Advertisement

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

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.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score.  Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month.  You can cancel at anytime.

Key link:  American Express Platinum application page

Key facts:  £450 annual fee

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] headforpoints.co.uk 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 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
  • Gold in Hilton HHonors
  • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Gold in Melia Rewards

Other benefits include Eurostar lounge access in London, Brussels and Paris, whatever your class of travel.  (The Amex website does not mention Brussels but it does work there.)  You also receive lounge access when flying with Delta although 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?

£450

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 occasional transfer bonuses of 20%-30% to various airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Flying Club, although we have not seen any for the last 18 months.

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.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards.

Conclusion

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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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.

Credit & Charge Card Reviews (4): British Airways American Express
Valuing my points - what I REALLY got over my last year of redemptions
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Terence Bartlett says:

    Amex Platinum in the UK do not offer medical insurance to members over 70 years of age.but if you hold an Amex Platinum card in Euro they do offer full medical coverage up to the age of 80.Also their Charge fees of £450 for UK Members whereas its €450 Euro if you live at a mainland European address.
    Therefore Amex UK Members are disadvantaged by paying “More For Less!” insurance cover.Also Amex have just lost a major case in New York regarding their trader terms and conditions and in the UK in the last 6 months of 2015 they had 341 cases referred to the Ombudsmsn for Mis-Selling. Therefore Buyer Beware!

      • Business Platinum (UK) still has the old insurance including coverage to 80 years and no requirement to pay for anything on the card. Same fee.

      • Terence Bartlett says:

        Roberto in Luxembourg its €450. Euro with all the benefits upto the age of 80.I held the full UK Platinum card for 16 years. Incidentally HFP members should when abroad check out the 24 hour assist prior to an emergency and see what happens when you phone the international number on the back of the Amex Platinum Card? If you look at the small print in your Amex terms and conditions the 24/7 is not mentioned as part of the contract it’s a Complimentary Service. It’s not a contractual mutual agreement because it is a factor of future ntent not part of the existing UK Contract .
        The Devil is always in the Detail
        Terence

        • Who cares how much it costs in Europe, and I also doubt that most care about the 10y gap. Rob is talking about the Platinum benefits for UK customers and that what matters. If you start looking at all the advantage of the Platinum card in the US, you would be VERY disappointed of what you get here in the UK, e.g., 5xMR on flights purchases, such a bummer!!!

    • Yes, Amex do offer medical insurance but one should keep in mind that many people take medications and / or have other conditions that should be disclosed to Amexand they should accept in order to insure cover is provided. Most people do not find this out until they try to make a claim.

      • Uk1 makes a very valid point as many of us have pre existing health issues not ordinarily covered by travel insurance (unless you declare it to the insurance company). As an example, I have free worldwide travel insurance via my RBS bank account, however, my wife had a heart attack just over 2 years ago and we’re now paying an additional £220 to cover her condition and any associated issues connected with it. Tread very carefully with the “free travel insurance”, you need to declare absolutely everything or they will not entertain your claim. In the States that will prove very costly.

        • Thanks … for what it’s worth I think that the MAJORITY of people could find themselves without cover in all serious situations perhaps except medical care as a result of accident. Anybody taking any medication whatsoever that is not disclosed and anybody who has consulted a doctor almost EVER possibly has a siutation that could be refused by insurers on the basis of non-dsclosure. So take a mini aspirin, statin, BP medication, complained of stress, a headache a back pain almost anything you think trivial or irrelevant almost all needs disclosure and a confirmation. That is why I think that any included travel medical care is likely not to be useful at the catastrphic time you might need it for serious things you most want cover for. Jeff

    • Wow thanks for the early warning. 5.16 am?!

  2. Could you be better off holding the Platinum IDC and churning the Gold card instead (if you want the Platinum benefits)?

  3. Beware if you use LGW North. BA have effectively taken over the 3 lounges where the PP card can be used. I have been refused entry to all on my last 4 trips ! I complained to both Amex and PP inn a formal way but the upshot is nothing is being done about this. This devalues the use of the Plat card substantially for me.

