Reviews

Review: The American Express Platinum Charge Card

By Chris Chamberlin, November 2 2015
The American Express Platinum Charge Card
Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Notes
The Good
  • Earn 80,000 bonus MR points
  • One free hotel night included
  • Elite status with Shangri-La, Hilton, SPG and Club Carlson
  • Generous and flexible travel insurance coverage
The Bad
  • $1,200 annual fee
  • Earn rate of $1:1 on everyday spend
Added Value
  • Access to AMEX, Virgin AU, Delta, Priority Pass lounges
  • 1:1 points transfer to 9 airline programs incl. Qantas, Virgin

Introduction

Bringing in up to three frequent flyer points per dollar spent and with perks such as complimentary airport lounge access, hotel elite status and a hefty welcome bonus points of 80,000 points (equal to 80,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity points), the American Express Platinum Card is worth its weight in… platinum.

When dining at most restaurants in Australia, you’ll pocket three Membership Rewards (MR) points per dollar spent, while earning two points per dollar with airlines, hotels, cruise and tour operators, and when using the card abroad.

Everyday transactions collect one point per dollar and utility, government and most insurance payments attract 0.5 points per dollar.

If you make use of the perks that come with the card, it well and truly pays for itself in no time.

Who’s it good for?

With a strong focus on premium and lifestyle spending such as travel and dining, the Platinum Charge card’s $1,200 annual fee and a $100,000/year minimum income requirement put it squarely in affluent hands.

Charge cards are different to credit cards in that you need to pay the account in full each and every month or you'll be in arrears.

As an upside, there's no pre-set spending limit to get in your way (within reason), so you won’t need to worry about having space on the card held up by those pesky hotel pre-authorisations that take place every time you get your room key.

Still want credit? You are also offered an American Express Platinum Reserve credit card on top, which gives you the full range of benefits of a premium credit card, such as an additional $400 travel credit. 

Welcome bonus, airport lounge and hotel benefits

New customers who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months can fetch a generous bonus of 80,000 Membership Rewards points to get them started on their next award flight or business class upgrade.

The card also gets you free entry into the American Express lounge at Sydney Airport, Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges, with a complimentary unlimited membership to Priority Pass thrown in on top. These combined lounge access priviliges make the Platinum Charge Card the most generous in the market.

In between flights, you’ll also benefit from Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade, Radisson Rewards Gold Elite, Hilton HHonors Gold and Starwood SPG Gold Preferred status for perks such as free hotel room upgrades and internet access.

How much you have to spend to earn a free flight

Each year AMEX gives you a $300 ‘Platinum Travel Credit’ that can be traded in for airfares, car hire or accommodation through American Express' travel services both online or via the phone with their travel consultants. Once the annual fee has been paid, you’re free to use that credit as you wish.

As you begin to collect Membership Rewards points on your spending, they can be transferred into frequent flyer points with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Virgin Atlantic on a 1:1 basis, or at a 100MR:$1 rate with Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program.

Of those, Etihad Guest will get you in the air the fastest, with just 6,900 Etihad Guest miles needed for a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight in economy with Virgin Australia, plus a small payment to cover taxes and charges.

You’d earn that by spending $2,300 at Australian restaurants or $3,450 with airlines, hotels, car hire companies and overseas merchants. You'd spend $6,900 on everyday transactions or $13,800 with utilities, government bodies and most insurance providers to earn the same amount. 

The card’s generous earning rates also drop after earning 300,000 MR points in a year – at which time your restaurant, travel and overseas spend lowers to the same one point per dollar as most other purchases.

Insurance

As you’d expect from a Platinum card, there’s extensive travel insurance to cover both domestic and international trips, which is automatically activated when charging the full airfare for each journey to the card.

Coverage also kicks in when redeeming MR or frequent flyer points for a flight if the AMEX card is used to pay any applicable taxes and surcharges on the booking, and also covers you if you weren’t able to buy your ticket on the card because American Express wasn’t an accepted form of payment.

Along with the medical emergency expenses cover, travel inconvenience and transport accident protection as above, you’ll also enjoy a free one-year extended warranty on selected appliances purchased with the card, plus cover if certain goods are stolen or damaged within 90 days of acquiring them, and there's smartphone screen insurance too.

How it fares

When you look at what you’d pay for annual lounge access with Virgin Australia, Priority Pass and Delta Sky Club, the card easily pays for itself if you’ll be using it to unlock those perks.

Elite status with Shangri-La, Club Carlson, Hilton and Starwood also brings quantifiable benefits such as in-room Internet access, hotel lounge access, room upgrades and more (as applicable) – so if you’re a regular at even one of those hotel chains, the money you’ll save will quickly add up.

