American Express Platinum Card

On American Express' website

American Express Platinum Card

Highlights

  • Receive up to 200,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points That’s 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $5,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. Plus, an additional 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points in Year 2 upon fee renewal. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year, which can be redeemed for flights, hotels or car hire.
  • Earn 2.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on all purchases, except for spend with government bodies in Australia, where you will earn 1 point per dollar spent. Points earning is uncapped.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Receive up to 200,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year.
  • Get airport lounge access.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $1,450.

Our review

Convenience

Customer service

Rates and fees

Rewards

Trust

Almost anyone can have a credit card. But not just anyone can have an American Express Platinum Card.

For a start there’s a very high minimum income requirement. Then there’s the extremely high annual fee, which may deter even some high income earners. But once you jump over those two hurdles, you enter a world of prestige and privilege with a seemingly endless list of benefits. Amex has bent over backwards to make you feel special.

A charge card, not a credit card

This is not a credit card, so there’s no messing about with interest rates and balance transfer options. There’s no effective interest rate because there’s no minimum payment opportunity. You will be required to pay off the total amount of your purchases on the card each month, so don’t choose this card unless you are willing and able to do so. But because of the monthly billing cycle, you will in fact get up to 44 days credit each month, interest free. Up to four supplementary cardholders can be included in your account without paying additional annual fees.

Great rewards program and potential for a huge number of bonus points

One of the best things about this card is the membership of the American Express Ascent Premium Membership Rewards program, the highest level available for an Amex personal card. And by reaching an easily achievable spending target in the first three months of holding the card, you will earn a very large number of bonus points. It would be a great kickstart to points earning for Amex first-timers, and you could even make an early redemption for a substantial item.

You won’t qualify for the bonus points if you have held an Amex card in the previous 18 months.

Lots of points redemption options

The lower levels of Amex Membership Rewards don’t allow you to transfer your points to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, but as an Ascent Premium member you will be able to do this. You can transfer your points to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints, THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

Points can also be transferred to two ‘Frequent Guest’ programs: Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

Alternatively, you could use the points for other forms of travel through the Amex Platinum travel service, to shop at David Jones online, for gift cards to use at major retailers, or convert them into cash credit against your card account balance.

Easy-to-understand points earning system

The points earning system for this card is quite simple, and very rewarding:

  • 2.25 points on all purchases, except
  • 1.0 points on spending with government bodies

There’s no points threshold or cap, and points never expire as long as your card account is current and in good standing.

Valuable travel benefits

Amex knows that prestige cardholders are regular travellers, so there is a long, long list of tempting built-in travel and entertainment benefits:

  • Every year you get a $450 Platinum Travel Credit, redeemable against airline, car hire and hotel bookings for yourself or anyone else you choose.
  • Complimentary access to American Express Global Lounge Collection. Over 1,200 lounges in more than 130 countries, including Centurion, Priority Pass, American Express, Virgin Australia, Delta Sky Club and Plaza Premium airport lounges, for the primary cardholder, and in most cases one supplementary cardholder and one or more guests.
  • Complimentary enrolment into the elite tier of Radisson, Marriott, and Hilton hotels.
  • Membership of Fine Hotel & Resorts program, providing upgrades, complimentary benefits and preferential treatment at luxury hotels worldwide, when booked through the Platinum Travel Service. Amex estimates this to be worth more than $700 per year.
  • Complimentary access to Accor Plus membership, valued at $399 per year, for 1,100+ hotels in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Membership of the Platinum International Airline Program, offering up to 20% discount on first and business class fares with leading airlines.
  • Platinum Concierge Service and American Express Experiences, for recommendations, bookings and exclusive discounts and privileges at restaurants, entertainment and sporting events. For platinum cardholders this includes access to events and experiences not generally available, such as special wine dinners, drive days, fashion shows, theatrical previews, VIP functions and major sporting events.
  • Complimentary worldwide travel insurance and shoppers insurance.

More details about the free insurance cover

As you would expect with a card of this high status, there’s a host of built-in insurance policies with above-average features.

  • Comprehensive travel insurance cover at a superior level, including medical emergency expenses, repatriation if necessary, hijack and kidnap cover, baggage, money and documents cover, loss of income cover and cancellation cover. Travel insurance cover is extended to up to four supplementary cardholders, when return fares are paid for with the card or Membership Rewards points.
  • Travel inconvenience cover for delays, missed connections and luggage problems.
  • Transport accident cover for when you travel on public transport, including waiver of your card account balance if you suffer a transport accident.
  • Loss and damage waiver cover for car rental of up to AUD125,000.
  • Buyer’s advantage, which extends manufacturer’s warranty by up to 12 months (but note that it excludes toys, electronic games and motor vehicles).
  • 90 days purchase protection against loss, theft or damage for items bought with the card.
  • 90 days refund protection cover if a retailer refuses to accept a return of an unused item purchased with the card.
  • Smartphone screen insurance for up to $500 in screen repairs, for phones purchased with the card.
  • Platinum Assistance Services, providing legal assistance, roadside assistance and home assistance in emergency situations.

As you would expect, the travel insurance cover is activated by paying the full fare for your trip with your card. But you can also activate it by paying the fare with Amex Membership Rewards points, or with any type of rewards or frequent flyer points provided you use your card to pay the associated taxes and surcharges for the booking. Also, if you can prove that the travel merchant would not accept Amex cards, meaning that you had to use another means of payment for your fare, you’re still covered.

The insurance cover provided with this card leaves almost nothing to chance and is extremely generous in many of its provisions, appropriate to the probable high-end lifestyle of the typical cardholder.

Even more benefits

The card’s privileges don’t stop at travel benefits. Some of these additional benefits may be subject to change, but at the time of writing they also include:

  • Complimentary Premium Subscription to The Australian for all your devices, including access to The Wall Street Journal and other exclusive material, plus special virtual events.
  • Amex Offers, constantly updated discount and bonus points offers from your favourite brands and entertainment.
  • NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER fashion credit twice per year.
  • Centr by Chris Hemsworth, complimentary 12-month subscription.
  • Dedicated Platinum Card Services giving you priority assistance with account enquiries, points redemption, additional cards or emergency replacement cards.
  • Online Fraud Protection Guarantee giving you confidence that you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised charges.

Is there any competition?

This card is really in a class of its own because of the high rewards earning rate, the flexibility to transfer to other reward schemes (including, particularly, Qantas Frequent Flyer) and the truly valuable complimentary travel, insurance and other benefits. But if the extremely high annual fee is just too much, you could take a look at other high income cards, such as the NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card, the Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card or the St. George Amplify Signature Credit Card, all of which have fewer benefits but significantly lower annual fees.

Why should I want this card?

If you’re a well-heeled frequent traveller who likes to enjoy life’s luxuries as well as the peace of mind provided by exceptional travel and purchase insurance cover, the high fee should not be too difficult to justify, especially in the first year when the significant number of bonus points easily covers the fee if used to maximum advantage to purchase Business Class flights or even First Class upgrades.


Yvonne Taylor

Reviewed by Yvonne Taylor

Lead Product Analyst