The American Express Platinum Card is the most “premium” card available to Australians (apart from the American Express Centurion which is an invite-only product). With that premium factor comes a huge price tag of $1450. Yes, you read that right, the annual fee is really that much. To the not so savvy point collector, this may seem like a waste of money. However, for those that know how to maximise their Amex points, the card fee is entirely offset by the benefits that come with it.
What is a charge card?
Essentially a charge card has no pre-set limit. This offers extra flexibility to those that need it. In addition to that, the full balance is required for each statement cycle, whereas with a credit card you could pay the minimum necessary + interest each month. For more info visit: https://www.americanexpress.com/au/credit-cards/the-platinum-card/
Amex Platinum Metal Card Design
The Amex Platinum Card now comes with a sleek, metal design for both primary and additional Card Members. Apart from the invite-only Centurion card, the Amex Platinum Card is the only metal card available in Australia (along with the Qantas Money Titanium card)!
Amex Platinum Card Features
Receive 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply online, are approved, and spend $3,000 on your new card in the first 3 months from the Card approval date. This offer is available to new Card Members, as well as Bank-issued American Express companion cardholders
Points Earn Rates
Earn 2.25 points per $1 spent on all purchases, except those in the 1 point category Earn 1 point per $1 spent with government bodies
Card Fee & Requirements.
- Annual fee: $1450
- Minimum income requirement: $100,000 P.A.
Earning & Redeeming Points
The American Express Platinum Card earns Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points. Out of all Amex reward points, these are considered the most valuable due to their transfer options to all the major frequent flyer programs including Velocity Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Royal Orchid and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
In addition to that you can also transfer your points to Air New Zealand, Emirates Skywards, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Etihad Guest and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. If hotels are more important to you, you can also transfer to Hilton Honors (however, we would classify this as a poor use of points) or Marriott Bonvoy.
Airline Transfer Rates
All airlines except for Air New Zealand transfer at a rate of 2 MR points for 1 frequent flyer point, this makes the effective earning rate of the American Express Platinum Card 1.125 points per dollar.
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Asia Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Skyward Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Etihad Guest Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Enrich Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Qantas Point
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Kris Flyer Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Royal Orchid Plus Mile
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Velocity Point
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Flying Club Mile
- 200 Membership Rewards points = 1 Airpoint Dollar
Hotel Transfer Rates
- 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Hilton Honors point
- 3 Membership Rewards points = 2 Marriott Bonvoy points
Amex Platinum Card Points Uncapped
The Platinum Card can maximise your earning potential as it has no points cap.
American Express Platinum Card Benefits
Up to 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points
New Card Members will receive a welcome bonus of up to 80,000 Membership Rewards Points for those that apply, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria of $3,000 within the first 3 months on your new Card. (For more info or to apply visit American Express here)
Flight Hacks Value: $400
$450 Annual Travel Credit
Each year you hold the Amex Platinum card you will receive a $450 travel credit which can be used to book flights, hotels, car rental and travel experiences via Amex travel. The benefit of booking through Amex travel is that you will not pay any credit card fees, on top of that you also get bonus points. More complex travel itineraries are harder to price up online, but I find that A to B flights are always the same price compared to booking direct + you save on credit card surcharges applied by airlines and travel agencies.
Flight Hacks Value: $450
Amex Platinum Travel
The Amex Platinum Card also has access to the Platinum travel team. This is a 24h service exclusive to Platinum Card customers, and the reason I’m mentioning this benefit here is because they can get discounted business and first class tickets for Card Members. On a recent quote I got for Qatar Airways, Amex Platinum Travel came back with a fare that was $400 cheaper compared to the cheapest I could find on Google Flights.
Flight Hacks Value: Variable, only if you pay for business class flights.
