The Platinum Card from American Express

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
75K points + up to $300 in statement credits + 10x US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets
75K after $5K spend in first 6 months plus 20% back as a statement credit for restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $300 back plus 10x on eligible purchases at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
Click Here to Apply (this is NOT an affiliate link)

$550 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline ⚬ Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status for Basic Member only ⚬ Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21) ⚬ Up to $100 in credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 in credits semi-annually, enrollment required) ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement ⚬ Airport lounge benefits ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ Marriott Gold status ⚬ Hilton HHonors Gold status ⚬ Free Gold card AUs. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)

See also: Amex Platinum Guide

Intro

The Platinum Card from American Express comes loaded with high end perks: Hundreds of dollars per year in various credit reimbursements, access to multiple types of airport lounges, hotel and car elite status, and much more. All of this goodness comes at a steep price, but many find it worth it.

There are multiple versions of the consumer Amex Platinum card.  For a complete roundup of the various flavors of Platinum, along with advice of which is best, see: Amex Platinum Complete Guide.

In this post, you’ll find information specific to the generic Platinum card from American Express…

Welcome Bonuses

Multiple different welcome bonuses are available for this card.  Some are targeted to specific individuals, some are not.  Here’s how to get (or try to get) each offer…

125K + 10x targeted offer

Offer Details

  • 125K Membership Rewards points after you spend $5K on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 10x at US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases for the first 6 months

Chance of being targeted

This one is very rare. I’d guess that only about 5% of readers (or less) find this offer.

How to Find the Offer

Browse to the Amex prequalification tool.  If that link doesn’t take you to the prequalification tool, try different clean browsers as shown in the image below.

Sometimes you’ll find great welcome bonus offers by browsing from one type of browser but not another. In general, it’s a good idea to start with a clean instance of a browser (see above) to look for an offer. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try another type of browser. Repeat multiple times if necessary. Some think that browsing at the beginning of the hour is somehow more successful.

100K + 10x targeted offer

Offer Details

  • 100K Membership Rewards points after you spend $5K on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 10x at US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases for the first 6 months

Chance of being targeted

Almost anyone can find this offer if you’re persistent enough.

How to Find the Offer

Browse to the Amex Platinum card page from a clean browser.  Keep trying different clean browsers as shown in the image above.  Some people have reported better success by looking for the offer at the top of the hour.  Others have reported success by installing a new browser application onto their computer (the Opera browser is one that has been reported to work, for example).

75K + 10x + $300 restaurant rebate offer

Offer Details

  • 75K Membership Rewards points after you spend $5K on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 10x at US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases for the first 6 months
  • Get 20% back on restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $300 back

How to Find the Offer

Click here to find this offer on the website Resy.  This is a public offer available to everyone.

75K + 10x + referral bonus offer

Offer Details

  • 75K Membership Rewards points after you spend $5K on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 10x at US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases for the first 6 months

This offer is clearly inferior to any of the offers shown above, but it could make sense if you are working together with another person.  For example, suppose you have an Amex card that is offering 30,000 points for referring a friend.  You could refer your significant other to the Platinum card.  They would get the 75K + 10x offer and you would get 30,000 points.  That’s arguably better than any of the offers except the very-hard-to-get 125K + 10X offer.

How to Find the Offer

Log into your Amex account here to find your referral options.

Amex Multi-Referrals: American Express offers bonuses for referring friends to sign up for new Amex cards. One really cool aspect to this is that you can refer friends to other Amex cards, not just the card you have. If you refer a friend from a Delta, Hilton, or Marriott card, you're limited to referring your friend to a card within that same brand. However, if you refer from most other Amex cards, your friend can sign up for almost any card within the Amex portfolio and you'll still earn a referral bonus!  More details can be found here: Maximizing value from Amex multi-referrals.

Application Tips


Amex Application Tips



  • Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at a new welcome bonus. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

  • Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from getting a welcome bonus for the card if you apply now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.

  • 5/90 Rule: In general, you can get at most one credit card within 5 days and 2 within 90 days. The 5 day limit is not enforced when your applications are automatically approved. Neither rule is enforced for charge cards.

  • 5 credit card max:Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 4 or more Amex credit cards or 10 or more charge cards.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)


Should you apply?

Platinum card welcome bonuses are usually worth considerably more than the card’s annual fee. So, as long as you can make use of some of the card’s perks, and as long as you can meet the offer’s minimum spend requirements, it makes sense to sign up for at least one year. You can always cancel (or downgrade to a less expensive card) once the annual fee comes due in year 2 so as to avoid paying for the second year.

