When it comes to premium travel credit cards, the Platinum Card by American Express is one of the most well known and one of the best.
But if the idea of a $695 annual fee makes you pause just a little bit, perhaps you are searching for an alternative to the Platinum Card by American Express.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great card but if you aren’t up for that annual fee, or perhaps you aren’t using all of the benefits and want to know what else is available – I’m here to help.
There are plenty of alternatives that provide similar perks for a smaller annual fee.
We’re sharing potential alternatives to Amex Platinum, the details on each card and what they might have to offer you, and why you might want to stick with the Platinum card depending on your usage.
Table of Contents
- American Express Platinum at a Glance
- Best Alternatives to American Express Platinum
- 1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 2. Mastercard Black Card
- 3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- 4. U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
- 5. American Express Gold Card
- 6. Citi Premier Card
- 7. Capital One Venture Rewards Card
- 8. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
American Express Platinum at a Glance
Let’s start by recapping what benefits the Platinum Card by American Express has to offer as well as what it will cost you. (our full review of the Platinum Card by American Express goes into great detail on this too)
As mentioned, the annual fee for the Amex Platinum card is $695. And with the current welcome bonus off, you’ll get 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 in purchases within your first six months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Flights booked directly with the airlines and flights and hotel stays booked directly with Amex Travel earn 5x points. Other purchases earn 1x points.
Among other benefits, this card comes with $200 in travel credits each year for incidentals such as baggage fees. These fees do have to be charged to your Platinum card, and the credits only apply to your pre-selected airline.
The Global Lounge Collection membership gives you access to over 1,300 lounges in over 500 airports, and 140 countries around the world.
In addition, you’ll get $179 in Clear Credit when you pay for your Clear membership with your card.
A Clear membership gets you through select airport and stadium security checkpoints faster with its biometric touchless ID feature.
You’ll get the following additional benefits with your Amex Platinum card as well.
- Up to $100 Global Entry credit every four years and/or $85 TSA Precheck entry credit every 4.5 years
- 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in the first six months
- $200 hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two night stay.
- Up to $300 back per calendar year on Equinox+ digital fitness app or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your card
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash: $15 per month on rides or UberEats, and a $20 bonus in December (U.S. rides only)
- Up to $100 in annual statement credits for purchases Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com when you use your Amex Platinum card
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit ($20 per month) when you pay for select digital memberships
As you can see, the high fee is quickly offset by a host of benefits. However, would an American Express Platinum Alternative be better for you?
|Card Name||Annual Fee||Welcome Bonus||Rewards Structure|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||$695||80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 in purchases within your first six months of Card Membership||5X points flights booked directly with the airlines and hotels booked with Amex Travel, 1X on everything else|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||$550||60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months||10X on hotels and rental cards booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5X points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on travel and dining, 1X on everything else.|
|Mastercard Black Card||$495||None||1X points on spending – redeemed at 1.5% of spending if taken as cash back or 2% of spending if redeemed for flights|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card||$650||95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership||6x points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3x points on dining at U.S. restaurant and flights booked directly with the airline, 2x points on each dollar spent on other eligible purchases|
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card||$400||50,000 point welcome bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days||5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center, 3x points on all other travel purchases|
|American Express Gold Card||$250||60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months||4x on dining at restaurants, US grocery stores (up to $25,000 in purchases annually), 3X on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel, and 1x points on other eligible purchases|
|Citi Premier Card||$95||60,000 points if you make $4,000 in purchases during the first three months||3x points at restaurants, gas stations, air travel and hotels, and supermarkets, 1x points on all other purchases|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Card||$95||75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $750 in travel||unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard||$99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months||50,000 American Airlines points if you spend $2,500 in the first three months||2X AAdvantage miles on purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and eligible American Airlines purchase, 1X on all other purchases|
Best Alternatives to American Express Platinum
There are a few cards that can be counted as competitors to the Platinum card. Check out the list of features for each one to determine which would be best for your needs.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550 and is probably the Platinum card’s closest competitor.
There is currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.
As far as points go, you’ll get 5x points on flights when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And you’ll earn 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through the program.
You get 3X points on travel worldwide and dining worldwide, 1X everywhere else. Other bonus point options may apply when purchasing through Chase Ultimate Rewards as well.
And you’ll get 50% more value when you redeem your rewards through the Ultimate Rewards program. That means your 60,000 points could be worth $900 instead of $600.
