The American Express Platinum Charge Card

Credit Card Review: The American Express Platinum Charge Card

What's Hot

  • 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

What's Not

  • $1,200 annual fee
  • Earn rate of $1:1 on everyday spend

X-Factor

  • 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 a complimentary return domestic flight. 

Welcome bonus, airport lounge and hotel benefits

New customers who apply, are approved and spend $1,500 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, Club Carlson 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.

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.

 

14 Comments

  • moa999

    moa999

    28 Oct, 2015 04:55 pm

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

    No member give thanks

  • Thomas

    Thomas

    28 Oct, 2015 10:28 pm

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

    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    2 Nov, 2015 05:42 pm

    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

    No member give thanks

  • mmarco

    mmarco

    6 Nov, 2015 10:56 pm

    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.

    No member give thanks

  • Manny Debeer

    ataraxis

    28 Oct, 2015 10:47 pm

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

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    29 Oct, 2015 01:17 pm

    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.

    No member give thanks

  • dls1976

    dls1976

    29 Oct, 2015 11:01 am

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

    No member give thanks

  • Matthew Holden

    MGHolden

    30 Oct, 2015 04:48 pm

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

    No member give thanks

  • Jono

    Jono

    29 Oct, 2015 03:36 pm

    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.

    No member give thanks

  • Petethomas

    Petethomas

    6 Nov, 2015 11:14 am

    Does the US card allow access to the Australian perks?

    No member give thanks

  • Peter Dyer

    peterd647

    2 Mar, 2016 07:37 pm

    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. 

    No member give thanks

  • Peter Dyer

    peterd647

    2 Mar, 2016 07:24 pm

    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. 

    No member give thanks

  • jubbing

    jubbing

    13 May, 2016 04:38 pm

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

    No member give thanks

  • HarveyD

    HarveyD

    15 Jun, 2016 01:55 pm

    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.

    No member give thanks

Guest

28 May, 2017 10:59 am

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