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The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the most benefits-rich credit cards on the market with its superb airport lounge access and 5X earnings on airfare.
But how hard is it to get approved for the Platinum Card?
This comprehensive article will take a look at what credit score, income, and other criteria are requirements for the Platinum Card and give you some tips on how to meet those if you currently fall a little short.
What are the Amex Platinum Requirements?
The Amex Platinum will generally require a good to excellent credit score (720+) and a mid to high income. However, there are no hard cut-offs for either of these requirements as will be shown below.
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Credit score needed for the Amex Platinum
There is no strict requirement regarding your credit score but you will likely want to have a solid FICO credit score that is at or above 720. Keep in mind that Amex usually pulls from Experian so that’s the FICO score that you need to be paying attention to. You can sign up to check your credit score here.
Lower credit score okay?
If you do enough research you can find plenty of data points of people getting approved with credit scores below 720. In fact, many people have been approved with credit scores in the 600s, so you definitely don’t need a perfect credit score.
If you already have a long-standing relationship with American Express then you probably won’t need as high of a credit score when you apply.
But if this is your first application with Amex and your score is in the 600s, you’re likely facing an uphill battle. For those reasons, I would generally recommend that you focus on improving your credit score if it’s in the 600s.
Improve your credit score
If you need to improve your credit score and you want to do it in a hurry then consider the following options:
- Get added as an authorized user
- Balance transfer to a business credit card
- Move revolving debt to installment debt
- Utilizing goodwill letters
You can read more these methods and about improving your credit score (quickly) here.
Income requirements for the Amex Platinum
There is also no strict income or salary requirement for the Platinum Card.
Platinum Cardholders, on average, do have very high incomes though.
But there are reports of people getting approved with incomes in the $50,000 range or below. Once again, your history with Amex could be a major factor for getting approved if you are a borderline candidate.
You should know that thanks to the Credit Card Act of 2009, you are allowed to report the income of your spouse and/or family members so long as it is reasonably accessible to you and you are 21 years or older. Learn more about what kind of income is “reasonably accessible” here.
Related: Does Income Affect Your Credit Score?
Difference from the Business Platinum
The Amex Business Platinum recently has required a minimum business revenue of $1,000 for many applicants but no similar minimum income requirement has been implemented for the personal version.
No annual spend requirement like the Amex Black Card (Centurion)
One thing that is clear is that there is no annual spend requirement for the Platinum like there is for the American Express Centurion Card, also known as the Amex Black Card.
The Black American Express card usually requires at least $250,000 in spend per year just to receive an invitation to apply. For the business version of the Centurion Card, once you spend around $500,000 (or possibly $450,000) in a calendar year you might receive an invitation.
So the Black Card is a much different premium card than the Platinum Card and comes with a lore more benefits. Here’s a quick look at some of the perks of the Black Card:
- Hilton Diamond
- IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion
- Relais & Châteaux
- Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Centurion Hotel Program
- Centurion International Arrival Services
- International Airline Program
- Car Rental Benefits (primary rental car insurance, Hertz Platinum, and Avis President’s Club)
- Cruise privileges
- Centurion Shopping Program
- Concierge services
- You can read more about the black card here.
I generally suggest for people to go for another American Express card first in order to build up a relationship with Amex before applying for the Platinum.
You don’t have to do it this way but if you think you’re a somewhat borderline applicant and your credit history is your weakness, then it might not be a bad idea.
Building your history with Amex
A great card to consider is the new Amex Green Card. That’s a solid points earning card that earns 3X on travel and dining and comes with credits for CLEAR and Lounge Buddy that can allow you to offset the annual fee. It’s known for being one of the easier Amex cards to get approved for so it’s a good way to start building up your credit history.
How long to wait
If you are getting ready to apply for your first American Express card and you decide to go with one of the easier options to get approved for then you might want to wait 6 months to a year to apply for the Platinum Card.
That should give Amex some time to learn to trust you.
Some like to wait even longer to establish their credit history, but generally 6 months to one year is enough time for banks to start trusting you a little bit.
As I talk more about below there is a difference between charge cards and credit cards. If your charge card account is in good standing, you might be able to upgrade any of your charge cards to a Platinum Card. So for example you could potentially upgrade the Green Card to a Platinum Card.
The Green Card is usually easier to get approved for so this could be a smart way for you to establish your relationship with Amex and then you could always look into upgrading at a later date. But be aware that due to Amex application rules, if you upgrade, you will not be eligible for a welcome bonus for the Platinum Card (you might be able to get a special offer for upgrading).
If you want to go this route make sure you don’t mistakenly apply for a credit card.
Some report that waiting until you reach the age of adulthood (21) to apply could increase your approval odds.
The Platinum Card isn’t exactly a card that’s tailor made for those under 21 and Amex likely will have doubts about your income and or credit history at young ages below 21. So if you’re in your lower 20s, consider trying to build up a few years of credit history first to increase your approval odds.
If your credit score isn’t that high or your income is on the lower side then maybe there is someone else who can apply for the Platinum Card like a spouse or family member. It only costs $175 to add up three authorized users to the Platinum Card and they get a lot of the key perks like Priority Pass and Centurion Lounge access.
