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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.

Is Amex Platinum worth the £575 fee? We look at the card benefits below.

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 1st January 2022, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

Key link: American Express Platinum application page

Key facts: £575 annual fee

Review American Express Platinum card

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.

What is The Platinum Card sign-up bonus?

You receive an impressive bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 within three months.

You will receive a higher bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred by a friend. If you would like a referral link for the higher bonus, email [email protected] and I will send one over ASAP.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios, so you would receive 30,000 Avios points (35,000 if you are referred). 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 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 1,300 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 reviewed here. 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, with one at Heathrow Terminal 3 to open shortly.

You will also receive permanent status in various hotel schemes:

  • Gold in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

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 ‘quite a bit’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  This article looks at the best use of American Express Membership Rewards points and what they are worth.

Realistically, Membership Rewards points are worth at least 0.8p. This is because you can convert 1 point into 1.6 Nectar points via the new Avios partnership as we explain here. 1.6 Nectar points are worth 0.8p when spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay.

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 card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than Amex charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more about Currensea by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

Is there a minimum income for Amex Platinum?

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

Conclusion: Is Amex Platinum worth the £575 annual fee?

Whether or not the American Express Platinum 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.

The current sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points is the largest bonus of any points card on the market. You would receive 30,000 Avios or Virgin Points (the new name for Virgin Flying Club miles) for example.

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 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 Card Offers’ 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 (72)

  • Tom says:

    I wonder if we’ll see more generous offers moving forward? The various offers last year (2x Waitrose, Marriott) pretty much offset the fees.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      For those that got them.

      • Tom says:

        Did we ever get to the bottom of that? I’ve missed out on offers mentioned on here before (usually because I’ve already spent on my card with that retailer) but not on the same scale. Given it was pretty much free cash it did seem a little unfair to make it targeted, if that was the case.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The 2 x £100 (Waitrose Deliveroo JL) weren’t targeted they were for all Platinum card holders.

  • Alex says:

    Always useful to get an updated summary of benefits, thanks. I do struggle, though, to know for certain the car hire insurance conditions. This article suggests full insurance is provided with no requirement to pay with your card but another loyalty card reviewer implies you must pay the entire rental cost on your AMEX platinum. Does it differ by country the card is issued (I’m a UK Amex Platinum customer)?

    • Rob says:

      You can use any card. It is easier to make claims if you have used Plat though as they can instantly validate what you were charged.

      • Ste Cox says:

        I have a question about this. I was given a Super Car driving experience for Christmas and it says that I am responsible for any damage but can pay a damage waver. will the plat insurance cover this as I suppose technically I am just hiring a (fancy) car for 3 laps and its an insurance I can decide not to pay?

        • kitten says:

          might be a racing sport exclusion – check the t’s and c’s. this is not normal road driving and non-public roads are often excluded.

          Amex using Axa for their travel insurance now in the UK unfortunately feels like Harrods subcontracting to Tesco. Axa can be miserable to deal with so check the written terms carefully.

          • Ste Cox says:

            “6) Vehicles used off-road, in or in-training for, racing competitions, trials, rallies or speed testing.”

            This looks like the only part that “could” apply, guess it depends if they class it as in-training.

          • David says:

            @Ste Cox, could also come within the “off road” part of that exclusion, given that a track is not a road. Depends whether “off road” is interpreted as referring to the type of surface you’re driving on, or the legal status of it.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        The Nurburgring ring is a public road but most insurances won’t pay for that either. In general, in my experience, it is always worth checking in advance for activities that could be deemed outside of normal practice.

        Ah, sir I understand. The Ferrari Super fast tried to go past you on the outside of the corner and failed to leave room for your exit resulting in the complete destruction of the Pagani Zonda that you were driving and the, let me check, £180,000 worth of damage to the Ferrari. Please hold while I check with my Supervisor….

        • Phil Huff says:

          This may have changed on 1 January with our EU exit, but every insurance provider is obliged to cover you for third party risks throughout the EU, even at the Nurburgring.

          Of course, the vast majority of insurers include specific exclusions in their policies for this, but nobody has yet taken the matter through the courts to test if the exclusions are fair.

          I’m not volunteering to lead a test case, incidentally!

  • Henry Nicholson says:

    I am still unconvinced by the travel insurance. I know you have said before that you aren’t as bothered by the cancellation or curtailment elements but, given these should be the lower risk elements, I dont really understand why it is not just an unrestricted travel insurance policy.

    I got substantial value from the Marriott gold card (when it was the previous iteration) but the greatest value was the lounge access. However I would not otherwise pay for lounge access so it is not a true saving.

    The car hire insurance does represent an actual cash saving and allowed me to hire a car in Canada very cheaply, saving around £250 for a 2 week period.

