AmEx Platinum Card Review (2021.7 Update: 125k+15k Offer! New Walmart+ Benefit)

Non-affiliate disclosure: all information about the this card have been collected independently by US Credit Card Guide and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The Platinum Card from American Express Review

2021.10 Update: New benefit [Complementary Walmart+ membership]: Pay your Walmart+ membership with your AmEx Platinum card, and you will get full credit back ($12.95/month).

2021.7 Update2: There’s a new 125k+15x offer via a specific link! It is slightly better than the usual 125k+10x offer.

2021.7 Update1: The following changes are now effective:

  • The annual fee increased from $550 to $695.
  • Added $200 Hotel Credit per calendar year. On Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) or The Hotel Collection bookings.
  • Added $179 Clear Credit. It’s the same amount as the Clear annual membership fee. It’s useful if you fly a lot, but the value is not much.
  • Added $240 Digital Entertainment Credit. $20 per month. The credit only works at: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. The value is essentially 0.
  • Added $300 Equinox Credit. $25 per month. The value is essentially 0.
  • All previous credits including Saks credit still exists.

In summary, the annual fee increased by $145, and in return, you get various credit. Holding this card becomes more and more like paying an annual fee to buy a coupon book.

Application Link

  • AmEx Platinum 125k+15x Offer
  • CardMatch is a place to check pre-qualify offer. You may see a 150k+10x targeted pre-qualify offer, the chance is very low though (the chance is higher if you have never had an AmEx card).
  • This link is another place to check pre-qualify offer. You may see a 150k+10x targeted pre-qualify offer, the chance is very low though (the chance is higher if you have never had an AmEx card). It seems you need to open this link in incognito mode in order to see the page with “Check to see if you Pre-Qualify for these Offers”.

Benefits

  1. 125k + 15x offer: Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after spending $6,000 in first 6 months; plus, earn 15x MR points on restaurants and shop small in the first 6 months, up to $25,000. This is the best ever offer on this card!
  2. We estimate that Membership Rewards (MR) are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 125k MR points part of sign-up bonus is worth about $2,000, and the value is even more if 15x on restaurants & shop small earning rate is counted in!
  3. Earn 5x MR points for flights booked directly with airlines, on up to $500k. Earn 5x MR points for flights and prepaid hotels booked with AmEx Travel. Earn 1x MR points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  4. This card offers varies credits to cover some expenses, see details in the next section.
  5. $800 Cell phone protection: get up to $800 per claim and 2 claims per year in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay it with your eligible credit card. Deductible $50.
  6. No foreign transaction fee.
  7. Complimentary access to the following airport lounges:
  8. Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR): if you book hotels through FHR, you can enjoy the benefits of elite members; such as room upgrades, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, etc. The benefits vary by hotels.
  9. Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status. Use this link to activate.
  10. Complimentary Hilton Gold Status. Use this link to activate.
  11. Complimentary membership for Avis, Hertz, and National membership. Use this link to activate.
  12. Platinum Card Concierge service: for the busy or even lazy, you can use this service to book hotels or reserve restaurants and so on, the service is said to be very, very good.
  13. With this credit card, you can get access to Amex Offers, which often offers very good discounts at some stores. In the past we have seen offers like: Spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; Spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
  14. Refer a friend: You can earn 15,000 bonus MR points for every approved account you refer, up to 55,000 MR points per calendar year.
  15. This card is relatively easy to get approved for because it is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. Charge card means that you don’t have the option to pay only minimum payment, you have to pay your balance in full on the due dates. Note that Charge Card applications will also result in a Hard Pull, just like Credit Card applications.
  16. Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit.

Varies Credits

This card has varies credits to cover some expenses. They are:

  1. [$200 airline fee credit] Get up to $200 credit for airline incidental charges such as checked bags per calendar year. Airline ticket itself is not eligible. Because this benefit resets according to calendar year instead of when you opened the card, you can actually get airline fee credit TWICE before the second annual fee posts! Note that this benefit is not automatically enrolled, you need to enroll and specify an airline by clicking here.
  2. [$200 FHR/THC hotel credit] Get up to $200 credit on prepaid Fine Hotels Resorts (FHR) or The Hotel Collection (THC) bookings per calendar year. Bookings of THC require a minimum stay of 2 consecutive nights. Because this benefit resets according to calendar year instead of when you opened the card, you can actually get airline fee credit TWICE before the second annual fee posts!
  3. [$200 Uber credit] Get $15 Uber credit per month except Dec, and $35 in December. That’s $200 per year. The unused credits will expire every month.
  4. [$100 Saks credit] Get up to $50 in statement credits on Saks Fifth Avenue from January through June, and up to $50 from July through December. Both online and in store will work. No minimum purchase required. Enrollment required.
  5. [Complementary Walmart+ membership] Pay your Walmart+ membership with your AmEx Platinum card, and you will get full credit back ($12.95/month).
  6. [$100 Global Entry credit] Get $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Precheck application fee.
  7. [$179 Clear credit]. It’s the same amount as the Clear annual membership fee. It’s useful if you fly a lot, but the value is not much.
  8. [$240 Digital Entertainment credit]. Get up to $20 per month, only works at: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. The value is essentially 0.
  9. [$300 Equinox credit]. Get up to $25 per month on Equinox. The value is essentially 0.

Disadvantages

  1. $695 annual fee, NOT waived for the first year. Note that annual fee does not count towards the minimum spending requirement (and this is true for all credit cards)! 

Authorized Users

There are two kinds of authorized user (au) cards: platinum au card, and gold au card (not related to the AmEx Gold card at all). Au cards do not have separate credits.

  1. Platinum au cards have annual fee: for up to 3 platinum au cards, the total annual fee is $175. Platinum au card holders have separated PPS card, have access to all the airport lounges mentioned above, get complimentary hotel status, and can use FHR benefits.
  2. Gold au cards have no annual fee, but there’s no additional benefits.

Introduction to MR Points

  • You can earn MR points with AmEx ED, AmEx EDP, AmEx Green, AmEx Gold, AmEx Platinum, AmEx Platinum for Schwab, AmEx Platinum for Morgan Stanley, AmEx Blue Business Plus, AmEx Business Green, AmEx Business Gold, AmEx Business Platinum, etc.
  • The MR points you earn on different MR cards will automatically go to the same MR account.
  • MR points never expire. You will not lose the MR points on one card if you close the account, but you will lose all of the MR points if you close all of the MR cards. In order to avoid losing your MR points, we recommend to keep the no annual fee AmEx ED.
  • If you have any of the MR cards, MR points can be transferred to some airline miles. One of the most common and best way to use MR points is to 1:1 transfer them to All Nippon Airways (ANA, NH) miles (Star Alliance). Other good options are: Air Canada (AC) (Star Alliance), Delta Air Lines (DL) (SkyTeam), British Airways (BA) (Oneworld), Asia Miles (Oneworld), Singapore Airlines (SQ) (Star Alliance), Flying Blue (SkyTeam), Virgin Atlantic (VS) (Non-alliance), etc. If you use MR in this way, the value is about 1.6 cents/point.
  • If you have any of the MR cards, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate about 1 cent/point towards air tickets on AmEx travel portal.
  • If you have AmEx Platinum for Schwab, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 1.1 cents/point towards cash. If you don't want to spend time studying airline miles, this is a pretty good way to cash out the points. If you don't have this card, you can only redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 0.6 cents/point towards cash.
  • In summary, we estimate that MR points are worth about 1.6 cents/point.
  • For more information about MR points, see Maximize the Credit Card Points Values (overview), and Introduction to MR: How to Earn and Introduction to MR: How to Use (very detailed).

Recommended Application Time

  1. You can only get the welcome bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
  2. AmEx doesn’t care about the number of hard pulls.
  3. You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.
  4. You must wait at least 90 days between the application for different flavors of AmEx Platinum cards, otherwise the application will be cancelled.

Summary

These years the welcome offer on this card becomes higher and higher, and it’s frequently #1 on the welcome offers rank. Therefore this card is worth opening.

You can earn 5x MR points on air tickets with this card, and it is the best earning rate across all cards. Also this card now comes with a trip delay insurance which can be triggered by a 6+hrs delay, so it has become the best card to buy airline tickets. There are also a lot of other benefits such as more lounge access than other premium cards, the FHR, etc. If you can take advantage of these benefits, this card may be a keeper.

The annual fee is now increased to $695, and at the same time there are even more credits. People joke about it and call it a “coupon book card”. These credits can somehow offset part of the annual fee: the $200 air incidental credit can be used by some techniques, so we value it at 70% of its face value and that’s about $140; the $200 FHR/THC hotel credit can be useful if you find some hotels with a cheaper price, so we value it at 70% of its face value and that’s about $140; the $200 Uber credit is distributed and expires every month, so we also use 70% of its face value which is about $140; the $100 Saks credit is worth about $70 if also valued at 70% face value. The value of the other credits are basically 0. Considering the annual fee is so high now, it’s hard to get positive value if you don’t go out and travel a lot.

If one day you don』t want to keep this card any more, but still want your remaining MR points, you can apply for the AmEx EveryDay (ED) (no annual fee) to keep the MR points and use them in the future.

