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Review: the American Express Platinum charge card

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This is our review of the American Express Platinum charge card, also known as The Platinum Card from American Express.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Card Offers‘ area of the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

This article was updated on 2nd November 2020, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

Key link: American Express Platinum application page

Key facts: £575 annual fee

About The Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum charge card is issued directly by American Express.

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.

Review American Express Platinum card

What is The Platinum Card sign-up bonus?

30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 within three months. 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 [email protected] 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.

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?

The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card which issues Membership Rewards points in the previous 24 months.  This would include Green, Gold, Platinum and the American Express Rewards credit card.

You are OK if you currently or recently only had a British Airways, Marriott / Starwood, Costco or Nectar American Express card.  All that matters is that you have not held a card offering Membership Rewards points.

You will receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits, which are substantial.

Any other benefits with Amex Platinum?

The card has 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. There is an age limit of 70 on the travel insurance.  For legal reasons, you need to opt-in to the travel insurance benefit by ticking the relevant box on the application form.

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 1,200 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. As you get two Priority Pass cards, each of which allows a free guest, you can get a family of four into a lounge – as I do on a regular basis.

You can also access the pleasant Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. This is not part of Priority Pass but American Express Platinum cardholders can get in, with a guest, by showing their Platinum card at the front desk.

You can also get into Amex’s own network of high quality ‘Centurion’ airport lounges for free. These are primarily in the US but are rolling out globally – one opened in Hong Kong recently,

You will also receive permanent status in various hotel schemes:

  • Gold Elite in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

You can also match your Shangri-La status to ‘Inner Circle Gold’ status in the Taj Hotels scheme as they have a special partnership.

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.

You receive a £10 Addison Lee taxi credit each month

You receive $200 cashback on every onefinestay house rental – a benefit you can use an unlimited number of times, with no minimum spend

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 Fine Hotels & Resorts here – for me, the guaranteed 4pm check-out on every stay is invaluable, especially for weekend breaks.

American Express Amex Platinum card review

What is the annual fee on American Express Platinum?

£575

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.

The Priority Pass airport lounge card is cancelled immediately if you close your Platinum card. However, the hotel status cards will continue to work until they expire naturally.

If you are self employed, remember that you could offset the card fee against tax as long as you used it exclusively for business-related expenses.

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 or other airline mile per £1 if you choose to transfer them.

What is a Membership Rewards point worth?

Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  This article looks at the best use of American Express Membership Rewards points and what they are worth.

If you redeem your points for, say, an Amazon gift card then you will receive around 0.5p 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. Radisson Rewards (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.

Historically there were 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 few years.  If you see reports of American Express transfer bonuses to Avios, they are almost certainly discussing cards issued outside the UK.  We did see a 50% transfer bonus to Hilton Honors in 2019.

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

Is The Platinum Card a good card to use when travelling?

As Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no travel rewards cards without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

Another option is to open an account with online bank Starling. It comes with a debit card which charges no fees on FX cash withdrawals up to £300 per day and no fees at all on overseas transactions. You can fund Starling by moving money to and from your existing bank account via their app. Our review of Starling Bank is here and you can apply here.

Other points to note

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 Points (the new name for Virgin Flying Club miles) for example.

Whether or not the fee represents value for money long-term depends on how many of the card benefits you will use, although you can cancel for a pro-rata fee refund at any point. I have had a Platinum card since 1999 and can justify the cost based on how we use the travel benefits, especially the travel insurance, car hire insurance and the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

For on-going spending, 1 point per £1 is not outstanding. A lot of American Express Platinum cardholders keep the card for its benefits but put their spending on other cards.

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, as well as double points on airline tickets and foreign spending:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The application form for The Platinum Card 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.

Comments (31)

  • Dragonfly says:

    Hope Rob or someone can clarify this for me. In the article, Rob said “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. There is an age limit of 70 on the travel insurance. For legal reasons, you need to opt-in to the travel insurance benefit by ticking the relevant box on the application form.” I am not sure if I had opt-in for travel insurance benefit by ticking the relevant box on the application form. How do I find out or check if I had? I called Amex Plat line and they said we would be covered automatically. The reason I am asking is hubby has just retired so we don’t have travel insurance cover by his company anymore. We need to get our own travel insurance and think we will just go with the cover provided by Amex Plat cards.

    • Rob says:

      The rules changed a few months ago. If you applied before Spring 2019 you are automatically enrolled.

      If you applied after the new EU rules came in, you would have seen a very clear box on the application page saying “Do you want your free travel insurance or not?” (or similar!). You wouldn’t have missed it.

  • TJ says:

    Rob and others, is the £575 fee worth it on the Amex Platinum?

    Thanks

    • Rhys says:

      Depends entirely on whether you get full use out of the benefits!

      • Shoestring says:

        2x unlimited Prestige Priority Passes would cost £576 at today’s Black Friday price – plus they each allow in a guest free (so you could add on a few £20s).

        Insurance & other benefits on top.

    • Rob says:

      No easy answer. You need to work through the list of benefits, see what they are worth TO YOU based on how you travel, and make a decision.

  • TJ says:

    I had this card previously which I cancelled when I thought `i wasn’t getting enough out of it. I have two trips coming up to the US in the next three months 1 with a group of friends and the other with my family (4 of us) I think lounge access alone will cover the fee now that I think of it. Shame I may not get the bonus points as I currently have the BA Prem’ and Gold Cards.

  • Jordan says:

    It says you get a Priority Pass.

    Which one? The standard £69 annual fee as seen on their site? So you still have to pay entrance fee?

    So if I wish to go in alone it is £20? And if I wish to go in with a partner it will be £40?

    • Rob says:

      None of them! The Amex version is not sold to the public. It is BETTER than the ones you buy directly, as you get unlimited free entry PLUS unlimited free entry for a guest. Your partner also gets their own PP which also allows unlimited free guests, so basically a family of four has unlimited free lounge access.