
That’s because many of its benefits are air-travel-related, including its annual airline fee credit, the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement and that annual CLEAR statement credit. Tallying just those three perks up, you’re looking at around $400 per year in value—again, assuming you actually take full advantage of them and don’t already get discounts on these memberships through another credit card or from elite status.
The Platinum Cardwill also get you into more lounges than almost any other travel card—Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and more. So if you spend a lot of time in airports before or between flights and don’t have lounge access another way, this perk can also be worth hundreds of dollars yearly.
Especially if you were considering purchasing similar memberships, such as Priority Pass Prestige ($429) and Delta Sky Club ($545), anyway.
Likewise, if you’re the type of traveler who regularly pays for premium airline tickets, you could find huge savings through Amex’s International Airline Program. Booking via this channel confers discounts (anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars) on premium economy, business, and first class tickets with seven partner carriers including Air France-KLM, British Airways, Delta, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
Private jet travel experienced a boom during the pandemic that does not seem to be subsiding. While charters and private flights are more accessible than ever, it shouldn’t be hard to blow through the Platinum Cards $2,000 in first-year flight credits with Wheels Up, nor to save possibly thousands of dollars on memberships with the service, which range from $2,995 to $17,500 for the first year, and $2,495 to $8,500 for subsequent years—if this is something you plan on using, of course.
High-End Hotel Hoppers
If you stay at Marriott or Hilton properties regularly, but perhaps not enough to achieve more than basic elite status, the ability to register for automatic Marriott and Hilton Gold status is an excellent advantage of the Platinum Card. Not only will you be eligible for upgrades and conveniences like late checkout, but Hilton Gold status entitles you to a daily food and beverage credit (the amount depends on the specific property) that can save you a chunk of change, especially on longer stays.
Even more impressive is the list of perks that Fine Hotels + Resorts reservations are eligible for. In Spring 2022, for example, you could book a stay with a complimentary daily breakfast for two and a $100 on-property credit at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, with the fourth night free.
Granted, you’d be spending a lot of money to stay there, but a complimentary night on four-night stays could be worth $600 or more. That, along with the on-site benefits, and up to a $200 annual hotel credit for stays booked through FHR, would more than make up for the Platinum Card’sannual fee in one fell swoop.
Digital Entertainment Devotees
The digital entertainment statement credits are fairly extensive—up to $20 per month to pay for subscriptions with eight partners: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock. You could probably get your money’s worth by using just one or two of these, or subscribing to a single premium membership, such as SiriusXM Music & Entertainment, which costs $17.99 per month.
The card’s up to $300 in annual Equinox statement credits would be easier to leverage if they weren’t split up into $25 per month, so you’ll have to commit to Equinox for this benefit to be of any use for you.
That said, it’s not hard to go through $25 monthly with this high-end fitness brand since Equinox+ membership costs $40 per month and in-person gym memberships can cost over $200 per month.
Another statement credit that’s broken down into $15 monthly credits except for a $35 one in December, is the $200 in Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber rides and Uber Eats orders. It’s simple to use and one or two rides or food deliveries each month should cover it, but you’ve got to make sure that you actually use Uber enough to do so.
All Of The Above…Or Some Of The Above
Do you have to be an independently wealthy, globe-trotting, fitness-obsessed foodie and podcast enthusiast in order to enjoy all the Platinum Card has to offer? Probably not—but it wouldn’t hurt.
You don’t have to fly private every month or book a new luxury hotel stay weekly in order to justify getting the Platinum Card. However, you do need to think about whether you will actually leverage its benefits on a regular basis to make carrying it worthwhile.
It’s not enough to eke out slightly more than $695 in value from its perks each year. Given their breadth and scope, you can potentially reap thousands of dollars in credits and discounts from them. To do so, though, you need to be the type of person who travels a lot and spends on premium experiences, including business or first class airline tickets, private jet charters and fancy hotels, at least from time to time. If you’re already doing those things, great. If that would be a stretch for you, look elsewhere.
You might be better off getting a credit card that offers some of the same solid benefits for a more affordable annual fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Rather than monthly statement credits based on memberships and other activities that you have to track, the card offers an easy-to-use $300 annual travel statement credit, will reimburse you up to $100 for a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS application fee once every four years and get you into Priority Pass lounges, all for $550 a year. That should be enough for most road warriors.
If you’re willing to put in a little extra work and you are a luxury traveler who would use the new hotel, private jet, Equinox, CLEAR® and streaming credits as well as the card’s ongoing perks, they add just that much more value to the Amex Platinum’s profile and are potentially worth thousands of dollars in discounts each year.
To view rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.