We’ve partnered with UpgradedPoints.com to help make recommendations on our favorite travel credit cards.
When you think of a premium credit card, odds are you think of The Platinum Card® from American Express, and you’d be right to do so.
The Amex Platinum card combines elite travel and lifestyle benefits like access to 6 airport lounge networks, elite status with 2 hotel chains, plus yearly Sakes Fifth Avenue credits, making it a perfect option for anyone who wants an elevated credit card experience.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
- Earn 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or flights (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
- Up to $200 annual airline fee credit upon enrollment in benefit
- Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit
- Up to $200 annual hotel credit
- Up to $275 annual digital entertainment credit
- Up to $300 annual Equinox credit
- Access to Amex Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (enrollment required)
- Access to Amex Offers
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
- Access to Amex International Airline Program
- TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit
- CLEAR® membership credit
- Purchase and extended warranty protection
- $695 annual fee (see rates and fees)
- Limited bonus earning categories
Current Welcome Offer
60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months. Terms Apply. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Amex Platinum Card Details
If you want a credit card that offers top-notch benefits that provide tons of value to cardholders, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better card option than the Amex Platinum card.
Amex Platinum cardholders get their travel experience upgraded in a big way. Not only will they earn 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights, but they’ll receive access to 6 different airport lounge networks including Amex Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, Airspace lounges, Escape lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs.
Cardholders can also receive Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels (upon enrollment), which offers benefits like bonus points earned during stays, late checkout, room upgrades, and free breakfast (Hilton exclusive). You also receive up to $200 annual airline fee credit that can be applied to items like checked bag fees, change fees, seat assignment fees, or in-flight amenities. When you combine these travel benefits, along with access to Amex’s Fine Hotel & Resorts program and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership, you’ve got a recipe for one of the best travel cards on the market.
But the Amex Platinum card is more than just a travel card and comes packed with plenty of lifestyle benefits that make the card very rewarding when you’re at home as well. For instance, cardholders receive up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits (split into $50 per 6 months), up to $300 per year for select Equinox members (split into $25 each month) and access to Amex Offers which offer the opportunity to earn additional points or statement credits for shopping with dozens of different merchants.
Great Card If
- You travel often enough to take advantage of the cards travel perks
- You’re easily able to use the annual credits
- You want hotel elite status and airport lounge access
Don’t Get If
- You can’t justify the $695 annual fee
- You don’t travel much or don’t value the card’s benefits
Amex Platinum Card Protections
No one ever wants things to go wrong during a trip, but in the event that they do, here are the protections that the Amex Platinum card offers to cardholders.
- Trip Delay Insurance — Round-trip tickets purchased with your Amex Platinum card are covered if your flight is delayed by more than 6 hours, including coverage of up to $500 in reasonable expenses like meals, lodging, and personal items.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance — If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason, like inclement weather or accidental injury, you are covered up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per year.
- Rental Car Insurance — Cardholders receive secondary coverage for any damages caused by theft or collision up to $75,000 (secondary coverage kicks in after your primary vehicle insurance).
- Baggage Insurance — If your luggage is lost during transit, your items are covered for up to $3,000 per traveler for carry-on bags and up to $2,000 per traveler for checked bags.
- Return Protection — If you try to return an item within 90 days of purchase, and the merchant will not accept it, you can receive up to $300 in coverage per item and $1,000 per year.
- Extended Warranty Protection — Items purchased with your Amex Platinum card that have a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less can be extended up to 1 additional year.
- Purchase Protection — Purchases made with your card are covered for up to 90 days from the purchase date, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year, in the event of theft, loss, or damage.
So for those who want to make sure they’re protected during their travels, or even for their everyday purchases, the Amex Platinum card keeps you covered when you need it.
Best Ways To Use Membership Rewards Points
Once you’ve built up a nice stash of Amex Membership Rewards points, then comes the fun part — redeeming them! American Express offers many ways for you to redeem your points, and each varies in terms of the amount of value they provide.
