The best credit card offers are reserved for people with the best credit scores. These are the customers that the banks and card issuers want to attract, so it makes sense that they offer big sign-up bonuses, lucrative rewards and valuable benefits to entice them.
There are also some credit cards that are more impressive to carry than others. The Platinum Card by American Express is one of those cards.
Not only does it have a big sign-up bonus, great earning potential and top-tier benefits, but many people and merchants know that not everyone has the income and creditworthiness to get approved for this card so it’s akin to driving a luxury car for some.
You might be considering this card because you are collecting Membership Rewards for a big trip and you are interested in the current 75,000 point sign-up bonus and high points earning potential, but before you fill out that application let’s see what credit score it requires and what type of consumer(s) it is ideal for.
Who is the Amex Platinum Card For?
American Express has many charge and credit cards for personal and business use, but the Platinum card is a top-of-the-line premium card in the American Express portfolio. There is only one Amex card that is more exclusive, and that is the invitation-only Centurion Card by American Express.
The odds of you getting an invitation for the Centurion card though are small as it is designed for less than 1% of the population, and it carries a hefty annual fee of $5,000 as well as an initiation fee of $10,000.
There is no online application for the Centurion card, as you have to be invited to apply. Keep in mind that an invitation does not mean you will be successful with your application.
The Platinum card is not quite as exclusive or as expensive to hold as the Centurion, but you need to have the Platinum card to even get invited to apply for the Centurion. The Platinum card itself is still widely respected and recognized as a status symbol, and it’s your gateway to an invitation to apply for the Centurion card if that is your aspiration.
In general, you’ll need good or excellent credit to be approved for the Platinum Card from American Express. This means you need a credit score in the range of 680 to 740. The average applicant has a score of 715 but some have been approved with a credit score in the 640’s when it’s coupled with a high income.
Amex Platinum is Good for Travelers and Business Owners
The Platinum Card by American Express is best suited for travelers because many of the benefits and statement credits offered are for travel. This card comes with automatic elite status in two hotel programs: You’ll get Gold elite status in both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs.
You’ll also have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes over 1,300 lounges at more than 500 airports worldwide in 140 countries.
Plus it lets you earn 5x Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel. Those bonus points can be earned on up to $500,000 in airline bookings. If you fly that much, you can do the math. You’ll be sitting on a pile of points.
You can also earn 5x points on Amex Hotel Collection bookings, and you get a $100 on-site credit for prepaid hotel stays of at least two nights in one of those hotels. You can use the credit for dining, spa and other activities at the hotel or resort.
You also get access to Platinum Travel consultants and a personal concierge. That all makes this card ideal for small business owners who travel or for people who travel frequently. If you only take one or two vacations a year, you won’t be able to take advantage of all the benefits so this card may not be right for you.
If you own a small business and travel for work, consider applying for the business version of this card. It has the mostly same benefits but comes with some extra perks as well.
Membership Rewards Bonus Points
The Amex Platinum card is a great card to apply for if you are collecting or want to start building a stash of American Express Membership Rewards as it currently comes with a 75,000-point welcome offer when you spend $5,000 in the first six months of having the card, and that can really jumpstart or boost your points balance.
The welcome offer also lets you earn 10x on purchases at gas stations and in supermarkets on up to $15,000 in purchases in the first six months, which is great for people who have not been able to travel or dine out because of the pandemic.
That is equal to 150,000 points if you max out the offer, which will bring the total welcome bonus up to 225,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. You’ll also get 1x point per dollar on all other purchases that are not in a bonus category.
If you’re not sure if you qualify for the Platinum card, there are other Amex cards that might be a better fit for starters, and you can work your way up to applying for a more premium card. But if you’ve had a few credit cards and maintain a good credit history and score, then it might be time to pull the trigger and upgrade to the Amex Platinum card.
Don’t upgrade one of your current Amex cards though as you will lose out on the sign-up bonus. Fill out a new application and be sure to look around for a rumored 100,000 point welcome bonus that is popping up on browsers as a limited time offer. Very limited that is. If you close your browser it will disappear.
