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

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

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 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.

The Platinum Card from American Express review

What is The Platinum Card sign-up bonus?

30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 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 rob [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.

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, 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 in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Gold in Melia Rewards

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

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 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.

If you want a dedicated credit card to use abroad, take a look at the Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (click here).  This card is free and charges NO foreign exchange fees.  It also offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months and 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months.  Representative APR 21.9% variable.

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 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.  Our American Express Gold review is here.

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.

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Comments

  1. Alan Wan says:

    I assume the Amex Platinum travel insurance will have restrictions on pre-existing medical conditions?

  2. I didn’t see this mentioned, perhaps it is no longer available to new cardholders and I am grandfathered in, but holding the platinum card gets my BA Amex fee waived, saving me (I think) £195pa

    • Don’t think this is still available for new applicants!I wonder if it can still be negotiated with Amex considering the weak benefits offered by Platinum at its current fee!🤔🤔

  3. Jonathan says:

    I read this week Addison Lee is close to entering Administration so I expect the £10 credit will become even less useful than it is now.

    • I use it every month and I always find AL a useful lotion to have. This would be disappointing.

      In saying that, maybe AMEX would feel obliged to do a deal with uber like in the states instead.

  4. Can you have a business and a personal platinum card

  5. When’s the best time to cancel the card to retain the hotel status benefits for another year? January?

  6. the_real_a says:

    It would be interesting to know the impact of the recent fee raise on card cancellations. Personally it was a step too far me, downgrading for the first time in 15 years. Seems like many felt the same.

    • Lady London says:

      That, plus if cardholders beyond HfP have now worked out that the included Priority Pass is worth much less now as a contribution towarfs offsetting the £600 annual cost. As Priority Pass holders are being refused admittance to lounges at the key UK airports pretty consistently now.

      As a family of 4 or even a very frequently flying couple, thé fact that main and supp card both admit 2, you light get both of you into lounges often enough to get value from the Priority Pass element of the fee charged by Amex. As on thé occasions you are getting into thé loubged you are getting double value.

      But as a single traveller getting denied access to lounges I’ve paid for by a fee within Amex Plat the unreliability of lounge access means the value of the Priority Pass within the Amex Plat cost can’t be valued at much.

      • Agree with your thinking on the actual versus perceived access to lounges. Besides what’s the point if you always travel in J paid with cash and pay for hotel breakfasts? Amex have to bring more to the table for these customers as there are better bling cards out there when you need to impress.

        • Other than the HSBC Premier WE mastercard, which other card would you class as a “bling” card?

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            Amex Black, Coutts?

            But if you need to impress people with your cards then life isn’t going to plan.

          • Dont worry about cards these days

            Use your phone to pay for things using apple pay / google etc. They then cant tell if you are using a nationwide account or a coutts account.

            .. Or just be yourself.

  7. Also for those who have the Gold card (perhaps having downgraded from Plat), they’re offering 20k MR points on upgrade (£4K spend on 3 months). https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/benefits/upgrade/platinum-charge/index.html

  8. Other than Priority Pass, do any of the other benefits (such as hotel status) apply to supplementary card holders ?

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Yes they do but the Supp card holder has to register for them just like the primary holder.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

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

    Thanks

    • 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

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