The ultimate accessory for savvy travellers: the American Express Platinum Card

By | 2018-05-20T17:39:58+00:00 18 May 2018|

The American Express Platinum Card is arguably the most rewarding card on the market today, offering unrivalled benefits to travellers both on the ground and in the air.

This includes worldwide airport lounge access, elite status with major hotel chains and other luxury hotel perks, supercharged points earn rates on selected spend, top-notch travel insurance cover, and more.

I recently added the Platinum Card to my wallet (my third Amex card) so I can enjoy these benefits during my extensive travels this year – and I’m loving all the perks!

The Platinum Card is packed with value, and in this article I’ll dig into the details – including some of the lesser known features you should know about when deciding if this card works for you.

But before that, let’s discuss the annual fee: it’s $1,200, which I appreciate will discourage some people, but don’t dismiss this card on that factor alone: more than half the fee can be offset by travel credits worth $700 per year, plus you can extract a lot more value when travelling (for example, I’m writing this from a hotel in Bangkok where my partner and I are getting free breakfasts worth $45 per day thanks to my card!).

Amex is also offering new card members a handy 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points, which is enough to fly overseas (more on that later). If you decide to apply, I’d appreciate it if you do so via our partner link here.

OK, let’s dig into the Platinum Card’s benefits and features!

1. Enjoy worldwide airport lounge access

Start your trips in style with access to over 1,100 airport lounges in more than 120 countries. This includes unlimited access to:

  • Virgin Australia lounges when flying Virgin Australia (one guest permitted)
  • The Centurion Lounge – Amex’s luxurious flagship lounges in key US cities and Hong Kong (two guests permitted)
  • International American Express Lounges – located in Sydney, Melbourne and a small group of overseas locations (guest access policies vary)
  • Priority Pass Lounges – the world’s biggest lounge network, with a presence in more than 500 cities. Membership is complimentary for you and a supplementary card member (you may bring in one guest each at no charge)
  • Plaza Premium Lounges – an independent lounge operator with a strong presence in Asia. Access is complimentary for you and a supplementary card member (the primary card member may bring up to 2 guests in at no charge)
  • Delta Sky Club Lounges when flying Delta (guest access rules vary).

Since paying for lounge access usually costs over $50 per person, this perk puts a huge amount of value into your wallet.

Enjoy Virgin Australia lounges in Australia plus over 1,100 lounges worldwide

2. Get up to $700 worth of travel credits each year

Your card comes with a $300 travel credit each year that you can redeem for flights, hotels, car hire or experiences. It’s very easy to redeem the travel credit online or over the phone, and you can use it for yourself or another person.

You can also get a further $400 travel credit each year by requesting the complimentary Platinum Reserve Credit Card as a companion credit card to your Platinum charge card. The $395 annual fee is waived, giving you easy access to a credit card in case you want to pay off purchases over multiple months (the charge card must be paid in full each month). You get to keep the $400 travel credit even though the card annual fee is waived. Win!

These two travel credits combined offset more than half of the Platinum Card’s annual fee.

3. Be fast-tracked to elite status with major hotel chains

Platinum Card members gain instant elite status with major hotel loyalty programs, including:

  • Hilton (570 hotels worldwide): Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts: Starwood Preferred Guest Gold (this program will soon merge with Marriott Rewards, and you get instant Marriott Gold status by linking the two accounts. The new group will have a massive 6,500 hotels across 29 brands).
  • Radisson Hotel Group (1,440 hotels worldwide): Radisson Rewards Gold
  • Shangri-La (over 95 hotels worldwide): Golden Circle Jade membership. You can match this to your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account to get instant KrisFlyer Silver status.

Elite benefits vary from program to program, but typically include complimentary room upgrades at check-in when available, early and/or late checkout, complimentary internet access, and (my favourite) free breakfasts for two people!

As a bonus, one of your supplementary card members can also get elite hotel status in their own right.

4. Enjoy luxury perks at other hotels and resorts

Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program provides you with benefits at over 975 five-star properties worldwide, including daily breakfast for two people, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, complimentary room upgrades when available, a special amenity at each property, and more.

These complimentary benefits offer an average value of over $700 for a two-night stay.

Enjoy complimentary room upgrades and more at stylish hotels around the world 

In addition, Amex’s Hotel Collection includes more than 500 properties in over 30 countries, including brands like Hyatt and Hilton Hotels. Every time you book a two-night stay you’ll receive a US$75 hotel credit to spend on dining, spa and resort activities, as well as a complimentary room upgrade at check-in when available.

Golf lovers will also enjoy complimentary membership to the Preferred Golf program and receive perks at over 60 world-renowned golf resorts.

