American Express are offering up to 150,000 Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points for new Card Members of the American Express Platinum Charge card until 28 August 2019.
The bonus points are split into blocks of 50,000 points for each month you spend $1,500 within the first 3 months of becoming a Card Member, which equates to a total of $4,500 to receive the entire bonus points.
Last year, American Express reinstated the complimentary Accor Plus membership benefit (valued at $395), increased the included Travel Credit from $300 to $450, and added an extension of the travel insurance coverage for up to 4 Additional Platinum Card Members, not just the primary Card Member.
The physical card also got a makeover, with the card now being fully metal and looking very upscale.
However, the annual fee also went up from an already high $1,200 to $1,450.
The card now also comes with a complimentary digital subscription to the Australian Financial Review, which retails at $628 per year, as another perk.
Our take? The $250 fee increase was unfortunate but the additional travel credit and Accor Plus membership helps to offset it—whether it does entirely depends on whether you’ll get use out of Accor Plus, as if you do, then you should hopefully be getting more value than before.
While the card is arguably the most premium account on the market in Australia and has a high annual fee, the number of benefits that come with it are substantial, so need some explanation on how to get the most from them.
It is worth knowing that Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points are transferable to 10 key frequent flyer programs, including Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest and more—on a 2:1 basis. Which means that the current 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points is equivalent to 75,000 points when transferred to the aforementioned programs.
How you could use the bonus points from this card
All redemption figures shown are examples only and exclude accompanying taxes and fees. Points redemption price data is provided by a third-party, so inaccuracies may be present. Please check with the airline directly for a complete and accurate total redemption cost.
You can also join our email course specifically on the benefits of the Platinum Charge—you should be able to see the opt-in form at the bottom of your screen. In the course, we break down the benefits of the card to help anyone interested in figuring out if the card and its annual fee is worth it for them.
The Platinum Charge Card is aimed at those who travel frequently, fund their own travel, and can be savvy with using the benefits of the Amex Platinum offering. If you do, you’ll hopefully get at least the value from the annual fee each year from the wide range of perks and deals on offer.
If you are a business owner mostly spending on business-related expenses rather than dining or travel – the dedicated account management feature of the Business Platinum Charge Card may be appeal to you.
American Express Platinum Charge Card guide quick links
- Earning Membership Rewards points, including the ability to transfer to Qantas Points ↓
- Global and domestic lounge access ↓
- Travel booking benefits, including $450 travel credit annually ↓
- Hotel elite status ↓
- Accor Plus membership ↓
- Access to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program (FHR) ↓
- Travel insurances ↓
- Taking advantage of Additional Card Members ↓
- Sign up for Amex offers ↓
- Using the card for Business Expenses ↓
|Card||American Express Platinum Charge Card|
|Loyalty Program||American Express Membership Rewards (MR)|
|Points earned from spend||Earn 2.25 points per $1 spent on all purchases, except those in the 1 point category|
Earn 1 point per $1 spent with government bodies
|Travel benefits||Access to Platinum Travel Service, Platinum Concierge, American Express Travel Online and Fine Hotels & Resorts Program|
|Overseas transaction fee||3% of the converted amount|
|Minimum income||$100,000 p.a.|
|Included insurances||Travel insurance, Purchase Protection, Roadside assistance insurance (PDS)|
|Annual fee||$1,450 p.a.|
Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates
|Frequent Flyer Program||All spend except on government bodies|
|Qantas Points||1.125 point / $1|
|Velocity Points||1.125 point / $1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles||1.125 Mile / $1|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1.125 Mile / $1|
Key things to know
It is worth noting that the Platinum Charge Card is as indicated, a charge card. This is slightly different to a regular credit card in that the balance needs to be paid off in full every month, otherwise, charges or penalties apply. American Express explain this in much more detail here.
The Platinum Charge Card also requires a minimum annual income of $100,000.
With the American Platinum Charge Card, you’ll be earning Membership Rewards points.
There is a dedicated Point Hacks guide just to this program, so check that out for full details.
On top of the standard benefits of Membership Rewards points, Platinum Charge Card account holders are also able to transfer their points to Qantas Frequent Flyer, one of only a couple of cards in the market that can do this.
Be sure to read our post on when it makes sense to transfer Amex points to Qantas to make sure you’re getting the best value from your points balance.
If you do choose to transfer your points to Qantas, you may be able to take advantage of the bonuses Qantas offer occasionally to bump up your Qantas Point balance.