  4. So what’s to best way to upgrade from Amex Gold to Plat? Seen various posts recently staying things such as:

    1) The link does not gaurentee a bonus? Apply directly
    2) Use the link found online, you will get the bonus and not pay the £450 until the anniversary of your gold card
    3) Use the online chat with Amex they will give you the bonus points and upgrade you
    4) There is no current offers to upgrade

    Cheers for the advice! Wonder which will be my best route as currently I will lose most status’ in 2017 so want a top up to reset the clock so to speak.

  5. I was involved in an accident in a hire car in January of this year, when another vehicle hit me at a set of traffic lights. The other driver admitted responsibility. Hertz charged me £700 to cover the cost of the repairs. Amex, or rather AXA, have not yet reimbursed me. AXA state that I need to pursue Hertz to pursue the driver and claim via Hertz.

    It’s not quite the ‘peace of mind’ benefit that I thought it would be.

  6. OT slightly

    With 2 adults in the house and a high card spend per annum presumably the best Amex burn and churn is:

    Platinum – apply, hit target, close, wait 6 months, apply ?
    Gold – apply, hit target, hit £15k target, wait 6 months, apply ?
    BAPP – apply, hit target, close, wait 6 months, apply ?

    All of above x 2

    So that it 35k (Plat), 22k (Gold), 10k (Gold), 26k (BAPP) totalling 93k x 2 = 186k plus 1 x referrals at 9k+9k+18k = 222k points per 6 month cycle.

    If that was repeatable every 7 months (we can hit spend targets) then you’d get 5 cycles in 3 years equating to an average of 5 x 222k / 3 = 370,000 per year !

    Is my maths way off ?

    • As I understand it, holding any MR card in the previous six months blocks the Gold/Platinum sign-up bonuses. So these are mutually exclusive on a per person basis.

    • You’d only get the 10k bonus for £15k spend in month 13 of holiding the card.

      Also you’re only eligible for a MR sign up bonus after not holding any MR earning card for six months so rules out using the platinum and golds as the same time.

      What you could do:
      Gold sign up (22k + 2k spend) > upgrade to platinum > (15k + 1k) cancel then wait then reapply after 6 months.

    • Hi Talay,
      With two adults in the house, for quick churning I’d recommend:
      1) Plat with partner referral. I.e. get rob to give you a referral, you spend the £2k (35k+2k MR), refer partner (18k), partner spends £2k (35k+2k), total 92k. The quicker you do it the sooner you can cancel for a prorata refund. So if you take just under a month to hit the target spend, the fee on one card would be just under £40, so for two cards around £80. You can then repeat in 6 months’ time for another 92k, earning 184k MR points in a year or so for around £160 (based on taking a month to hit target spend). You can also top up your hotel statuses which you get to keep and still get access to Eurostar lounges.
      I personally would not bother hitting the Amex £15k spend target. Remember you can only have either Platinum or Gold to get the bonus. The rule being you can’t have held a card in the same reward currency in the past 6 months to get a bonus.
      2) BAPP. You need to decide if you want to hit the £10k target for a 241 or just churn it. The churning maths works like this: you get referred and spend £3k (26k + 4.5k (assuming no BA spend)), refer your partner for 9k, your partner then spends £3k for another (26k + 4.5k) for a total of 70k avios. If it takes you 3 months to hit the target spend, you’ve spent around £50 on each card fee so 70k avios for £100. Rinse and repeat in 6 months’ time for another churn.
      3) Look into SPG. Using the same format as above, the maths is 11+1+5+11+1=29k SPG which transfers to 34k avios (or valuable as hotel points). The spend target is only £1k and the card costs £75.
      So if you did all of these in a year, for £12k spend and around say £400 in card fees, you’ll have generated 392k avios in a year.
      Someone please correct my math(s)…

      • Could spend an additional £2k across the 2 SPG cycles to get you from 58k points to 60k to net an additional 7k Avios from the £2k spend. Obviously that £2k could be spent elsewhere, but certainly a better return doing that than any other card under ‘normal spending’ conditions.

