The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most prestigious travel rewards cards out there. The card comes with a whole host of benefits, from annual travel credits to a strong earnings multiplier. However, it also comes with a high annual fee.
If you’re active-duty military, you may be able to get this fee waived. This benefit is offered under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act.
Even with the annual fee, the Amex Platinum card packs a lot of value. Just remember unlike typical credit cards, the Amex Platinum allows you to carry a balance for certain charges but not all.
Let’s take a look at what this card offers and why it’s one of the best credit cards for active military.
Top 4 benefits of the Amex Platinum card
1. Valuable Membership Rewards points
Amex Platinum cardholders get access to one of the most valuable travel rewards programs available, the Amex Memberships Rewards program. Although you can redeem your Membership Rewards points for things like statement credits and gift cards, their true value lies in the ability to transfer your points to any of the program’s 15 airline and hotel Amex transfer partners. This gives you more flexibility with how you choose to redeem your points.
The value of your Amex Membership Rewards points varies, but it's possible to get up to 2 cents per point with the right redemption. Often, you get the best value when you transfer points to a travel partner. For instance, recently the Membership Rewards program offered 50% more Hilton Honors Points when you transferred your Membership Rewards points. So you received 3,000 Hilton Honors Points for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points you transferred. In general, most Membership Rewards transfer to partners at a rate of 1:1.
The ability to transfer your points to a number of travel partners provides tremendous practical value. The next benefit delivers pure monetary value.
2. 100,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus
You can never have too many Membership Rewards points, and the Amex Platinum card helps new cardmembers accumulate them quickly. Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months).
That 100,000-point bonus can translate into over a thousand dollars worth of travel depending on how you redeem your points. For example, when you purchase a flight through Pay with Points on Amex Travel, each point is worth 1 cent apiece — so 60,000 Membership Rewards points would be worth $600. But transferring points to a travel partner may yield an even higher value.
3. Travel perks
The Amex Platinum card wouldn’t be a top travel rewards card if it didn’t come with several valuable travel perks. In addition to its generous 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com, the Amex Platinum card offers cardmembers everything from airport lounge access to complimentary Gold status and Gold Elite status in the Hilton Honors program and the Marriott Bonvoy program, respectively.
Amex Platinum travel perks also include a $200 airline fee credit on a qualifying airline, a $179 CLEAR® membership credit, up to a $100 statement credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as credits for hotels booked with the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and the Hotel Collection. These credits can help offset the cost of the $695 (See rates and fees) annual fee. This is all in addition to the card’s travel protections, such as car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees. Enrollment or activation is required for select benefits.
4. Annual credits
You’ll receive multiple annual credits as an Amex Platinum cardmember. Annual credits currently include $200 in Uber Cash, a $240 digital entertainment credit for Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times subscriptions, $300 in statement credits for eligible Equinox fitness memberships, and $100 in statement credits for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue. Note that certain benefits require activation or enrollment.
How to get the Amex Platinum annual fee waived
As confirmed by an American Express credit cards representative, active-duty service members can get the annual fee waived for all American Express cards. That means you can get the $695 annual fee waived for The Platinum Card from American Express. Active-duty servicemembers include any member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, as well as any reserve component called to active duty.
This benefit is available as a part of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act. Under the SCRA, interest rates are capped to no more than 6% during your periods of active duty military service. The SCRA applies to debt incurred prior to your military service. The MLA, on the other hand, applies to credit extended to you while on active duty. The MLA limits interest rates and fees to 36% MAPR (Military Annual Percentage Rate). Although 36% seems high, it’s not based solely on the interest rate. It also includes fees and finance charges, such as annual fees. Both the SCRA and the MLA can help qualifying military members save big on credit cards. The easiest way to request SCRA and MLA benefits with American Express is by submitting a request online or by calling the number on the back of your card.
To receive waived annual fees under the SCRA and MLA, you must submit documentation showing your active-duty status. Based on the information you provide, Amex will determine your eligibility and then confirm your military service using an automated program. Documentation can include your active-duty orders, DD-214, or a letter from your commanding officer which indicates you’re on active duty.
The final word on the Amex Platinum
The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best travel credit cards on the market. It’s packed full of perks and benefits that take travel to a whole new level, but it also comes with a hefty annual fee.
However, as an active-duty service member, you can have this fee waived. That means you get to enjoy all the benefits this card has to offer without it costing you a cent. If you qualify for this perk, call an American Express representative so you can take advantage of having your Amex Platinum annual fee waived.
#1 Premium Travel Credit Card
up to 10X points per dollar
- 50,000 point sign-up bonus
- 10X points on hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards
- $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- High annual fee
- Excellent credit required
- Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- 10X points on Lyft rides, Chase Dining purchases, and hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on air travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on travel and dining, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else