With a long list of premium travel benefits and sleek stainless steel design, American Express’ Platinum Card® has long been considered one of the most popular premium travel credit cards.
But are these high-quality perks worth the $695 annual Platinum fee? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers to help you decide if you can get enough value to justify recurring spending.
When does the American Express Platinum card cost?
The American Express Platinum Card is quite popular and the annual fee is well worth it for many people. Here are some examples:
When you value airport lounge access
Are you a frequent traveler and often find it difficult to be productive at airports? Perhaps you need a quiet and peaceful place to unwind before your 14-hour flight to Hong Kong. In this case, you will enjoy the sound of one of the most valuable features of the American Express Platinum Card – Global Lounge Collection. This benefit includes access to a number of different airport lounge networks, including the deluxe American Express Centurion Lounges and International American Express Lounges.
Cardholders also get access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world that are part of the Priority Pass network. As a cardholder, you also get access to Delta Sky Clubs, Escape Lounges, and Plaza Premium Lounges. Other competing cards usually only offer access to one network of airline lounges or provide free Priority Pass Select membership, but no other travel card allows you to enjoy such a wide selection of airport lounges.
When you use travel and shopping credits
As the annual fee for the American Express Platinum Card has risen over the years, it has also increased the number and value of the travel and shopping credits it offers. One of the largest is an annual credit of up to $200 for prepaid hotel reservations at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. You also get up to $240 in annual credits ($20/month) towards entertainment purchases from select providers such as Hulu, Disney+, Audible, Peacock and Sirius XM.
Other benefits include a $155 refund for a monthly Walmart+ subscription, up to $200 in annual airfare credits, and up to $200 a year in Uber Cash. There’s also $25/month for an Equinox fitness subscription and $189/year for a Clear Airport Security membership. The various Platinum Card travel and shopping credits add up to over $1,500, which is quite impressive for a single card. If you can take advantage of most of these offers, then you can easily justify the annual fee for the Platinum Card.
When you don’t mind booking through Amex Travel
Another key feature of the American Express Platinum Card is the ability to earn valuable Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to other rewards programs through Amex partner airlines and hotels. Membership Rewards are popular not only for their incredible flexibility, but also because they cost an average of 2 cents each, according to The Points Guy’s August 2022 estimate.
The Platinum Card also gives you the opportunity to earn 5x more points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel. You also earn 5x more points on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. Sometimes booking through the issuer’s site seems restrictive or ultimately impractical (compared to using a third-party site), but American Express is quite accommodating with its budget insider rates and lowest hotel rate guarantee.
When is an American Express Platinum card not worth it?
As valuable as this card is, some cardholders will not be able to justify it.
When you don’t appreciate the benefits of travel
After all, the Platinum Card is a travel credit card. Those who don’t value travel perks won’t be able to take advantage of many of the card’s perks, including lounge access, airline commission credits, and more. Perhaps these privileges are of little value to you because you don’t travel often. But it can also happen that you are always traveling in business class or first class, in which case your ticket already includes lounge access and tax exemption. If that’s you, then the Platinum Card has more to offer than you really need.
Commission loans offered don’t fit your lifestyle
Much of the solid value of the Platinum Card comes from all the commission credits offered for purchases from certain partners. But what if you don’t shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, work out at the Equinox Gym, or use streaming services covered by Digital Entertainment Credit? Others may not be Walmart+ fans or have the Clear airport security program at their airport. If these loans simply don’t apply to your life right now, then you may find little use in the card and may not be able to justify the card.
When you want to earn maximum rewards for non-travel purchases
Despite the luxurious benefits and statements, the only reward points offered by the Platinum Card are for travel purchases. However, if you spend most of your money on other categories, you may prefer a card with a different reward structure that offers bonus rates for non-travel categories.
For example, American Express® Gold Card offers 4 times more points in restaurants as well as US supermarkets at costs up to $25,000 per year. Giving you the best of both worlds, travel and non-tourism categories, Amex Gold also gives you 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. These are valuable rewards that infrequent travelers can use at home and accumulate points for their next big trip.
Should I buy an Amex Platinum card?
Despite the fees, this card might make sense for those who can’t get enough of sitting in an airport lounge to avoid airport chaos, or get discharge credits to help offset clothing, streaming subscription, or hotel expenses. If you live a high life, exploring bustling cities and historical sites more often, then the Platinum Card is a great tool to come in handy.
However, this card makes a lot less sense for infrequent travelers and those who can’t use its travel-focused perks and rewards. If this sounds like you, you might want to consider a cashback card that provides bonus rewards in everyday categories such as American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card or a flat rate card with travel potential such as Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The good news is that the annual fees for these two cards are significantly lower or non-existent, so you may feel less pressure to maximize your credit card to the fullest to make it worth it.
With an annual fee of $695, the decision to apply for the American Express Platinum Card can be a big decision that can revolutionize the way you travel. However, keep in mind that there is a lot to be done to fully max out the card when it is finally in your hands.
However, the first step to making full use of the card is to understand all the benefits it offers. And of course, in order to qualify for this card, you need to know what credit score you need so you can make the best decision for your needs – whether it’s working to improve your score, deciding to apply for another card, or knowing what it is exactly like that. card for you.