Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

best Amex Platinum Card Multiple Varieties ShownAmerican Express has many varieties of their premium Platinum cards.  And, while they’re expensive, they’re loaded with great perks.  Which is the best best Amex Platinum card?  The answer depends upon which perks you value the most.  Here’s what you need to know…

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:
    • Airport Lounge Access – Centurion, Escape, and Airspace Lounges: Cardholder plus two guests are allowed free
    • Airport Lounge Access – Delta SkyClubs: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day. Extra charge for guests.
    • Airport Lounge Access – Priority Pass Select Lounges: Priority Pass Select member plus two guests are allowed free entrance.
  • Rental car elite status
  • Marriott Gold status
  • 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.  For more complete coverage of perks, including which ones work for authorized user cards, please see: Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…

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)
  • $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December.

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
  • Gogo inflight internet passes: 10 passes per calendar year (notably, these work on international flights)
  • $200 Dell statement credits (beginning Feb 2019): Full details haven’t yet been released.

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.

Note: To get this card you must have a Morgan Stanley account. Fortunately, a low-end Morgan Stanley Access Investing account works fine.

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.

Note: To get this card you must have a Charles Schwab account.  Fortunately, even a no-fee checking account is fine.  And, incidentally, Schwab has one of the best no-fee debit cards around with no foreign transaction fees and it reimburses ATM fees.

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).
  • Update: As of 2/6/19, the first year fee is no longer waived. See: Dead: Waived-fee Ameriprise Platinum offer.

Note: The requirement that you are an Ameriprise customer is not enforced.

Platinum Card 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 $595 annual fee (beginning Feb 2019), and 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 $595
2 (Primary + 1 AU) $725 $550 $895
3 (Primary + 2 AUs) $725 $725 $1195
4 (Primary + 3 AUs) $725 $725 $1495
5 (Primary + 4 AUs) $900 $725 $1795

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.  I don’t recommend 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 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 See update above under the Ameriprise section.  That said, the rest of the consumer cards currently offer a 60K welcome bonus which is arguably worth much more than the waived annual fees.
  • $200 Uber credit annually (consumer cards only): If you ride Uber regularly or use Uber Eats, this can be almost as good as cash.  For others it may be nearly worthless.
  • $200 Dell credit annually (business card only — begins Feb 2019): This is a very specialized benefit, but obviously valuable if you use it.
  • 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 good, but hardly a show stopper.
  • Gogo inflight internet passes (business card only): These can be quite valuable if you use them.
  • $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.

Which Platinum card is best?

It depends.  Your first decision point should be consumer vs. business:

  • A business Platinum card is best if you highly value Gogo internet, the 35% Pay with Points rebate, or the $200 Dell credits (coming Feb 2019).  Amex is also introducing a “WeWork” benefit in Feb 2019, but that appears to be for one year only.
  • A consumer Platinum card is best If you highly value the $200 Uber credits, $100 Saks credits, and the ability to earn 5X directly with airlines.

Which consumer Platinum card is best?

If you decide that a consumer card, rather than a business card, is right for you (see above), then consider these decision points:

  • The Morgan Stanley Platinum card is best if you want to add a Platinum authorized user (since the first AU is free), or if you have over $1M in assets with Morgan Stanley (since you’ll get $550 back).
  • The Charles Schwab Platinum card is best if you prefer cash back over travel rewards (since it lets you cash out points at 1.25 cents each); or if you have a lot of money invested with Schwab since you’ll get an annual kickback ($100 for $250K invested, or $200 for $1M invested).
  • The Ameriprise Platinum card is best if you want to try out the card for a year.  For the first year, the card is free for yourself and up to three authorized users! Update: This has ended, as indicated above.

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 Platinum cards follows (click the card names for even more information):

Platinum Card® from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
60K points
60K points after $5K spend in 3 months. Terms apply.

$550 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: First year with no fee makes this card worth considering for almost everyone.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

Big spend bonus: 5K bonus points for every $20K spend, up to 30K bonus points annually

Noteworthy perks: This card includes all of the great perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card, plus a few perks specific to this Ameriprise branded version.

See also: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
75K points
Up to 75K: 50K after $10K spend + 25K after additional $10K spend in 3 months.

