The Travelpro Platinum Elite is genuinely one of the best carry on luggage options and is our Editors' Choice award winner once again. Its zippers, wheels, and handles are buttery smooth in use and durable enough for years of consistent travel. It has a large capacity and a partial expansion zipper with well-designed compression panels to deliver substantially more. We love the versatility of the bag's many extra features, so you can choose what works best for you. Sturdy and classy enough for business travel without being too stuffy for a vacation with the kids, we find it difficult to have much of anything to complain about when it comes to the Platinum Elite.Editor's Note: This review was updated on September 26, 2022, to re-evaluate how this bag compares to the range of new contenders in our test collection.
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Spinner Review
Cons: Dimensions exceed airline standards, heavy
Compare to Similar Products
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Spinner
$314.49 at Amazon
|$275 List||$120 List|
$89.99 at Amazon
$146.19 at Amazon
$152.87 at Amazon
|Pros||Wheels magnetically align, excellent organization, deceptively large capacity, stable and durable||Polished, modern design, thoughtful organizational tools, easy to lift and maneuver||Many useful extras, impressive capacity, accessible price||Ultra lightweight, durable, good capacity||Smooth and stable, impressive capacity, variety of colors, lightweight|
|Cons||Dimensions exceed airline standards, heavy||Prone to tipping, scuffs easily, expensive||Heavy, exceeds airline size requirements, frontside bulk||Wobbles occasionally when full, few extra features||Durability concerns, minimal organizational features|
|Bottom Line||A super versatile and functional bag that is durably built and makes travel easy||A minimalist’s dream bag with a sleek modern appearance and commendable performance across all metrics||An accessible price point and a slew of useful features make this carry-on a good option for those who want a solid performer without breaking the bank||A super lightweight and functional carry-on that doesn’t compromise on useful features or comfort in use||A simple, lightweight yet solid hardshell spinner that outshines other bags at a similar price point|
|Rating Categories||Travelpro Platinum...||Away The Carry-On||SwissGear Sion Soft...||Travelpro Maxlite 5...||Samsonite Omni PC H...|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Specs||Travelpro Platinum...||Away The Carry-On||SwissGear Sion Soft...||Travelpro Maxlite 5...||Samsonite Omni PC H...|
|Measured Dimensions||23.5" x 14.3" x 9"||21.7" x 13.5" x 8.5"||23" x 14.1" x 10"||23.5" x 14" x 9"||21.5" x 14" x 9.5"|
|Handle Height Options (where it locks)||5 (28", 36", 38", 40", 42.5")||4 (27", 34", 37.5", 41.5")||3 (28", 34.5", 43")||3 (27", 38", 42.5")||5 (25", 30.5", 33", 36", 41.5")|
|Number of Wheels||4||4||4||4||4|
|Number of Exterior Pockets||3||0||2||2||0|
|Interior Opening Style||Top lid||Half shell||Top lid||Top lid||Half shell|
|Locking?||Main compartment zipper has a loop for a lock but does not come with lock||Yes||No||Main compartment zipper has a loop for a lock but does not come with lock||Yes|
|Exterior Material||High density nylon||Polycarbonate hardshell with leather details||Polyester||Polyester fabric with Duraguard coating||Micro-diamond polycarbonate|
|Colors||7 - vintage gray, shadow black, bordeaux, coastal blue, intrigue black, rich espresso, true navy||9 - black, navy, ocean, green, asphalt, petal, white, sand, lavender||8 - black, blue, burgandy, dark gray, navy lime, pewter, purple, teal||8 - azure blue, black, burgandy, imperial purple, mocha, sapphire blue, slate green, dusty rose||11 - black, carribean blue, red, white, silver, teal, navy, purple, bronze, burnt orange, radiant pink|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Constructed from high-density ballistic nylon fabric with a DuraGuard® coating that resists stains and abrasions, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Expandable Spinner has four magnetically aligned spinner wheels and a convenient flip-open design, as well as a plethora of internal and external pockets and handy extra features.
