Is the American Express Platinum Card worth the annual fee?

|
American Express Platinum card
Image Credit: American Express
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

The American Express Platinum card sets a high bar for elite credit cards. But while this card offers some of the best benefits around, it is also a pricey card to keep. Annual fees range from $450 for the business version to $550 for the personal card. With that number in mind, should you apply for the American Express Platinum card? Let’s take a look at the costs, benefits, and how it all weighs out for your unique needs.

American Express Platinum card costs

The American Express Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. The personal version of Amex Platinum carries a hefty $550 per year annual fee. The business version has it a little easier, but still costs $450 per year.

This puts the cost of American Express Platinum in the top tier of cards, competing with the likes of Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and Barclays Arrival Premier. All of these cards charge hundreds of dollars per year in annual fees. But that doesn’t make them unpopular. If this price tag seems a little intense, cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer a lot of value for a much lower annual fee.

Annual fees are not worth it for cards that don’t give you a lot in return, but it is easy to see the value add up for American Express Platinum cardholders. Let’s add up those value offers and see how they compare to the annual fee.

American Express Platinum benefits value

This credit card is loaded with value. From lounge access to fee credits to the Membership Rewards points you earn from using the card, you can easily get hundreds if not thousands of dollars in value from American Express Platinum every year. Here is a look at some features and their values for the personal version of the card:

Credits

The first place you will find outsized value from this card comes from credits. Those alone can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars per year. Here’s how they break down.

  • Airline fee credit – Get $200 airline fee credits per year at your favorite airline.
  • Global Entry fee credit – Get your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee refunded once every four years. This is worth $100 every five years in reality, as that’s how long Global Entry is valid. That is worth $20 per year.
  • Uber credit – Get $200 in annual credits for Uber rides in $15 per month increments, plus a bonus $20 credit in December.

Value of credits: $420 per year

Membership Rewards points

Cardholders can earn bonus awards at signup plus points every time they use the card. The signup bonus alone is currently worth 60,000 points after $5,000 in purchases the first three months you have the card.

The Points Guy values Amex points at 2 cents each, so the signup bonus is worth about $1,200, more than two years of annual fees.

You also earn 5x points per dollar on flights booked directly at an airline or American Express Travel, 5x points for hotels booked at AmexTravel.com, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Value of Membership Rewards – Varies – $1,200+ first year

Other benefits

  • Lounge access – American Express Platinum includes access to American Express Centurion, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select lounges, plus guests. While you may not have purchased these memberships otherwise, they are a great value and make travel a much more enjoyable experience. Depending on how much you travel and what it would cost to enter the lounges, this is worth around $1,000 to $2,000 per year. We will use $1,000 for today’s analysis to be conservative.
  • Hotel Elite Status – This fancy card gives you gold level status at Starwood and Hilton hotels, and because Starwood is now owned by Marriott, you get instant gold status there too. This status gives you room upgrades, lounge access, free drinks and meals, and other perks. The Points Guy says this is worth $900 per year, and that’s good enough for me.
  • Boingo Wifi – Get free access to the Boingo Preferred Plan, which is similar to the $39 per month Boingo Global Plan. That’s worth $468 per year in free airplane and airport Wifi.
  • ShopRunner – Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping, and a group of stores joined forces to offer a similar benefit through the ShopRunner program. This membership is worth $79 per year.

Value of these benefits – $2,447

There are even more benefits I didn’t include here because they are not used as commonly as the above. Those include an international airline program, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, cruise privileges, and car rental status. If you include everything there, The Points Guy values all card benefits at $6,151 per year. That easily beats the $550 cost.

Even using my conservative value estimates, you should see at least $3,000 per year in value between credits, membership programs, and Membership Rewards.

Just remember that these benefits are only worth it if you don’t pay interest on the card each month. To do that, you just have to pay it off in full before the statement is due. If you do pay interest and fees, that can quickly erase the value of any benefits you get from the card.

Do a Cost/Benefit Analysis on the American Express Platinum Card

Everyone uses their credit card differently and everyone’s use of the Amex Platinum benefits is unique. I personally love the lounge access and status at hotels, but I’m not a big cruise goer, so that perk is not quite so useful for me.

Everyone travels differently, has different priorities, and no two cardholders will get an experience that is exactly alike. Because of that, it can be hard to peg the value of this card to a fixed number. But whatever you do, it will probably get you at least $550 in value back to cover the cost of the annual fee.

More Clark.com Credit Card stories you might enjoy:

Advertisement
  • Show Comments Hide Comments