The American Express Platinum rewards card is the original high-end credit card. Its name is synonymous with big spenders and thick wallets. That leaves a lot of regular credit card users in the dust, however.
American Express doesn’t seem to be losing too much sleep over leaving regular middle-class credit card users behind. They recently increased the annual fee to $550. This is the first fee increase since 2007.
They’ve increased the sign-up bonus as well, however. New customers now receive 60,000 bonus points simply for signing up for their first American Express Platinum card. This is the equivalent of $380 in cash value.
American Express’s goal is to appeal to a younger, affluent urban crowd. We’ve compiled a thorough guide to the American Express Platinum to help you decide if the “platinum lifestyle” is for you.
The Complete Guide To The American Express Platinum Rewards Card
The name American Express is synonymous with big spenders and large expense accounts. The company is notorious for not having pre-set limits. The silver-and-green American Express card was a sign of high status in the 1980s when the American Express Platinum was first starting out.
The attitude towards credit cards with no limits soured over the years as more and more consumers have found themselves drowning in credit card debt. This attitude is shifting, however. American Express reported a 10% increase in quarterly revenues in the last quarter of 2017.
American Express’ rebranding is clearly working. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to decide if the Platinum card from American Express is the best choice for you.
American Express Platinum: The Pros
The list of benefits that Platinum cardholders can receive is as long as your arm. It’s only right and reasonable, considering the hefty $550 annual fee.
5x Travel Points
The first and most striking benefit of this American Express card is the 5x rewards rate for travel expenses. The Platinum card from American Express started out as a luxury travel credit card. They’re still meeting the needs of their traditional clientele while branching out to capture younger credit card users.
American Express customers who use their platinum card for travel-related expenses will receive $5 in rewards points for every $1 spent. Examples of travel expenses that are eligible for the Platinum’s 5x reward points are airplane tickets and hotel reservations.
Sign-Up Bonus Increases By 50%
American Express isn’t simply gouging their customers with the increase in annual fees. Platinum cardholders now receive 60,000 rewards point when they complete $5,000 in purchases in the first three months. Certain terms and conditions may apply.
Credit For Travel Fees
Airline travel seems to get more expensive with each passing year. To counteract this inflation, American Express offers $200 a year for cardholders to offset expenses like baggage check or in-flight purchases. This credit is restricted to one airline of your choosing but you can change your mind once a year.
Access To Exclusive Airport Lounges
The American Express Platinum is the card for luxury travelers. To reflect its elite status among travelers, Platinum cardholders are given access to thousands of prestigious airport lounges around the world.
Platinum cardholders enjoy access to American Express’ Centurion Lounges and International American Express lounges. Cardholders gain access to Delta’s Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select, and Airspace lounges as well.
Every time you book a stay at a hotel in American Express’ hotel collection for two consecutive nights your stay is automatically upgraded. You’ll also receive a $75 credit for dining and luxury resort services like spa or massage.
Booking a room at one of American Express’ own resorts and the benefits are even greater. Rooms are automatically upgraded when upgrades are available, for instance. The average value of this benefit package is $550 per stay.
Renting a car in every city you visit can get expensive. Or you might just need to catch a sudden ride to explore some local culture. American Express anticipates this need, giving customers an annual credit for rides with Uber.
Platinum cardholders receive $200 a year in Uber credits. This is issued as $15 per month and $35 in December. You’re also given Uber VIP status.
American Express Platinum: The Cons
Here are a few of the drawbacks of American Express’ Platinum card.
High Annual Fee
This Platinum rewards card has one of the highest annual fees of any credit card on the market. Make sure you can make the most of American Express’ benefits before signing up for this rewards card or you’re likely to waste that money.
No Payment Options
One of the biggest drawbacks for the American Express Platinum is there are no financing options. You must pay your American Express bill in full each month before you’ll be able to use it again. That’s a fairly major drawback.
With such a high annual rate, any kind of drawback is going to be a big deal. The fact that you have to pay off the American Express balance in its entirety is likely to make it even less useful for many middle-class cardholders.
No Preset Limit
The lack of a preset limit is also billed as one of American Express’ benefits. It can be a drawback as well if spending gets out of hand. Make sure to keep an eye on your credit card bill if you’re using American Express cards.
American Express Platinum: The Verdict
If you travel a lot, the Platinum card from American Express could be to your benefit. It’s got some of the most impressive benefits of any credit card on the market. It truly offers a luxury experience for those who can afford to take advantage of it.
It’s high annual fee and lack of financing means that’s going to be a very select crowd, however. Make sure you can take advantage of American Express’ benefits before signing on the dotted line.
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