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Review: the American Express Platinum charge card

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This is our review of the American Express Platinum charge card, also known as The Platinum Card from American Express.

Is Amex Platinum worth the £575 fee? We look at the card benefits below.

It 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 Card Offers‘ area of the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

This article was updated on 1st February 2021, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

Key link: American Express Platinum application page

Key facts: £575 annual fee

About The Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum charge card is issued directly by American Express.

Note that The Platinum Card is a charge card, not a credit card. You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.

Review American Express Platinum card

What is The Platinum Card sign-up bonus?

30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 within three months. This is increased to 35,000 Membership Rewards points if I refer you via the Amex ‘refer a friend’ scheme. Please e-mail me at rob@headforpoints.com if you would like a referral.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios, so you would receive 30,000 or 35,000 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 / Starwood, Costco 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 five other people and their families by giving them supplementary cards 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 card.

You and your main supplementary cardholder will each receive a Priority Pass card. This gets the cardholder plus a guest into 1,200 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. 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 get into Amex’s own network of high quality ‘Centurion’ airport lounges for free. These are primarily in the US but are rolling out globally – one opened in Hong Kong recently, with one at Heathrow Terminal 3 to open shortly.

You will also receive permanent status in various hotel schemes:

  • Gold Elite in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

You can also match your Shangri-La status to ‘Inner Circle Gold’ status in the Taj Hotels scheme as they have a special partnership.

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 a £10 Addison Lee taxi credit each month

You receive $200 cashback on every onefinestay house rental – a benefit you can use an unlimited number of times, with no minimum spend

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.

American Express Amex Platinum card review

What is the annual fee on American Express Platinum?

£575

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 ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  This article looks at the best use of American Express Membership Rewards points and what they are worth.

If you redeem your points for, say, an Amazon gift card then you will receive around 0.5p per point. This is a poor return.

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. Radisson Rewards (the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn scheme) transfers at 1:3 from Membership Rewards, for example. Their top five-star hotels cost 70,000 points per night which would be just over 23,000 Membership Rewards points. This would usually get you over 1p per point of value.

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.  We did see a 50% transfer bonus to Hilton Honors in 2019.

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 travel rewards cards without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

Another 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.

In terms of the absolute number of miles earned, 30,000 Membership Rewards points – or 35,000 if you apply via my refer-a-friend link – is the most generous deal on the market. You would receive 30,000 / 35,000 Avios or Virgin Points (the new name for Virgin Flying Club miles) for example.

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 American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is more generous for larger spenders as it offers a 10,000 point bonus for spending £15,000 in a card year, as well as double points on airline tickets and foreign spending:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

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 Card Offers’ 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 and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (72)

  • Not Angry says:

    I want to cancel my platinum card and save the money this year.

    What would be the best thing to do with my 200k MR points?

    Would it have any effect on acceptance for a platinum card next year?

  • Symon says:

    I’ve noticed you can’t upgrade to Plat online anymore, call only. Does that mean they’re tightening up?

    • Crafty says:

      Yes, apparently they’re also denying the upgrade points or at least trying to. I’m about to call to try and get mine.

  • Joe says:

    Unbelievable a card wit that annual charge has FX fees

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Not really, it’s hardly inconceivable that business travellers (target market based on the benefits) are largely expensing spend not that anyone willing to spend almost £600 on the annual fee isn’t exactly 100% price sensitive

  • Dave says:

    Rob think the hotel benefit is changing:

    Just spotted on my statement (another lost benefit):

    Effective 1 April 2021, Shangri-La’s Golden Circle Jade membership will no longer be a benefit of the Platinum Card ®. Cardmembers can visit americanexpress.com/uk/benefitstatus to enrol in the benefit. Cardmembers who are enrolled in Shangri-La’s Golden Circle Jade membership as of 31 March 2021, will continue to have access to this benefit0in line with the expiry date set out within your Golden Circle Membership, which can be found by logging in to your membership account at0shangri-la.com/en/corporate/golden-circle/. Alternatively Cardmembers can contact Shangri-La by telephone at0shangri-la.com/corporate/golden-circle/worldwide-tollfree-numbers/0or visit the Shangri-La app to0confirm their membership expiry date.

    • MQ says:

      Amex really needs to sort out the Platinum benefits ASAP . I read on bloomberg US customers are getting a range of new benefits on Platinum, while UK based customers absolutely nothing.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, onto this, was leaving it for the weekend.

  • Gareth says:

    Newbie enquiry here… if I go for this card and say spend 2k on domestic stuff and 2k on a holiday for later in the year (which gets me past the 4k threshold) and then 2k holiday is subsequently cancelled and refunded later in the year, does this cause an issue with the new members bonus that I will have received?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. The bonus points will be taken away. If you have already transferred them out your points account will go negative, but Amex won’t attempt to claw them back from Avios etc or charge you for the points.

  • Matt says:

    Hi all. Is the Eurostar lounge access and uber credit still a benefit for this card? I have checked the Amex website and not able to see the Eurostar benefit, (it only refers to Priority PassTM) also the taxi credit is Addison Lee or Tristar car services in the UK
    Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Eurostar – yes

      Uber has never been a UK card benefit. It is Addison Lee on this side of the pond.

  • Ken says:

    With Gold membership of e.g., Marriott Bonvoy, does one need to secure 50 nights to upgrade to Platinum Elite (and so-on) or only the difference from Gold to Titanium which is normally 25 nights?

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