Controlling the morphology of Pt nanostructures can provide a great opportunity to improve their catalytic properties. In this study, highly effective Pt and PtM (M = Au, Pd, or Cu) nanorods (NRs) are prepared by formic acid method for their oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The number of unoccupied d-state (hTs) results show that PtCu and PtPd NRs have lower unfilled Pt d-states, indicating more d-band electron transfer from the metal to Pt and a decrease of the adsorption strength of oxygenated adsorbates. Besides, after accelerated durability test (ADT) of 1000 cycles, the mass activity of PtCu NRs is nearly 2.2 times higher than that of commercial Pt/C. Thus, the promotional effect of PtCu NRs can be attributed to the 1-D morphology and low unoccupied d-states, favorably enhancing the ORR performance.