Ease of Use
Everything works so smoothly on the Platinum Elite. Zippers glide effortlessly, handles work how and where you want them to, and there's a variety of easily accessible pockets to keep you organized. The telescoping handle is sturdy and comfortable, offering four convenient heights to choose from. A well-crafted load handle is conveniently placed at the top and side of the case to allow for easy pick-up-and-go, designed to pull away from the bag when needed but then retract back into the side of the suitcase to maintain a sleek, streamlined fit once loaded. There's even an extra grab handle on the bottom of the suitcase, just on the chance you need to move or stabilize it from the base. These thoughtful additions make the transition between streets, cars, stairs, buses, and airplanes a breeze, particularly when complemented by the equally well-designed roller handle to keep the bag in check by your side.
We love the four large double-wheeled spinners upon which this suitcase is built, providing plenty of clearance to tackle even the most challenging terrain. We found they roll along easily even over loose gravel and fallen leaves, despite not claiming a thick tread in their design. And we never had issues with the bag tipping over when crossing sidewalk cracks or tall thresholds. But our favorite feature of these wheels is the hidden magnets that hold them together gently in a forward-facing alignment. The Platinum Elite almost steers itself, staying quietly by your side in motion without any particular exertion on your part. We took advantage of this feature by frequently taking our hands off the bag entirely to do other things like clean our glasses, shift something around in a backpack, or even eat an airport meal on the go, all while the case continued to roll smoothly and efficiently by our sides.
When it comes to how easy this bag is to use, we have very few complaints. Every feature that it does have, we love. We think the only way it could be improved might be by adding a few handy extras, like an "add-a-bag" strap to allow for easily attaching a purse or laptop bag (which other models tested do have). And, if Travelpro's carry-on designers want to use our ideas, we'd equally love to see a cup holder or a spinner brake feature provided, to account for long waits at crowded gates or those occasions when one must come to a full stop on a slope. However, the absence of any of these superfluous features in no way takes away from the degree to which we enjoy using the Platinum Elite in its current form.
When it comes to packing extras, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Expandable Spinner hits the sweet spot. It has numerous pockets that are sure to make even the most careless packer happy. Interior zip pockets are cleverly integrated into the underside of the lid, along the back wall of the main compartment. You'll also find them built out of mesh within the compression panels in the main compartment. And several exterior pockets – two on the front side, and one "powerpack pocket" sized version, perfect for a charger and cables, along the side – prove valuable assets when you are trying to handle business or grab a quick lunch on the run between flights. Just toss in your travel docs, phone, power station, wallet, or any other day-of incidental to free up your hands. What we love most about each of these extras is just how usable and accessible they all are, making it possible to take advantage of the organizational features without having to dump the full contents of your bag out into the world to get at what you need. They can all also be easily ignored if you're not in need, taking up only negligible space when not in use.
Though it appears modest upon visual assessment, the internal capacity of this suitcase is substantial. We easily fit everything we needed for a 7-day summer vacation, which was by no means an easy feat considering the packing list included six distinct outfits, a fancy event dress, pajamas, a swimsuit, jacket, socks and undergarments, two pairs of shoes, a book, toiletries, and a variety of other incidentals. We put the Platinum Elite's great compression system to good use. Built to deliver well beyond the basics, it has mesh paneling (with zippered pockets) between each of the compression straps, a smart design that increases your overall surface area for compression and allows you to fill the bag to the brim before then creating additional space by cinching it all down. An added external expansion zipper can also be engaged, revealing a tapered opening (running the length of the lid along the front side of the bag) to increase the final capacity of the main compartment. Grab a few additional garments or last-minute souvenirs, this unique expansion design can accommodate it all while simultaneously reducing any likelihood you'll become so front-heavy the bag will tip over.
One downside to all of these handy frontside pockets (which is true for a surprising number of carry-ons) is that their use increases your chances of overstuffing and potentially exceeding the airline's depth restrictions. If your bag looks like it's about to explode, you may well find you struggle to squeeze it in above your seat once on the plane, if they allow you on, of course. But if you can limit your pocket-packed items to compact, flat necessities, and keep your bulky belongings compressed inside the main compartment during flights, this issue can be minimized. Or, take advantage of the tapered expansion feature and opt to check your bag if you really need to squeeze in a few last reminders from your recent travels.
