Platinum Credit Cards: Enticing, But Worth the Annual Fees?

Platinum Credit Cards:  Enticing, But Worth the Annual Fees?
A view of an American Express credit card as American Express unveils New Art x Platinum Designs with Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley at The Miami Beach EDITION with a dining experience by Cote in Miami Beach, Florida on Dec. 01, 2021. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express)
Mike Valles

If you have an excellent credit score and are in the market for a high-end credit card, you will want to take a look at platinum cards.

These unique cards are made for big-spenders and those who travel a lot. Although they are not for most people, their rewards make them eye-catching.

WalletHub says that there are more than 300 credit cards with the word platinum in the name. Platinum is also sometimes used as a general term for "excellent" or "exclusive"–and used in this sense there are even more.  For instance, some credit card offers now use the word diamond to indicate a better card.
Here are some things you need to know about platinum cards, and three platinum card offers in particular.

Annual Fees May Indicate a Better Card

Credit card companies generally charge an annual fee to help recover some of their costs.  The fee enables them to offer high-value points or miles–otherwise, they would lose more money than they would gain.

Most of the better platinum cards come with annual fees, some as high as $695.  Higher fees are offset by the hefty benefits that usually come with these cards–for those who can afford to use them often.

Credit cards with an annual fee are usually better cards.  Cards that do not have an annual fee typically offer fewer benefits.

The annual fee on one of these cards typically ranges from $35 to $695.

Why a Platinum Card with An Annual Fee May Be Worth It

Platinum credit cards with more benefits are harder to get, for the very reason that they offer more.  To get one of these cards, you will need to have a good to excellent credit score, and often only people with an excellent score will be given one.

There is a good reason for this:  these cards usually come with much higher credit limits. The company offering the card wants to make sure that the cardholder is likely to pay for their higher-priced purchases.  Credit limits will still depend on credit score and income, etc.

Platinum card benefits usually include a large number of points or miles. At least one of them offers 100,000 points or more. Before you get the bonus points, you will be required to make a total of $3,000 to$4,000 worth of purchases within three months, or $6,000 within the first six months (American Express Platinum). Pay attention to the minimum spending requirements when deciding if the card is a good fit for you.
A photo taken in Marseille, France shows credit cards on Feb. 5, 2013. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)
A photo taken in Marseille, France shows credit cards on Feb. 5, 2013. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Three Best Platinum Cards

1. The American Express Platinum card

The American Express Platinum, which has one of the highest annual fees ($695), comes with a whole truckload of benefits. These benefits are designed for people who fly often, enjoy luxury travel, and stay in better hotels.

When you are approved and meet the requirements, you will receive 100,000 points (note that bonus point promotions may end without notice and could vary in points awarded). If you take frequent advantage of the card’s best benefits, the points gained within a year are worth much more than the annual charge. The points could enable you to get a free flight and more.

You can earn more than $1,500 in bonus points per year by getting 5X the points on flights and hotels that are prepaid, a $200 hotel and $200 airline fee credit, a monthly bonus of $155 Walmart points (enough to pay your monthly Walmart+ membership), access to airport lounges, and $200 for Uber travel.

It's worth noting that the American Express Platinum cards are actually charge cards.  Unlike a credit card, a charge card has no pre-set spending limit.  That can be useful if you want to make a big purchase without endangering your credit score.  Traditionally, the balance on a charge card must be paid in full each month.  However, today's charge cards generally allow cardholders to pay off certain purchases over time.

2. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

If you travel a lot for business, you may want to look at The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Although it has a high purchase demand of $15,000 within the first three months, and an annual fee of $695, the card rewards you with 120,000 points at the end of those three months.

The Business Platinum Card offers zero percent interest on balances for 12 months.  Cardholders also earn 5X the points for airline tickets, 1.5X on money spent on business purchases costing more than $5,000, and 1X on other purchases.

When points are used for full or partial payment of air travel, you can earn 35 percent of the points back as rewards–up to 1,000,000 points! Other benefits include hotel benefits, access to airport lounges, $200 rewards for airline fees, and more.

3. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

If you want a platinum card that has no fees, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card may be the card for you. The card’s main benefit is that it offers two full years of zero interest on purchases and balance transfers. You can transfer up to $20,000 to this card. If you have balances on other credit cards, this could save you a lot of money in interest.

Look for Benefits You Will Use

Each platinum card offers benefits geared toward particular users. A platinum card will only be worthwhile if you can use the benefits offered. The card with the most benefits–that you can and will actually use–is the wisest choice. Avoid choosing a card that offers a lot of points in areas that you are not likely to use.

If you choose an airline miles card that offers a lot of points, the same thing applies. Make sure that the airline goes to destinations to which you are likely to travel, and make sure that it flies out of your closest airport.

High-end spenders, who will earn rewards that exceed the annual fees of a platinum card, will benefit the most from these cards. Remember that you will not earn the extra points or miles until you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Applying for A Platinum Credit Card

A platinum card often requires a credit score of 700 or higher. If you are not sure that your credit score is high enough, avoid applying to several cards at the same time. This can lower your credit score slightly, says Bankrate. Being refused a credit card will also lower your credit score.
To ensure you can get a platinum credit card, if necessary take the time to raise your credit score first–then apply. The best way to improve your credit score is to pay at least the minimum amount on each bill, on time, and lower the amount of credit you have to a debt level of no more than 30 percent–although 25 percent is even better.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are only those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Mike Valles has been a freelance writer for many years and focuses on personal finance articles. He writes articles and blog posts for companies and lenders of all sizes and seeks to provide quality information that is up-to-date and easy to understand.