Benefits Before 2021.7
  1. 100k + 10x on grocery & gas offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after spending $5,000 in first 6 months; plus, earn 10x MR points on grocery and gas in the first 6 months, up to $15,000. This is the best ever offer on this card!
  2. We estimate that Membership Rewards (MR) are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 100k MR points part of sign-up bonus is worth about $1,600, and the value is even more if 10x on grocery&gas earning rate is counted in!
  3. Earn 5x MR points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  4. Earn 5x MR points for hotels booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Earn 1 Membership Rewards Point per $1 spent on all  other purchases.
  5. $200 airline fee credit for incidental charges such as checked bags per calendar year. Because this benefit resets according to calendar year instead of when you opened the card, you can actually get airline fee credit TWICE during the first year! Note that this benefit is not automatically enrolled, you need to enroll and specify an airline by clicking here.
  6. $200 annual Uber credits ($15 per month, $35 in December). The credits will expire every month.
  7. New: $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit: That』s up to $50 in statement credits from January through June and up to $50 in statement credits from July through December. Both online and in store will work. No minimum purchase required. Enrollment required.
  8. Complimentary access to the following airport lounges:
  9. Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status. Use this link to activate.
  10. Complimentary Hilton Gold Status. Use this link to activate.
  11. Complimentary membership for Avis, Hertz, and National membership. Use this link to activate.
  12. Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee.
  13. Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR): if you book hotels through FHR, you can enjoy the benefits of elite members; such as room upgrades, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, etc. The benefits vary by hotels.
  14. Platinum Card Concierge service: for the busy or even lazy, you can use this service to book hotels or reserve restaurants and so on, the service is said to be very, very good.
  15. [New] Cell phone protection: get up to $800 per claim and 2 claims per year in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay it with your eligible credit card. Deductible $50.
  16. With this credit card, you can get access to Amex Offers, which often offers very good discounts at some stores. In the past we have seen offers like: Spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; Spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
  17. No foreign transaction fee.
  18. Authorized users also have access to the airport lounges mentioned above, and each of them can get complimentary hotel status. The $200 annual air credit is shared between cardholder and authorized users.
  19. This card is relatively easy to get approved for because it is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. Charge card means that you don’t have the option to pay only minimum payment, you have to pay your balance in full on the due dates. Note that Charge Card applications will also result in a Hard Pull, just like Credit Card applications.
  20. Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit.
  21. Refer a friend: You can earn 15,000 bonus MR points for every approved account you refer, up to 55,000 MR points per calendar year.
  22. $550 annual fee, NOT waived for the first year. Note that annual fee does not count towards the minimum spending requirement (and this is true for all credit cards)! 
  23. For up to three Additional Platinum Cards, the total annual fee is $175.

There used to be 100k public offers (that would last for less than one day) a few years ago, but ever since the annual fee was increased to $550, 100k public offers are never seen. Now only a few lucky people can get 100k targeted offer. The usual welcome offer is 75k (if you try hard in incognito mode and with good IP address). It is also a very good offer, and ranks #1 in our welcome offer rank on most days. If you are interested in the benefits of this card, and still want to wait for the 100k offer to come, you can also consider similar cards: AmEx Platinum Card for Schwab or AmEx Platinum for Morgan Stanley. Although this card comes with a $550 annual fee, some of the benefits can offset it by quite a bit: the $200 air incidental credit is a bit hard to get nowadays, so we value it at 50% of its face value and that’s about $100; the $200 Uber credit is distributed and expires every month, so we also use 70% of its face value which is about $140; the $100 Saks credit is worth about $70 if also valued at 70% face value. Then what’s left is about $250 equivalent annual fee. You can earn 5x MR points on air tickets with this card, and it is the best earning rate across all cards. Also this card now comes with a trip delay insurance which can be triggered by a 6+hrs delay, so it has become the best card to buy airline tickets. There are also a lot of other benefits such as more lounge access than other premium cards, the FHR, etc. If you can take advantage of these benefits, this card may be a keeper.

If one day you don』t want to keep this card any more, but still want your remaining MR points, you can apply for the AmEx EveryDay (ED) (no annual fee) to keep the MR points and use them in the future.

To Do List After You Get The Card

  1. Enroll in Airline Incidental Fee Credit benefit and choose a carrier. You must enroll and choose a carrier prior to making a reimbursable purchase.
  2. Add your card to Uber or UberEats.
  3. Enroll in Saks Credit benefit.
  4. Enroll in Priority Pass Select (PPS) lounge benefit.
  5. Enroll in Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
  6. Enroll in Hilton Gold status.
  7. Enroll for Avis, Hertz and NationalCar Rental status privileges.
  8. Enroll in Boingo American Express Preferred Plan (Wi-Fi internet access). [Update: This benefit is removed as of 2019.05.01]
  9. Apply for Global Entry ($100 reimbursement) or TSA PreCheck ($85 reimbursement).

Related Credit Cards

Note that, although the look and benefits of the following cards are almost the same, they are different products, and they don』t affect each other』s welcome offer. See this post for the comparison of benefits.

Recommended Downgrade Options

  • AmEx Gold
  • You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee.

After Applying

  • Click here to check application status.
  • AmEx reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083. The 「real」 backdoor number of Amex is well protected. Different from Chase, the representatives from this AmEx reconsideration backdoor number only have the right to help you submit requests.

Historical Offers Chart

Application Link

  • AmEx Platinum 125k+15x Offer
  • CardMatch is a place to check pre-qualify offer. You may see a 150k+10x targeted pre-qualify offer, the chance is very low though (the chance is higher if you have never had an AmEx card).
  • This link is another place to check pre-qualify offer. You may see a 150k+10x targeted pre-qualify offer, the chance is very low though (the chance is higher if you have never had an AmEx card). It seems you need to open this link in incognito mode in order to see the page with “Check to see if you Pre-Qualify for these Offers”.

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