The Platinum Card from American Express Review: Only For The Rich

Are you rich and fabulous? But also appreciate great value and tons of rewards? If so, then The Platinum Card from American Express credit card is the card for you.

I was talking to several multi-millionaires over beers one day and we got to talking about what they hold in their wallet. The most common card that came up was the Chase Freedom Unlimited Rewards Credit Card, which I also have.

With Freedom Unlimited you earn 5% cash back on travel and 3% on dining. You also get $200 cash back after spending just $500 in your first 3 months. With no annual fee and unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything else, the Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards card is one of the most popular cards for frugal rich people.

AMEX Platinum Turns Heads

The Platinum Card by American Express Review: Only For The Rich

But the card that these multi-millionaires all perked up to was when one friend opened his wallet and pulled out his American Express Platinum card.

AMEX has long been the #1 corporate card of choice for big businesses. I had the normal green one for 13 years while I worked in investment banking and charged $50,000+ a year on client entertainment and travel.

So when The Platinum Card from American Express was displayed, we all got to talking about the details. My friend pays a $550 annual fee for the privilege of being a member.

Quick Details About The AMEX Platinum Card

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $200 each year in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • A great looking card with no foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply
The Platinum Card From American Express

American Express Platinum Review

If you enjoy the high life, then The Platinum Card from American Express should peek your interest.

When you're paying a $550 annual fee, you're not focused on saving money so much, you're focused on a true luxury travel experience. You want the finest service, the best accommodations, access to amazing airport lounges, and lots of rewards as well.

Those who first sign up earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after using your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. The 75,000 Membership Rewards are valued between about $750 – $1,500 dollars, depending on what you use them for.

Therefore, the sign up bonus alone covers your entire annual fee and then some, which is great.

Here are the main rewards for the card:

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Plus get 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on
  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Interest rate for purchases: None. The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card, meaning your balance is due in full every month.

This is both good and bad. As a rich person, you should have your credit card on auto pay each month. If you don't pay on time each month, you have to pay a penalty. But usually, AMEX will waive the fee once a year if you are a good customer.

The Platinum Card From American Express Has Amazing Benefits

The majority of this card's value lies instead in its automatic upgrades, premium services, exclusive access and other “soft” benefits. Sure, earning 5 points per dollar spent on travel and hotels is great, but you're really getting the card for the access it provides and service.

Automatic Credits (Free Money)

  • $200 a year for airline incidental fees. This is reimbursement for things like checked-bag fees or in-flight refreshments, but not airfare or upgrades. It applies to a single airline that you get to choose. And you can change your designated airline once a year.
  • Plus $200 a year for Uber. These credits for use in the US are issued on a monthly basis — $15 each month and $35 in December. They don't roll over though. You must use them or lose them for rides or UberEats.
  • $100 a year at Saks Fifth Avenue. You get $50 worth of credit for in-store or online purchases from January through June, and another $50 for purchases from July through December.
  • Up to $100 for trusted traveler programs. You can be reimbursed for the application fee for either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85). The Global Entry reimbursement is available once every four years; TSA Precheck, once every 4.5 years.

In other words, you can get $600 a year in free automatic credits with The Platinum Card from American Express, which alone, covers the $550 annual fee if you use the card somewhat regularly.

If the above free perks all sound appealing to you and are benefits that you'd want to utilize, all the more reason to sign up for this luxury card.

Great Airport Lounge Access

My favorite reason for getting The Platinum Card from American Express is the amazing network of airport lounge access worldwide. We're talking complementary access to The Global Lounge Collection worldwide where you can have a meal, take a nap, use a clean restroom, take a shower, and stretch your legs in privacy! This type of access makes airport layovers actually enjoyable.

When I used to travel to Asia 4X a year, I would always use my American Express Corporate Card to access incredible lounges. There was never a shortage of electrical outlets or comfy places to sit unlike the crowded gates where the vast majority of other passengers were stuck waiting.

