Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Spinner Review
Cons: Easy to over pack, few color options
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Constructed from high-density nylon fabric with DuraGuard® coating that resists stains and abrasions, the Travelpro Platinum Elite fits carry-on restriction guidelines. It has four wheels and a top 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 you want them to, and the pockets are easily accessible on the go. The telescoping handle is sturdy and effective, offering four different convenient heights to users. The top and side handles pull away from the bag during use and retract back toward the suitcase on their own for a streamlined exterior. There's even a hidden handle on the bottom, in case your bag ends up head-first in the overhead bin. Like most similar-styled bags, there's only a side handle on one side, and not both though we think in an ideal world there would be handles on every side.
We love the four sets of wheels on this suitcase. They're large and provide plenty of clearance. Even over challenging terrain, they roll along easily, despite not being thickly treaded like some other models we tested. We never had issues with the bag trying to tip over while clearing sidewalk cracks and tall thresholds. But our favorite feature of these wheels is the hidden magnets that hold them gently in forward-facing alignment. The Platinum Elite almost steers itself, staying gently at your side with hardly any effort on your part. We took advantage of this feature by frequently taking our hands off the bag entirely to do other things like clean glasses, put something in a backpack, and eat an airport meal on the go, all while it continued to roll quietly 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 ways it could be improved is by adding a few handy things, like add-a-bag straps (which some other models we tested do have). And, if suitcase builders want to use our ideas, we'd love to see a cup holder and built-in seat for waiting at crowded gates. However, the absence of any of these superfluous features doesn't take away from how much we enjoy using the Platinum Elite.
Storage & Features
When it comes to organization, the Platinum Elite hits the sweet spot. It has numerous pockets that are sure to make even the most ecstatic organizer happy. Interior pockets are cleverly integrated into the underside of the lid, along the back wall of the main compartment, and even in the mesh panels between the compression straps. What we love most about these pockets is that they're all usable and accessible without dumping the contents of your bag. They can also be easily ignored if you're not in need of them, without taking up unnecessary space.
Though it appears modest, the internal capacity of this suitcase is exceptional. We easily fit everything we needed for a 12-day winter vacation, which is no mean feat, considering that packing list included multiple sweaters, several athletic baselayers, and a pair of boots. The Platinum Elite also has a great compression strap system. Going beyond the simple two-strap basics, Travelpro has included a mesh panel (with zippered pockets) in between the straps to increase the surface area of compression, so you can really fill this bag to the top and cinch it all down. An expandable zippered section allows you to slightly increase the capacity of the main compartment, though it only opens the bottom section, which helps prevent your bag from becoming so front heavy it tips over.
Our only real complaint is that of so many carry-on bags - that you can overstuff the front pockets of this rollaboard to the point that it looks like it's about to explode, and no longer meets airline size regulations. But if you can limit the belongings going into the front pockets and lid to small, thin items, and keep your bulky belongings inside the compressed, main compartment, this effect can be minimized. After all, you're not buying a carry-on bag just to have to check it at the gate.
Another area where the Platinum Elite shines brightly. They've managed to incorporate an astonishing array of features into this bag without forcing you to use them if they're not what you need at that moment. A removable suit/dress keeper helps you keep your nice outfit relatively wrinkle-free, and you can hang the whole bag in the closet of your final destination without the worry of picking up lint or hair. And if your current trip doesn't require you to bring an evening gown, simply leave that section at home! The removable toiletry bag is another nice touch. It zips away cleverly into the side of your bag while you travel and is easily removed for use in the bathroom. They've saved you that extra step of having to buy a separate bag!
When zipped shut and on the move, our team of testers unanimously agree that this bag looks sleek and well put-together. It's something you can proudly travel professionally with, and also blend in with the crowds 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 while protecting your personal information from prying eyes and possible snags. A dedicated battery pack pocket lets you plug your phone directly into the back of the suitcase while you travel, keeping your low-battery dilemma as hassle-free as possible. We're truly impressed with the versatility and wide appeal of this rollaboard.
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 at angles on concrete, dragging them across asphalt, and checking them to our final destinations. This bag easily withstood every trial we put it through. Made of high-quality nylon with DuraGuard coating, the Elite also has excellent quality features at every turn. Zippers glide well, are lockable, and don't get caught or stuck no matter how stuffed the bag is. The wheels show almost no signs of wear, even after months of intensive testing. All handles are sturdy, secure, and inspire confidence.
Even small scuffs on the fabric brush off easily with your hand, leaving behind no visible damage. The corners are reinforced with extra-thick material to handle all the bumps and scrapes of frequent use. Really, 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, the hair brushes off with just a little work, so we aren't really counting this against the bag.
Though the standard retail price for this suitcase is on the higher side, it's not nearly as expensive as several other options we tested, that didn't perform nearly as impressively. It also seems to be perpetually on sale around the internet and in various retail stores. Considering it is without a doubt our favorite luggage to use and is built to last through years of frequent business travel and epic vacations, we have no doubt that it's worth the price.
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 love this bag and are happy to name it our Editors' Choice award winner once again.
— Maggie Brandenburg