Amex Platinum Reconsideration

If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new account holders); 866-314-0237 (current account holders)

Amex Platinum Application strategy

One option for keeping Platinum benefits for many years without paying full price is to sign up for a new Platinum card each year. While you will have to pay the annual fee each year, you'll also receive a nice welcome bonus as long as you haven't had the same card before. For example, if you've never signed up for a Platinum card before, there's no reason you couldn't sign up for the regular consumer Platinum in year 1, the Morgan Stanley Platinum in year 2, the Schwab Platinum in year 3, and the Business Platinum in year 4.
Even better is to sign up for each card mid-year so that you can earn two sets of calendar year credit reimbursements with each signup. For example, if you sign up for a Platinum card in mid 2021, you can earn the full $200 in airline fee reimbursements in 2021 and again in 2022 before cancelling the card once the 2nd annual fee comes due. It's even possible to stretch it out to three credits with one annual fee by signing up in early December and earning credits this year, next year, and in early January of the year after that. See also: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

How to Meet Minimum Spend requirements

In order to meet minimum spend requirements, people often look for options to increase spend in ways that result in getting their money back. These techniques are referred to as "manufacturing spend". American Express has terms in their welcome offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most new cardmember bonuses have terms like this:
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount do NOT include fees or interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.
That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements (click each link for more information):

Annual Fee

  • Primary cardholder: $550 per year
  • Optional Authorized Users:
    • $175 per year for up to 3 Platinum authorized users.  Platinum authorized users get lounge access and elite benefits.
    • Free Gold authorized users.  These authorized users do not get lounge access benefits.  Plus, even though the name sounds the same, these authorized users do not get any of the perks available to Amex Gold Card cardholders.

Save money by sharing

If you have family or friends that you trust, consider sharing the cost of renewing your Platinum card each year by adding them as Platinum authorized users. Your friends won’t get airline fee or other credit reimbursements, but they will get lounge access, elite status, and more. The trick is to make sure they use the card only for the perks and not for spend since you will be responsible for any payments made with the card.

A Delta SkyClub membership alone costs $545 for 12 months. You can give friends the same access when flying Delta by adding them as authorized users. How much would your friends pay you for this benefit?

Amex Platinum Perks

Access to high end perks is the reason to hold an Amex Platinum card.

Perks for all Platinum cards

The following perks apply to all Platinum cards:
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized users?
5X points at amextravel.com: Earn 5X points for prepaid hotel and airline bookings at Amextravel.com This benefit is automatic. Yes. Points and bonus points are added to the primary card holder's account.
$200 airline fee credit: Amex will automatically reimburse up to $200 per calendar year for airline fees for your selected airline only. Eligible fees include: baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases, and airport lounge day passes. Log in and go to Benefit page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”. For tips on using this benefit, please see: Amex airline fee reimbursements. What still works? No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in fee credits. Spend on authorized user cards does count, but only the primary account is credited. In other words, you cannot increase the $200 limit by adding additional cards.
Airport Lounge Access - Centurion Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges: Cardholder plus two guests are allowed free. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card when visiting a Centurion Lounge. Yes
Airport Lounge Access - Delta SkyClubs: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day. Extra charge for guests. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card and same day boarding pass when visiting a Delta SkyClub. Yes
Airport Lounge Access - Priority Pass Select Lounges: Priority Pass Select member plus two guests are allowed free entrance. Unfortunately, this membership does not include Priority Pass restaurants. You must sign up for Priority Pass Select. Go to benefit page and click “Enroll in Priority Pass”. You will receive a membership card by mail. Present Priority Pass card and boarding pass at lounge entrance. Yes. Each authorized user must sign up for Priority Pass Select.
Global Entry or TSA Pre fee credit: Full reimbursement for signup fee once every 5 years, per card. Note: signup for Global Entry since that includes TSA Pre. Sign up for Global Entry here. Pay with your Platinum card. Reimbursement should happen automatically. Yes. Pay with the authorized user card in order to get reimbursed. Terms & conditions explicitly state “Additional Cards on eligible Consumer and Business accounts are also eligible for the $100 statement credit”. Note that this works with no fee Green and Gold Authorized user / employee cards too.
Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance Call the Premium Global Assist Hotline: 1-800-333-Amex (toll free), or 1-715-343-7977 (direct-dial collect) Yes
Hilton HHonors Gold Status: Hilton Gold members receive free breakfast, room upgrades when available, and other perks at Hilton hotels. Go to benefit page, find the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”. Yes. Authorized users may have to call Amex to enroll.
Marriott Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive a points welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, 2pm late checkout, and other perks (details here). Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Gold benefit, and click “Enroll in Marriott Gold”. Yes. Authorized users may have to call Amex to enroll.
International Airline Program: Save money when booking premium cabin international flights originating in the US or Canada. Book your flight on amextravel.com. Make sure to log into your Amex account to see flight discounts. Yes
Fine Hotels & Resorts: Book high-end hotels through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and get: room upgrade, daily breakfast for 2, 4pm late checkout, noon check-in, free wifi, and unique property amenity. Also: Earn 5X Membership Rewards for prepaid bookings. Browse to www.americanexpressfhr.com and log into your Platinum account. Yes
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Elite Status: Lifetime elite status offers perks such as extra points, welcome amenity Click here to enroll Yes
Fiesta Rewards Platinum Status Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion and enter code: AMEXPLATINUM Yes. Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion and enter code: AMEXPLATINUM
National Car Rental Executive status: Book midsize cars and select any car from the Executive Aisle for no extra charge. Enroll here. Yes
Hertz Rental Car Privileges: Special elite-like benefits for Platinum cardholders, plus discounts, plus four hour grace period for rental car returns. Details and enrollment form found here. Yes
Cruise Benefits: Pay for your cruise with your Platinum card and receive $100 to $300 per stateroom shipboard credit plus additional amenities unique to each cruise line Participating cruise lines and other info can be found here. Yes
ShopRunner: Free shipping at a number of merchants. Sign up here. Yes
Neiman Marcus In-Circle Call 1-800-525-3355 to enroll Yes

