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 a $0 intro annual fee for this card (after that, $695). 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
Given that it’s one of the best travel credit cards on the market, it’s unsurprising that the Amex Platinum card delivers a slew of benefits. Here are the top four 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. 80,000 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 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months.
That 80,000-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 an up to $200 airline fee credit on a qualifying airline, an up to $189 CLEAR® Plus membership credit, up to a $100 statement credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as up to $200 credit for hotels booked with the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and the Hotel Collection (requires a minimum two-night stay). These credits can help offset the cost of the $695 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 Disney+, The Disney Bundle, Hulu, ESPN+, Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times subscriptions.
You also get up to $300 annually in statement credits for an Equinox digital or club membership 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 intro annual fee
As confirmed by an American Express credit cards representative, active-duty service members can get a $0 intro annual fee for one year for all American Express cards. That means you can get one year without the $695 annual fee 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 lower 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 access a $0 intro annual fee for one year (after that, $695). 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.
Premium Travel Benefits
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases