Credit Cards

American Express Platinum Full Review – Should you pay $695 for this card?

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American Express Platinum 

The American Express Platinum is one of the most talked about cards in the marketplace. It immediately draws attention anytime someone whips it out especially since its made of a heft metal. But, all that glitz and glam comes with a hefty $695 annual fee (Rates and Fees).

$695 is a lot of money, but if that $695 annual fee creates value in excess of $695, it’s a deal, right? That’s exactly how I look annual fees – they are the cost of doing business, and in business, both parties are happy when value is created. On the low end, I’ll extract $779 in value out of the card every year just in statement credits given toward items I purchase anyways.

Personally, I keep an Amex Platinum because it provides a lot of value for WHEN I travel, and ultimately put more spend on my Amex Gold to earn points TO Travel. Both are great cards, but let’s break this bad boy down so you can make an educated decision.

A quick overview of the benefits:

What do you get for $695 a year?

  • Welcome ranging from 100k  after $6k spend in 6 months
  • $695 annual fee (Rates and Fees)
  • $200 Hotel credit
    • You must pre-book via Amex FHR or The Hotel Collection, which requires a two night minimum stay, via Amex Travel
  • $200 Uber Cash yearly credit  (enrollment required )
    • $15 a month towards Uber, $35 in December, must link your account
  • $300 Equinox credit (enrollment required )
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit (enrollment required )
    • Get up to $20 per month at Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
  • $189 Clear credit (enrollment required )
  • $200 airline incidental credit (enrollment required )
  • $100 global entry or $85 TSA Pre credit (enrollment required )
  • $12.95 + tax / month Walmart+ membership
    • Walmart+ members receive unlimited free shipping with no order minimum on items shipped by, free delivery from stores, as well as mobile and contactless check-out to make shopping faster.
  • $25 Soul Cycle monthly credit
    • Platinum Card Members will receive a $300 statement credit every time they purchase a SoulCycle At-Home Bike, up to 15x per calendar year.
    • An Equinox+ membership is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content.
    • Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only.
    • This stacks on top of the $25/month Equinox+ statement credit.
  • Centurion lounge access
  • Priority Pass select membership (enrollment required )
  • Rental Car Status
    • Hertz President’s Circle
    • Avis Preferred Plus
    • National Executive
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, The Hotel Collection
  • 5x on airfare purchased via Amex Travel or with your selected airline
  • Terms Apply

Personally I will undoubtedly use the $200 hotel credit (enrollment required ), $189 Clear Credit (enrollment required ), $200 Uber , and $200 incidental airline free credit (enrollment required ). That’s $779 of the $695 without including Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge, etc. Wait, that’s more than the card is worth itself.

Do you qualify?

Amex has a once in a lifetime clause that limits the ability to get a welcome offer more than once, so if you’re had the Platinum card before, you may not qualify for the welcome offer.

Is this the best offer we’ve seen?

The best offer currently is via referral and is 125k after $6k min spend and 10x on restaurants for 6 months, capped at $25k.

Great ways to use American Express points: transfer partners

Amex points are some of the most valuable points in the biz. Just look at all of these partners listed below, but if you really want to get a good taste of how luxuriously you can travel with them, read this article on their best uses.

American Express Transfer Partners

As I mentioned, I have an entire post dedicated to some truly awesome ways you can use your points. The best ways, in my opinion, to make use of American Express points are by utilizing their long list of transfer partners.

One of my favorite ways to fly is Lufthansa First Class which can be accessed by transferring to Aeroplan, Avianca, ANA, or Singapore Airlines.

Here are benefits I think outweigh the $695 fee

1) 5x points on airline purchases made with the airline of your choosing or Amex Travel

  • This is the highest earn rate for any card on the market for indiscriminate airline spend ( Jetblue has a 6x card solely on Jetblue). If you value Amex points at 2 cents a piece…you’re essentially getting 10% off every qualifying flight.

If you spend $1000 a year on your card – you’re earning 5k points back. That’s $75 at a 1.5 c valuation and $100 at 2c.

2) $200 Hotel credit

This is a brand new credit that applies to pre-paid bookings with Amex Travel on American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts and The Hotel Collection bookings. I absolutely love the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and will undoubtedly make use of this credit every year

For instance, if you were to book the Delano in Las Vegas for 2 nights over Valentine’s Day 2022, you’d nearly wipe out on of the nights

Plus you’d get all of the typical FHR benefits which include another $100 food and beverage credit, upgrade, breakfast, and 4pm check out. More on this program down below.

Bacara – Ritz Carlton Santa Barbara a member of Fine Hotels and Resorts

3) $200 Uber Cash Credit

Not everyone makes use of this perk like I do, but I’d be spending $15 a month on uber every month regardless of the perk.  It’s an easy $200 recoupment for me. .

4) $200 Airline Incidental credit

  • You must select an airline for the fee to trigger – this will enroll you.
  • Each calendar year – which means if you apply now, you’ll get $200 this year, and then another $200 starting 1/1/21

I easily make use of the card each and every year I hold the card. Read this for tips, but it’s a solid $200.

5) $100 Global Entry Fee Credit or $85 TSA Pre credit ( enrollment required )

Global Entry is a phenomenal program that expedites your immigration when entering the country. It’s saved me hours and hours of time over the years. I just renewed my global entry last year and the refund was very fast.

  • Once, you’ve enrolled, simply charge to the card and get it refunded once every 4 years

6) $189 Clear Credit

Clear basically expedites your security experience. If you already have TSA Pre this will pop you to the front of that line. If you don’t, you’ll just skip to the front of the normal line. Either way, it’s saved me many a time.

  • you need to enroll in Clear to qualify

I’ve had Clear for a few years now, and it’s extremely helpful if you live at a busy airport, not as much elsewhere. In LA, Atlanta, and NYC it’s literally been the difference between making and missing my flight.

Travel is ramping up, and security lines are getting fuller and fuller.  It’s a no brainer to pay for it with your Amex Platinum.

Don’t forget to link your Delta SkyMiles account, you’ll get a discount on the yearly subscription which easily puts it under the credit your card gives you.

7) $300 yearly Equinox credit (enrollment required )

I have several friends who are loyal Equinox members and this would be a benefit they’d surely make us of. Personally, it’ll go unused unless I join an Equinox which I don’t see myself doing. Regardless, for those who are members…it’s an easy $300 if you have an eligible membership:

  • The credit goes towards monthly Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ memberships fees

8) $240 digital entertainment credit ( enrollment required )

Amex has added in a $20 per month credit when you use your Platinum card for eligible purchases at Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. It’s capped at $20, not $20 per company.

In all honesty…this is almost a useless benefit for me, but I’ll likely throw on a Peacock membership just for kicks. If you listen to SiriusXM or subscribe to a digital NY Times membership, Audible, etc make sure you enroll and pay with your Amex Platinum

Take a look at the restrictions as well.

(Peacock: Eligible purchases for Peacock include all Peacock subscriptions, including but not limited to Peacock Premium and Premium Plus, made directly online at . Eligible purchases do not include subscriptions bundled with cable services or other bundles, promotional offers through third parties, or gift cards. Audible: All Audible purchases made directly through are eligible, including Audible subscriptions (Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus) and audiobook purchases. SiriusXM: Eligible purchases for SiriusXM include purchases made directly with SiriusXM (US) online at, through SiriusXM telephone sales, or direct mail order purchase transactions. Eligible purchases do not include SiriusXM safety, security, or Telematics services (Connected Vehicle), SiriusXM for Business subscriptions, SiriusXM ad sales, or Pandora. The New York Times: Eligible purchases for the New York Times include any subscriptions (including digital or print news, NYT Cooking, and New York Times Games) made directly through Eligible purchases do not include advertising services, NYT conferences, gift cards, the Times Digest , or purchases from the NYTimes company store)

9) Cell Phone Protection

If you pay your cell phone bill with your Amex Platinum you now have cell phone insurance. The prior’s month bill must be paid with your card, but the actual phone itself doesn’t need to be purchased with your Amex Platinum.

  • Reimbursement, up to $800
    • Towards the repair or replacement
    • If damaged or stolen
    • $50 deductible
    • 2 approved claims per 12 months.

10) Centurion Lounge access

  • Access for you and 2 guests at their growing group of luxury lounges worldwide

I probably visit Centurion lounges 1/2 a dozen times a year. At just $5 saved on a coffee or beer it’s worth min $30.

11) Fine Hotels and Resorts

  • Insane benefits including
    • Upgrade upon arrival when available
    • Unique property amenity ( this is usually in the range of a $100)
    • Free continental breakfast
    • Early Check-in and guaranteed 4pm late check out

FHR offers incredible value if you like to stay at high end resorts and hotels. The breakfast and property credit are easily worth a couple hundred on every stay over 2 nights. I’ve also had great success with double upgrades, and having a guaranteed 4pm late check out is huge when  you have a late flight, and a distinct advantage of Virtuoso.

American Express Fine hotels and resorts amenities

What’s even better…if you pre-pay the hotel…you’ll earn 5x points on it as well.

12) Hotel Elite Status ( enrollment required )

You’ll need to link both of your Marriott and Hilton accounts, and once you do… you are now carrying elite status in two hotel chains.

  • Marriott Gold
  • Hilton Gold

Why spend a gazillion nights staying at hotels when your credit card can get you mid-tier status. Hilton Gold is especially nice as it gives you free breakfast credit when using points for your stay.

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok Breakfast 1

13) $100 Saks Fifth Avenue annual credit

  • $50 for each 6 months of the year
  • note that you need to enroll your card in order to trigger the credit

Once between Jan and June you’ll get $50 back as a statement credit, and then again between July and December.  Even if you don’t shop for high end apparel, or accessories, Saks sells a ton of toiletry items that this credit offsets. Think Kiehls, Fekkai, etc

14) Priority Pass Membership

  • Access to the global network of lounges and restaurants
  • You do need to enroll your card in order to enjoy this benefit

15) International Airline Program

I’ve some absolutely fantastic deals on airfare ( Premium Economy and up ) via the IAP. Highly worth checking out before you book elsewhere. Note that you must be on one of the following airlines departing from the US in Premium Economy, Business, or First Class.

Bonus Reasons:

Amex Offers

  • These are targeted spend offers that each cardholder can take advantage of by fulfilling spend requirements with certain retailers. The opportunities are frequently updated, and I’ve found that these alone could pay you back for an annual fee.

And Referrals points – 55k a year

You can earn up to 55k points per card every single year. In fact, you can add your referrals to this post. It gets a lot of traffic so many are earning quite a few referral bonuses from us. 


While the $695 is a lot, I personally, am able to get over $1000 a year in benefits without even taking into account a welcome offer, or the other benefits like Rental car status, rental car insurance, global lounge collection, etc .

What’s even better is how much the card can improve the way you travel. Having a lounge access while you wait can make delays and layovers so much more bearable, and having status at hotels less costly at check out because of comped wifi, upgrades, breakfast, or even just in-room bottled water. Regardless, if you’re a travel geek like me, this card provides an incredible amount of value year after year

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following links: American Express Platinum Card: See Rates and Fees

Affiliate link via CardRatings


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


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