Additional Consumer Platinum Perks

The following perks apply only to consumer Platinum cards (including the regular Amex Platinum, Morgan Stanley Platinum, and Schwab Platinum):
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized Users?
$200 in Uber / Uber Eats Credits: Amex will reimburse $15 per month ($35 in December) for Uber charges. You will also get Uber VIP status. Add your Platinum card number to your Uber account as a payment method. You do not have to pay with the Platinum card in order to get this benefit. Important: when requesting a ride, select Uber Cash for payment in order to use your credits. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in Uber credits or VIP status.
$100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December. Enroll here. Pay with your consumer Platinum card at Saks Fifth Avenue online or at locations in the US and US Territories. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own Saks Fifth Avenue credits.
5X points on flights booked directly with airlines. With business cards you must book through Amex Travel to get 5X. Automatic benefit Yes. Points and bonus points are added to the primary card holder's account.
Active Military Fee Waiver: Amex will waive consumer card fees (including annual fees) for US active military personnel. Call the number of the back of your card and tell them you are serving on active duty military and had heard that AMEX offers to handle your account in accordance with the Military Lending Act (MLA) Yes (primary user must call and can get fees waived for additional cardholders)

Redeem Points

In general, Membership Rewards points are worth up to 1 cent each when redeemed for merchandise or gift cards. Fortunately, there are three ways in which it is possible to get more value: redeem points for flights, transfer points to hotel or airline partners, or invest rewards. More on each below…

Travel

Those with Amex Platinum cards automatically get 1 cent per point value when redeeming points for travel. That's not particularly good, but it's much better than the value that people get without an Amex Platinum card. Currently, the only way to get better than 1 cent per point value when redeeming points for travel is with the Business Platinum Card.
The Business Platinum Card offers a 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% of your points back when you redeem points through Amex Travel for either a First or Business class flight on any airline, or for any flights with your selected airline.
After you receive the 35% rebate, the value works out to 1.54 cents per point. That's very good, but it does require owning this ultra-premium card.

Transfer points

The best use of Membership Rewards points, in my opinion, is to transfer points to airline and hotel partners in order to book high value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight or night award before transferring points. One exception: Amex often offers 30% or higher transfer bonuses to certain programs (Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are two recent examples). If you’re confident that you’ll use the points for good value, it may make sense to transfer points when those bonuses are in effect.

For specific examples of great ways to use points transferred to airline miles, please see: Amex Membership Rewards sweet spots.

Current Transfer Bonuses

Here are the currently available transfer bonuses from Amex Membership Rewards (this table will update automatically when new offers are found):

Transfer Bonus DetailsEnd Date Sortable
Qantas Transfer Bonus: Get Up To 25% Bonus Points & Earn Status Credits (Targeted?)2020/11/30
15% Bonus: Bank Points to Singapore KrisFlyer2020/12/27

Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user or employee on the account.

Transfer Partners

It is free to transfer Membership Rewards points to foreign airlines. For transfers to US airlines, however, Amex charges an “excise tax offset fee” of $0.0006 per point (with a maximum fee of $99). Airlines subject to this fee are noted below.