You’ll also get a $300 annual travel credit and $120 in partner benefits, which rotate often and include Peloton as of this writing.
The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection benefit provides for additional benefits at select hotels and resorts, such as early check-in and late check-out.
Other benefits include Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit of up to $100 every four years.
And you’ll have complimentary access to over 1,000 VIP airport lounges in over 500 cities thanks to Priority Pass Select.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? Amex Platinum’s fee is higher, but you also get 40,000 more points with 2,000 more in purchases.
Chase pays more for restaurants (after your six month 10x rewards with Amex expires). Amex pays 1x on restaurants where Chase pays 3x.
While these cards are quite comparable, you’ll want to get the Platinum card with its 5x rewards if you travel heavily.
2. Mastercard Black Card
The Mastercard Black card has an annual fee of $495. There’s no traditional welcome bonus offered with this card.
As far as rewards go, you’ll earn 1x points for every dollar spent in most categories. You’ll get 2% value when you redeem for airfare, and 1.5% value for cash back redemptions.
When you pay for your Global Entry fee with your Black Card, you’ll get a $100 statement credit.
Priority Pass Select is included, which means you’ll have access to over 1,300 lounges in over 500 cities worldwide.
You’ll also receive a $100 annual statement credit toward qualifying airline purchases. Card members also receive luxury gifts from iconic name brands, although Mastercard doesn’t specify what those gifts might be.
Other benefits include access to charter services, room upgrades, premium car rentals, and 24/7 access to Luxury Card Concierge, a concierge service dedicated to taking your travel experience to the next level.
Extras you might get through the concierge service could include everything from research on the best schools to getting your personal message on the New York City JumboTron.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Mastercard Black Card disappoints in that it doesn’t offer any welcome bonuses.
The 2% redemption value on airfare with the Black Card is nice, but the Platinum card 5x points on airfare purchases edges the Black Card out.
The one area where the Black Card wins is in luxury “extras” such as the concierge service it offers. If you’re big into luxury extras, go for the Black Card.
3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
You’ll also get a $300 statement credit for eligible purchases at restaurants.
The annual fee is $650 per year.
Rewards points are distributed as follows:
- 6x points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- 3x points on dining at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery
- 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline
- 2x points on each dollar spent on other eligible purchases
You’ll also get the option to enroll in Priority Pass Select, which gives you access to over 1200 airport lounges in over 130 countries.
There are a host of other benefits as well, including travel insurance and the 24/7 Premium Global Assist Hotline access to help you deal with emergencies while traveling.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Express card is a great choice for frequent/luxury travelers that prefer to stay at Marriott-owner properties when they travel.
There are a host of benefits geared toward taking your stay at Marriott properties to the next level.
However, if you’d rather have more flexibility in where you stay, or if you don’t use hotels often, you’re likely better off with a general rewards card like the Amex Platinum.
4. U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card offers several great travel benefits and a lower annual fee. The annual fee is $400 per year and includes some attractive benefits that are fairly competitive.
There’s a 50,000 point welcome bonus (worth $750 on travel) when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
You’ll earn 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center. And 3x points on all other travel purchases.
You can redeem any earned rewards instantly using your mobile device.
In addition, there’s a (up to) $325 reimbursement per year on eligible travel purchases and takeout food, dining food, and food delivery.
You’ll also get a complimentary 12-month Priority Pass Select membership that gives you access to over 1,300 VIP lounges.
And the card gives you reimbursement of up to $100 every four years for your TSA precheck or Global Entry fees.
The Altitude Reserve card also offers cardmembers 24/7 service to the Visa Infinite Concierge, and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when you use your card abroad.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card is somewhat competitive with the Platinum card in terms of points rewards.
The Platinum card gets you double the welcome points for less than twice the annual fee, however.
If you travel somewhat frequently this could be a good card for you. Heavy travelers, however, will likely prefer the Platinum card.
5. American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. The current welcome bonus consists of 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.
Purchase points are rewarded as follows:
- 4x points on dining at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
- 4x points at grocery stores in the U.S., for up to $25,000 in purchases each year
- 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel
- 1x points on other eligible purchases
You’ll also get a $10 per month Uber credit when you add your Amex Gold card to your Uber account. The credit applies to both Uber rides and UberEats purchases.
As of this writing, there’s also a $10 per month in credits at participating restaurants when you pay with the Gold Card. See the Amex website for details.
Other benefits include 24/7 Global Assist Hotline access and no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad.
