Credit & Charge Card Reviews (3): American Express Platinum charge card

Starting this week, I am running updated versions of our ‘Credit Card Reviews’ series.  They will drip out over the next couple of months, since there are 25 articles in all!

This is my review of the American Express Platinum charge card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for.  These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link:  American Express Platinum application page

Key facts:  £450 annual fee, £40000 household income requirement

About the card

The American Express Platinum Charge Card is issued directly by American Express.

The general American Express rule is that you can hold two charge cards and two credit cards at the same time.  Gold is the other widely-held charge card, the credit cards include the BA, Starwood SPG, Nectar, Costco and Harrods Amex cards.

Any American Express cards you may have which are issued by Lloyds, TSB, Barclays or MBNA will not directly impact on whether you are accepted for this card.

Note that the Platinum card is a charge card, not a credit card.  You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.

Amex Platinum review

What is the sign-up bonus?

30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 within 90 days.  This is increased to 35,000 Membership Rewards points if I refer you via the Amex ‘refer a friend’ scheme.  Please e-mail me at raffles [at] if you would like a referral.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios, so you would receive 30,000 or 35,000 Avios points.  Click here to see what other reward programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Any other benefits?

Substantial benefits – easily the best package of any UK loyalty card.

You receive travel insurance for yourself and your family.  You can insure five other people and their families by giving them supplementary cards on your account.  Some benefits require you to pay for your trip with an American Express card, but the core medical benefit is automatic.

You receive full car hire insurance – with no requirement to pay with your card.

You and your main supplementary cardholder will each receive a Priority Pass card.  This gets the cardholder plus a guest into 600 airport lounges across the world for free, including the new Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5.

You will also receive permanent status in various hotel schemes:

  • Gold in Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Gold in Club Carlson
  • Platinum in Le Club Accorhotels

In addition, American Express will be adding:

  • Gold in Hilton HHonors

during late 2015 or early 2016.  It has already been added to the American version of the card and a global roll-out is on the way.

Other benefits include Eurostar lounge access in London and Paris, whatever your class of travel.  You also receive lounge access when flying with Delta (any guests must pay $29).

There is also an exclusive hotel booking scheme called ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ which offers valuable additional benefits on your stays.  If you are a regular visitor at five star hotels then you can recoup your entire membership fee via FHR bookings.  I wrote more about FHR here – for me, the guaranteed 4pm check-out on every stay is invaluable, especially for weekend breaks.

What is the annual fee?


The fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel.  This is part of the terms and conditions of the card, and Amex is known for refunding fees without quibble.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.  This is equivalent to 1 Avios per £1 if transferred.

What is a Membership Rewards point worth?

Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  This article looks at the different redemption options and what they are worth.

If you redeem your points for, say, a Tesco gift card then you will receive around 0.4p per point.  This is a poor return.

I tend to value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme.

Some of the hotel programmes also offer good value.  Club Carlson (the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn scheme) transfers at 1:3 from Membership Rewards, for example.  Their top five-star hotels cost 70,000 points per night which would be just over 23,000 Membership Rewards points.  This would usually get you over 1p per point of value.

There are also occasional transfer bonuses of 20%-30% to various airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Flying Club, although we have not seen any in 2015 so far.

You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards options here.

Other points to note

You will not receive a sign-up bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green American Express card in the six months before you apply.

For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus even if you already have a BA Amex, SPG Amex, Platinum Cashback Amex or any American Express card issued by Barclays, Lloyds or MBNA.

There is a £40,000 household income requirement.


In terms of the absolute number of miles earned, 30,000 Membership Rewards points – or 35,000 if you apply via my refer-a-friend link – is the most generous deal on the market.  You would receive 30,000 / 35,000 Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles, for example.  Whether or not the fee represents value for money depends on how many of the card benefits you will use, although you can cancel for a pro-rata fee refund at any point.

For on-going spending, 1 point per £1 is not outstanding.  The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is more generous for larger spenders as it offers a 10,000 point bonus for spending £15,000 in a card year.

The application form for Amex Platinum can be found here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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  1. Hello!
    Does anyone know if you are likely to get an Amex small business card (gold or plat) sign up bonus if you already hold a personal plat amex? I think I’ve read suggestions that this may often happen even though it should not. Be grateful to know if anyone has been successful in getting the sign up points in this situation.

    • Jordan Rowland says:

      I have just received my gold business card following a long discussion with a few Amex business salesmen about this question. My argument was i would have to cancel a £450 card, wait 6 months, just to sign up for a ‘free’ gold business card- which didn’t seem much sense for them. Eventually I got written (email) confirmation they would allow it and honour the points but whether it happens or I have to fight… We will see. It’s worth having the conversation with them.

    • I know people who have but I also know people who haven’t. Strictly speaking you shouldn’t in my view.

    • I have both and received the bonus on both

  2. How is the fee paid? Is it added to the first statement?

  3. Eurostar lounge access in Brussels too.

    • True – but they never publicise this so I never know if it is an official benefit or not.

      • I’ll be testing this out in January, will report back!

        On the subject of Eurostar, although not always the case, recent tickets i booked for Cologne to London in Eco Premium were much cheaper on the SNCB website than on Eurostar’s.

