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Who should get the Amex Platinum Card?
American Express is one of the most popular card issuers due to the considerable rewards offered by its wide variety of cards. Below, we provide a guide to one of the most popular cards: the Amex Platinum Card.
A crucial aspect of moving to a new country is starting to establish credit with its financial institutions, especially if you plan to stay there for several years. When non-citizens move to the U.S. to study or work, they can apply for credit cards to help build their credit history and earn rewards that they can use for travel, dining and more.
While credit card companies typically require that you have U.S. credit history, American Express has partnered with Nova Credit to enable newcomers from supported countries to use their foreign credit history when applying for any American Express Personal Card—no U.S. credit history required.
American Express has a wide variety of credit card options available, but it can be difficult to figure out which card best fits your circumstances and lifestyle.
This article will discuss one of Amex’s most popular cards—the American Express (Amex) Platinum card—to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Amex Platinum Card®: An Overview
The Amex Platinum® is a premium credit card that offers a welcome bonus, luxury perks, and other value-added services. Cardholders benefit from Uber credits, airfare discounts, bonus points, cashback and much more. Unlike typical credit cards, this card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
There is a catch, though: the Amex Platinum® carries a $695 annual fee, which is high compared to other options.
Let’s dive into the details of these fees and perks, to help determine if the fee is worth it for your specific lifestyle and financial circumstances.
Amex Platinum Card® fees
A premium credit card like the Amex Platinum is suited for individuals who do not mind paying a large annual fee ($695) in return for a ton of rewards and value-added services.
Cardholders must also pay interest on purchases that are not paid off by the deadline on each monthly statement.
For instance, American Express may send a bill for $2,000 spent over a one-month period. If you pay off all $2,000 before the due date, you won’t be charged interest. But if you only make a minimum payment and leave a remaining balance, you will be charged interest on that figure.
The interest rate for your Amex Platinum card is calculated when you apply, with factors such as age, occupation, and credit history impacting the rate.
Amex Platinum Card® benefits
Here’s an overview of the various perks that come with this premium card:
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
These Membership Rewards® Points are usable in several ways, such as:
Purchases at online retailers
Covering card charges
Booking or upgrading travel
Transferring points to another account
American Express provides an online calculator to show the value of these points.
Membership Rewards® Points on purchases
Typically, American Express offers a single Membership Rewards® point for each dollar spent on the Amex Platinum® card. These points cover everyday purchases from groceries to gas and other essentials.
For some categories, there are added benefits:
Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
American Express Platinum Card® customers can also get a variety of deals from partner brands in transportation, shopping, and more.
These deals include:
Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Members only. Benefit renews annually.
Up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month. $12.95 plus applicable taxes. Plus Up Benefits not eligible.
The American Express Platinum Card® has a variety of perks for frequent travelers. Here are some of our favorites:
No foreign transaction fees
American Express has a Global Lounge Collection and has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide.
$189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
$100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
Car rental privileges such as membership to premium rental programs, free car rental loss and damage insurance, and other discounts.
The Amex Premium Global Assist Hotline that offers 24/7 emergency assistance for medical, legal, luggage and related crises when traveling more than 100 miles from your hometown.
American Express makes it easier to book reservations at sought-after restaurants and grants cardholders the privilege to meet chefs through special dining events.
American Express also has a dedicated concierge number on the back of every Amex Platinum® card. It allows cardholders to call anytime they need help making a dinner reservation, securing tickets to a sporting event or concert, or with any other issue. The service is available 24/7 and requests can also be emailed.
Is the Amex Platinum card right for you?
With these fees and benefits in mind, it’s time to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for your lifestyle. Here are a few common types of people that often find enough value with the card:
If you regularly use Uber, Lyft or other rideshare services, the Amex Platinum card may be an ideal premium credit card. As mentioned, you can not only enjoy Uber VIP status, but you'll also earn up to $200 in annual Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Members only. Assuming an average ride cost of $10, the reward translates to up to 20 free rides each year.
Do you travel frequently every year? If you select a qualifying airline, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when you charge fees for your checked bag and more to your Platinum Card® Account.
The American Express benefits for renting cars also come in handy when traveling around the world, while its Premium Global Assist Hotline can help travelers get the medical, legal, or baggage assistance they need.
Loyal Marriott and Hilton customers
Frequent travelers that choose to stay at Marriott or Hilton establishments can gain significantly with the Amex Platinum card. As a Platinum Card Member you are eligible to enroll in complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status.
Gold Status makes it easier and less expensive to get upgrades, welcome gifts, late check-out, early check-in, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and other hotel perks. It can offer hundreds of dollars in value to individuals who often stay at Marriott or Hilton hotels.
When to avoid the Amex Platinum card
While the American Express Platinum® credit card can be a valuable tool for travelers and shoppers, it is not the ideal card for everyone. There are circumstances where it may make sense to opt for a credit card from another company that offers a better value in your circumstances.
Low credit quality
Regardless of whether you use your foreign credit history or your U.S. credit history, you will need an excellent credit rating in order to qualify for this American Express card. If you're unsure about your rating, it's best to check it with your credit bureaus. If you’ve recently moved to the U.S., you may be able to apply for the American Express Platinum® credit card with your foreign credit history. Check your eligibility here.
Individuals who use travel agencies or websites
Do you often book airline tickets through the airlines themselves? Whether it is by visiting their website or calling, direct airline ticket purchases receive the greatest perks from the Amex Platinum card. The 5X Membership Points offer applies in those circumstances, not when booking through a travel agency or third-party website.
If you complete most of your airline and hotel bookings through sites like Expedia, Cheap Tickets, or Orbitz, look to other credit cards that offer bonuses on those airline ticket purchases. Possible cards include the Citi Prestige from Citibank or Chase’s Sapphire Reserve.
People who buy discount airline tickets
The American Express Platinum card shines when booking airline tickets through the airlines. The 5X membership rewards program can amount to a 10 percent return on every dollar spent on an airline ticket.
Unfortunately, though, the card does not provide many common travel protections that are available with cards like the Citi Prestige Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Amex Platinum does not provide trip delay, baggage delay, or trip cancellation protection for cardholders, either.
A discount airline ticket means fewer dollars spent, which results in fewer membership points. Even with the 5X Membership Rewards® Points offer, the lack of protection can be problematic if you experience a trip interruption or baggage delay.
Individuals who don’t use Uber or Equinox
The Amex Platinum card is increasingly popular due to its $200 in Uber savings annually on rides or eats in the U.S. But what if you do not use Uber?
Individuals with cars or those who use public transportation may never get close to redeeming the full value of the $200 annual Uber credits. While Uber Cash is usable for food deliveries on UberEats, it is still not as useful for people who do not use Uber’s ride sharing service.
The same is true for those who do not go to Equinox since the Amex Platinum immediately loses $300 in yearly value in your circumstances.
Use your foreign credit history to start your U.S credit history
New to the U.S.? Check if you can use your country's credit history in the U.S. to apply for credit cards and start your U.S credit history using Nova Credit. No SSN is needed to start your U.S credit history.
With all of this in mind, the American Express Platinum card is one of the best premium credit cards available today.
Make sure that you understand the terms and perks associated with the card, especially how Membership Rewards® points and discounts may help you save money in common spend categories within your lifestyle.
While its $695 annual fee is eye-raising, frequent shoppers, travelers, and Uber customers should have no problem exacting maximum value from the card’s benefits. If the American Express Platinum® card is ultimately not the right choice for you, make sure to check out other American Express cards with lower fees and different benefits tailored to different types of people.
More from Nova Credit:
Credit Cards for International Students
How to use your foreign credit history to get credit in the U.S.