The American Express Platinum: A card for the Elite

The American Express Platinum: A card for the Elite

American Express is a brand usually synonymous with luxury. The Amex Platinum being one of their most premium offerings is freakishly luxurious. It can almost be called the holy-grail of all cards – almost. There does exist a class higher than where the Amex Platinum charge card stands but that’s a topic for another article. I personally believe that the Amex platinum is better and far more logical to own than most other black cards (including Amex’s own Centurion). But first and foremost, it’s a charge card; which for me makes it better than every other card out there because you don’t end up in debt for whatever you spend. Now, let’s see why it’s one of the (if not the) best.

The American Express Platinum

The Fee

At just $550 a year, it’s almost 5 times cheaper than its big-brother (the Centurion) while offering astoundingly similar benefits, rewards and features. It’s so rich in its offerings that it completely justifies its fee of $550.

The Hefty Signup Bonus

The card offers a whopping 60,000 points signup bonus if you make purchases worth $5000 in the first 3 months. You can use the points towards travel and other major purchases including hotel and rental bookings.

The Travel Perks

This is definitely the best aspect of the card. I’m a sucker for airport lounges and this card gives you absolute free enrolment into the Priority Pass Select program apart from Delta and Amex’s own ultra-luxurious Centurion lounges alongside Amex International lounges. It also gives you free access to Escape and Airspace lounges. The travel perks don’t end there either. The card gives you access to a top of the line super-efficient concierge service ready to accommodate any request you might possibly have (you can be super creative). All travel transactions made through the card provide you with complimentary travel insurance which include protection against cancelled flights and lost baggage. Apart from all this, you get $200 annual airline credit and $100 credit to register for the Global Entry Program. It gives you $200 Uber credits yearly and also directly elevates you to elite status in Hilton’s and Starwood’s reward programs (some countries have more hotel reward programs on the card apart from these two). Unlimited free access to Boingo wifi and also gives you the power to make last minute reservations at top fine-dining restaurants around the world who’re partnered with Amex. Not to mention the upgraded rental car membership status with secondary collision coverage. The travel perks of this card far outweigh its hefty annual fee.

So to sum up, the card spoils you with:

  • Access to almost all airport lounges around the world
  • FHR benefits and gold elite status in Starwood and Hilton rewards programs
  • $200 annual credit each towards airline and Uber spends, $100 credit to enrol for the Global Entry program
  • Free Bingo Wi-Fi Membership
  • An excellent concierge service

The Rewards

The card gives 1 point for every 1 dollar spent and it mostly gives a 1:1 points transfer ratio and in certain cases 2:1. It is pretty impressive BUT if you book airlines and hotels through Amex Travel, you get 5X points. That’s FIVE times the actual points you’d be earning just because you booked your hotel through Amex Travel. You get the same return with airlines if you book directly through the airlines too. Virtually no other card offers this much return on travel spends. There are some really ridiculous stories on the internet about deals people got with Amex Platinum reward points!

Platinum Protection

True luxury is indeed utmost peace of mind and this is where Amex simply leaves all the other card providers in the dust. Once it so happened that a woman I know who was travelling through Singapore had all her stuff stolen at the airport. Everything from her hand baggage to her wallet. She had her Amex card get stolen and when she let Amex know that she was stranded in an airport, broke and hungry, Amex not only cancelled her card and got her a replacement within a few hours, but also gave her $200 in cash and put her in a hotel. Now Amex has obviously has the best in class customer service but what takes it up a notch higher is their platinum protection which comes with only the Platinum and Centurion cards. This includes travel accident insurance, travel inconvenience insurance, purchase protection (mentioned below) and overseas medical insurance.

The Service

Now it is a public secret that Amex charges merchants a higher transaction fee than other credit card companies. What most people don’t know is that Amex will go to any extent to sort out billing issues or fraudulent transactions you might have to encounter. It’s been said that Amex had once threatened to stop all financial relationships with a merchant just because they charged an unauthorised tip on a customer’s card. That’s Amex for you, ready to close down their services to a merchant just because ONE of their customers was overcharged by a few dollars. The customer service is just brilliant; dare I say, the best in the industry. Amex is like your dad, who’d do just about anything to keep you as comfortable as possible. This is one bank that actually takes care of you.

Summing Up

The card comes with an annual fee of $550 with next to little or no waivers. However, the card itself is made of metal and feels extremely premium and as we saw, the perks more than justify the fee. The Priority Pass Select program alone can justify more than 50% of that price tag. Being a charge card, you don’t rake up interest on your payments either. Did I also mention that it has no foreign exchange mark-up fee (only in the US version)? This is a card for the elite of the elite and even though it stands lower than black cards such as the Amex Centurion and JP Morgan Reserve, it gives much more bang for the buck. All in all, this is one card which every aspiring traveller aspires to have.