The Platinum Card® from American Express is a mighty, benefits-driven credit card that competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. It’s a top-tier product of the American Express family, trumped only by the ultra-exclusive Centurion Card from American Express. Here, we look at the card’s competitive advantages and disadvantages to see how it stacks up in the ultra-luxury credit card sphere.
The Platinum Card from American Express proves best-in-class when it comes to travel benefits, including access to an airport lounge collection that surpasses all others, automatic upgrades to Marriott Rewards Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, and the ability to transfer Membership Rewards® points to 20 different frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. The card offers 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines, the best such bonus in the industry. In addition, the card is the clear frontrunner in terms of extended warranty protection.
All ultra-premium credit cards provide membership to the Priority PassTM Select network of lounges, but Platinum card holders have choices far beyond the Priority Pass collection. Card holders have access to the full portfolio of The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠, the largest airline lounge network in the credit card world. The Global Lounge collection encompasses The Centurion Lounge network, American Express’ signature, state-of-the-art lounges currently housed in nine airports worldwide; The International American Express Lounge network, Amex-branded lounges in another 11 airports worldwide; Delta Sky Club® airline lounges; Plaza Premium lounges; Air Space lounges; and lounges of the Priority Pass network.
Platinum card holders also get a fast track to Gold Elite Status with Marriott and Hilton properties worldwide, translating to perks like space-available room upgrades and late check-out. Getting Marriott Rewards Gold Elite Status typically requires 25 eligible nights in a calendar year. Getting Hilton Honors Gold Status typically requires 20 eligible stays or 40 eligible nights in a calendar year.
Finally, The Platinum Card from American Express offers extended warranty protection far stronger than the competition. If the original warranty is less than two years, American Express will match that length (e.g., one-year original warranty will get an additional year; two-year original warranty will get an additional two years). For original manufacturer’s warranties between two and five years, American Express will grant two additional years. For example, if you purchase a Mac with a three-year AppleCare plan, you’ll be covered for two years beyond the AppleCare plan (for issues covered under the original manufacturer’s warranty), for a total of five years.
Other strong attributes
The Platinum Card from American Express typically offers a great bonus to sweeten the sign-up deal and generous credits to help defray the annual fee of $550. Currently, the standard public offer for The Platinum Card from American Express is 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening. However, some readers have reported getting an offer for 100,000 Membership Rewards points through cardmatch.com (so check for your offer there first). Additionally, the card offers $500 in credits annually: $200 in annual credits toward Uber rides; $200 for airline incidental fees; and $100 toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Another perk is that adding card holders is not cost prohibitive. Authorized Gold Cards are free while authorized Platinum Cards are $175 for three users (then $175 per Platinum). Note that while authorized Platinum card holders will get the Platinum benefits, annual credits apply per overall account, not per card.
The Platinum Card from American Express cardmembers also have 24/7 access, via telephone or email, to the Platinum Card Concierge ™. This concierge service is able to secure tables at popular restaurants, seats to sold-out events, source hard-to-find gifts, and help fulfill special requests.
In terms of special travel benefits, card holders can take advantage of American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program. Booking through the FHR portal typically yields best available rates (equivalent to those on the hotel’s direct website) plus a surfeit of additional benefits, which may include room upgrades, spa credits, complimentary food and beverage, and in some cases a complimentary third or fourth night.
Finally, The Platinum Card from American Express card sports a sleek, handsome, and hefty metal design.
Competitive set standards
Several of the card’s shopping and travel benefits are in line with its competitors. These include purchase protection, lost luggage protection, worldwide travel accident insurance, and the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit.
When using The Platinum Card from American Express, purchases are covered under implicit purchase protection (insurance that covers specific purchased items if they are lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged within a specified period after the date of purchase) up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 annually.
When charging a trip’s entire common carrier fare to The Platinum Card by American Express, expect automatic coverage of lost luggage protection up to $3,000 for each covered person for eligible items, excluding high-risk items. When charging a trip’s entire common carrier fare to the card, members are automatically covered by worldwide travel accident insurance with maximum coverage provided up to $500,000. And for the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit (Auto Rental CDW), coverage is secondary within and outside the United States. The amount covered is up to $75,000.
Also in line with its competitors, The Platinum Card from American Express provides a $100 Global Entry Application Fee statement credit every four years, for each application renewal. And similar to most credit cards these days—high-end and low-end—there are no foreign transaction fees when using the card, and cardmembers can obtain Fico scores for free.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes in below average for its return protection policy. The card provides return protection 90 days from date of purchase with a maximum coverage per item of $300 (versus the standard $500 of its competitors) and a maximum coverage per year of $1,000.
Membership Rewards points earned from The Platinum Card from American Express are great for many things, but cash back isn’t one of them. Points for cash back are redeemed at a measly 0.6% (versus 2% with Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card and 1% with Chase Sapphire Reserve and U.S. Bank Altitude Infinite Visa). Likewise, the card is weak when it comes to redeeming points for unrestricted award travel. Flights can be booked directly through Amex Travel at a redemption value of 1% (versus 2% with Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card and 1.5% with Chase Sapphire Reserve and U.S. Bank Altitude Infinite Visa).
And while it often seems that American Express’ premium cards offer an endless array of benefits, some travel and shopping protections are subpar. When charging airline tickets to The Platinum Card from American Express, no form of trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance is offered (all other competitors offer some form of this insurance). Additionally, unlike its peers, the card does not offer price protection (an insurance that covers price drops, insomuch that card holders can be reimbursed the difference in price on most products if recorded at a lower price in a printed advertisement at any retail store or nonauction Internet advertisement).
Who should get The Platinum Card from American Express?
The Platinum Card from American Express is tops for those who travel frequently—and like to do so in style. Access to the entire portfolio of The Global Lounge Collection, namely The Centurion Lounges, enhances the greater travel experience and provides first-class treatment at several airports. Plus, redeeming points for free travel offerings seems endless with this card, especially given 20 different hotel and airline partners for points transfers. The card is also best suited for those who frequently purchase pricey electronics items—the extended warranty benefit is priceless. Given so many credits to defray the annual fee and a generous sign-up bonus, travelers should not pass up the opportunity to get this card now.