How much does it cost?
The Amex Platinum is a premium card that comes with a $550 annual fee, but not everyone is willing to pay a yearly fee to hold a credit card and not everybody can meet the minimum spend required to get the welcome bonus.
The Amex Platinum is similar to other premium cards with fees in the $500 range like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige cards, and while the costs and benefits differ the Amex Platinum is more popular, especially for status seekers and travelers.
This is generally not a good card for beginners because of its high annual fee, but if you’re interested in it for the points and perks you might want to apply for an Amex Gold card which is one level below this card and has a $250 fee and a 60,000 point welcome offer when you spend $4,000 in the first six months.
If you don’t spend enough to earn either the Gold or Platinum sign-up bonus and you don’t need all the benefits of those cards, you can also consider the American Express Green card, which has a $150 annual fee and comes with a 45,000 point bonus after spending $2,000 in the first six months.
Is the Amex Platinum worth the $550 annual fee?
If you can meet the minimum spend to get the welcome offer on the Amex Platinum card and your credit score is good enough to qualify, the welcome bonus alone will offset the annual fee. The 75,000 points you earn for signing up are worth a minimum of $750 in travel.
Those points can be even more valuable if you transfer them to an airline frequent flyer program. Amex Membership Rewards transfer to 16 airline programs including:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air France/KLM
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta, El Al
- Virgin Atlantic
All three airline alliances are represented in the mix, as well as a few foreign airlines that don’t belong to an alliance so there are plenty of redemption possibilities.
You can also transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to three hotel programs including Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. You can also use points for gift cards or other redemptions, but those are not usually a good value.
Statement Credits for Travel
If that’s not enough, you’ll also get a $200 credit for incidentals on the airline of your choice. The credit runs on a calendar year, so it gets refreshed every January and you have until the end of January to select the airline you want to use the credit on, and then you have until the end of the year to use the credit for things like baggage check and in-flight amenities like food, beverages and entertainment. You can also use it for pet fees and overweight baggage.
The airlines you can choose from include Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest and United. You might be tempted to select the airline you fly most often, but if you already have elite status on that carrier or hold a co-branded card that gives you benefits like free checked bags, then you might be better off selecting a low-cost carrier that you fly less frequently and have to pay for bags or seat assignments.
The card also comes with Uber VIP status and a monthly Uber credit of $15 with a $20 bonus in December, so that adds up to $200 per year if you take Ubers regularly. The credit can also be used for food delivery through Uber Eats.
You’ll also get a $100 credit every four years if you apply for Global Entry or every 4.5 years if you apply for TSA PreCheck. These expedited airport security clearances are good for five years.
Statement Credits for Shopping and other Travel Perks
You also get two semi-annual $50 credits to use at Saks Fifth Avenue, so that adds up to another $100 statement credit. One is good from January to June and the other in the second half of the year.
All together that’s $600 if you take advantage of all of these statement credits. That pays for the card itself, and you still get all the other perks like gold elite status in two hotel chains and lounge access in airports. There are also no foreign transaction fees when you use this card overseas, and those can add up so this is another consideration when deciding if the Amex Platinum card is right for you.
Additionally, you get access to Premium Global Assist, a 24/7 hotline for medical, legal and financial issues that may arise when you’re traveling. You need to be more than 100 miles from home to use this service.
You can get a translator to help you locate services needed, they can wire you money and they can even transport you to a new hospital for free if you meet the requirements. Hopefully you won’t need help, but having these benefits offers peace of mind when traveling as emergencies do come up.
Credit Score and Income Level Requirements
If you’re sold on getting the Amex Platinum card, you might think you need a top credit score to have a successful application. You’ll be surprised to know that it only requires a score of 700 or more, which is a good to excellent credit rating. It can even be as low as 680 if your income is high and your credit history is clean.
