The rewards are plentiful, and the travel perks are outstanding, but a hefty annual fee means you’ll need to weigh your decision carefully before applying for The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, if you spend a lot of money as a frequent and constant traveler and expect a lot of perks in return, then a platinum card may be the perfect choice for you.
Under The Servicemembers Civil Rights Act (SCRA), American Express gives active-duty military personnel and their spouses an annual fee waiver.
The Platinum Card Benefits
Service members will be hard-pressed to find a card that offers more travel and lodging benefits than the Amex Platinum Card. Not only will you rack up multiples of points with restaurants, airfare, and hotels, but you’ll also enjoy access to airport lounges and unlock huge upgrades at major hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and others.
One of the biggest reasons active-duty service members use the Amex Platinum card is for the CLEAR+, TSA PreCheck, and Global Access benefits while on TDY, saving time and money for frequent travelers. There’s no foreign transaction fees either, which is a big bonus if you’re stationed outside the United States.
Under the SCRA, American Express also waives the annual fees for its credit cards – including its platinum card – for active service members and their spouses. So, now that you know you can get the annual fee waived, what are some of the biggest perks to check out?
Travel and Lodging Perks
- Introductory Offer:
- Earn 5x points on airfare. Book directly with your favorite airline or on amextravel.com – up to $500,000 per calendar year.
- Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com and a $200 annual hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees, in-flight refreshments, and more at qualifying airlines. It does not include airfare or upgrades and applies to a single airline you choose when you enroll, with the option of changing airlines once a year.
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including:
- Amex’s Centurion Lounges and International American Express lounges.
- Delta Sky Clubs, when flying Delta.
- Priority Pass Select lounges (enrollment required).
- Lounges in the Plaza Premium, Escape, and Airspace networks.
- Upgrade to Gold Elite status in Marriott’s Bonvoy rewards program without meeting any stay requirements.
- Automatic Gold status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program when you enroll.
- Book a stay of at least two nights at The Hotel Collection properties, and you’ll get an automatic upgrade – if available – and a $100 credit for dining, spa, resort or other activities at the hotel.
- Book a stay at one of Fine Hotels & Resorts’ ultra-high-end properties and get upgrades and amenities worth an average of $550 per stay. These include automatic room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and amenities unique to each property.
- 24-hour concierge services by phone.
- Global Dining Access by Resy gives you special access to reservations and events, like chef meet-and-greets at high-end restaurants, when you add your card to your Resy profile.
- A $189 CLEAR Credit to help you speed through airport security and get into stadiums more quickly.
- Fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry.
- No foreign transaction fees while you’re out of the country.
Shopping and Entertainment Benefits
The rewards don’t stop there. Service members can access a wide range of other perks as well. You can get more out of your entertainment and shopping dollars thanks to American Express partnerships with leaders such as Uber, Walmart, Saks Fifth Avenue and others.
One of the coolest and most exclusive of these are the Invitation Only member VIP experiences and preferred seating that lets you hop to the front of the line for the hottest events and concerts.
- $240 in Digital Entertainment Credits in the form of $20 in monthly statement credits when you use your Platinum card to pay for streaming and news services such as Peacock, Audible, Sirius, and the New York Times. Enrollment is required for most statement credits.
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber Cash savings. Credits are issued monthly — $15 each month and $35 in December — good for rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S.
- A $155 Walmart+ Credit covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card.
- A $100 Saks Fifth Avenue annual credit. You get $50 worth of credit for in-store or online purchases from January through June and another $50 for purchases from July through December.
- $300 annually for select eligible Equinox memberships, including Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox memberships or the on-demand fitness app Equinox+.
- By Invitation Only offers members-only VIP experiences such as Wimbledon, the Kentucky Derby and others.
- Preferred Seating lets you jump the line to buy tickets for select sports or cultural events.
- Cell phone protection. This increasingly popular benefit joins the card’s already robust return and purchase protections and extended warranties. Coverage goes up to $800 per claim or $1,600 (two claims) per 12-month period. Each approved claim carries a $50 deductible.
