Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

best Amex Platinum Card Multiple Varieties ShownAmerican Express has many varieties of their premium Platinum cards.  Which is the best best Amex Platinum card?  First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: At the time of this writing, in my opinion, the Business Platinum card is better than any of the consumer Platinum cards.  Those who love Uber and/or want 2 or more Platinum authorized users on their account may disagree, but most will get more value at a lower price with the Business Platinum card.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

UPDATE: Now that the Business Platinum card’s 50% rebate feature drops to 35%, effective June 1 2017 for most cardholders, the Business Platinum card is no longer a slam dunk favorite.

Standard Platinum Benefits

All Amex Platinum cards (not counting the Delta Platinum card which isn’t really a Platinum card despite its name) share the following primary benefits:

  • 5X points for prepaid hotel bookings at Amextravel.com
  • Up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees
  • $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.
  • Airport lounge benefits.
  • Rental car elite status.
  • SPG Gold status (which also confers Marriott Gold status when you link your SPG and Marriott accounts)
  • Hilton Gold status
  • Free Boingo wifi
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • Cruise Privileges
  • Transfer points to participating frequent flyer programs

Note: Not all benefits are listed.

Consumer Platinum Card Benefits

In addition to the perks listed above, consumer cards share the following primary benefits:

  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • $200 Uber credit annually ($15/month, $35 in Dec). Credit can be used for Uber or Uber Eats (meal delivery).

Business Platinum Card Benefits

In addition to the perks listed under “Standard Platinum Benefits”, above, the Amex Business Platinum Card offers the following primary benefits:

  • 5X points for flights booked through American Express Travel (this differs from the consumer card in that with this card you must book through Amex Travel to get the bonus points)
  • 1.5X points per dollar on purchases of $5000 or more
  • 35% Pay with Points rebate for selected airline, and for business or first class with any airline.

Consumer Card Variations

In addition to the standard Amex Platinum consumer card, there are a number of branded variations.  Here’s a list of each Platinum variation and the primary perks of each…

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

The Morgan Stanley Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • First authorized user free: Add one Platinum authorized user for free. Add up to 3 more for $175.
  • Invest with rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1 cent each when deposited to your Morgan Stanley brokerage account.
  • $500 anniversary spend award: Spend $100K in a cardmember year to get $500.  If you spend exactly $100K per year, that amounts to a bonus of half of 1 cent per dollar spent.
  • $550 Annual Engagement Bonus for Reserved Clients: To qualify for Reserved status, a client’s household must have and maintain a minimum of $1,000,000 in eligible assets and liabilities or have paid at least $10,000 in managed fees/commissions. Details here.

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • $1,000 towards new Mercedes: Receive a $1,000 certificate each year you charge $5,000 in purchases, good toward the future purchase or lease of a new Mercedes–Benz..
  • 2,000 Excess Mileage Waiver: Up to 2,000 excess miles waived at lease-end on leases through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
  • $100 Accessory Certificate: Earn a $100 certificate at renewal of your Card account, good toward Genuine Mercedes–Benz Accessories.

American Express Platinum Card for Schwab

The Schwab Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • $100 to $200 statement credit: Receive a $100 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000, when measured following Card account approval and annually thereafter.
  • Invest with Rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1.25 cents each when deposited to your eligible Schwab account.

The Platinum Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial

The Ameriprise Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • Bonus Points for Spend: Earn an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards points for every $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card, up to 30,000 additional points per year.  Thanks to this benefit, with exactly $20K spend (or a multiple thereof up to $120K), this card earns 1.25 points per dollar.
  • First Year Free: 0 introductory annual fee for the first year for the primary cardholder and Platinum authorized users.  Note: The waived first year annual fee is usually instead of a welcome offer.  This is awesome for those who have had the card before since the waived fee is not excluded in that case (whereas a point bonus usually would be).

Fee Differences

Each of the consumer Platinum cards charge a $550 annual fee, and you can add up to three Platinum authorized users (AUs) for $175.

The Business Platinum card charges a $450 annual fee, but each Business Platinum employee card costs another $300.

The following table shows the total amount paid depending upon the number of Platinum cards you have with each account.

Number of Platinum Cards Consumer Platinum Morgan Stanley Business Platinum
1 (Primary Only) $550 $550 $450
2 (Primary + 1 AU) $725 $550 $750
3 (Primary + 2 AUs) $725 $725 $1050
4 (Primary + 3 AUs) $725 $725 $1350
5 (Primary + 4 AUs) $900 $725 $1650

Note that with consumer Platinum cards you can add authorized user Gold cards for no fee, and with the Business Platinum card you can add employee Business Green cards with no fee.  That said, the Gold and Green cards have few perks whereas the authorized user Platinum cards get full airport lounge benefits, elite benefits, Global Entry reimbursement, Boingo Wifi, and Gogo inflight wifi passes (business cards).