        I guess the calculations assume the BA sign up staying at 25k which might not be the case all year round (even though recently it has been on for a substantial part of the year!)

      • What is the best way to keep points when you cancel the card? Are you transferring them to your BA Executive account?

    • As Gavin said, you only get the sign up bonus for one MR card or one BA amex card per 6 months.

      Although you could work your card cycling between you and your partner so you each get the referral bonus’.

      An 8 month cycle is more realistic, allowing one month to hit the bonus spend and to allow the points to post may be pushing it.

      Perhaps a more realistic target would be:

      35k (Plat), 26k (BAPP) totalling 61k x 2 = 122k plus 2 x referrals at 9k+18k = 176k points per 8 month cycle.

    • Ta lay. ..might better to slow it down a bit. Don’t want any adverse amex decisions made…its great to do it annually even. A real bonus.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I’m with you earn and burn is great but would rather keep for a few additional months and keep a good relationship with AMEX. Not like churn and burn = a bad one its just one I’d rather not risk for a couple months of fees

  7. OT It seems I have left it too late to sign up for the 40,000 Nectar points offer. The offer was showing on my account page but, when I went to find it to sign up just now, it has gone. :-(
    I thought the offer ran until the end of the month, I guess they must have pulled it early.

    • Well, I contacted Nectar and they said I could still get the 40,000 points so applied for the card. Then received notification that Amex needed to give it some thought as to whether I can have one or not despite having a perfect record on both my Platinum everyday card and Gold preferred rewards card. Ho Hum.

  8. OT IHG card – after what point do you get the voucher for one night stay having spent 10k in the year? Is it once the bill is settled or as soon as you have spent it?

  9. Out of curiosity does anyone know if holding a Corp Amex with Mileage Rewards would eexclude you from any sign up bonuses from Personal cards in the future?

  10. Amex just cancelled my Platinum card just 2 months after taking out the card, they agreed to refund the annual fee pro rata. However, I had 60k MR which appears to be lost now as they tell me I cant utilise the points anymore as the account is closed. I still owe them the last statement balance which isn’t due yet.
    Any suggestions plz?

    • Why did they cancel your account?

      • Amex says they cancelled because my spend pattern does not match my income. I spent too much in a short time.

        • Wow. That seems a bit trigger happy. I’m sure we all have spells of a month or 2 where our spending doesn’t match our income! And it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that you would sign up to a new card prior to making some large planned purchases.

          • the real harry says:

            they could just be saying that, of course – particularly if it’s true & therefore a good reason to cancel, even if it’s not the real reason for Amex to want to cancel – ie most people spend a load in the first couple of months just to hit the spend target, that might/ probably will be way over your normal spend

            so I detect something else at play, that is, unless moishe spent like £10K in the first month & his declared income is (say) £40K

            moishe – are you a serial churner by any chance?

          • the real harry says:

            Genghis – boots – quake :)

          • If he has 60,000 MR points then presumably he has spent £60,000 in two months?

          • :) I certainly don’t spend £30k a month!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Bizarre, how do they know that within a couple months, surely its geared towards people putting a lot on them after signing up to hit spend targets.

          My spend probably doesn’t match my income either as its quite usual for me to buy things online for parents/grandparents and them pay me back, also just bought forward a lot of spend by stocking up on Gift Cards for Amazon/M&S/JL(Waitrose) shopping from Tesco

    • Do you have an ombudsman in the UK? If there really isn’t anything you haven’t told us that would be unusal from Amex. With the signup bonus you can’t have spend more than 15K a month. As a business owner it’s not unusual for credit card spend to be over a 100% of income. 15K doesn’t sound that much out of line. A couple of things you saved for, a vacation, some business expenses, paying for friends, paying taxes….. It shouldn’t be difficult to hit that amount for one or two months even making 5K a month.

