Courtesy of American Express

Serious travelers need this card in their wallets. 

Molly McArdle
April 12, 2018

One of the most deluxe, high-end credit cards currently available to the public, the American Express Platinum Card is a perennial favorite of Brian Kelly, a points and miles expert.

Despite the unusually high $550 annual fee (the American Express Centurion card has an exorbitant $2,500 yearly maintenance charge, but that's an invite-only option), this card confers an excellent value for travelers who are frequently on the road. 

The Platinum Card offers several perks that are unmatched by similar comparable cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. (The cost, $100 more per year, reflects this.) For instance, Platinum cardholders can access a 24/7 concierge service, available by phone, to assist cardholders with almost anything they need or want.

Platinum cardholders also gain immediate elite membership status in five major rewards programs: Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold, Avis Preferred, Hertz No.1 Club Cold, and National Emerald Club Executive. All of these exclusive tiers offer deluxe perks that might otherwise take years to accrue through conventional methods.

And though several cards offer Priority Pass Select membership (which gives the cardholder and a guest complimentary access to more than 100 lounges in airports across the world), the Platinum Card also opens the doors to American Express' exclusive — and downright lavish — Centurion Lounges.

Cardholders also get complimentary access to Boingo Wi-Fi, up to $200 per year in Uber credits, and Delta Sky Club access when flying Delta Air Lines.

Other reasons to add this particular credit card to your wallet? American Express Platinum cardholders earn Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to the bank's partner hotel and airline loyalty programs; spent on goods or services in the Membership Rewards online marketplace; used to pay for Amazon purchases; credited to eligible charges on your billing statement; redeemed for (more) free Uber rides; and exchanged for gift cards.

Though the value of the Platinum Card annual fee can be easily recuperated (and exceeded) by taking advantage of some of its many benefits, it will serve most useful for frequent travelers. Some of its simplest perks, for example, like zero foreign transaction fees and guaranteed 4:00 p.m. late checkout through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, will be best appreciated by serious globetrotters.

Add benefits like a $200 credit for checked bag fees and inflight meals, as well as a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, and any card applicant may sense the strong travel theme.

To make this particular piece of plastic so appealing, Amex has even added a 60,000-point sign-up bonus. Though travelers should be sure to confirm all the benefits and incentives before applying, as they can change with some frequency. 

The Platinum Card from American Express

Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Five points for every dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Five points for every dollar spent on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • $15 in Uber credit for U.S. rides every month — and $35 in Uber credits in December
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years
  • An annual $200 credit for checked bag fees and inflight meals on the qualifying airline of your choice
  • Complimentary access to Boingo Wi-Fi
  • A $75 dining, spa, or resort credit and room upgrade (if available) when you book a stay with The Hotel Collection
  • Free Hilton Honors Gold Status membership
  • Free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold membership
  • Free Avis Preferred membership, including complimentary vehicle upgrades when available
  • Free Hertz No. 1 Club Gold membership, including up to 20 percent off car rental rates and complimentary vehicle upgrades when available
  • Free National Emerald Club Executive membership, which allows cardholders to bypass the counter and head directly to National’s car-holding area (the “Emerald Club Aisle”), choose any vehicle there, and depart
  • Rental car insurance
  • 24/7 Platinum Card Concierge service
  • Specially-curated culinary experiences and events with world-renowned chefs, including Thomas Keller, Daniel Humm, Massimo Bottura, Stephanie Izard, and José Andrés
  • Exclusive access to reservations at hundreds of restaurants across the globe through the Global Dining Collection
  • Exclusive access to one-of-a-kind events across the globe through the By Invitation Only program
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two and guaranteed 4:00 p.m. late checkout through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, offering an average total value of $550 when booking through American Express Travel

Sample Sign-up Bonus: 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Annual fee: $550

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