This is another area where the Travelpro Platinum Elite shines brightly. Travelpro has managed to incorporate an astonishing array of features into this spinner without forcing your hand if they're not what you need at that moment. The removable suit/dress keeper enables you to pack delicate fabrics knowing you can store them in relative safety en route. You can also remove that suiter bag to hang it separately in a closet upon arrival at your final destination, giving you a chance to shake out any wrinkles from the journey. If your current trip doesn't require you to bring a suit or evening gown, no problem. Simply leave the detached packing tool bag at home and save on space. The removable toiletry bag is another nice touch. It zips away cleverly into the side of your bag while you travel but can be easily removed upon arrival for use in the bathroom, saving you the need to buy and pack a separate bag.
When zipped shut and on the move, our team of testers unanimously agreed this bag looks sleek and well put-together. It's something you can proudly carry while traveling professionally or equally blend in with the crowds while on vacation. Once again, Travelpro has managed to sneak a surprising number of features onto the exterior of the bag without taking away from its streamlined appearance. A hidden ID tag on the back saves you from having to make a separate purchase to protect your personal information from prying eyes or possible snags. A dedicated power pack pocket lets you plug your phone directly into the back of the suitcase while you are on the move, ensuring your travel days are as hassle-free as possible. We're truly impressed with the versatility and wide appeal of this sophisticated rollaboard.
Our only real complaint about the Travepro Platinum Elite is this: the case is built over an inch too long to fit the dimension requirements of most U.S. domestic airlines for their overhead bins. So out of the gate, you have to know that there's a possibility of being called out at check-in or even once boarding the plane (many airlines have a testing "slot" by the gate before entry to ensure you comply). And of course, if you employ the frontside pockets with enthusiasm, you may further add to your depth problems. But in good news, in testing, we never actually encountered any pushback from airlines in transit (not to mention this case always fit well into the overhead). So it seems there may be little to worry about in practice. But since it's technically a requirement, we feel the discrepancy needs to be pointed out.
Though it's not a hard-sided piece of luggage, the Platinum Elite offers impressive durability. We pushed each suitcase to its limits, dropping them onto concrete, dragging them across sidewalks, stairwells, and gravel, and checking them into our final destinations. And true to form, this bag easily withstood every trial we put it through. Made of high-quality ballistic nylon with DuraGuard coating, the Elite has tough, road-ready design features at every turn. Impressive zippers glide well, are lockable, and don't get caught or stuck no matter how stuffed the bag may become. Large, double-spinner wheels (nested into road-tough housings) show almost no signs of wear or reduction in performance, even after months of intensive testing. And all handles are sturdy, secure, and comfortable underhand, inspiring confidence that you'll have an uneventful journey ahead (at least when it comes to your suitcase).
Even small scuffs on the fabric brush off easily with your hand, leaving behind no visible damage. All corners are strengthened and reinforced with leather or thick pliable plastic to withstand the bumps and scrapes of frequent use. And plastic bumpers are integrated along the bag's backside and bottom edge, vulnerable areas that tend to be laid out or dragged across rough surfaces during travel. The only minor complaint we have about this suitcase's durability is that it seems to be a bit of a pet hair magnet. However, a simple brush-off by hand or with a removal device works like a charm. So we aren't counting this minor flaw against the bag.
Should You Buy the Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On?
Though the standard retail price for this suitcase is on the higher side, it's not nearly as expensive as other options we tested and delivers as high of quality in structure and performance. It also seems to be perpetually on sale across the internet and in various retail stores. Considering it is without a doubt our favorite luggage to use and built to last through years of frequent business travel and epic vacations, we have no doubt it's worth the cost. We would recommend this smart soft-shell carry-on to anyone who travels regularly, or even just to those who want one single case that will deliver on reliability and convenience, and keep them looking good in the process.
What Other Carry-On Should You Consider?
We're big fans of just about everything the Travelpro Platinum Elite has to offer. It's stylish and functional, full of versatile features, and impressively durable. It's a great choice for pretty much anyone looking for a carry-on bag, no matter if you're a weekly business traveler or an adventure vacationer. We unanimously loved this carry-on and are happy to name it our Editors' Choice award winner once again.
Share our love for this case but feel wish it was just a few pounds lighter? Take a look at its Travelpro cousin, the Maxlite 5. Or if you appreciate all it's got to offer but think a hardshell carry-on might suit your travel days and style better, we think you will like the sharp and thoroughly well-designed Away Carry-On.
— Myrha Colt
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