The earn rate on spend for the Platinum Charge Card is as follows:
- Earn 2.25 points per $1 spent on all purchases, except those in the 1 point category
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent with government bodies
This card is also eligible for Amex Local Champion to help pick up bonus points at local retailers.
There are several airline lounge options you can take advantage of as a Platinum Charge cardholder.
Virgin Australia offers the primary cardholder unlimited access to Virgin Australia domestic lounges—and you’ll also be able to bring in a guest travelling with you. You’ll need to be travelling with Virgin Australia to gain access.
Generally, you can bring two guests to the American Express lounges, as well as children travelling with you, and with the Platinum Charge Card, you are able to access the Sydney lounge and Melbourne Lounge (and others globally) on an unlimited basis, regardless of which airline you are flying.
We’ve written about the other American Express Lounges, mainly located in the US as well as one in Hong Kong, in our guide to the American Express Lounge network.
You’ll also receive a Priority Pass lounge membership, valued at $531 per year, for you, an Additional Platinum Card Member, and a guest travelling with you.
Note that, from 1 August 2019, American Express Card Members will not have access to Priority Pass eateries—only lounges.
The fourth lounge network Platinum Charge Card Members get access to is Plaza Premium, which operates a small number of about 50 high-quality lounges worldwide, including great lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane’s International Terminals. You can read more in our Plaza Premium guide.
Additionally, when travelling with Delta, a Platinum Charge Card Member can access Delta SkyClub lounges.
Cardholders travelling in any class with Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines can also access the Lufthansa Business Class Lounges in the Satellite area of T1 Concourse B at Frankfurt Airport and T2 at Munich Airport, while those in Business Class can access the Lufthansa Senator Lounges in the same terminals.
Access to travel booking benefits and services through Platinum Travel Service & American Express Travel Online
American Express Travel is available to all Amex cardholders but Platinum Charge cardholders can get a lot of additional value, and may choose to use American Express Travel as their personal travel agent.
Platinum Charge cardholders will also receive a $450 Travel Credit each year which can be used for eligible bookings through American Express Travel.
For Business Class and First Class fares, Platinum Card Members can take advantage of the International Airline Program through Amex Travel which offers access to a wide range of discounts that may not be publicly available.
This is primarily across their partner airlines—Qantas, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Virgin Australia.
American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) is a unique benefit for Card Members, which offers even more hotel benefits when booked through American Express.
Enjoy competitive rates and complimentary benefits that offer an average total value of more than AU$700* at over 1,100 extraordinary properties worldwide when you book Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR).
The benefits typically are subject to availability, but can include:
- An on-property benefit, often $100 USD in credit per stay
- 12pm early check-in when available
- Room upgrade if available
- Complimentary breakfast for two
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Complimentary wifi
With many FHR bookings, you’ll also continue to receive points and status with the parent hotel loyalty program too, unlike other consolidators.
We have reviewed the kind of treatment you get when booking hotel stays through Fine Hotels & Resorts at the Shangri-La properties in Sydney and Cairns.
Platinum Card Members also have access to The Hotel Collection, which is a smaller set of high-end (as opposed to ultra high-end) properties, where they can get a free room upgrade when available and up to US$100 hotel credit.
Beyond the actual travel booking benefits and discounts, there’s also the potential to gain elite status in four hotel loyalty programs:
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite: this program has a great range of airline and hotel partners
- Hilton Honors Gold: this program has a global reach and good complimentary upgrade and breakfast benefits
- Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade: whose Infinite Journeys partnership with KrisFlyer gets you Silver or potentially Gold status with Singapore Airlines
- Radisson Rewards Gold: mainly for Radisson Blu hotels
You’ll also get car rental elite status with both Hertz (Gold Plus Rewards) and Avis (Preferred).
Also included with the Platinum Charge Card is a complimentary membership to Accor Plus, which has an annual fee of $395 if bought separately.
This membership offers benefits such as a free night at a hotel in the Asia-Pacific each year you hold the card and the potential for large discounts at restaurants within hotels, even when you are not staying at one.
We always err on the side of not providing too much commentary on credit card travel insurances because everyone’s needs are different. That said, the coverage provided by American Express for Platinum Charge Card Members, and now up to 4 of their Additional Platinum Card Members, is one of the main benefits of holding the card.
You can and should read the PDS for the insurance benefits of the Platinum Charge Card here.
