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- The Platinum Card® from American Express
is out with a new increased offer to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
- The card also added several benefits, including up to $200 in hotel credit each calendar year and up to $240 in digital entertainment credit.
- To compensate for the new benefits, the card also increased its annual fee from $550 to $695.
- Read Business Insider’s guide to the best premium credit cards.
As vaccination rates rise and the world starts to open up, many of us are feeling cautiously optimistic about travel again. While many credit card issuers pivoted away from travel rewards and benefits during the pandemic, we’re starting to see more and more bonuses and features geared toward flights and hotel stays.
The latest example is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which just launched an excellent welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
In addition to giving new cardholders the opportunity to earn valuable Membership Rewards points, Amex has also added several new benefits to its premium Platinum card, including up to $200 in hotel credits per calendar year, a $179 CLEAR credit for expedited airport security**, and up to $300 in credit with Equinox annually**.
Along with the new benefits, however, The Platinum Card® from American Express has increased its annual fee by $145 — from $550 to $695 (See Rates). While a higher annual fee is never good news, if you’re able to maximize the card’s increased welcome bonus and new travel benefits, you’ll get well over $695 in value. But if you’re in the military, you won’t have to weigh the pros and cons, because Amex waives the annual fee for active-duty servicemembers.
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100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership
Amex Platinum 100k welcome bonus
For a limited time, The Platinum Card® from American Express has an increased welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership, which is a compelling offer on its own.
This welcome bonus alone can get you well over $695 in value. 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points are alone worth up to $1,800 based on Insider’s valuation of 1.8 cents per point. If you can maximize the 10x bonus categories in the first six months, you could earn an additional 250,000 points, worth up to $4,500 depending on how you redeem them.
However, because there are so many ways to use American Express Membership Rewards points, it’s hard to put a firm value on this bonus. For example, Amex points worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for airfare through Amex Travel, but less if you book a hotel. Or you can get a much higher value when you transfer points to Amex’s airline and hotel partners for award flights, especially international first- or business-class seats.
Beyond the 10x bonus categories, The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x points on airfare purchased through Amex Travel or directly with the airline (after January 1, 2021, on up to $500,000 in purchases each year), 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, and 1x points on all other purchases.
New Amex Platinum benefits
The increased bonus on its own could be enough to justify the $695 annual fee (See Rates) if you know you’ll redeem the points at a high value. But the Platinum Card has also introduced some new benefits that could sweeten the deal if you’re looking to save money on travel and more.
Effective July 1, all Amex Platinum cardholders will have access to the following new benefits. And for existing cardholders, the new $695 annual fee won’t kick in until 2022 — so you have some time to test-drive the new perks before committing to paying that higher price.
Up to $200 in hotel credit
Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings gets you benefits such as free breakfast, guaranteed late checkout, room upgrades and early check-in (when available), and a welcome amenity or credit unique to each property. Booking with The Hotel Collection must be for a minimum of two nights, and include benefits like room upgrades and a $100 on-property credit.
$179 CLEAR credit
CLEAR is an expedited airport security program, similar to TSA PreCheck, but it’s also available for fast-track access at select stadiums. The CLEAR credit on the Platinum Card will reimburse you for the $179 annual membership fee. Just keep in mind that CLEAR isn’t available at as many airports as TSA PreCheck, and you’ll still have to remove items like your laptop and shoes before getting screened.
Up to $240 digital entertainment credit
Amex says 78% of Platinum Card cardholders took advantage of limited-time statement credits for streaming services that were offered during the height of the pandemic in 2020. These new digital entertainment credits are permanent, and are awarded in chunks of up to $20 per month (maximum $240 per year). You need to enroll before you can use this perk.
However, the list of eligible digital subscription services is quite short:
Depending on if these are subscriptions you already have (or would be likely to use), this credit might not make a difference for you.
Up to $300 in Equinox credit
Another new benefit is up to $300 per year (up to $25 per month) in credit towards a gym membership with Equinox or towards digital subscriptions for fitness classes through the Equinox+ app.
This could be a valuable benefit if you live in a city with Equinox locations, or if you’re a fan of the fitness app. Just keep in mind that Equinox memberships are not cheap. For example, with a 12-month commitment, you’d pay $240 per month for membership at the Rockefeller Center location, and $275 per month if you want access to all US clubs.
Expanded airport lounge access
The Platinum Card already offers access to more airport lounges than virtually any other credit card out there, but now it’s expanding that list with updates to its Global Lounge Collection.
Amex is updating and rebranding Escape Lounges in the US to “Escape Lounges — The Centurion Studio Partner” — complete with premium bar and snack selections. American Express International Lounge locations will be converted to Centurion Lounges, and cardholders will also have access to select Lufthansa lounges around the world.