$595 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 150K after $20K Spend (Targeted)

FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel
Other

Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ⚬ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (up to 1 million additional Membership Rewards points per year) ⚬ 1X elsewhere

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees ⚬ Up to $200 a year in statement credits for Dell purchases ($100 Jan-June; $100 July-Dec) ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.⚬ Airport lounge benefits ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ SPG Gold status ⚬ Hilton Gold status ⚬ Free Boingo wifi ⚬ 10 complimentary single flight segment passes for Gogo inflight internet each calendar year. ⚬ One year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork (enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019). Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Maximizing value from Amex Platinum Cards

American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab

Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

Noteworthy perks: This card includes all of the great perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card, plus: ⚬ Use Membership Rewards® points for deposits by Schwab to your eligible brokerage account. (For example, 10,000 points = $125) ⚬ $100 credit with Schwab holdings of $250,000+ or $200 credit with holdings of $1,000,000+ on approval & each year.

Note: This card is only available to clients that maintain an eligible Schwab brokerage account.

See also: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

FM Mini Review: In my opinion, this is the best of the consumer Amex Platinum cards when you need two cards thanks to Morgan Stanley offering one free authorized user. Unfortunately you do need to have a Morgan Stanley account to apply.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

Big spend bonus: $500 after $100K cardmember year spend

Noteworthy perks: This card includes all of the great perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card, plus: ⚬ 1 Free Authorized User ⚬ Redeem points for 1 cent each into your Morgage Stanley account ⚬ $550 Annual Engagement Bonus for Reserved Clients

See also: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

The Platinum Card® from American Express
60K points
60K after $5K spend in 3 months

$550 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 100K after $3K spend direct link (last reported 5/10/16)

FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline ⚬ Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status for Basic Member only ⚬ Up to $100 in credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 in credits semi-annually, enrollment required) ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement ⚬ Airport lounge benefits ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ SPG Gold status ⚬ Hilton HHonors Gold status ⚬ Free Boingo wifi ⚬ Free Gold card AUs. Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Maximizing value from Amex Platinum Cards

Last updated on February 6th, 2019

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 »

71
Leave a Reply

avatar
35 Comment threads
36 Thread replies
11 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
32 Comment authors
JoshGreg The Frequent MilerKevingr8r84uCredit Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Eric
Guest
Eric

The Morgan Stanley Platinum card gets one free authorized user.

Adam
Guest
Adam

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
Biggie F

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
TomT

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
Jon

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
Richard

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

renzhen
Guest
renzhen

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
Raju

“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
Ben

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
John

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
Rupert

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
Jason G.

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
Credit

What is working currently for flight credit reimbursement on Amex?

Bear
Guest
Bear

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 […]

trackback

[…] are several versions of the consumer Amex Platinum card (see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?).  They share many of the same perks as the Business Platinum card, such […]

WR2
Guest
WR2

The correct answer is all of them, and then the Amerprise again and again.

Josh
Guest
Josh

RIP

Debit
Guest
Debit

You should awf the .35% v commission on 5k for morgan stanley card in the annual fee.

Debit
Guest
Debit

Btw, 100% sue the MS card loophole will be closed now that it is on the radar of the locusts.

Credit
Guest
Credit

Debit – Which loophole? Having an MS Access account? I opened and funded one in early December. I applied for the MS Plat 2 days later. After a little over a week I was approved. Are you saying the Access account is the loophole? Or are you saying that opening an MS Access account and not funding it is the loophole?

Lukas
Guest
Lukas

Can you elaborate? Your post isn’t clear.

Gr8r84u
Guest
Gr8r84u

Worth noting also that you can add up to 99 green card authorized users on the biz platinum that all qualify for global entry / precheck credit. Each of those users can create a separate login and will get thier own offers as well.

Jeff Bezos
Guest
Jeff Bezos

The biz platinum is going up to $595 not $550

Robert
Guest
Robert

Great writeup, you’ve helped me finally decide…I’m dropping my Plat card altogether!

trackback

[…] Which Platinum card is best? […]

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

No big deal, but in the “Which consumer Platinum card is best?” section at the end, you have that Schwab gives a $100 bonus for $200k in assets, whereas it’s $250k (which you have listed correctly higher up in the article).

Thanks for the writeup. I got the 100k bonus on the regular consumer version last year, I intend to get the Schwab this year (and dump the current one) so I can redeem my points at 1.25 cents. I’ve got plenty of UR points that I can use for travel at 1.5 cents with the Sapphire.

I think my strategy going forward will be Chase for non-airfare travel at 3x, Schwab Platinum for airfare at 6.25 cents per dollar redemption, and AmEx Blue Business for non-bonus spend at 2.4 cents redemption.

trackback

[…] are several “flavors” of the Amex Platinum card (See: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?). Unlike other flavors of the Platinum card, the Ameriprise version has not offered a standard […]