Review: the American Express Platinum credit card
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This is our review of the American Express Platinum credit card, also known as The Platinum Card from American Express.
Is Amex Platinum worth the £575 fee? We look at the card benefits below.
Key link: American Express Platinum application page
Key facts: £575 annual fee
The representative APR is 458.2% variable, including the £575 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 28.8% variable.
Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.
This review 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 Cards‘ area of the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.
This article was updated on 1st March 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.
About The Platinum Card
The American Express Platinum credit card is issued directly by American Express.
Note that The Platinum Card is no longer a charge card. In August 2022 it swapped to being a standard credit card.
What is The Platinum Card sign-up bonus?
You usually receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 within three months.
A higher bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points is currently available if you are referred for the card. If you would like a referral, email me at rob [at] headforpoints.com and I will send you a link.
Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios, so you would receive 60,000 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 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 one other family group by giving the head of that household the free supplementary card 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 Platinum card
- You and your 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 access all other Plaza Premium lounges globally, including Heathrow Terminal 2, Heathrow Terminal 4, Edinburgh and Gatwick North.
- You can also get into Amex’s own network of high quality ‘Centurion’ airport lounges for free. The first European ‘Centurion’ lounge opened at Heathrow Terminal 3 in 2021 as we covered here.
- You will receive permanent status in various hotel schemes:
- Gold in Marriott Bonvoy
- Premium 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 £150 per year to spend in over 160 UK restaurants. The spend can be cumulative and spread across different restaurants.
- You receive £150 per year to spend in over 1,200 international restaurants. The spend can be cumulative and spread across different restaurants.
- You receive £100 of Harvey Nichols credit each year. This is split into £50 from January to June and £50 from July to December. It is valid online or instore. There is no minimum spend – if you buy just £50 of items, you will not pay a penny.
- 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.
What is the annual fee on American Express Platinum?
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 0.66p. This is because you can convert 1 point into 1.33 Nectar points via the new Avios partnership. 1.33 Nectar points are worth 0.66p 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. You can choose from Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards.
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.
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 credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.) 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.
It is very easy to give the card a trial for a year to see if it works for you. The sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points plus £300 of dining credit and £100 of Harvey Nichols credit means that you can’t help but come out on top for the first year.
Remember that the sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points is the largest bonus of any personal points card on the market. It would convert into 30,000 Avios or Virgin Points for example. If you converted the Avios points into Nectar points, you would have £200-worth.
Remember that a higher bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points is currently available if you are referred for the card. If you would like a referral, email me at rob [at] headforpoints.com and I will send you a link.
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 Cards’ 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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.