American Express Membership Rewards
One of the ways American Express encourages card usage is by attaching many of its cards to the American Express Membership Rewards program, including the Platinum Card.
You can use points for travel when you book through the Amex travel portal or transfer the points to airline, hotel, or car rental partners. You can also get a statement credit, shop through the American Express site by redeeming points at affiliate partners, redeem points for gift cards or donate points to charity through American Express’s partnership with JustGiving.com.
Here are some of the specific membership rewards you’ll get with the American Express Platinum Card:
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 Uber savings on rides and Uber Eats purchases in the U.S. annually.
- Earn 5X membership rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express travel (up to $500,000 spent on these purchases per calendar year) and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Receive an annual $200 airline fee credit with a pre-selected airline and up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (enrollment required).
- Enjoy complimentary airport lounge access through the Global Lounge Collection.
- Take advantage of more than $1,400 worth of benefits during your first year as a cardholder.
Rewards Point Structure
Every time you spend your Platinum Card, you earn points. For every dollar you spend, you’ll earn one point. You can redeem them for cash, but you can also redeem them for travel on the Amex travel portal, or transfer them to one of American Express’s airline or hotel partners.
You can also redeem your points for gift cards and online shopping, but you typically get less than a penny per point. However, you may receive a penny per point when you redeem travel, or more if you redeem it with an American Express travel partner.
Rewards points can be worth more than the standard cash from cashback credit cards if you’re strategic about how you redeem them.
There are also a few ways to rack up points faster:
- Add an authorized user to your credit card. When more than one user spends money on the card, the points add up faster
- Take advantage of American Express membership rewards offers. If you go to the “Amex Offers” tab in your American Express app or your online account, you’ll see “Amex Offers,” which are targeted and limited in duration and can add multiple points.
- Use Rakuten. You get points using Rakuten, a cashback website and shopping app. You’ll receive one membership rewards point for every 1% cash back you earn, and you’ll still earn your regular points through your American Express credit card.
Your points don’t expire unless you close your card account with points still left in it, you return a purchase or you make a payment late.
Pros and Cons of the Platinum Card from American Express
- Generous introductory offer
- Extensive travel benefits and bonuses
- Numerous other entertainment, dining, retail, and wellness rewards
- 18 airlines and three hotel partners
- Membership rewards points
- Lounge membership
- Best for high-end lifestyle cardholders
- A high annual fee
- Complicated rewards; you’ll need to sign up for multiple programs to activate your benefits
- You will earn up to one point per dollar, except for certain travel spending. Other cards are more generous in this area.
- Although the full list of annual statement credits is worth more than the yearly fee, you must use them to get any benefit.
- Good to excellent credit score of at least 690 required
The Platinum Card Annual Fee
The annual fee is $695 – but servicemembers can benefit from the card’s perks without paying the annual fee.
How to request a waived fee and SCRA benefits from American Express
Once you apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express and are approved, you can contact American Express by phone or online to request a waiver of your card’s annual fee, as well as the other SCRA protections for your card.
Submit Request Online
Submitting your request for SCRA relief online is the quickest way to apply for SCRA relief.
Once you enroll your card in American Express online services, you can submit relevant documents via the document center.
Documents may include:
- Active duty orders
- Change of Station Orders
- DD-214 Forms
- Letters from Commanding Officers
Submit Request by Phone
If you wish to request SCRA benefits and the annual fee waiver by phone, you can contact the number on the back of your card or call American Express at 1-800-253-1720. Service members stationed outside of the U.S. can contact American Express collect at 1-336-393-1111, however, collect calling fees may apply.
Submit Request by Mail
If you are unable to submit your request online or over the phone, then you can mail a copy of your documents to American Express. Be sure to include the American Express account numbers you wish to have benefits applied to, as well as a detailed note outlining your request.
You can send documents to:
Learn How to Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
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