American Express Platinum Review: Is It Worth the $450 Annual Fee?
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Let’s start by saying this upfront: The American Express Platinum is certainly not for everyone.
The main reason: It carries a $450 annual fee that is NOT waived for the first year.
So why on Earth would anyone pay $450 to have a credit card?
Well, because I think the perks the American Express Platinum comes with are pretty amazing!
In this post, we’ll look at all the major details of the card and analyze whether this card is worth it for you.
The Details for the Platinum Card® from American Express
Here are the details of the current sign up bonus (bolding mine):
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- With the Platinum Card, you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
- To receive the statement credit, you need to enroll and select a qualifying airline.
- There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
- Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
- Terms & restrictions apply.
Why I Like The American Express Platinum Card
Reason #1: Increased Sign Up Bonus to 40k
The standard bonus is 25,000 American Express points, which is pretty paltry compared to other travel credit cards available.
However, the current bonus is 40k!
15k more for the same card…Not bad!
And while Amex points may not be the best frequent flyer currency out there, they can of be pretty valuable when used correctly.
There have been a few times in recent years where people have been targeted for a 100k sign up bonus. If you do get a targeted offer, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you should jump on it.
Reason #2: $200 Airline Credit
Each calendar year, you’ll receive a $200 credit towards the airline of your choice.
You’ll specify which qualifying airline you want the credit with and then whenever you spend money on that airline, you’ll get reimbursed, up to $200 a year.
Spending can include buying a ticket, baggage fees, buying in flight food or drinks, and other incidentals.
The airline credit is good for every calendar year that you have the card open.
Reason #3: Great Lounge Access for the American Express Platinum Card
Having great lounge access is the MAIN reason most people decide to fork over the annual fee. The Amex Platinum actually gives you 3 types of lounge access with varying stipulations.
All American Express Platinum cardholders can access participating Delta lounges as long as they have a flight with that airline later in the day. Simply present your Platinum card and a valid boarding pass and you’re in.
Delta has 35 lounges worldwide, most of which are in the US.
Starting May 1st, 2014, if you wish to bring guests in the lounge, they’ll need to pay $29.
Priority Pass Lounges
The American Express Platinum card also gives you access to any of the Priority Pass lounges in the world, and boy, are there a lot of them.
Over 600 lounges in 100 countries and more than 300 cities, to be exact (well, kind of exact). Wow!
Basically anywhere you fly, there will be a Priority Pass lounge waiting for you.
The only downside? All guests will have to pay $27 to join you.
Just remember that you must enroll in Priority Pass first before you’re able to access the lounges.
The American Express Platinum card now gives you unlimited access to any of the Centurion Lounges, which are the creme de la creme of airport lounges.
Currently, there are only 2 of them, in Las Vegas McCarran and Dallas/Fort Worth, but more are planned shortly.
Reason #4: Free Global Entry for American Express Platinum cardholders
Global Entry is the TSA’s expedited immigration service. This means that instead of standing in a super long line at immigration when coming back in to the United States, you’ll be able to bypass and breeze right through.
Anyone who has had to go through the nightmare of immigration at JFK should be jumping for joy right now.
After getting approved, you’ll have to pay the $100 fee with your Platinum card, which is good for 5 years.
However, with the American Express Platinum, you’ll get reimbursed that $100.
For anyone who travels internationally a few times a year or more, Global Entry can potentially save you HOURS.
Reason #5: Adding an Authorized User, An Unknown Advantage
One of the major upsides to getting an American Express Platinum card is that you can add an authorized user and they receive all of the same perks EXCEPT for the $200 airline credit.
That’s right, the authorized user has the same access to all the lounges, gets their Global Entry fee reimbursed, and even gets SPG Gold status.
Of course, it does come at a price. You can add up to 3 authorized users for $175/year (although if you only add one, it still costs $175).
Reason #6: Free Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold Status
SPG Gold status gives you some nice perks, the two biggest being free room upgrades and late checkout.
Usually, you need to stay 25 nights per year at an SPG property to get Gold status, so getting it for free with the Amex Platinum is a nice benefit.
To get SPG Gold status, you’ll need to call SPG once you get your American Express Platinum card and request the status. Then, you’ll have to fax over proof of your Platinum card.
Reason #7: Other Minor Perks
Like all Amex cards, if you purchase a qualifying product with your Platinum card, Amex will extend the warranty one additional year past when the regular warranty expires.
Rental Car Insurance
When you rent a car with your Platinum card, you’ll automatically receive collision and loss insurance, meaning you can waive the expensive CDW insurance the rental car company will try to get you to buy.
The Downside of the American Express Platinum Card
Reason #1: Annual Fee
The annual fee is $450 and is NOT waived the first year. If you’re not someone who will make use of the lounge access, then paying $450 is probably not worth it for you.
On a positive note, you will get reimbursed $200 each calendar year in airline credit.
Is The American Express Platinum Card Worth It?
Now, it’s time to answer the big question: Are all those perks worth the $450 price tag?
Of course, the answer will vary from person to person, but let’s look at some generalities.
If you’re someone who would purchase lounge access anyway, the answer is a resounding yes.
If you’re someone who travels internationally 5 times a year or more and would like lounge access but don’t normally pay for it, the answer is yes, since you’ll also get free Global Entry.
If you are someone who frequents a certain airline and would definitely hit the maximum credit of $200 each year, the answer is yes, at least for the first year.
If you are someone who travels sporadically and usually travels in business class, then the answer is probably no, since you’ll have lounge access already.
If you are someone who only travels 2-3 times a year, the answer is no.
I definitely think the American Express Platinum card is one of the most interesting travel credit cards out there. It offers, in my opinion, some of the best extra perks out of all travel credit cards, but $450 is a ton of money.
The best way to determine if it makes sense to you is to figure out how much you value the main perk, lounge access, and how much you plan on using it throughout the year.
Then, take in to account some of the secondary perks, like Global Entry, and figure out if you’d be coming out ahead if you got the card.
(I will get a commission if you apply through my link. As always, your support is much appreciated).
Do you think $450 is crazy to pay for an annual fee or is the American Express Platinum card an amazing value?
Are you considering getting it or do you already have it? If you have it, how do you maximize it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, so fire away!
(globe photo courtesy of xenomurphy)
This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.