Fine Hotels & Resorts
Amex FH&R is a luxury travel program for over 1,000 iconic 5-star properties worldwide. It’s only available to Platinum Card members and offers additional benefits such as guaranteed 4 PM checkout, complimentary breakfast for two, guaranteed upgrade and special amenities at each property, such as US$100 food and beverage credit or massage for two. The benefits vary between properties, but for those that seek out unique 5-star properties, it’s a win-win most of the time.
I’m saying “most of the time” because of course you should always compare the prices to other booking sites and see if you’re actually getting a benefit by booking through FH&R. It’s similar to Virtuoso but more seamless since you can book online and the benefits are usually guaranteed (such as upgrades and late checkout). Assuming that people who go for the Platinum Card would usually spend money on luxury hotels, I will value this benefit as well based on 1-night stay in 12 months. You can browse the full FH&R directory + benefits on this handy site.
The Hotel Collection The Hotel Collection is a similar program to Amex FHR but usually features a range of different properties. Amex Platinum Card members get up to USD$100 hotel credit on qualifying charges and a room upgrade if available when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. The only catch is that it’s valid for bookings of 2 nights or more. You can research the available properties when logged into your Amex account and by clicking the “book travel online” link.
Flight Hacks Value: $200
Accor Plus Membership
The Amex Platinum Card now comes with a complimentary Accor Plus membership. Personally, I pay for this each year, so it’s a great addition. I wrote an Accor Plus Ultimate guide here so go check that out for the full details. Essentially you get 1 free stay each year, 50% off your food bill for 2 people and instant Accor Silver status + much more. The Accor Plus membership would cost $395 per year if you were to subscribe to it like me.
The free night can be redeemed for properties that easily go for $400+ a night, so it’s a win-win, add a dinner for 2 to your hotel bill (50% discount), and you will easily save another $100 on that too.
Flight Hacks Value: $395
Hotel Elite Status
The Amex Platinum Card comes with a bunch of instant elite status for a few hotels.
Here’s what you get:
Hilton Honors Gold Status
Typically you will get upgrades to better rooms, and as part of your gold status, you also get free breakfast.
Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade
Slightly harder to obtain is the Golden Circle Jade membership by Shangri-La. In addition to room upgrades, it will give you a complimentary breakfast for two at Shangri-La properties plus a choice of three welcome gifts.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Once you get the Amex Platinum Card, you can apply for Bonvoy Gold which should get you better upgrades, early and late checkout and better earn rates.
Radisson Rewards Gold Elite
Probably the least valuable hotel status, this one gives you a discount on food and beverages, free water in the room and a welcome gift as well as room upgrades where available.
Flight Hacks Value: $200
No airlines status? No problem! Priority Pass is a global network of airport lounges and airport restaurants that offer access to its members based on a paid subscription. Fortunately for Amex Platinum Card members, Priority Pass is free and unlimited. To further maximise the value, you can gift a second priority pass membership to one of your additional Card Members ( you can have 4 additional Card Members in total).
As part of the unlimited membership, you can also take a guest with you so in total you could get lounge access for up to 4 people when travelling together.
To enrol into Priority Pass you just need to call Amex on 1800 673 760 (option 3) since it’s not available online. The unlimited Priority Pass membership is valued at $531 per annum; however, our personal valuation below is based on “normal use”. If you’re a frequent flyer than this value will be higher for you.
Flight Hacks Value: $300
Virgin Australia Domestic Lounge Access
Your shiny Amex Platinum Card also acts as your membership card to all the Virgin Australia domestic lounges. This is unlimited, and you can take 1 guest in with you.
Annual Virgin Lounge memberships retail $420 + a $330 joining fee so we’ll value this benefit somewhere in the middle. Of course, you will need to be flying with Virgin Australia to take advantage of this benefit.
Flight Hacks Value: $350
American Express Centurion Lounges
American Express now has its own lounges in both Sydney and Melbourne, as a Platinum Card holder you get unlimited access for both yourself, additional Card Members + 2 guests.
You will also get complimentary access to international Centurion Lounges, a large number are found in the U.S, and there’s also a brand new one in Hong Kong.