        • Lady London says:

          The Thalys website is worth keeping an eye on if you are interested in trains to Germany especially Cologne and near, or Belgium.

          • Ludicrous says:

            if you want to get a train to Germany, DB have a special ticket called the London Spezial, which costs from €59 in 2nd class or €109 in 1st, prices all the way to various stations in Germany can sometimes be cheaper than just the single Eurostar to France/Belgium

  4. avidsaver says:

    Is the lounge access when flying with Delta also for any class of ticket? Do you gain access by just flashing your plat card?

  5. I have had Amex platinum For almost two years now, but would like to change the main supplementary card holder, so the new person can benefit from the priority pass, hotel status, etc. Does anyone know if this is possible?

    • Call them up and cancel the existing one and apply for the new one over the phone. Sometimes they send you a form you both have to sign, sometimes they don’t (they didn’t for my wifes suplementary card for example)

  6. Don’t forget you also get complimentary access to Amex Centurion Lounges in the US with two guests (one in the Centurion Studio in Seattle), or your partner and all children under 18

  7. Paul Irving says:

    Are they still paying 10,000 points for up to 5 additional card holders you add?

  8. One other benefit that doesn’t seem to be published anymore is that you can have two cards in your name, so you can have one for personal and one for business expenses – I have this and find it really useful to having them seperated out as I can feed the work one straight into Concur

  9. Just to be 100% clear. And I do apologise as Im sure its been asked a million times.

    If I already hold the Amex Plat (which I do), and then apply for the Amex Gold, will I get the sign up bonus for the gold?

  10. It still remains true that the most rewarding way of taking out a plat card, is to take a gold card out via referral, and then upgrade from gold to plat. You end up with more points, and 2 free lounge pass cards. You still pay £450.

    Details can be found here.:-

    • whiskerxx says:

      Well that isn’t strictly true….
      The most rewarding way is to keep the referrals “in house”, and to refer your spouse/partner.
      Someone already holding a gold or platinum will receive 18,000 for referring someone else to Platinum and the new card holder would receive the 35,000 with a £2k spend. So 53,000 as couple. Rinse and repeat every six months or so. To be fair, Rob does make this clear on occasions

    • Do the lounge pass cards still work if you cancel the card?

  11. I have the platinum card and will be cancelling shortly after reaching my minimum spend. Rob, you have mentioned in the past that you retain hotel status with Carlson etc even when cancelling. Would that be until the end of my platinum year ? The above article says that you have permanent status with the hotels. I can’t imagine me being able to keep status at the hotels for ever having only keeping the card for two months.

    • Pretty sure that hotel status runs for at least 12 months – most of my cards expire in 2017. Once you’ve got status, you’ve got it. It does work that way. It’s not very valuable anyway really – most valuable benefits are not guaranteed. Don’t forget, Club Carlson gave Gold status to ANY Amex holder about 2 years ago.

      Priority Pass is different – you lose that as soon as you cancel your platinum card, I think.

    • Permanent until the expiry date on the hotel card!

  12. Given the above “You will not receive a sign-up bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green American Express card in the six months before you apply.” am guessing the best strategy for someone like me holding a Preferred Rewards Gold card is to cancel it, wait 6 months, and get this Platinum?

  13. Phill Ramsay says:

    Another question regards renewals. I know you can get a pro rata rate back when you cancel and keep your hotel status but my question is my renewal date is end of Jan, if I let it renew and pay the 450 and then cancel how would this affect my hotel status.

    For example my club carlson says it expires 02/16. Would I have to wait for Amex to extend my membership to 2017 before I cancel or would it auto renew when my Amex renews?

  14. Slightly O/T, my partner has a British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card and I am a supplementary card holder on his account. Can he refer me for the same card and we both get the referral bonus even though I am already a supplementary card holder? I also have a Gold Preferred Rewards card. Thanks.

  15. OT. Im flying to the states next Friday and want to get 1000 US dollars. What’s the best deal when using an Amex. I’ve got Gold, BA Premier and Lloyds Premier. Thanks

    • If you use the travelmoneynow website for home delivery, it will be treated ( on any Amex issued Amex, eg Gold) as a purchase and you will get points. Assuming the rate is equal to other outlets, this is the best option.

  16. If I have a Platinum and I downgrade to a Gold can I still keep the same Platinum plastic working as a Gold?

    • While I don’t know the official answer, I’d say no chance – they’re different cards.

  17. Has it been publicised that UK holders will get Hilton gold? Not seen anything anywhere else.

    • There was a press release put out by Amex which stated that this deal would apply globally.

      • My Hilton Gold expires March 2016, how quickly do you think realistically they’ll be rolling out the benefit again?

        • Honestly got no idea. I keep asking Amex people when I see them but never get an answer. I would be surprised if it took longer than 6 months to implement globally and we are already 6 weeks in from when the US got it. You’d imagine the UK is not far behind.

  18. Have they dropped Accor Platinum benefit recently? Looking at I can see “Hotel programmes
    Club CarlsonSM, Hilton HHonorsTM and Starwood Preferred Guest®”, no mention of Accor.