  11. I am considering applying for the Platinum charge card in a month, as it will be 7 months since I closed the Gold card. I will keep my BAPP card open.
    Can anyone confirm if the associated benefits of the platinum card continue for the whole year even if the card itself has been cancelled e.g. the Priority Pass membership?

  12. Sitting in CPH Aspire! lounge on our Ex Eu trip to HKT on QR. Food sparce. Positioning flt this morning in CE. Used or wasted a 241 but suits atm. Nice museum visits and coffee houses etc to while away few hrs. Used locker storage for bags. That worked well. Last time we did hotel. This time took a chance. Only 1h 25m layover. Hotel from QR on way bk on DOH as 9h 20m layover. Def worth checking out these sales. Long may they last…

  13. Has anyone (and by anyone I’m really meaning anyone at headforpoints) ever done a breakdown of what is the most valuable way to convert the rewards points? I understand that most on here will convert them to Avios but is this the most value? Obviously if you are avidly collecting a certain type of mile then that would be the best choice for you but if you were purely starting from scratch which conversion gives you most bang for your buck?

    Cheeers

  14. You describe the priority pass as allowing access for the holder and a guest, but I was charged for my guest at an AMS lounge this summer. In that instance we could have avoided it if, as my secondary card holder, she’d had her own PP card with her. But if guesting a colleague, how should I go about using the amex benefit? Or does the entitlement vary from lounge to lounge?

    • Hi Graeme,

      You should NOT have been charged an entry fee for your wife in AMS. You might have got a Newbie on the desk. You should challenge this and Amex will refund you. This happened a lot to my OH in the Mid East, chaps at the desk saying we won’t accept your card, but you can enter if you pay! Local scams…

  15. Rob any news on how the merger of SPG and Marriot affects the complimentary SPG Gold status with this card? I presume it nets Gold with Marriot too but notice you omitted this. Many thanks.

  16. It’s almost 6 months since I cancelled my Gold. Currently my girlfriend has the gold plus I downgraded my BAPP to the blue after 10k spend and now my girlfriend has the BAPP.
    So now I’m thinking of the Platinum referred from my gf Gold. Can I downgrade the Platinum to Gold after triggering the 2k for a fee refund? We will need a gold/platinum to refer my girlfriend in 6 Months, correct? 😉

    Wow this is (getting) a mess.

    • the real harry says:

      apply some Cartesian training and all becomes clearer

      for a start – get rid of talk about BAPP – it’s irrelevant

      divide the problem into manageable chunks

      your post shows you already know the answers

      • Sorry not sure if I can follow 100% 😉

        Ok let’s brake it down (good point about BAPP, different topic!)
        Can I downgrade the Platinum to Gold and still get the refund?
        Bit debating with my self if I take the Platinum or free Gold… I’m sure we fill the 2k within 1-2 months.

  17. Sorry for the daft question but can’t find the answer. How much money does it cost to add a supp car holder for platinum? Thanks

    Marco

  18. Thanks Rob.

    Reading the above discussion about insurance on the platinum at what point do you disclose of any conditions? Do you do it when u take he card out? Also a few readers seem quite adamant that a visit to the doctor for back pain (as an example) would make a claim fail? I have personally had a back pain investigated with nothing coming out of it besides a do more exercise advise so I really wouldn’t have anything to disclose.

    Just trying to ascertain whether it’s worth taking out and adding a supplementary card member for my partner

    • That’s the trouble with the plat insurance. If you have any problems that the insurers believe is related to your back pain, they won’t pay out.

      With the card insurance you are unable to declare even simple conditions or previous investigations, and will never be covered. For this reason, the insurance is useless to me.

      • I see, would they know that I have seen a doctor about it? surely they would also see that there was nothing wrong with it. Obviously, I wouldnt claim a missed flight because of it, but the fear is they would use it to connect to something completely unrelated right?