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Within the past year some significant changes have been made to The Platinum Card® from American Express, including the addition of 5x points on airfare, a $200 annual Uber credit, a $100 annual fee increase, and more. It has been a while since I’ve looked at the overall value proposition of the card, and specifically how I get value out of it.
In this post I wanted to look at the Amex Platinum Card in a few different ways — specifically, the benefits of the card that I value most, the benefits I don’t personally get much value out of, and a look at the overall value of signing up for the card.
Amex Platinum Card benefits that get me the most value
As I said above, the card has a $550 annual fee, though I feel like I get outsized value from it.
First I like to look at the benefits that help (pretty directly) offset the annual fee on the card.
The card offers a $200 annual Uber credit, which comes in the form of a $15 monthly Uber credit, and a $35 Uber credit in December. I use Uber almost every day, so I get full value out of that benefit. Nonetheless I like to give some sort of a discount to that valuation, since I’m forgoing $200 in credit card spend by using this benefit, on which I could otherwise earn points. So let’s say that’s worth $180.
Similarly, the card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit on a designated airline. While this isn’t as unrestricted as similar benefits on the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige Card, I’ve still always maximized this benefit. Once again I’ll apply some discount to he benefit, so to me it’s worth $180.
The card also offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines. This is a huge bonus category for me, given that I spend a lot on airfare. The alternative would be earning 3x points on another card. I value the incremental return on that at 3.4% on airfare spend, since I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each. That means I’m earning the equivalent of an ~8.5% return on my airfare spend. I realize I spend more on airfare than most, but personally I’d pay $200 exclusively for a card that offered 5x points on airfare.
The card also offers access to Amex Centurion Lounges. These are fantastic lounges that I use at least two dozen times per year, as they’re better than just about any domestic lounges operated by US airlines. Conservatively I’d value access to these lounges at ~$200 per year.
Get free spa treatments in the DFW Centurion Lounge
The card also offers Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta same day. In the past year I’ve visited five SkyClubs using this perk, so let’s value that at ~$100. Some people will get a lot more value out of it, but I’m not a huge Delta flyer… as of now.
Delta SkyClub Seattle Airport
Lastly, while I don’t want to put an extra dollar amount to it, I appreciate that you can add three authorized users to your card for a total of $175. That’s like paying less than $60 per additional person per year for giving them access to Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs, a Priority Pass membership, etc.
Amex Platinum Card benefits that I don’t use much
The Amex Platinum Card also offers a Priority Pass membership, and you can bring in two guests. This is objectively a hugely valuable benefit, though the reason I don’t value it much is because I also have Priority Pass memberships through two other cards, so there’s not much incremental value for me.
The card also offers complimentary SPG Gold status and Hilton Honors Gold status. These are two great mid tier hotel statuses, though personally I’m not going to add them to my valuation, since I’m already SPG Platinum, and have Hilton Gold through the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express.
Receive complimentary breakfast as a Hilton Honors Gold member at many brands
In terms of status, you also get car rental status with National, Avis, and Hertz. I don’t rent cars often enough to really care about that.
You also receive a $100 TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit every four years. Since I’ve had the card for years, I don’t include that in my year-to-year valuation (though I guess I could pro-rate it and do so).
The card also offers access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which gets you additional perks at luxury hotels. I use this benefit occasionally, but won’t include it in my valuation since I find that Virtuoso largely has similar perks, and that doesn’t require a credit card.
Why you can get even more value when you first sign-up for the card
I get a lot of value from the Amex Platinum Card, even though I’ve had it for years. If you’re just applying for the card, it offers a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me those points are worth over $1,000.
On top of that, while the card’s annual fee is based on your cardmember anniversary (meaning if you applied now, you’d pay your next fee in 12 months), the airline fee credit is on a calendar year basis, meaning you’d get a $200 annual airline fee credit between now and December 31, and another as of January 1. That means before you pay your second year’s annual fee, you’ll have potentially received $400 in airline fee credits. So this card is disproportionately rewarding the first year.
Anecdotally I also find that this card is pretty easy to be approved for if you have excellent credit.
I’ve had the Amex Platinum Card for years, and find it to be well worth it. While the card has the highest annual fee of any non-invitation only card that I know of, it also comes with tons of perks. If you’re just applying, the huge sign-up bonus is certainly a nice welcome, but long term I find the card to be worthwhile for the $200 airline fee credit, $200 Uber credit, along with all the other perks, including access to great lounges, hotel and airline status, etc.