Meaningful Differences

Some of the differences between cards show above are hardly worth mentioning.  For example, the Morgan Stanley card lets you cash out points at 1 cent per point value.  Don’t do that unless you really need the cash.  You should be able to get far more value for your points.

Here are the differences that I find meaningful:

  • Annual Fees for an individual: The Business Platinum card is $100 less than the others.
  • Annual Fees for two: If you want or need 2 Platinum cards, the Morgan Stanley Platinum card is the cheapest option since it offers the first authorized user card for free.
  • Annual Fees for a family: If you want or need 4 Platinum cards, the consumer cards are much cheaper than the business cards since the former charges just $175 per year for 3 authorized user cards, whereas the Business Platinum card charges $300 per employee Platinum card.
  • Annual Fees for five: If you want or need 5 Platinum cards, the Morgan Stanley Platinum card is the cheapest option since it offers the first authorized user card for free and the next three for $175 altogether.
  • First Year Annual Fees: The Ameriprise Platinum card wins hands down with no first year annual fees.  That said, the rest of the consumer cards currently offer a 60K welcome offer which is arguably worth much more than the waived annual fees.
  • $200 Uber credit annually (consumer cards only): If you ride Uber regularly, this can be almost as good as cash.  For others it may be nearly worthless.
  • 35% Pay with Points rebate (business card only): This used to be the killer feature of the Business Platinum card when it was a 50% rebate. With a 35% rebate, points are worth about 1.5 cents each.  That’s fine, but hardly a show stopper.
  • $100 to $200 statement credit (Schwab Platinum only): If you already have a lot of money invested with Schwab, or if you can easily move your investments to Schwab, this is a nice perk that effectively lowers the annual fee by $100 or $200 per year.
  • $550 Annual Engagement Bonus for Reserved Clients (Morgan Stanley Platinum only): If you have a million dollars invested with Morgan Stanley, you’ll qualify for Reserved status which means that they’ll refund the $550 annual fee for your Morgan Stanley Platinum Card membership.

Bottom Line

For a single cardholder, the Business Platinum Card may be the best option thanks to its lower annual fee.  That said, you may do better with consumer cards in the following situations:

  • If you value the $200 in Uber credits at near face value, then the consumer Platinum cards are less expensive than the business card after credits.
  • If you plan to get 2 or more authorized user cards, then the consumer Platinum cards are less expensive.  The Morgan Stanley version, in particular, offers the most compelling fee structures.
  • If you just want Platinum cards for one year, then the Ameriprise Platinum card is much less expensive (free!)
  • If you invest heavily with Morgan Stanley or Schwab, you may be eligible for $550 back (Morgan Stanley) or up to $200 back (Schwab).

If you are serving on active duty in the military, then get any or all of the cards since Amex will waive the fees upon request.  Call the number of the back of your card and tell them you are serving on active duty military and had heard that AMEX offers to handle your account in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Additional details about each of the Consumer Platinum cards, including current welcome offers, can be found here.  And details about the Business Platinum card can be found here.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Leave a Reply

49 Comments on "Which is the best Amex Platinum card?"

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Eric
Guest

The Morgan Stanley Platinum card gets one free authorized user.

Adam
Guest

One thing to add about the Morgan Stanly “flavored” Platinum card is that you can add one additional Authorized User for free! I’m seriously considering getting the Morgan Stanly version and keeping it so my wife and I can both have the benefits for the $550 annual fee.

Biggie F
Guest

Very useful summary. There are some odd nuances that one has to remember, like that you can’t get 5x on airfare with Business unless you go through Amex Travel (not hard, but annoying to remember).

Also — and here as ever I can stand to be corrected — I think that the Business Platinum may give you access to a Business Concierge not accessible for regular Plats only (?) and there has been some evidence that this can lead to some idiosyncratic discounts on Business and First fares from AA in particular. (I saved a few hundred bucks this way on one occasion, and there are similar testimonials [but also denials] on Flyertalk.)

The other thing that you might point out is that for those of us who haven’t been thrilled by the $100 AF increase on the personal card, but who do get some things out of it that we would miss, and who are coming up for renewal in the next few months, we can still lock in the $450 AF for another year while acclimating ourselves to the new Uber benefit. I have not been an Uber user, but with $245 in potential “free” rides over 15 months, I’ll try to work at least some of that into my plans.

Similarly, this gives a little time for those of us in PHL (and maybe elsewhere) to see whether the roll-out of Centurion clubs works as a substitute for AA clubs. This is relevant to the link between the personal card and the $175 for additional users, which may turn out to be worth holding onto for couples/families where Centurion club access is frequent and reliable.