Flight Hacks Value: $150
When travelling with Delta airlines, both the primary and additional Card Members get access to the Delta Skyclub.
Flight Hacks Value: variable
Platinum Card members now get access to both the Munich and Frankfurt lounges.
Both Business class lounges and Senator Lounges are up for grabs if you meet the following conditions: Lufthansa Business Lounges when flying in any class with Lufthansa, Swissair and Austrian Airlines. Lufthansa Senator Lounges when flying in Business class with Lufthansa, Swissair and Austrian Airlines.
Flight Hacks Value: variable
Car Rental Elite Programs
Your Amex card also comes with a couple of elite memberships to both Hertz and Avis. Hertz Gold Plus Five Star This membership offers free upgrades and priority car collection. In addition to your status, there’s also a Platinum Charge coupon code which will reduce the total cost of your rental. Avis Preferred Plus In addition to car upgrades, members will also receive between 25 and 50% more Avis reward points.
Flight Hacks Value: $50
Shangri-La x Singapore Airlines Infinite Journeys
Singapore Airlines and Shangri-La have partnered up to offer points transfer abilities and instant Silver Status with Singapore Airlines simply by linking your accounts here: http://infinitejourneys.com/en/ In addition to that, Shangri-La Jade members (you got this for free thanks to the Amex Platinum Card) can obtain Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold Status (Star Alliance Gold) by simply completing 3 flights on either Singapore Airlines or Silkair in any class (except G, group bookings).
This has to be a ticket paid with cash, so points redemptions aren’t eligible.
Flight Hacks Value: $250
Amex Platinum Card Insurance
The American Express Platinum Card comes with some of the most comprehensive travel insurance policies attached to a credit card. In addition to travel insurance, it also comes with comprehensive car rental insurance and cell phone screen insurance (I’ve personally used this twice already; easy claims process and the claimed amount was paid within days).
As always, it’s hard to go into detail when it comes to insurance since everyone’s circumstances are different. Therefore I would highly recommend you spend 30 mins reading through the PDS to see if it’s suitable for you. The Amex Platinum Card now also covers additional Card Members, so it’s no longer just your immediate family/spouse that are covered.
This is a great benefit as you can now extend an additional card to friends or family members. Keep in mind that you are required to book your tickets using the card to be fully covered by insurance.
Flight Hacks Value: $300
The Australian Financial Review Online Subscription
The Amex Platinum card also comes with a complimentary subscription to AFR Digital Premium. The regular cost for this would be $628 P.A. so if you already subscribe to AFR; this is a compelling reason to sign up as it largely offsets the card’s annual fee.
Flight Hacks Value: $628
Amex Platinum Card Downsides
Apart from the hefty annual fee, there are a few other things that could be improved upon. For example, the 3% surcharge when spending in foreign currencies seems excessive considering this is a card for those who travel a lot. It’s slightly offset by the 2.25 points per dollar earn rate overseas, but ideally, we would like to see no FX rates on this card.
Maximising the additional cards
There’s a good reason for Amex to limit additional cards to only 4 (of course there is no cost to adding additional cards) on the Amex Platinum Card and that’s because they get pretty much all the same benefits as the primary cardholder. That includes all hotel statuses, lounge access and insurances.
Amex Platinum Card In Conclusion
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that justify the high annual fee for this card. That being said it certainly isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t travel or see no value in lounge access, hotel status etc.
Especially for the first year, this card is an absolute no-brainer if you’re remotely interested in luxury travel thanks for the sign up bonus of 80,000 points.
The total value proposition of the Amex Platinum Card: If we add up all the benefits, we come to a total of $3673. Extracting the cost of the card we’re left with $2223 worth of value.
Of course, everyone will have their own valuation, so it’s essential to go through the benefits yourself and see if this card makes sense for you. Our valuation doesn’t include any points earned from using this card so you will have to account for that as well.