Members are also eligible for preferred seating for select cultural and sporting events when paying with the Amex Gold card.
Other rotating benefits, including additional bonus points, may apply.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? If you’re a heavy traveler, you’ll want the Platinum card.
However, the American Express Gold Card is a great card for lighter travelers who want attractive rewards points benefits on everyday purchases.
The Gold Card is especially beneficial if you dine at restaurants or order takeout meals frequently.
6. Citi Premier Card
Now that the Citi Prestige card program is no longer accepting new applicants, you’ll have to look to other options if you like using Citi cards.
The Citi Premier Card is one option, and it comes with a $95 annual fee. It has a welcome bonus of 60,000 points when you make $4,000 in purchases during the first three months.
Rewards points earnings are as follows:
- 3x points at restaurants
- 3x points at gas stations
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 3x points at supermarkets
- 1x points on all other purchases
You’ll get a $100 annual credit on any single hotel stay costing $500 or more when paid for with your Citi Premier card.
In addition, the card offers special access to tickets (including presale tickets) for thousands of events including sporting events, concerts, dining experiences, and more.
There are no foreign transaction fees with the Citi Premier card, but other than that you won’t find much in the way of additional travel benefits such as Global Entry or TSA Precheck credits or access to airport lounges.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Citi Premier card is a nice card for infrequent or domestic travelers not interested in luxury benefits.
And with the 3x points on restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets it’s a nice everyday use card as well. Most users would earn back the $95 annual fee with gained points quite quickly.
If you travel often, like luxury travel benefits such as concierge services, and would benefit from the bonus points for travel, get the Platinum card.
However, if you’re an infrequent traveler or if you mostly travel domestically, you’ll probably do just fine with the Citi Premier card.
7. Capital One Venture Rewards Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card offers several great travel benefits with only an annual fee of $95.
The first is a Welcome Bonus of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $750 in travel.
And you’ll earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. You can redeem your rewards for any purchase when you use PayPal to check out.
You’ll also get up to $100 reimbursement on your Global Entry or TSA Precheck purchase when you use your Capital One Venture Rewards card.
You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when you make a purchase outside of the U.S., and you can use your Venture rewards miles on hotels, flights, and more.
And you can transfer the miles to one of 15+ Capital One partner travel loyalty programs.
Travel accident insurance and 24/7 travel assistance services are included as well.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Capital One Venture Rewards card doesn’t have the high-end benefits that the Platinum card does.
There’s no lounge access, credits for designated retail purchases, or access to features like early check-in at higher end hotels.
However, if you’re looking for a solid rewards card for middle class travel and not high-end travel, the Venture Rewards card might be a good choice for you.
The much-lower annual fee will likely make up for what you’re not getting in higher-end travel benefits that you might not care about anyway.
8. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
The Citi AAdvantage card is another option for travelers. It has a $99 annual fee, but the fee is waived for the first 12 months.
This card is geared for clients who like to fly American Airlines. The welcome bonus consists of 50,000 American Airlines points when you spend $2,500 in the first three months.
You’ll earn 2x AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants. And you’ll earn 2x AAdvantage miles for every eligible American Airlines purchase.
All other purchases will get 1x AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent. And there’s no cap to the number of AAdvantage miles you can earn.
When you spend more than $20,000 in purchases during the year and then renew your card, you’ll get a $125 American Airlines discount.
You’ll also get your first bag checked for free (for yourself and up to four companions) when traveling domestically with American Airlines on the same reservation. And you’ll enjoy preferred boarding status.
Your status as a cardmember gets you a 25% discount on inflight food and drinks as well.
How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? Obviously, the Citi AAdvantage card is best for those who prefer to travel with American Airlines.
Points earnings as a whole are better with the Platinum card. The fee with the Platinum card is much higher, of course, but if you travel frequently you’ll make your money back quickly.
If I were a frequent traveler that preferred using American Airlines, I’d probably carry both cards in my wallet.
The American Express Platinum card has several attractive alternatives. However, despite the sizable annual fee, it is one of the best cards out there for heavy travelers.
This is especially true if you like to travel frequently and enjoy the finer things in terms of dining, accommodations, and other travel expenses.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a better choice if you want to save upwards of $150 on the annual fee but still enjoy a lot of the same benefits.
On the other hand, if you’re okay with semi-frequent travel and more mainstream dining and other purchases, you’ll do just fine with one of the other alternative cards mentioned here.