Amex Transfer Partners
The number 1 choice for getting the absolute best value out of your Membership Rewards points is by using the American Express airline and hotel transfer partners. While there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to how to use transfer partners effectively, it is 100% worth the added effort.
For example, through the American Express travel portal, you could redeem 85,000 Membership Rewards points for an $850 flight, or you could transfer those 85,000 miles to ANA and book a round-trip flight between North America and Japan in business class — a ticket that would usually cost $8,000 to $9,000.
This is just one of many examples of why using transfer partners is your best option to get the maximum value out of your points. Redeeming points this way allows you to fly in style and experience luxury travel for less than the price of an economy ticket.
Here is the full list of all of the Amex transfer partners along with which programs we think are the best for getting the best value possible out of your Membership Rewards points.
|Amex Transfer Partners|
|Our Top Choices||Air Canada Aeroplan||Avianca LifeMiles|
|ANA Mileage Club||British Airways Avios|
|Solid Options||Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Emirates Skywards||Singapore Airlines|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Etihad Guest||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Choice Privileges||Iberia Plus|
|Delta SkyMiles||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Not Recommended||Aer Lingus AerClub||Hawaiian Airlines||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Aero Mexico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Alitalia Millemiglia||JetBlue True Blue|
While it is possible to get good or outsized value out of every transfer program partner, some simply are much easier and more lucrative than others. This is why we’ve divided all of the programs into the above 3 tiers to help serve as a guide for the best programs to focus on.
Top Choice programs are the ones we recommend you focus on if you’re looking to get the best value possible out of your Membership Rewards points. Take Air Canada for example, which allows you to redeem its miles on flights with any of its Star Alliance partners (like United) that are under 500 miles for just 6,000 points, and flights under 1,500 miles for 10,000 points. So you could fly between San Francisco and Los Angeles for 6,000 points, or New York City and Miami for just 10,000 points.
Solid Option programs are definitely worth considering, and shouldn’t immediately be overlooked as there can be good value in these programs depending on the situation. One such example is the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program that periodically offers award flights to select destinations for 25% to 50% off the usual price.
Finally, Not Recommended options are exactly what they sound like. We do not recommend you use any of these transfer partners unless you have a very specific need to. These programs, for the most part, offer significantly worse value than other programs on the list. An award night at a top-tier Marriott hotel, for example, would require you to transfer about 85,000 Membership Rewards points, and as we outlined before, for that same price you can fly round-trip in business class between the U.S. and Japan.
Each of these suggestions, though, are merely that and nothing more. If you have no need or desire to fly in business class to Japan, then it makes little sense to redeem your points this way — even if it offers high value from a cash perspective. So, ultimately, you should redeem your points in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your travel goals.
Other Ways to Use Points
With the Amex Platinum card, you’ve got other options for redeeming your points as well. You can redeem them through the Amex Travel portal for flights at a rate of 1 cent per point or 0.7 cents for hotels or redeem for gift cards or on purchases with Apple and Amazon — you can even redeem them for statement credits, though you’ll only receive 0.6 cents per point in value when you do. Frankly, we’d strongly suggest against using any of these options instead of transfer partners.
Alternative Cards to the Amex Platinum Card
If you’re looking for a premium card that offers fewer luxury benefits, but is a bit more well-rounded, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve card might be the perfect option. The card offers 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $300 travel credit is spent). Earn 3x points on other travel and dining and 10x Ultimate Rewards points on all Lyft purchases. Plus, cardholders receive benefits like a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, a Lyft Pink and DoorDash DashPass membership, and top-notch travel insurance coverage.
If you prefer a card that is a strong point-earner and still offers access to transfer partners, but at a lower annual fee of $250, then the Amex Gold card is a solid choice (see rates and fees). The card doesn’t come with anywhere near the number of benefits that the Amex Platinum card offers, but the annual fee is $300 cheaper and it earns 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; 1x thereafter), plus 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Cardholders also get up to $120 annual dining credit with select restaurants and Grubhub.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.