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$200 hotel credit offered with The Platinum Card® from American Express applies to prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings made via Amex Travel. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
The sleeping giant, known as American Express has been awoken. In a shot across the bow of Citi and Chase, effective October 6, 2016, American Express has made the following changes to The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express:
- Amex Platinum – Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Business Platinum Card – Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Earn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
- Business Platinum Card cardholders will earn 35% points back when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points through American Express Travel to book a flight with their selected airline.
- Business Platinum Card cardholders will now earn 35% points back when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points through American Express Travel when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline.
With the Citi Prestige® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stealing all the thunder from American Express in the premium cards category, it was clear Amex needed to do something to be able to continue competing for customers within this category. One option was to launch a new card with similar benefits to the Citi Prestige® Card and Sapphire Reserve; the other was to improve on its existing products, most likely in the Platinum family of card products. After a couple of weeks of speculation, Amex finally revealed their plans.
5X Points on Airfare with Amex Platinum
American Express has confirmed that the Amex Platinum will earn 5X points on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year booked directly with airlines. This benefit does not extend to Business Platinum Card for purchases with airlines, but it does apply to flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Prior to October 6, 2016, the Amex Platinum earned 1X on airfare purchased directly with airlines; this is a significant improvement. Furthermore, presently the most points offered by any other card for airfare purchased directly with an airline is 3X points (Chase Sapphire Reserve®), which places the Amex Platinum as the undisputed go-to card to use for airfare purchases, considering the value of American Express Membership Rewards points.
A $500 airfare purchase that would have previously only earned 500 Membership Rewards with the Amex Platinum (or 1,500 Citi ThankYou Points with the Prestige Card or 1,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Sapphire Reserve) will now earn 2,500 Membership Rewards. If you're buying a lot of plane tickets, you need to reconsider your strategy with this increased bonus opportunity.
- Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
- $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
- Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
- Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- Earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year).
- Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Improvements with the Business Platinum Card
The Business Platinum Card will now earn 5X points on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. The Business Platinum Card also earns 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more and on eligible purchases in key business categories, subject to a cap of up to $2 million spent on these purchases each calendar year.
This benefit may not seem like a big deal, but if you're a business owner making large purchases on your card, you just got a 50% bump in earnings for these purchases. It provides a fantastic incentive to use your Business Platinum Card on a large purchase, particularly when you wouldn't be earning a bonus on that charge.
Additionally, Business Platinum Card cardholders will earn 35% points back when paying with Membership Rewards points through American Express Travel to book an a with their selected airline. This benefit is further extended to any airline when booking a first or business class ticket. Note that Amex recently dropped this benefit from 50% to 35% and introduced a points cap of 500K per year. See our breakdown of the changes for all the details.
The 35% points back benefit is significant. A $1,000.00 ticket will now, in essence, require 65,000 Amex MR points. Keep in mind that these are paid tickets not subject to award availability limits. Furthermore, unlike awards, tickets purchased with Amex points earn miles and credit towards elite status.
- Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
- Earn 1.5X points (that's an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
- Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by your one selected, qualifying airline to your Card.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Business Platinum Card®.
- The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
- $695 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
- Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on each eligible purchase with U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers.
- Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on each eligible purchase with U.S. electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers.
- Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on each eligible purchase with U.S. shipping providers.
- 1.5X earning rates are subject to a cap of $2 million in purchases per calendar year.
Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
American Express has arguably the second most impressive list of airline transfer partners, behind Marriott Rewards. Among the most notable are Delta, British Airways, Air Canada (Aeroplan), Air France/KLM, Singapore Airlines and Iberia. In most cases, the transfer ratio is 1:1 and there are regular transfer bonus promotions.
Cash Back Options
While we typically like to leverage transfer partners, if you're looking at cash back instead, 5% on all your airfare isn't too shabby. You can redeem Membership Rewards as cash back with a value of one cent per point. Spending $5,000.00 annually on airfare would generate 25,000 Membership Rewards, which you could convert into a statement credit of $250.
Other Amex Platinum Benefits
- Access to American Express Centurion Lounges
- Access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on Delta
- Access to Plaza Premium Lounges
- Complimentary membership with Priority Pass Select
- Access to Airspace Lounges
- A $200 Airline Fee Credit for incidental airline expenses
- A $200 hotel credit on select hotels prepaid with Amex Travel
- Upgrades to Marriott Gold status and Hilton Honors Gold Status
- A $100 credit for Global Entry or the TSA Precheck program application
- Access to the FINE HOTELS & RESORTS collection
- Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
The single place where the Platinum cards had severely fallen behind the rest of the pack was on spend. You earned 1x points on everything, and other cards were offering 2x, 3x and sometimes 5x depending on the card and type of purchase. The introduction of 5X points on airfare purchases has indeed addressed this issue, but is it enough?
Is This Improvement Enough?
The ability to earn 5X points on airfare purchases is certainly a move in the right direction for Amex, but is it enough to make the Amex Platinum card more valuable than the Prestige Card or the Sapphire Reserve? The Sapphire Reserve earns 3X points on the majority of travel and dining purchases.
If you already have an Amex Platinum, you need to seriously consider using the card for airfare purchases. However, for someone that has to pick one from these three cards, an argument can be made that the Amex Platinum is still in third place. From an earning standpoint, the lack of other types of purchases that can earn bonus points, such as with the Prestige Card or Sapphire Reserve, makes it tough to have this card come out of your wallet regularly.
Another consideration is that when purchasing airfare, the Sapphire Reserve still offers better travel insurance and protections than the complimentary coverage with the Amex Platinum. If you value those types of benefits more than bonus points earned, the increased earning potential is not likely to change which card you use.
The Amex Platinum will no longer be a card you simply get or keep for its benefits. With the ability to earn 5X points on airfare purchases, there is at least one category of purchases for which this card will become the go-to card for many.
If you're making large purchases on the Business Platinum Card, the 50% earning bonus is nice as is the possibility of getting 35% back on redemptions through the Amex travel portal.
All in all some nice improvements. This won't skyrocket these cards to the top for everyone, but they are some much-needed enhancements to encourage cardmembers to use their cards. So, have you found a new favorite card with these improvements?
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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