A traditional credit card provides you with a credit limit and you are not allowed to use more credit than that specified limit. However, the Platinum Card is not a traditional credit card.
The Platinum Card is a charge card offered by American Express.
This means that you have no set credit limit when you are approved. Instead, you are expected to pay off your monthly charges at the end of each month. This allows you to have great flexibility with your spending and it’s why I consider the Platinum Card to be one of the best credit cards for high spenders.
Something to make clear is this does not mean that your credit limit is unlimited.
Instead, Amex will likely monitor your monthly spending habits and slowly up your spending capacity as you gain their trust by showing that you can pay off your balance.
In the mean time, you can pre-pay your bills to free up credit if that’s what you need to do.
Pay Over Time
Amex does offer something called “Pay Over Time,” though.
This allows you to select certain charges over $100 that you will pay over time just like a traditional credit card. You will be paying interest on these charges so keep that in mind.
One great thing about Pay Over Time is that Amex will often send out a promotional offer where you can earn Membership Rewards just for enrolling in Pay Over Time.
You should expect to wait about six months to one year before being offered Pay Over Time, though it likely depends on your history with Amex. Read more about Amex Pay Over Time here.
Amex Platinum features
The Amex Platinum has some of the top features out of any credit card.
- $200 Uber credit and $200 airline credit
- Priority Pass access for you and two guests
- Centurion lounges access for you and two guests
- Delta SkyClub access when flying with Delta
- Hilton Honors Gold elite status
- Marriott Gold
- 5X on airfare and 5X on hotels booked through the Amex Travel portal
- TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry $100 credit
- $179 CLEAR credit
- $200 Hotel credit
- $300 Equinox credit
- $240 Entertainment credit
- Annual fee: $695 (NOT waived first year)
The standard welcome bonus is 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first 6 months, which is very competitive for a premium credit cards. However, it’s possible to find offers up to 100,000 points.
If you value Membership Rewards at 1.8 cents per point, that’s $1,080 with the lower 60,000 point welcome bonus, which would nearly cover the annual fee for two years.
The Platinum earns 5X on airfare and 5X on hotels booked through the Amex Travel portal making it one of the best credit cards to use for airfare purchases. Getting 5X on hotels booked through the Amex Travel is nice too but it requires you to book pre-paid stays which aren’t always ideal.
The Platinum comes with a $200 airline credit and a $200 Uber credit. Both of these credits can offset the hefty annual fee down to $150, making this card much more appealing. The Platinum also has a $100 Saks credit.
I think that the Platinum Card is the best credit card for lounge access.
With it you’ll be able to receive:
- Priority Pass access for you and two guests
- Centurion lounges access for you and two guests
- Delta Sky Club access when flying with Delta
Most other premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve only offer Priority Pass memberships. But Centurion Lounges are some of the nicest airport lounges around and Delta SkyClubs can be impressive so this is a great deal for many people.
With the Platinum Card, you’ll get more out of your hotel stays as you’ll get the following elite statuses:
These can provide you with perks like free breakfasts, upgrades, late check-out, and some other nice perks which can even include lounge access.
The annual fee is high at $695 but as stated the travel credit offset much of that and the value that you’ll receive with the lounge access and hotel elite benefits will probably be worth well over $150 for frequent travelers. Note that if you’re in the military you can get the annual fee waived.
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Being able to transfer your hard-earned Membership Rewards out to some amazing travel partners is a big deal because those partners allow you to receive outsized value for your points.
For example, I once transferred 55,000 Membership Rewards to Aeroplan and then booked a business class ticket to Europe and earned a whopping 14 cents per mile on that redemption!
Here are all of the American Express travel partners:
- Delta Skymiles
- Club Premier AeroMexico (1,000 = 1,600 premier points)
- Aeroplan Air Canada
- Aer Lingus
- Flying Blue Air France/KLM
- MilleMigilia Club Alitalia
- Asia Miles
- Avios British Airways
- El Al (1,000 = 20 Matmid points)
- Emirates Skyrewards
- Etihad Guest
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue (250 points = 200 TrueBlue points)
- KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America (200 points = 100 Elevate points)
- Virgin Atlantic
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
Membership Rewards have allowed me to experience some of my top travel experiences like flying first class on Emirates.
Amex Refer a friend
One of the great features of the Platinum Card (and several other Amex cards) is that you can usually generate referral links for extra bonus points.
If someone used your referral link to apply and they get approved, then you’ll be rewarded with bonus points up to 55,000 points per year. Unfortunately, there is no known advantage or boost to their approval odds if they use your link. You can read more about that referral program here.
Amex application rules
American Express has some very specific rules for applying for their cards.
Luckily, most of these rules apply to credit cards and not their charge cards.
But you need to be aware that they have a once per lifetime rules and have recently cracked down on people trying to game the system while earning welcome offers. You can find out more about these rules here.
The Amex Platinum Card requirements are pretty straight forward: you need a solid credit score and a good income.
However, there are no hard cut-offs for these requirements and depending on other factors like your credit history and your prior relationship with American Express, you may be able to get approved even if your numbers are on the low side.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.