Premium Private Jet access
Cardholders are now eligible for up to 40% off a Premium Private Jet Program membership with Wheels Up, a private jet charter company. You can also get up to $2,000 in initial year flight credits toward private charters. Private jet rates are famously high, so this may not be the most practical benefit for every cardholder. But for those who already fly private, the added discounts are welcome.
Exclusive Global Dining Access by Resy
Finally, if you enjoy dining at high-end establishments, the Platinum Card offers exclusive reservations at some of the world’s most coveted restaurants. Amex says Resy will also offer cardholders access to premium events and other perks.
Existing Amex Platinum card benefits
In addition to all the newly announced Platinum card benefits, the following existing perks will be staying around.
Airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta, and more)
Keep in mind that other premium cards also offer airport lounge access, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card
. So this benefit might not add value for you if you already get it from a different card or don’t travel often.
Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
The Platinum Card® from American Express can help take the sting out of ever-increasing airline fees. You’ll receive up to $200 in annual statement credits on your selected airline** when you use the card to pay for extras like checked bags, flight-change fees, inflight food and drinks, pet fees, and airport-lounge day passes.
If you can make the most of this perk, you’ll offset nearly half of the annual fee cost; even better, because it resets every calendar year, it’s possible to get the airline fee credit twice in the first year of opening the card.
Up to $200 in Uber credit each year
With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll also receive up to $200 in statement credits toward Uber rides each year**, but you can’t use it all at once. Each month, you’ll get a $15 credit added to your linked Uber account, with an extra $20 (for a total of $35) each December. This also works for UberEats, so it’s handy if you like to order in.
You’ll also get Uber VIP status, which isn’t available everywhere and has limited perks, like only being connected to drivers with a 4.8-star rating or higher in participating cities.
Up to $100 in Saks credit each year
This perk can come in handy with the approaching holiday season. Platinum Card members receive up to $100 credit for purchases they make at Saks each year** — $50 from January to June, and another $50 from July to December.
Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy elite status
One of the first things you should do when you get your new card is to activate your complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status**. Your status won’t be upgraded automatically — you’ll need to enroll through your Amex account online or by calling the number on the back of your card.
Both levels of status can save you money and make your travels more comfortable when you stay at Hilton and Marriott hotels. Depending on the chain, you’ll get perks like early check-in, late checkout, a better chance at room upgrades, and bonus points on top of what you’d normally earn. Hilton Gold status (which also comes with certain Hilton credit cards) is particularly valuable because it comes with free breakfast, which can translate into massive savings if you travel frequently.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Frequent flyers know that TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are among the most valuable tools you can have in your travel arsenal. You’ll save a ton of time using special lanes at airport security, and you won’t have to remove shoes, light coats, or laptop from its bag. Global Entry members can use expedited lanes when they arrive in the US from overseas, which speeds up the often-tedious customs and immigration process.
The registration fees for these programs are $85 (TSA PreCheck) or $100 (Global Entry), and you’ll receive a credit in that amount when you pay with your Platinum Card every four years (the memberships last for five years). If you’re trying to decide between the two programs, Global Entry is the far better deal, because it actually includes TSA PreCheck benefits.
Limited-time quarantine benefits
Amex has recognized most people aren’t traveling as much, so it’s added limited-time benefits to make up for not being able to use things like airline fee credits.
Other Amex cards to consider
If the new annual fee on the Platinum Card is a dealbreaker, or if you’re not eligible for this offer because you’ve already had the card or don’t meet other application restrictions, there are several other excellent Amex cards to consider.
Each of the cards below also earns Amex Membership Rewards points and comes with a solid bonus and spending categories:
- American Express® Gold Card
— With less than half the annual fee (See Rates) of the Platinum Card, the Amex Gold Card is a terrific choice if you’re looking for an increased welcome offer and bonus spending categories for everyday expenses. You’ll receive 60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening, and earn 4x Membership Rewards points on the first $25,000 spent at US supermarkets each calendar year (then 1x), 4x points at restaurants, and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel. You’ll also get handy benefits like dining and fee credits. Here’s our full review of the Amex Gold for more details.
- American Express® Green Card
— Another top pick for travelers, you’ll earn 30,000 points after you spend at least $2,000 in your first 3 months of account opening and get 3x points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants worldwide, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Here’s our Amex Green card review.
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
— This card is a popular choice for those who like earning bonus points on groceries and gas. You’ll earn 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year (then 1x), 2x points at US gas stations, and 1x points on everything else. And if you make at least 30 transactions during a monthly billing cycle, you’ll get a 50% bonus on all transactions that month. Read our Amex Everyday Preferred card review to find out more.
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