The Platinum Card® from American Express: Is $695 Annual Fee Worth It?

Rewards credit cards have become the standard in recent years, and people expect more perks such as cashback, travel rewards, sign-up bonuses, and more. Premium travel credit cards take these perks to the next level, but the extra perks come at a price.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top — if not the top premium travel credit cards on the market. It comes with an exceptional sign-up bonus, travel credits, bonus rewards categories, and more. But there’s one catch: it comes with a $695 annual fee.

So is the high annual fee worth it? We’ll be exploring that in this article, as well as sharing the top perks the card provides.

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By Carlo Tan — Shutterstock


At a glance:

  • Annual fee: $695

  • APR for Pay Over Time Feature: 15.99% to 22.99% variable APR on eligible charges.

  • Credit required: Good to excellent

  • 100,000 reward point sign-up bonus

  • 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants when you Shop Small

  • 5X points on flights

  • 5X points on prepaid hotels

  • 1X points on other purchases

  • $200 hotel credit

  • $200 airline fee credit

  • $300 with Equinox

  • $200 Uber Cash

  • $240 digital entertainment credit

  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre✓

  • $100 statement credits at Saks

  • $179 CLEAR® Credit

  • Terms apply. See Rates & Fees


The Platinum Card from American Express pros and cons

Pros:

  • Large sign-up bonus

  • Bonus rewards categories

  • Excellent travel perks

  • Many extra card benefits

Cons:

  • High annual fee

  • Subpar reward redemption for a premium card

  • No introductory APR


Sign-Up bonus: 100,000 rewards points

The Platinum Card has a new member bonus that’s hard to beat. You’ll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership.

Also, in the first six months of card membership, you’ll earn 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants when you shop small in the United States. This bonus is good for up to $25,000 in eligible purchases.

Earning rewards

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with plenty of ways to earn points. First, you’ll earn 5X points on flights that you book directly with American Express Travel or with airlines. This bonus is good on your first $500,000 of flights. You’ll also earn 5X points on prepaid hotels that you book through AmexTravel.com. Finally, you’ll earn 1X points.

Losing rewards

While there are several ways to earn Membership Rewards points, it’s also possible to lose points. You’ll lose points when you:

  • Make a late payment

  • Have your card account canceled by AmEx

  • Cancel your Rewards account

  • Engage in or attempt to abuse misuse or game Membership Rewards

  • Have a negative points balance

Redeeming rewards

Like other rewards credit cards, there are a few different ways you can redeem your Membership Rewards points. First, the best way to maximize your rewards is to transfer them to an airline or hotel loyalty program. For these transfers, you’ll get 1,000 miles, points, or credits with your loyalty program for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points. There are a few exceptions, including Aeromexico, Hilton, and JetBlue Airways, where your Membership Rewards points are with more or fewer points with the travel partner.

Another way to redeem your Membership Rewards points is to book travel directly through American Express Travel. For airfare, airline upgrades, and Uber/NYC taxi purchases, you’ll get one cent per point.

There are other ways to redeem your rewards points that won’t get you quite as much value.

Here are a few other options:

  • Gift cards: Up to 1 cent per point

  • Other American Express Travel purchases: 0.7 cents per point

  • Expedia travel: 0.7 cents per point

  • Shopping partners: 0.7 cents per point

  • Statement credit: 0.6 cents per point

Other card perks

The new cardmember bonus and Membership Rewards bonus categories are both big selling points for the Platinum Card. But another area where the card really shines is its other perks, which, if you take advantage of them, allow you to make your money back on the card fully.

Travel perks

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with the following travel perks:

  • $200 hotel credit each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection when you book with American Express Travel and pay with your American Express Platinum

  • The Global Lounge Collection in more than 1,300 airport lounges in 140 different countries

  • $200 airline fee credit per calendar year when incidental fees such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments are charged to your American Express Platinum

  • $200 Uber Cash throughout the year as well as Uber VIP membership

  • $179 CLEAR® Credit that allows you to use the touchless ID to move more quickly through airports and stadiums across the United States

  • International Airline Program to give you lower fares on the best international seats for up to 8 tickets per booking

  • Fee credit of $100 for Global Entry every four years or $85 for TSA Pre✓ every five years through any Authorized Enrollment Provider

  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program to provide up to $550 in extra perks — including daily breakfast, late checkout, experience credit, and more — when you booth hotel and resort stay through American Express Travel

  • $100 experience credit for dining, spa treatments, and more when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel

  • Platinum travel service to provide custom itineraries, tailored recommendations, and more

  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, which allows you to receive upgrades and enhanced rooms when you check-in

  • Hilton Honors Gold Status

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Premium car rental status

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance

  • Premium Global Assist hotline when you travel more than 100 miles from home

  • Trip delay insurance

  • Trip cancellation insurance

Shopping and entertainment perks

The Platinum Card from American Express also comes with the following shopping and entertainment credits:

  • $240 digital entertainment credits when you pay for eligible purchases at participating partners

  • $300 Equinox credit when you pay select monthly Equinox membership fees

  • Global Dining Access by Resy to unlock exclusive reservations and special dining experiences

  • Up to $100 statement credits each year for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Platinum Card Concierge to help you make arrangements for dining, ticket purchases, events, and more

  • By Invitation Only, which gives you entry to once-in-a-lifetime events, including sporting events, fashion events, fine dining, and more

  • Preferred seating for select cultural and sporting events

  • Return protection on eligible items for 90 days

  • Incircle Point Card credits toward purchase at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, and Horchow

  • Purchase protection when purchases are stolen, damaged, or lost

  • Extended warranty for up to an additional one year on warranties of five years or less

Is the Platinum Card from American Express worth it?

There’s no doubt that the Platinum Card from American Express comes with a steep annual fee that might immediately turn some people away. But with all of the benefits that come with it, the card is more than worth it — but only if you’re able to take advantage of all the card perks.

First, the card’s welcome bonus alone can be worth nearly twice the high annual fee if you use it on travel expenses, either directly through the airline or hotel or by booking your travel through American Express Travel.

Many of the other card benefits combined can equal significantly more than the annual fee — those benefits include the $200 hotel credit, $200 airline credit, $300 Equinox credit, $200 Uber Cash, $240 digital entertainment credit, $100 Saks statement credits, and more.

That being said, if you don’t find yourself taking advantage of many of the card perks, then the $695 annual fee isn’t worth the Membership Rewards you might earn with the card. And since some of the card benefits require you to spend money to earn the reward, it may not be worth it if you end up having to spend money you otherwise wouldn’t have to earn the rewards.

The Platinum Card from American Express FAQs

How do you qualify for the Platinum Card from American Express?

The Platinum Card from American Express is available to those with good or excellent credit, meaning you should have a credit score of at least 670 before you apply.

How do you get the Platinum Card from American Express welcome bonus?

To qualify for the Platinum Card from American Express, you have to spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Is the Platinum Card from American Express worth it?

The Platinum Card from American Express can definitely be worth the annual fee as long as you take advantage of many of the card’s travel, shopping, and entertainment perks.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

The credit card that competes most closely with the American Express Platinum is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Sapphire Reserve has a slightly lower annual fee of $500 and many similar perks, such as travel credits, Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, airport lounge access, and 5X rewards on travel spending. The Sapphire Reserve also has more flexible spending bonuses, including increased cashback on dining. However, the Sapphire Reserve doesn’t have quite as many perks as the American Express Platinum, and its sign-up bonus is half as much as the Platinum’s.

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