Monday, June 17, 2024

There’s More Than One American Express Platinum Card, So Which Is Best For You?


Key Takeaways

  • American Express Platinum Cards offer luxury travel benefits for a premium price.
  • Multiple cards are available to match your spending habits and needs.
  • It is possible to offset one card’s hefty annual fee with credits based on your assets. 

The American Express Platinum Card has been the go-to luxury rewards credit card for a generation of travelers. It includes premium benefits, annual credits, elite status and numerous other features that travelers enjoy. However, many people don’t realize that there are actually six distinct versions of the luxury credit card:

Common Benefits of American Express Platinum Cards

Platinum cards have similar benefits and earning power for customers, which provides a common experience for cardholders and a unique advantage over competing cards from other issuers. All six Platinum cards have the following features in common:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement
  • Cellphone protection
  • Premium car rental privileges

Kyle Stewart of Scott & Thomas, a boutique luxury travel agency that designs personalized travel itineraries, warns those thinking about adding a Platinum card to their wallet. American Express “has elevated annual fees from $450 before the pandemic to $695 while changing benefits along the way,” says Stewart. “Cardholders new to the product should carefully consider the total value of the card before applying.”

A Look at Each American Express Platinum Card

AMEX Platinum Card Art

The Platinum Card from American Express

This card is advertised widely on the American Express website, marketing materials and credit card reviews. The Platinum Card from American Express is also one of the easiest to apply for and doesn’t require a relationship with any specific financial institution. It’s best suited for consumers who want the easiest path to apply and manage their account once it is open.

  • Annual fee: $695
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year) or hotels booked through American Express Travel.  
    • Earn one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases. 
  • Perks: 
    • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection
    • CLEAR Plus membership
    • Airline annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Hotel annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold elite status
    • American Express luxury hotel benefits
    • Annual spending credits with Walmart+, Equinox, Uber and more
    • Travel and purchase protections.

AMEX Business Platinum Card Art

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express features the largest welcome bonus of any Platinum Card.

  • Annual fee: $695
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $20,000 within the first three months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn five points per dollar on flights or hotels booked directly through American Express Travel.  
    • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more, and on eligible purchases with U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, shipping providers, electronic goods retailers, and software and cloud system providers. This is capped at $2 million per year.
  • Unique features: It offers over $1,000 in annual credits to merchants like Dell, Indeed, Adobe and wireless telephone providers.
  • Perks: 
    • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection
    • CLEAR Plus membership
    • Airline annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Hotel annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold elite status
    • American Express luxury hotel benefits
    • Travel and purchase protections

AMEX Charles Schwab Card Art

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab

Schwab is a popular investing platform, and the company partnered with American Express to customize a Platinum card with exclusive benefits for its clients. Rewards can be redeemed for deposits into an eligible brokerage account.

  • Annual fee: $695
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year) or hotels booked through American Express Travel.  
    • Earn one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases. 
  • Unique features: Annual appreciation bonus up to $1,000, depending on the size of your Schwab holdings. Schwab customers can redeem Membership Rewards for deposits into an eligible Schwab brokerage account.
  • Perks: 
    • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection
    • CLEAR Plus membership
    • Airline annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Hotel annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold elite status
    • American Express luxury hotel benefits
    • Annual spending credits with Walmart+, Equinox, Uber and more
    • Travel and purchase protections

AMEX Morgan Stanley Card Art

The Platinum Card From American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is another investment firm that offers a version of the Platinum card for its clients, and several unique features make its card one of the best available if you can qualify. Cardholders can redeem rewards for deposits into their Morgan Stanley brokerage account.

  • Annual fee: $695 
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year) or hotels booked through American Express Travel.  
    • Earn one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.  
  • Unique features:
    • Qualify for a $695 annual engagement bonus if you hold a Platinum CashPlus account with Morgan Stanley.
    • Add one additional Platinum card for no annual fee. 
  • Perks: 
    • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection
    • CLEAR Plus membership
    • Airline annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Hotel annual fee credits of up to $200
    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold elite status
    • American Express luxury hotel benefits
    • Annual spending credits with Walmart+, Uber and more
    • Travel and purchase protections

Stewart recommends the Morgan Stanley Platinum for retirees receiving Social Security, a pension or other recurring retirement income. In order to receive the annual $695 credit, you must have a Platinum CashPlus account with a $25,000 balance or $5,000 in monthly deposits. However, “Social Security benefits of any amount also qualify.”

AMEX Platinum SkyMiles Credit Card Art

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

This card earns Delta SkyMiles instead of Membership Rewards points. Additionally, its benefits center around Delta Air Lines flights rather than being a general travel card.

  • Annual fee: $350 
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 85,000 miles after you spend $4,000 within the first six months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn 3 miles per dollar on Delta and hotel purchases. 
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. 
    • Earn 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.
  • Unique features: 
    • Receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each year and earn $1 MQD toward elite status for every $20 spent. 
    • Receive a Companion Certificate each year after card renewal.
    • Up to $150 in DeltaStays credit 
    • Earn a 15% discount on Delta flights when you use miles to book travel. 
    • Pay nothing for your first checked bag. 
    • Receive 20% back on in-flight Delta purchases.
  • Perks: 
    • Up to $120 in Resy statement credits each year
    • Up to $120 in ride-hailing statement credits each year

AMEX Platinum SkyMiles Business Credit Card Art

Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card

Like its consumer card, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card earns miles instead of points – and rewards business expenses.

  • Annual fee: $350 
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 95,000 miles after you spend $8,000 within the first six months.
  • Rewards: 
    • Earn 3 miles per dollar on Delta and hotel purchases. 
    • Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on transit, with U.S. shipping providers and on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more. This is capped at $100,000 of combined eligible purchases per year.
    • Earn 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.
  • Unique features: 
    • Receive $2,500 MQD each year and earn $1 MQD toward elite status for every $20 spent. 
    • Receive a Companion Certificate each year after card renewal.
    • Up to $150 in DeltaStays credit 
    • Earn a 15% discount on Delta flights when you use miles to book travel. 
    • Pay nothing for your first checked bag. 
    • Receive 20% back on in-flight Delta purchases.
  • Perks: 
    • Up to $120 in Resy statement credits each year
    • Up to $120 in ride-hailing statement credits each year



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