The surface atomic structure and chemical state of Pt is consequential in a variety of surface-intensive devices. Herein we present the direct interrelationship between the growth scheme of Pt films, the resulting atomic and electronic structure of Pt species, and the consequent activity for methanol electro-oxidation in Pt/TiO(2) nanotube hybrid electrodes. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) measurements were performed to relate the observed electrocatalytic activity to the oxidation state and the atomic structure of the deposited Pt species. The atomic structure as well as the oxidation state of the deposited Pt was found to depend on the pretreatment of the TiO(2) nanotube surfaces with electrodeposited Cu. Pt growth through Cu replacement increases Pt dispersion, and a separation of surface Pt atoms beyond a threshold distance from the TiO(2) substrate renders them metallic, rather than cationic. The increased dispersion and the metallic character of Pt results in strongly enhanced electrocatalytic activity toward methanol oxidation. This study points to a general phenomenon whereby the growth scheme and the substrate-to-surface-Pt distance dictates the chemical state of the surface Pt atoms, and thereby, the performance of Pt-based surface-intensive devices.