How to Earn Rewards While Returning ‘Back to Normal’

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(*) Product details are accurate at the time of publishing and subject to change. Some of the offers on this page may no longer be available through our site

Travel, gym, concerts… it’s all back! We’re all excited to get back to normal — here’s a way to get back in the swing of things and earn rewards at the same time. 

Let’s do a deeper dive into all the ways you can earn rewards on travel, shopping and even a gym membership with Equinox with the new Platinum Card® from American Express(*).

The New Platinum Card® from American Express (*)

Many of us gained great habits in quarantine, such as: supporting local small businesses. Now you can earn 10X rewards when you shop at your favorite neighborhood restaurants and stores. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express is not a new card, but it has recently gone through a refresh, with some updated benefits. There is also currently a new welcome offer that has an attractive two-tiered level

  • Earn 100K Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus 10X points on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants worldwide or when you Shop Small® in the United States during your first 6 months of Card Membership

If you have a lot of restaurant purchases or frequent small businesses, you can earn up to 350,000 Membership Rewards points with this new offer.

What are Membership Rewards® Points worth?

There are a couple of ways that you can use your Membership Rewards® points, and the value that you’ll get depends on how you redeem them. You can get 1 cent per point if you redeem for flights through the American Express travel portal. You can also get 1 cent per point for some gift cards. Redeeming for hotels, other travel or statement credits will get you less than 1 cent per point.

How to maximize earning Membership Rewards® Points

The best way to maximize the value of your Membership Rewards points is by transferring them to American Express’s hotel and airline transfer partners. Amex has 19 airline and three hotel transfer partners and you can often get 2 cents per point or more when transferring your Membership Rewards to travel partners. If you maximize the complete welcome offer and get good travel redemptions, it’s not unreasonable that you could get up to $7,000 in value from the welcome offer alone.

Is the Platinum Card(*) worth the annual fee?

The annual fee on the Platinum Card has also gone up to $695^ for new applicants. Existing Platinum Card customers whose renewal anniversary month  is before January 1, 2022 will continue to renew at the $550 rate. After January 1, 2022, the annual fee for existing customers will increase to $695^ upon their renewal month.

American Express has a variety of different annual credits that you can earn with the Platinum card. There are credits for travel, digital entertainment, shopping, health and fitness to help you get back to normal life. Some of these are already part of the Platinum card while others are being added as part of this refresh. Let’s take a look at some of these credits.(*)

  • $240 Digital Entertainment credit — up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $200 Hotel credit — this comes as $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $179  CLEAR® credit — Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $200 Uber Cash credit — Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox credit — Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $200 Airline Fee credit — up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit — Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

You may not be able to use all of these credits, or you may go out of your way to spend in areas that you wouldn’t otherwise spend, solely to earn one of these credits. If you don’t regularly shop at Saks, but buy something just to take advantage of your $100 credit, is it accurate to say that it “saved you” $100? Similarly, if you already have a CLEAR membership, you might not be able to take advantage of the $179 CLEAR credit.

Still, it’s not difficult to see a path to earning back more in credits than the $695^ annual fee for many people. This is especially true the first year when you will also get the value from the initial welcome offer.

The Bottom Line

American Express has refreshed their flagship Platinum Card with additional benefits. The annual fee has gone up to $695^ and will increase to $695^ for existing Platinum Card Members after January 1, 2022,  upon their renewal month. To counterbalance the increase of the annual fee, Amex has added an attractive welcome offer as well as an increase in benefits. While $695^ is a lot to spend for an annual fee on a credit card, take a look at the benefits that you’ll get. As you look to get back to normal, the benefits and credits from the new American Express Platinum card can play a big part. Knowing which of these benefits work best for you will help you decide if the new American Express Platinum card makes sense for you.

^Terms Apply. Rates & Fees

(*) Product details are accurate at the time of publishing and subject to change. Some of the offers on this page may no longer be available through our site

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Dan Miller
Dan Miller

Written by Dan Miller

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of, a site that helps families to travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids. More from Dan Miller