5. Earn stacks of points on airline, accommodation and foreign currency spend

You’ll be enrolled in the highest tier of Amex’s Membership Rewards program, Ascent Premium, and earn points as follows:

  • 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants in Australia
  • 2 points per $1 spent on airlines, accommodation and spend in foreign currency
  • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else, except for those below that earn 0.5 points
  • 0.5 points per $1 spent on utilities, telecommunication companies, non-Amex provided insurance, and government bodies.

The points earn rates in those top two categories are very appealing and help offset the lower earn rate on general spend. (If you have another Amex card that earns more than 1 point per $1 on general spend, it makes sense to whip that out instead.)

Note that once you earn 300,000 points in a year, the earn rate for the top two categories drops to 1 point per $1 spent – but you can get around this by using your complimentary Platinum Reserve Credit Card (which I mentioned at #2 above), as it will still earn 2 or 3 points per $1 in these categories (i.e. it’s not subject to caps).

6. Enjoy the flexibility of 10 airline transfer partners

My favourite feature of Amex’s Membership Rewards points is the flexibility to transfer them to multiple airlines. This means I’m not locked into any single frequent flyer program and opens up more flight options and makes it easier to find award seats.

The Platinum Card has 10 airline transfer partners, including both Qantas and Virgin Australia – a rare feature among Australian credit cards.

Here’s the full list of transfer partners:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Membership Rewards Points transfer to all partner airlines at an excellent 1:1 ratio, except for Air New Zealand where 100 Membership Rewards points = 1 Airpoints Dollar.

You can also transfer points to the Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest hotel loyalty programs, or redeem them in many other ways.

7. Travel securely with high quality travel insurance cover

You’ll get complimentary domestic and overseas travel insurance for you, your partner and dependent children up to the age of 24 when you pay for your trip with your card or use Membership Rewards points or frequent flyer points to book.

The full policy is available here but some of the highlights include:

  • medical emergency expenses cover (unlimited cost of treatment)
  • transport accident cover up to $400,000
  • travel cancellation cover up to $30,000
  • travel inconvenience cover (for time delay, missed connections and luggage setbacks) – up to $700 for additional hotel accommodation and restaurant meals or refreshments, and up to $700 for emergency purchase of essential clothing and items
  • loss damage waiver cover for car rental of $125,000
  • up to $30,000 cover for damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen personal baggage, money and documents
  • personal liability cover up to $3,000,000.

If you’re currently paying for travel insurance, this complimentary cover can save you a lot of money when you travel – and I love the fact it covers trips booked with points.

8. Enjoy many other travel and lifestyle benefits

There are loads of other perks to enjoy – too many to list in full here! – but the ones that stand out to me are:

  • benefits at over 800 restaurants worldwide, such as priority access to reservations, and a complimentary bottle of wine or appetiser
  • access to special events like the Grange Wine Dinner Series, Melbourne Cup American Express marquee and the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
  • 24/7 access to Platinum Concierge, which can arrange exclusive travel and dining experiences for you
  • Platinum International Airline Program: save up to 20% on first and business class fares with leading airlines
  • get up to US$300 in onboard credit when you book a cruise with one of Amex’s cruise partners
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Avis Preferred memberships: enjoy savings on car rentals worldwide and complimentary upgrades when available
  • smartphone screen insurance, with up to $500 available twice a year for screen repairs (with a 10% excess) when your pay for you smartphone with your card, either outright or on a monthly contract
  • up to 4 supplementary cards at no extra fee, which can help you earn points more quickly.

Plus 80,000 bonus points

Receive 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new card within the first 3 months.

That’s enough points to fly from Australia to Hong Kong return in business class with Cathay Pacific (80,000 Asia Miles) or you could go one way in super-stylish first class with Singapore Airlines (80,000 KrisFlyer miles).

Use your points to fly Singapore Airlines first class

To be eligible for the bonus points, you must not have held a credit card issued directly by Amex Australia in the last 18 months. Note that you are eligible if:

  • you’ve held an Amex card issued by a bank (i.e. Westpac, ANZ, CBA or NAB)
  • you’ve held a David Jones Amex Card, or
  • you’re a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s primary card account (including a corporate account).

The minimum income to qualify for the card is $100,000.

With so many benefits for lovers of travel and luxury experiences, I think the Platinum Card provides excellent value and I’m very pleased to have it at the front of my wallet. If you love to travel, you may find that this card is also a valuable accessory for you.

To read more about this card on Amex’s website and apply, click here.

 

If you decide to apply for this card via the above link, we’ll receive a small commission from Amex. This income helps keep the blog running, and we thank you for your support. 

Please note that we are not a credit services provider and we are not suggesting that you should apply for this credit product. You should seek independent, professional advice and consider your personal circumstances before making a decision to apply for a credit product. 

About the Author:

Kris is the founder of The High Life and a complete travel addict. Originally from Perth, he's now based in Melbourne - but he's happiest in the air travelling to somewhere new. In 2018, Kris will be exploring Thailand, southern Europe, the USA and Mexico.

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