Charge cards are an interesting alternative to your typical credit cards, and AMEX's Platinum Charge card is a top-of-the-line card that offers affluent travellers and business people services and features that suit their lifestyle.

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1381

Used to be a good card, till the downgraded the insurance coverage with the "all travel expenses" clause..

18 Dec 2012

Total posts 9

Could you elaborate on this? I have this card & travel a lot but thankfully, haven't had to rely on the insurance. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1381

The card originally had a much narrower activation clause on it...

"All Travel Expenses" isn't wide enough imho.. eg. what if you pay for airticket on Amex, but then airport transfer on another card/cash (as they don't take Amex) and get injured - are you covered or not - Amex couldn;t give me certainty so i dropped it

13 Sep 2013

Total posts 23

If the service provider (eg taxi, train, budget airline) does not accept AMEX then you are still covered by the travel insurance, see below from their T&Cs:

American Express Not Accepted

Cover is effective if You cannot pay the full fare for a Trip on Your American Express Platinum Card Account because the provider does not accept American Express as a form of payment. You must be able to supply proof of purchase and the name and address of the provider who would not accept your American Express Platinum Card Account.

QFF

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 6

I noticed you are not linking directly to American Express in this review - is this paid placement? Would be great to know if so.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Hi Manny: the card review is a standard and independent editorial review, however we're using DoubleClick links (instead of a direct URL) to track outbound traffic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 30

$1200 annual fee? Same card in the US......$450.

SilkAir - KrisFlyer

15 Jul 2015

Total posts 10

Agree! I didn't realise how good my US AMEX Platinum was till I saw the AU pricing

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

This card is $1,200 AUD a year here in Australia and $450 USD a year in America. (Even with today’s eye-watering exchange rate that’s still roughly $600 AUD).

As much as I enjoy American Express as well a little luxe, the overcharging irritates me.

Even with elite status with Accor, Shangri-La, Club Carlson and Starwood and lounge access with Virgin Australia, Priority Pass and Delta Sky Club on offer.

QF

06 Nov 2015

Total posts 1

Does the US card allow access to the Australian perks?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Dec 2015

Total posts 22

No it doesn't, however one valuable perk of the US card is that it does not charge foreign currency fees. Amex Australia charge 3% which really annoys me. I have a sepate MasterCard I use now for all foreign currency spending because it doesn't charge these fees. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Dec 2015

Total posts 22

I'm a bit concerned that the Accor Plus membership is no longer mentioned. When this card was first introduced, the fee was $900 but it increased to $1,200 when free Accor Plus membership was an added benefit (which cost $319 direct with Accor at the time). I had always paid previously to be an Accor Plus member (now worth $349) but now Accor get payment direct from Amex on my anniversay date so it doesn't cost me any extra outside the Amex annual fee. I've just been renewed by Accor for another year effective 28/02/2016. Just wondering what will happen next year?? Has the Amex-Accor partnership ended?? If so, Amex should reduce its fee to compensate. 

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 220

$100k minimum salary is a huge downside I suppose.

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

Just out of curiosity have Amex ever had a deal where the annual fee is reduced? I like the sound of the card but its a bit weighty in terms of fees and I think I'd probably end up breaking even on the benefits at this price. Althought the 100k points are certainly a big benefit.

06 Jul 2017

Total posts 1

Hi Chris
Do you still get the platinum reserve free with the platinum charge card?
Yep, you just have to ask for it over the phone and then apply for it separately once you already have the Platinum Charge.

10 Jul 2017

Total posts 1

Morning Chris... today I tried apply for the reserve card as a supplement card to the platinum charge and apparently it is no longer available? When was this last verified?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2016

Total posts 13

Chris can you elaborate on which of the hotel program statuses offered gives me hotel lounge/club access? I have this card but Shangri la GC offered is not top tier with horizon club access.
SPG Gold, when linked with Marriott Rewards, gives lounge access at most hotels under the Marriott Rewards portfolio. Hilton Honors Gold also gives you room upgrades which can be to rooms on Executive floors, and when you receive such an upgrade, it comes with lounge access too (but it's not guaranteed).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

Hi Chris, great detail and an interesting card especially as my loyalty is with QFF so would be handy to have VA lounge access. Seems not including the flight credits and other benefits it will cost $500+.

To help off set this would I still be eligible for the 80,000 bonus MR points even if I have a current Westpac Altitude Black card and an AMEX issued card also?

Are additional card holders (my Mum and Dad who I’m planning to travel with in next 12-18 months) elligable for the same travel insurance or only the primary account holder. Thanks

Hi Jaymes, we can't provide readers with what's considered 'personal financial advice', not to advise whether or not you and your family would be personally eligible for insurance coverage - these are questions you should ask of the card issuer and the insurer.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on The American Express Platinum Charge Card