The insurances, once activated, include:
- Travel insurance, including for points redemption bookings from using points earned by your Platinum Charge Card
- Travel Inconvenience Cover – up to $700 on hotel accommodations, meals and/or clothing
- Personal Baggage, Money and Documents Cover – up to a maximum of $30,000 per 365-day period including $5,000 for any one item/pair/set of valuables, $1,000 for money or mobile phone and $3,000 for any one laptop
- Up to $125,000 of loss damage waiver insurance for rental cars
- Up to $500 to repair a broken smartphone screen
- Purchase protection
- Roadside assistance insurance
- Home Assistance cover up to two times per year
This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.
You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.
Smartphone Screen Insurance is unique in the market as a credit card insurance offering, and it will cover you for screen repairs up to $500, with a 10% excess on the claim. If the Smartphone is paid on a monthly contract, cover will start 30 days from the date of the first monthly payment on your card.
We have covered off some of the details of the rental car benefits and insurances offered by the Platinum Charge Card in this dedicated guide.
American Express Apple Pay & Android Pay support
American Express cards support both Apple Pay & Android Pay, meaning you can use this Card on your smartphone for easier payments. Find out more in our guides for each of the compatible services.
Downsides to the American Express Platinum Charge
Given the $1450 annual fee, you’d hope that the Platinum Charge Card would be pretty much perfect—but there are some missed opportunities.
There are a few ways the card could be made better—firstly, some of the partnerships have specified end dates, giving a little uncertainty about whether they will be renewed for future years. Given the relatively high fee, it would be good to know for sure.
While you still earn the same amount of points for spend overseas, a 3% foreign exchange fee is charged on these transactions. The US version of this card provides no foreign exchange fees, by comparison.
There is also no airline status supplied with the card—although the included lounge access goes some way to making this up, airline status can help to get seats assigned and improve upgrade possibilities.
The Platinum Charge Card offers additional cards linked to your primary account for Card Members over 16 years of age.
The Priority Pass membership can be used by one Additional Platinum Card Member as well as the primary account holder.
The following statuses can also be registered for at least one Additional Platinum Card Member:
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite
- Radisson Rewards Gold Elite
- Hilton Honors Gold
- Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Jade
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards
- Avis Preferred
Registration of status benefits for Additional Card Members is handled mostly through the Amex website once you have set up the Card Members on the account.
You can also get itemised transaction reports for Additional card members through the Amex website or your statement.
Amex Offers is a program which provides a statement credit to your account for making an eligible purchase. Think of it as an instant cashback offer without having to deal with any paperwork.
By logging into your app or the Amex website, you can add promotions from certain retailers to your Platinum Charge Card, meaning you could get something like $15 off when spending $75 or more at Heinemann Duty Free and paying with this card.
Card Members can also use the card for Business expenditure. American Express offer a unique option to add an ‘additional’ card (this is different to an Additional Card Member, as outlined above). An additional card is a second card that’s issued in the Card Member’s name with a different card number, which makes it administratively ideal for using your primary card for personal transactions, while you keep the additional card to one side for business transactions.
When looking up your statement and transaction history online or in downloaded or paper statements, transactions are itemised by Card Members (additional card and Additional Card Members) making it much easier to reconcile.
If you use the card solely for business use the annual fee may be tax-deductible, but check that with your tax advisor to be sure.
Considering this card for Business-related transactions?
American Express offer a range of both business and consumer charge and credit cards. They do permit business transactions to be made on personal cards, unlike some other banks, but you might find some of the other business-focused benefits of the business cards to be appealing or more appropriate.
So – if you’re a sole trader or a business looking to earn points with your business spend – this card would still work for that purpose.
There’s a full list of business and personal consumer American Express cards which might be suitable for earning points from business-related transactions here.
Eligibility criteria for bonus points for existing American Express Card Members
American Express are quite specific about whether existing Card Members will be eligible for bonus points if they apply for a card, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria.
Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.
American Express don’t allow existing Card Members, even for different types of American Express cards (e.g. Charge, Credit or Business) to be eligible for bonus points offers for cards in a different family.
Summing up: the American Express Platinum Charge Card
This card is likely to appeal most to those who travel frequently and who spend enough to earn enough points to make the most out of the benefits of the card.
If you take advantage of the softer benefits, such as concierge and insurance services, there’s also a lot of value to be had.
Ultimately this falls into the prestige and elite cards category and for those who know how to get the most out of them, they can be really lucrative. But they aren’t for everyone, so it’s important you assess whether it meets your personal requirements.
Once you’re a Card Member, take advantage of the Amex referral program to earn more points.
The American Express referral program allows Card Members to earn points by referring their friends and family to apply for other American Express cards, offering both the applicant and the Card Member bonus points for doing so.