Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.
The premium rewards card market is crowded, with customers paying $400 or more in annual fees to get luxury perks. However, the pandemic has shifted many of those benefits to non-travel credits.
It’s crazy to think that there was really only one premium card on the market just several years ago — The Platinum Card® from American Express. Now, not only is the Platinum card just one of a half dozen or so premium card offerings from American Express, but there are actually three different versions.
Related: Why the end of the year is a great time to get a premium credit card
They share many common features, including the sleek metal design and access to Amex Offers. Still, there are also subtle differences that might push you toward one version over the other.
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Three different shades of platinum
Here’s a look at the three different flavors of the Amex Platinum to help you figure out which one is right for you. Before this year, there were actually four variants. However, The Platinum® Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial has since been phased out.
The three current iterations of the Platinum include The Platinum Card® from American Express (the most popular choice), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab.
As you can see, the biggest differences are between the two personal Platinums and the Business Platinum.
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab|
|Welcome offer||Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first six months of account opening. Earn 10x points on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets Terms Apply.||Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply.|
|Annual fee||$550 (see rates & fees)||$595 (see rates & fees)||$550|
|Bonus categories||5x on airfare purchased directly from the airline and on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year starting on Jan. 1, 2021||5x on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com; 50% points bonus on purchases more than $5,000 (up to 1 million additional points per year)||5x on airfare purchased directly from the airline and on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year starting on Jan. 1, 2021|
|Annual credits||Up to $200 annual airline incidental credit|
Up to $200 annual Uber credit ($15 a month and a $20 bonus in December)
Up to $100 annual ($50 semi-annually) Saks Fifth Avenue credit
|Up to $200 annual airline incidental credit Up to $200 annual credit ($100 semi-annually) for Dell technology purchases||$200 annual airline incidental credit|
$200 annual Uber credit ($15 a month and a $20 bonus in December)
$100 annual ($50 semi-annually) Saks Fifth Avenue credit
|Unique perks||N/A||35% pay-with-points rebate when you book with amextravel.com (valid on first- and business-class flights on any airline or economy flights on a selected qualifying airline)||Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to an eligible Schwab brokerage account Receive a $100 statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 credit if your holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000 following card account approval and annually thereafter.|
The information for the American Express Platinum Schwab has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card is the one that most people will choose to apply for. If you don’t have a business and aren’t a customer of Schwab, this is, in fact, the only card you’ll be eligible to apply for.
In addition to the perks described above, it also offers, like all variations of the Platinum card, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex Centurion lounges as well as Delta SkyClubs on same-day Delta flights and complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton and Marriott.
Related: Review of the Amex Platinum
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One reason you might want to consider a different version is that Amex only allows you to get a welcome offer on any credit card once in a lifetime. Technically, these three Platinums are all different cards, so you can get the welcome offer on each.
Right now, there is a generous welcome offer on the Amex Platinum: 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in your first six months of card membership. But the truly unique element of the offer is a bonus multiplier on non-travel items.
New cardholders will now be able to earn 10x points on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets during the same first six months of card membership. That’s an additional 9x points on top of the 1x point you earn for these purchases. Those 75,000 points are worth $1,500, according to TPG’s valuation.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum card has a high spending requirement of $15,000 in the first three months to earn the 75,000 points, but if your business has large expenses, a world of rewards is waiting for you.
This card is a standout choice for two reasons: The 35% rebate when you use your points to pay for flights (first and business class on any airline or economy on your selected qualifying airline) allows you to lock in a minimum redemption value of at least 1.53 cents, better than even the Chase Sapphire Reserve — which offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on a broad definition of travel.
While you need to have the full amount of points in your account to book this way (your rebate will post in six-10 weeks), these are revenue flights, so you’ll earn miles and elite qualifying metrics on them, unlike standard award tickets.
Related: Personal or business: Which flavor of Amex Platinum and Amex Gold is best for you?
The other reason businesses should be excited about this card is the 50% point bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more. The best way to use this would be on a large travel purchase made through amextravel.com, so your 50% bonus would be on top of the 5x bonus category.
But even if you’re using this for non-bonus spending, it can be a great deal. Those 1.5x points aren’t the highest possible return you can get. Still, purchases made on the Business Platinum come with extended warranty protection and 120 days of protection from accidental damage or theft.
Related: Review of the Amex Business Platinum
The American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab
The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab is only available to Charles Schwab customers. There’s no way around this requirement, since you must sign in to your Schwab account during the application process. If you’re not a Schwab customer, you should consider signing up. The Schwab investor checking account reimburses all ATM fees worldwide, making this a great option for getting cash when traveling.
This card is identical to the personal Platinum card in most ways, except it comes with one neat perk — the ability to cash out Membership Rewards at a rate of 1.25 cents each to a linked Schwab brokerage account. Note that this is significantly below TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, but if you find yourself racking up points faster than you can spend them, this can be a worthwhile option.
Points are a bad long-term investment as they’re susceptible to award chart devaluations with no advance notice, so if your circumstances change and you aren’t traveling enough to burn your points, consider cashing them out. The process is very simple, and when I tried it out myself, the money posted instantly to my Schwab account even though it was a Sunday and banks were closed.
If you already are a Schwab customer, you might be eligible for a bonus of $100 or $200 after account approval and each year after that, depending on the size of your account balances.
Even if you never plan to cash out your points, that alone could be reason enough to pick this version over the standard personal Platinum card. This bonus only applies to balances above $250,000, however. Like the regular personal Platinum, the Schwab Platinum has a targeted 100,000-point welcome offer, so make sure to keep a close eye on your email to see if you’re targeted for this elevated bonus.
Related: How our cruise writer got $4,456 in value from his Amex Platinum in a year — even during the pandemic
The three versions of the Amex Platinum card offer slightly different variations of a common package of luxury travel perks. In picking which one is right for you, it helps to consider how you plan to use your points (cash out, transfer to airlines, pay with points, etc.) and how much/what type of spending you plan to put on the card.
No one needs all three different Platinums in their wallet, but there’s definitely room for one or two, especially if you’re in the market for a valuable welcome offer.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
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