Obviously the higher your score is, the better your chances are of getting approved. In addition to reviewing your credit score, American Express will also look at your current income, your debt-to-income ratio and your credit card history.
Your FICO credit score looks at payment history (which makes up 35% of your score), amount owed (30%), length of credit history (14%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).
To improve your chances of getting approved, we recommend having an excellent credit score over 720, an income of at least $50,000 a year and a good credit history for at least the past two years.
If you’ve got your eye on the Centurion Card by American Express, your score and income will need to be much higher. You’ll need a credit score over 800 and income in the million dollar range. Amex will also need to see spending of $100,000 or more on the card to invite you to upgrade from Platinum to Centurion.
Odds of Approval
If you’ve managed your credit well and have a sufficient income level, you have a good chance of getting approved for the Amex Platinum card. Even if your score is on the low end of the range in the high 600s, you can be approved if your income is $100,000 or more for example.
There are a few things to keep in mind though. If you applied for another Amex card recently and did not get approved, wait at least 30 days before applying again. In general, the longer you wait, the better the odds.
Check your credit report in the meantime to make sure there are no errors, and note the reasons for not getting approved. It could be that you have opened too many lines of credit recently or that you already have too many credit cards with American Express. Correct any issues that you can before applying again, and if you get rejected again be sure to call the reconsideration line to plead your case.
A number of banks and credit card issuers have come up with rules to stop people from churning cards, where they close a card after getting a bonus and then apply for the same card again to get another bonus.
American Express is no exception, and they have one of the strictest rules when it comes to sign-up bonuses. Other card issuers like Chase make you wait 48 months before you apply again and you can’t have another card in the family of cards you are applying for.
Amex however does not allow a cardholder to get a welcome bonus twice. If you’ve held the Platinum card previously and already got a bonus, you will not be eligible for the new sign-up bonus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the card. It just means that you won’t get the 75,000 point bonus. So if that is why you are applying, don’t take the ding on your credit score just to find out you’re not eligible for the big welcome bonus.
Also, at Amex you can only get approved for two Amex cards every 90 days, so make sure you’ve left sufficient time in between applications. More time between applications is best.
If your company is in better financial shape than you are, then that may be the way to go to secure this card. It is sometimes easier to get the business version than the personal one, especially if you have a successful business and charge a lot of expenses.
If you’re in the market for a premium travel credit card and you pay your bills on time, have good income and a close-to-excellent or better credit score, then the American Express Platinum card is a great addition to your wallet and one that comes with a host of benefits, statement credits and Membership Rewards point earning opportunities especially for travelers.
Is it worth keeping the Amex Platinum?
When the second year comes along, you should re-evaluate whether you want to pay $550 for the next year. Remember you won’t get that 75,000 point sign-up bonus so that will not help offset the annual fee. But the many other perks like $600 in statement credits can. But only if you use them. And elite status at Marriott and Hilton have value, but only if you plan to stay at those properties. The same goes for airport lounge access. If you don’t fly that often or there are no lounges in the network in the airports you use, then this benefit does not add much value.
If you can take advantage of many of the benefits offered it might be a good idea to hold onto the card. Also, if you do cancel the card and then reapply later because you missed the benefits, you may not be approved if your financial situation has changed. And a few last notes on cancelling a card, you will lose that line of credit in your overall credit availability and holding a card for only one year will also shorten your average length of credit so keep all this in mind before you decide to cancel the card as it can affect your credit score.
So when it’s time to renew the card, determine the value you got out of it the first year and see if your upcoming travel plans might benefit from status or lounge access. And lastly, look at the spend on the card for the past year and calculate how many Membership Rewards you earned. While other Amex cards give you 3x and 4x on travel, that extra point or two per dollar can really add up if you use the card to pay big bills.
Final though for first time applicants: If you are eligible for this card and you travel frequently enough to take advantage of the travel benefits, there is no need to worry about the cost of the card as you will more than make that back when you use your the Membership Rewards points you get just for signing up. Good luck on getting approved if you’ve made up your mind that this card is the one for you.