    • Charlieface says:

      The car hire insurance is worth about £60, or £30 if you plan on staying in Europe only

  • Princess says:

    Does the car insurance have the £50 excess like the travel insurance?

  • Freddy says:

    Would need your head testing to apply for this card at the moment and probably for 2021

    • ChrisW says:

      Agreed. It’s very difficult to justify the annual fee if you don’t travel regularly which for the first half of this year at least, we are unlikely to be doing.

      The offers seem like you are saving money, but if you weren’t going to stay at a fancy Marriott hotel its not free – you already paid for it as part of your annual fee.

    • SWWT says:

      Agreed. There appears to be a parallel universe (to the one I’m living in) where travel and all its various implications carries on as per pre-covid. Good luck to those who live there, I say.
      PS. How to you get to live there, I really need a change…?!

    • Stu N says:

      I’ve found them very good to long-standing Platinum card holders this year, actually.

      Travel insurance has paid out on irrecoverable costs from cancelled trips without any problems.

      I’ve had decent offers I’ve managed to use on things I’d buy anyway. £100 each from Harrods, Apple and Selfridges plus another couple of hundred quid across Shop Small and other smaller cash backs mean I’ve almost recouped my fee that way.

      They did me a decent retention bonus of 40k MRs in the autumn as well.

    • ken says:

      100%

      I cancelled mine in Feb 2020. Could I have had £575 of value in the last year ?
      Absolutley no chance.

      Likely to get £575 of value this year ?
      No chance.

      Got business gold at the moment and will look to see how land lies in March 2022.

      I’d also strongly supect that to get the card going again once travel starts that AMEX will increase the sign up bonus.

      Amex personal gold is a far better option at the moment.

    • Travel Strong says:

      Its been a good run for me.
      I was going to cancel in 2020.
      Instead I easily got the value.

      £300 of Waitrose (3 x 100).
      £100 of Hilton (2 x 50).
      £30 Shop Small.
      20k MR Points for not cancelling.
      12k MR Points for a referral.
      £270 travel insurance claim.
      I’ve missed out some minor things too.

      Total is at least £700 + 32k MR, and I’m only 66% of the way through the card year.
      I could have got some of the benefits with a gold card granted, maybe £150 and 6k MR.
      So even if I kept the card til the end of the card year with no further benefits – at worst I’ll have “paid” £25 for 26k MR, Hilton gold, etc… (£575 – £700 + £150).

      • Mario says:

        I’d say that theses sums are not entirely accurate…

        £300 of Waitrose (3 x 100) – fair
        £100 of Hilton (2 x 50) – these were available for free cards
        £30 Shop Small – available for free cards
        20k MR Points for not cancelling – could have transferred to a free card
        12k MR Points for a referral – referrals also available for free cards
        £270 travel insurance claim – ok

        So the net total is significantly less than it may appear at first sight

        • Freddy says:

          If you hadn’t got this card you would have taken out travel insurance. Depending on where the claim arose/age etc it wouldn’t have cost £270. The cost of a travel insurance policy would be a fairer comparison. Shop small etc were on the free cards as mentioned

  • Chris H says:

    I am thinking of cancelling my Platinum card as I think I have achieved as much value as I can, for now. My question is about the insurance element. I have paid my flights using the card, and one of the hotels too. If I cancel the card, will the insurance against cancellation due to COVID continue, or will I now have to get separate insurance?

  • Mco says:

    In regards to claiming the fees against the tax return what if you book hotels or flights to get the travel insurance which for me won’t be for work. Do you keep a track of how much personal expenditure was and take that percentage off the claim? I will probably end up spending around 30k a year on work and 1-2k personal.

    • ken says:

      Strictly speaking to claim the card fee as a deduction against business profits, its supposed to be “wholly and exclusively” used for business.

      • Genghis says:

        But you can prorate. Personally if you’re claiming it as a business expense, I’d keep it clean and not spend at all on it personally.

        “When you consider the application of the ‘wholly and exclusively’ test, it is important that you distinguish between cases where:

        a definite part or proportion of an expense has been laid out or expended wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade, profession or vocation. That part or proportion should not be disallowed on the ground that the entire expense is not laid out or expended wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade, profession or vocation
        an expense has been incurred for a dual purpose. Such expenditure should be disallowed
        For expenditure satisfying (a) above, there are classes (eg motor expenses, use of home as office) where the pattern of usage lends itself to a statistical approach. A detailed review for a representative period can be used to establish the amount of the total expenditure that is deductible. This allows you to determine the proportion of the expenditure in the representative period that is deductible. It is sensible to continue to use this proportion until the underlying circumstances change.”
        https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/business-income-manual/bim37007

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