A last thing: Amex Offers can sometimes differ across the cards. For example, I had a $35 Offer for boxed.com on the Business Plat that did not show up on the personal one.

TomT
Guest

I think you should include the fact that you can use the Uber credits on food via Uber Eats, making it a useable perk more card holders.

Jon
Guest

Great summary Greg. One thing to add, the $1,000 certificate for Mercedes Benz is usually not stackable with other offers/promotions that the dealership runs. YMMV, but I tried to use this certificate (haggled dealer down to desired price, then whipping out the certificate, only to be told it can’t be combined). So its usage may not be as good as people would like.

Also, if you have a choice between Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab (for investment purposes, neglecting bonuses, etc), Charles Schwab is hands down the better investment vehicle with historic low ERs and great selection of funds for self-directed brokerage. Hope this helps.

Richard
Guest

Does AMEX waive annual fee for SCRA for the Business Platinum as well?

renzhen
Guest

For the consumer cards, can you get the sign up bonus for each or only once for all?

Nick Reyes
Editor

You can get the sign up bonus for each one. They are separate products.

Raju
Guest

“Note that with consumer Platinum cards you can add authorized user Gold cards for no fee”. Does this mean I can transfer MR points to authorized user airline account.

trackback

[…] Which is the best Amex Platinum Card? Nice post laying out ALL the different versions that are out there. Not that these blogs will likely tell you about these versions they can not get paid to sell to gullible readers intentionally kept in the dark… […]

trackback

[…] other day, as I was researching details for my post comparing the many flavors of Amex Platinum cards, I made a big mistake with the Morgan Stanley Platinum card.  Something I read that day made me […]

Ben
Guest

Do AUs on the Ameriprise really get the $100 Global entry fee credit? I thought that was just the primary….but hope I’m wrong.

John
Guest

Excellent post. I got the Ameriprise Platinum last year with 25k bonus and no fee first year.
Does anyone know how easy and how little and which type of account (is it only brokerage accounts) you need to open Morgan Stanley and Schwab account to qualify.

Julianna
Guest

Greg, I have the regular old Amex Plat. How hard is it to get approved for the Morgan Stanley one too? Or do they deny because I already have the plain one? With the Amex Centurion lounge guest limit, and I have a family of 5, it would make more sense to have the Morgan Stanley Plat so I can add hubby as a free AU and we can get everyone in. I’m assuming applying for the MS one and then cancelling the regular one is the prudent way to go? We don’t have Uber Eats in my town so it might be hard for me to use that credit every month on either card. I’ll try my hardest tho.

trackback

[…] April, I posted a comparison of the many versions of the Amex Platinum card (found here). Even though all of the Platinum cards cost $550 per year (except for the business version which […]

trackback

[…] That said, it doesn’t preclude you getting a bonus for a similarly named card.  For example, there at least six versions of the high end Platinum card, and it’s possible to get the signup bonus on each and every one.  Additionally, targeted […]

trackback

[…] Which is the best Amex Platinum card? […]

Rupert
Guest

Can you convert one AmEx Platinum product for another, for example sign up for the regular AmEx Platinum Consumer and after a year, convert to the Schwab Platinum? Thx

Jason G.
Guest

My AMEX platinum personal AF has just hit (received the statement today…$550). This is the only flavor of AMEX platinum I have had. I was thinking about cancelling it and perhaps applying for AMEX platinum Schwab since I have the brokerage/high yield checking for the debit card. I figure I may as well cancel it since I will just be paying 550 for no additional benefits, and if I am approved, I will get all the same benefits plus the 60k sign up bonus after 5k spend. I also have the Business Blue plus so I won’t lose by MR points that I still have. Any thoughts before I call up? My travel credits won’t hit again until the new year I believe on the current card, so should I apply today for the Schwab and be able to use twice by Jan? If so, should I call up to cancel Platinum personal first, or wait to see if I am approved for Schwab then call to cancel regular platinum personal?

Credit
Guest

What is working currently for flight credit reimbursement on Amex?

Bear
Guest

If you’re playing the 2-playing game version, could you alternate years having the Ameriprise Plat? Wonder how long you could go before they caught on.

trackback

[…] Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…).  And, separately, I analyzed “Which is the best Amex Platinum card?”  With any Platinum card, you can add free authorized users, if they get Green or Gold […]

trackback

[…] Platinum card may be of particular interest to those who haven’t had this flavor (See: Which is the best Amex Platinum card? for more information on the different […]

trackback

[…] H/T: Frequent Miler […]

trackback

[…] 2: If you’re thinking of picking up an Amex Platinum card, please see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?  You can find application links to each of the variations of Platinum cards […]

trackback

[…] a reminder, there are many flavors of personal Platinum cards (See: Which is the best Amex Platinum card? for a full rundown). Benefits found on all personal Platinum cards, including the one available to […]