The Platinum Card from American Express

Julie Myhre-Nunes and Jocelyn Baird at the March 16 event.

Three of the NextAdvisor employees (myself included) got the opportunity to attend a special event at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco on March 16 to learn all about the major updates coming to The Platinum Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser). During the event, we were able to talk with multiple American Express representatives to get all the details about the upcoming upgrades. “It was nice to pick the representatives’ brains about the card,” said Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor’s Associate Editor. “I felt like we were able to get a true understanding of the card and how these changes will impact cardholders.”

Among the representatives present was Howard Grosfield, executive vice president of U.S. consumer marketing, who shared his excitement about the upgrades with us. “As an avid traveler, I believe in the global access, experience and service [cardholders] get.” Want to learn more about these changes? Keep reading to get the details and learn how current cardholders will also be impacted — spoiler: there’s good news for both new and current cardholders.

What does The Platinum Card currently offer?

Before I dig into the details, I should explain what the card currently offers. That way, you can get a complete picture of what new and existing cardholders will gain. Kicking off the rewards is 40,000 bonus points — that’s worth up to $400 in flights booked through American Express Travel — you can earn when you spend $3,000 in purchases with The Platinum Card. Next, you’ll earn 5X points for flights booked directly through an airline or American Express Travel and 1X points for every eligible $1 spent elsewhere.

On top of that, you’ll get 2X points on each $1 of eligible purchases made when you book using The Platinum Card on the American Express Travel website as well as get a number of added perks. These include an airline fee credit for up to $200 a year to cover incidental costs, such as bag-checking fees or in-flight meals, charged by the airline to your card (note that this fee credit is in the form of statement credit), as well as a $100 fee credit to receive your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, which will be applied in the form of statement credit every 4 years after you apply for either and pay with The Platinum Card.

Continuing these perks is complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries, including The Centurion lounge network (which costs $50 per day for all other card members with a valid American Express credit or charge card), the International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Airspace Lounges, and competitive rates and complimentary benefits that offer an average total of $550 at over 900 properties worldwide when you book at Fine Hotels and Resorts through American Express Travel — these benefits include complimentary daily breakfast for 2 and guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout. Additionally, you’ll get car rental loss and damage coverage, complimentary access to unlimited Wi-Fi at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide with Boingo, access to Platinum Travel counselors to customize your itinerary and make the most of your travels, along with access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline that can help you with 24/7 medical, legal, financial or other select emergencies while you’re traveling. Rounding out The Platinum Card are no foreign transaction fees, something that’s ideal for world travelers, and a $450 annual fee, which, frankly, isn’t that bad when you consider the perks and rewards the card offers.

What upgrades are coming to The Platinum Card?

Now that you have a grasp of what the card offers before the March 30 upgrade, I can dig into the rewards and perks new and current cardholders can expect. Yes, you read that correctly — current cardholders will also receive all of these perks, starting March 30. In addition to the perks and rewards described above, the upgraded Platinum Card will earn cardholders 5X points for eligible hotel stays booked through American Express Travel, up to $200 back in annual Uber credits for rides within the U.S. as well as Uber VIP status where it’s available and a handful of other perks. These include the ability to add complimentary (no annual fee) additional Gold Cards to a Platinum Card membership and access to a new Global Dining Collection, which gives members access to one-of-a-kind dining experiences, exclusive reserved seating, culinary events and more.

Some of the current perks are also expanding, including access to the Global Lounge Collection, which has Hong Kong and Philadelphia Centurion Lounges opening later this year, and access to more of American Express’ By Invitation Only events. Something else that’s changing with the card is its annual fee, which is increasing to $550. Although you may initially have sticker shock, you’ll want to note that the $550 annual fee is easily balanced out (and then some) by the card’s perks, like the $200 Uber credit, the $200 airline fee credit, the $100 credit for Global Entry and the complimentary benefits for Fine Hotel and Resort bookings through American Express Travel (with an average value of $550) — note that we didn’t even dig into the rewards you’ll earn on purchases. Rounding out the updates to the card is a new, sleek metal card design; I got to see it in real life, and it’s pretty cool.

What do I need to know if I’m a current cardholder?

As noted above, existing card members will gain these upgrades on March 30. They can also expect to receive a new card in the mail around that time. Something else current cardholders should be aware of is that the new annual fee will not take effect until their annual renewal date on or after Sept. 1, 2017.

How can I apply for The Platinum Card?

If you’re a travel-minded individual, The Platinum Card is likely a strong addition to your wallet. The rewards and perks you get with the card will be worthwhile, and since the upgrades kick in for all members (even existing ones) on March 30, you don’t have to wait to apply for the card — you can do it now and still get all the current and future benefits. Visit our review of The Platinum Card from American Express to apply or learn more about the card.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.