Here are the main lounges you get access to as part of the card's benefits:

  • The issuer's own Centurion Lounges and International American Express lounges.
  • Delta Sky Clubs, when flying Delta.
  • Priority Pass Select lounges.
  • Lounges in the Plaza Premium, Escape and Airspace networks.
Centurion Lounge In Vegas
Centurion Lounge in Vegas

Solid Hotel Benefits

A true luxury card wouldn't be complete without hotel and resort benefits as well. Here's what the AMEX Platinum card offers:

  • Marriott. You can upgrade to Gold Elite status in Marriott's Bonvoy rewards program without meeting any stay requirements.
  • Hilton. You get automatic Gold status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program.
  • The Hotel Collection. Book a stay of at least two nights at one of these properties and you'll get an automatic upgrade, if available, and a $100 credit for dining, spa, resort or other activities at the hotel.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts. Book a stay at one of these ultra-high-end places and get upgrades and amenities that the issuer says are worth an average of $550 per stay. They include automatic room upgrades, if available, early check-in, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and amenities unique to each property.

Other Soft Benefits That Are Invaluable

Even after all the above perks, that's not all. The Platinum Card from American Express also features these additional benefits:

  • Concierge service. Cardholders get 24-hour access to concierge services by phone. This way, you'll never get stuck somewhere without any help.
  • Global Dining Collection. Special access to reservations and events like chef meet-and-greets at high-end restaurants.
  • By Invitation Only. This program offers members-only VIP experiences at events such as Wimbledon and the Kentucky Derby. The card gives you access to buy tickets at these events, which are often extremely hard to do. For example, non-cardholders have to queue up for 6-8 hours to get tickets at Wimbledon. I ended up buying debenture seats for $600 a pop. But it was worth seeing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on center court!
  • Preferred Seating. Your card may let you jump the line to buy tickets for select sports or cultural events.
  • Late checkout. Instead of having to check out by 11am or 12noon at the latest usually, you can often check out at 1pm or later.
The Platinum Card By American Express
Roger Federer Winning Wimbledon

Downside To The Platinum Card

The main downside of owning this card is the $550 annual fee. The other downside is that you'll only earn 1 point per dollar on non-travel and hotel spending.

Alternative Credit Cards

On the contrary, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

Cardholders also receive a one-time bonus of 60,000-mile bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of membership.

Capital One Venture Credit Card

Finally, you also get the TSA Precheck or Global Entry included.

If you prefer to stay within the American Express Card family, the Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card is a great option with $0 annual fee.

Also Consider The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The final card discussed at our multi-millionaire roundtable was the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The card launched in 2016 and really began to aggressively compete with the Platinum Card by American Express. Although the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn't have the historical prestige of The Platinum AMEX card, it offers very similar benefits.

Here are the main benefits of Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • $300 a year in credit for travel expense, not just incidental fees and not just on airlines.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3X points for travel and dining, and 1X points for the rest

For these benefits, you'll have to pay a $550 annual fee just like The Platinum card. You can read a more thorough review about the Chase Sapphire Reserve here.

The Platinum Card from American Express Conclusion

This elite card is the perfect card for you if these statements ring true:

  • You enjoy staying at The Ritz-Carlton instead of slumming it at Motel 8.
  • When you fly you'll only go Economy Plus or better.
  • Dining at the best restaurants on the Zagat's latest guide is something you love to do.
  • You're worth at least $500,000 before the age of 35 and $1,000,000 before the age of 45

Having 24-hour concierge service, peace of mind, lounge access, 5X points on travel and hotels, and $600 a year worth of automatic credits makes this card worth it.

Pay off Your Debt Faster

If you don’t have enough cash, getting a personal loan from Credible is a good place to start.

Personal loan rates have come down significantly in comparison to the average credit card interest rate. Thus, if you have expensive credit card debt, consider consolidating your debt into a lower interest-rate personal loan.

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For further suggestions on saving money and growing wealth, check out my Top Financial Products page.

In addition, if you enjoyed this article and want to get more personal finance insights and tips, please sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. You’ll get access to exclusive content only available to subscribers.

About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends most of his time playing tennis, traveling, and taking care of his family.

Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.

Disclosure: Credit card terms and features are subject to change.

Review Summary
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The Platinum Card from American Express
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The Platinum Card from American Express
USD 550
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