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioBest Uses
AeroMexico ClubPremier1 to 1.6AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.
Air Canada Aeroplan1 to 1Redeem for Star Alliance flights and/or flights with Air Canada partners (such as Etihad). As of 11/8/20: No fuel surcharges; $39 CAD award booking fee; 5,000 points to add stopover on one-way award. See: Air Canada Aeroplan: Everything you need to know.
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 1Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
Alitalia MilleMiglia1 to 1Alitalia is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. Unfortunately, fuel surcharges can be quite high, and partner awards cannot be booked online. Worse, after numerous devaluations, few sweetspots exist in this program.
ANA Mileage Club1 to 1Redeem for Star Alliance flights. Multiple stopovers allowed. Very good award prices for round-the-world travel. See also: How To Find Business Class Awards To Europe For 88,000 Miles Or Points.
Avianca LifeMiles1 to 1Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.
Avios1 to 1While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Great value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower than when booking through British Airways. Aer Lingus shares the "Avios" currency with British Airways and Iberia. In most cases it is best to move points to one of those programs in order to book awards for less.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but as of April 2020 they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available.
Choice1 to 1Choice Privileges points seem to be randomly quite valuable within the US, but dependably valuable internationally in expensive locations such as Scandinavia and Japan
Delta SkyMiles1 to 1 plus excise taxAward flights to Canada are often a great deal. Partner awards often have terrific availability, but you may pay more miles than with other programs.
Emirates Skywards1 to 1Emirates has different award charts for each airline partner. Sometimes they allow one-way awards, sometimes they do not. In general, award prices are fairly high, but there are a few sweet spots such as New York to Milan for 90K round trip in business class.
Etihad Guest1 to 1Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others.  For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.
Hawaiian Miles1 to 1 plus excise taxHawaiian Airlines’ award prices tend to be quite high, but there are some not-terrible uses: fly to neighboring islands for 7.5K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to South Pacific islands for as few as 95K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to Australia for as few as 130K miles.
Hilton1 to 25th Night Free awards
JetBlue250 to 200 plus excise taxJetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.
Marriott Bonvoy1 to 15th Night Free awards
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 1Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1Virgin Atlantic miles can be usefully thought of as a way to get a discount off Virgin Atlantic flights (high fuel surcharges make the flights far from free), but there are some better uses. Use miles to upgrade paid flights or to fly partner airlines. A fantastic use is to fly ANA in business or first class thanks to Virgin’s generous ANA partner award chart. Or, if you can find saver level Delta awards for nonstop international travel, you can often book through Virgin Atlantic far cheaper than with Delta directly. Virgin Atlantic also offers great award prices for Air France premium economy awards.

Cash back (invest with rewards)

The only good way to get cash back is to add the American Express Platinum Card for Schwab to your portfolio. This card offers its "Invest with Rewards" benefit. With this benefit you can deposit Membership Rewards points into a Schwab account at a value of 1.25 cents per point. For example, 60,000 points becomes $750.
Considering the fact that there are so many ways to earn lots of Membership Rewards points, the ability to cash out at 1.25 cents per point is excellent.

Other options

You can also redeem points for gift cards or merchandise. At most, with this approach you’ll get 1 cent per point value, but usually you’ll get quite a bit less.

You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com, for example). Don’t do this. These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Ultimate Rewards points – causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated).

Manage Points

Combine Points

Amex automatically pools all of your points together. When you earn points with different cards, the point total shown when viewing either card is the total across cards.

Share Points

Unlike Chase and Citibank, Amex doesn’t allow members to move points from one person’s account to another. That said, it is possible to transfer one person’s points to another person’s loyalty program account. The key is that the person who receives the points must be an authorized user or employee on the other person’s account. For example, my wife can transfer Membership Rewards points to my Virgin Atlantic account as long as I’m an authorized user (or employee) on any of her Membership Rewards cards.
An authorized user card must be active for 90 days before it will unlock the ability to transfer your points to the authorized user’s loyalty program account.

How to Keep Points Alive

Thankfully, it is very easy to keep Amex Membership Rewards points alive. Simply keep any Membership Rewards card open. For example, if you are about to close your one and only Membership Rewards card, then open another Membership Rewards card account first in order to preserve your points. Amex offers some no-fee Membership Rewards cards, such as the Blue Business Plus and the Amex Everyday, so this shouldn't be much of a burden.

Amex Platinum: Keep or Cancel?

Deciding whether to keep or cancel Amex Platinum cards can be a tough decision. Given the card’s very high annual fee, it’s a significant investment to keep the card year after year. If you make good use of the card’s perks, though, it can be well worth it. For example, a Delta SkyClub membership alone currently costs $545 for 12 months, but you get the same access when you’re a Platinum cardholder. Plus, the Platinum card gives you access to many other lounges including Amex Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges, both of which are arguably the best domestic airport lounges in the US.

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