  19. 40,000 sign-up points being offered via the Conde Nast Traveller website (offer expires on November 18th):

    • Good spot, impressive

    • Ah, is that there now?! Amex rang to tell me about this but said it was in Vogue! And when I trawled through Vogue, no deal was to be seen ….

      Will run this later in the week.

      I have been offered my own Amex deal as well but I’d rather it was something more interesting – let’s see.

    • Just looked at the CN deal. Still better if your OH or friend can refer you, then you get both the 35k for your spend, but the OP gets 18k for referring you. Harry, do you not do an annual refer each other plan on the Plat? Very good bonus earning potential. The PP cards would cover 4 of your family, then buy one extra entry. You seem to travel a lot, maybe with using PP, you could justify the fee… Raffles or I happy to refer you!

      • Here’s a confession: I could be a lot cuter on Amex cards, I have been a bit of an amateur :)

        Didn’t even remember the spouse referral on Gold a couple of months ago, what a loser.

        • Harry, and I thought you were one of the leading lights on this site! Full of positive earning ideas! Honestly, What are you like? Next time refer one of you from gold to plat then, seems like you can benefit big time, as you often mention lounge access deals!!!!

          • He probably didn’t have time as he was permanently out driving round to burn some fuel to be able to buy more petrol at Morrison’s 😉 😀

            • I promise to do better :)

              Here’s another failure: I cancelled a long-standing NatWest credit card with a decent (£6400) credit limit a few months ago, simply because I hadn’t used it in ages and I was fed up with carrying it around, getting the ‘nothing’ statement etc. Little did I know that’s a serious negative (a reduced credit limit) on your credit score, which I found out last month. Anyway, I bumped up one of the others so hopefully it’ll cancel out the negative.

            • The issue is probably more the fact that you’d had the card a long time. Cancelling it will have sharply brought down the average hold period of your other cards which makes you look less worthy.

  20. How long do you actually have to keep any Platinum Amex for, before you can cancel and keep the points – having achieved the minimum spend obviously?

  21. Hi
    I have BA Platinum and Business gold. If I apply for the personal or business Platinum charge card will I get the bonus?

    Also does anyone know how for the medical part of the inclusive travel insurance they deal with pre-existing conditions-is there a supplementary fee or do they just not cover them?

    • In theory, no. You already have a Membership Rewards account in your personal name and that is the thing that disqualifies you.

      The insurance document should be on the application website – it is certainly there on the personal Platinum application site.

    • About pre-existing conditions, they tightened up on this a few years ago when the card was ‘enhanced’. In short, if you did anything more than send a Christmas card to your doctor, you weren’t covered. (I exaggerate for effect.)

      In our case, they wouldn’t entertain any extension of cover for a fee. We are now covered by our Nationwide FlexPlus £10-a-month account.

      The card was a sine qua non for me until they ‘enhanced’ it with this condition, also imposed an upper age limit of 70 for medical cover reducing its family attractiveness, took away the Hilton Gold 1-year membership (now on its way back), possibly more. OTOH car rental cover is very good.

      • EDIT: I was confused by ‘BA Platinum’ – there’s no such thing. My comments apply to the AmEx Platinum charge card.

  22. Does anyone know how long it takes to receive the Hotel status?

    Do I need to get the status before making the booking with the hotel?

    • Sign up for the schemes first so you have a number which you can give to Amex – that speeds the process. You need to manually request the cards via

      You don’t need the status before booking, but it helps with upgrades etc as the hotel can preassign them before you arrive if it knows you have status.

      • Thanks Raffles. I thought all 3 of the current hotel partners only do upgrades on arrival and only if there is availability?

        I am looking to book an Accor property for a long weekend mid-December – do you think it is worth waiting until I get the status though? I will probably apply for the Amex Plat in the next couple of days.

  23. Thanks for sharing the 40,000 MR offer – just signed up for that!

    A few questions I am hoping an existing Plat member can help with:

    At what point do you get Priority Pass access through?

    Do you need to wait for the card to come through before you can start signing up/benefiting from the features such as Hotel status etc?

    • Often it arrives before your card, never more than a week later.

      You need to wait for the card to arrive in order to register it in order for your login to work at which is where the hotel sign up forms are.

  24. Does anyone know if the 6months rule to receive the sign-up bonus applies to any of the GBP cards (ie. Plat, Gold, green) or to a membership rewards account?

    In other words, if I have a green AMEX IC USD card (offshore) with a MR (membership rewards) account does it mean that I will NOT qualify for the sign-up bonus if I apply for a Platinum GBP (onshore) amex card?

  25. thanks, raffles

  26. Still getting up to speed with all of this, so some quick questions – given tomorrow’s deadine!
    1. I have a Gold charge card, so could not get the full 40,000 for a new Platinum?
    2. I could refer my wife and get 18k for that and she could get 35k for the spend?
    3. Will she get the bonus on the Platimum if she has the Gold card as my supplementary?
    4. Is it really straightforward to get the refund on the £450 fee once you hit the spend limit?


  27. Many thanks for a wonderfully quick response – and the good news!