The top 5 benefits that make the American Express Platinum Card a must-have

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With large banks like JP Morgan and American Express poised to start significantly changing up how they structure rewards associated with premium credit cards, consumers may find it trickier than ever these days to figure out how to wade through the choices of plastic available to them and come to a decision. These kinds of cards, in particular, come with generally high fees to go along with the abundance of perks. Large financial institutions have historically enticed borrowers to spring for their most luxe credit options by offering incentives like free air travel and tons of points, though as The Wall Street Journal reported in recent days some banks are now looking to tweak that model — changing up the rewards so that you get less on the front end and you’re induced to actually use the cards more to get the benefits over the long term.

All of which is to say, when you consider all of the above and the various options on the market available to you, there are several reasons why the Platinum Card® from American Express is a smart choice for consumers who want the best mix of price and rewards. Here’s some of what it offers.

An impressive domestic lounge network

One of the easiest reasons to cite for why it’s worth it to spring for the Amex Platinum Card is the lounge access you’re afforded. This card gets you into any of the more than 30 Delta Sky Clubs around the globe plus American Express’ own luxurious Centurion Lounges — which also happen to be multiplying. Examples include the new 12,500-square-foot Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal D that opened in the fall and which offers a full bar menu that features local wines and beer as well as a menu with Texas-themed dishes.

In all, this card unlocks access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries. The Platinum Card’s Priority Pass membership also makes free food and drinks available at a growing number of airport restaurants and bars, so this benefit definitely helps take the sting out of getting hit with a long layover between flights.

Tons of points, baby!

The Platinum card is also offering a whopping 60,000-point bonus that kicks in once you make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of your card membership. By one estimate, those points are worth up to $1,200 according to The Points Guy’s recent valuation, and come on top of the card’s other benefits like lounge access. When you book through an airline or via American Express Travel, you can earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on flights and hotels. This particular benefit has also been singled out for praise as being the best offering in its category among all cards, given that the 5x multiple on points for airfare can be earned even when you book through any airline – whereas you need to book through Amex Travel to get the 5 points for every dollar benefit.

A combined up to $400 in airline fee and Uber credits

Among the other ways this card’s benefits more than offset that $550 fee each year, you also get up to $200 airline fee credit that can pay for everything from checked bag fees to in-flight food and drink purchases. The only caveat is you have to choose one airline each year that you’ll direct your fee credit to, but it’s a small price to pay. And as if that wasn’t enough, Amex is also throwing in up to $200 in Uber savings each year. It’s structured as a $15 Uber credit each month, with up to an additional $20 extra in December – which, while frequent travelers will have no problem using that up quickly, is still one more welcome perk to have. You’ve got to connect the card to your Uber app, and the monthly benefit is of the use-it-or-lose-it variety, but don’t worry. If you don’t have need of an Uber ride during a particular month, you can always use that month’s credit on an UberEats delivery, instead.

Complimentary premium status and memberships galore, from hotels to car rentals

The Amex Platinum also has a ton of hotel-related perks alone that will quickly offset the costs that rack up from frequent travel, including complimentary gold status at Hilton and Starwood Hotels, which lets you enjoy benefits at hotels and resorts within the Hilton chain and which can also be matched with Marriott Gold status. Likewise, Platinum card members can also upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Elite Status without having to meet any minimum stay requirements. And as if that wasn’t enough, other elite member benefits include being given an enhanced room at check-in, when available.

For car rentals, it’s the same story. You get complimentary elite status with brands like Avis and Hertz, giving you the ability to take advantage of free membership in premium car rental programs that include special upgrades and discounts.

The verdict:

As the industry-leading charge card, the Platinum Card from American Express is the quintessential credit card. It’s not even hard to not only over the card’s annual fee, but actually come out ahead. If you travel a lot during the course of a year, or even if you’re only on the road and hopping flights sporadically here and there, the Amex Platinum Card definitely is worthy of serious consideration. Benefits span beyond travel, like the card’s stellar purchase protection, which reimburses you if you use it to buy an item that’s later lost, stolen or damaged accidentally. Amex will cover you for the amount you paid, up to $10,000 per item with a $50,000 yearly maximum, for starters. You’ll get plenty of use out of this card, in other words, and then some.

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