Consumers have plenty of choices these days when it comes to deciding which premium credit card is right for them, and one of those cards that’s been around the longest is still packed with a slew of perks that are tough for rival issuers to beat. That card is The Platinum Card ® from American Express, which debuted way back in 1984 and offers new customers tons of value and benefits that include a strong roster of travel transfer partners like British Airways and Delta, an annual airline fee credit, Uber credits and much more.
It’s important to point out, however, that all of those benefits comes attached to a $550 annual fee. So while the perks definitely give this particular piece of plastic a leg up on rivals, every potential customer will need to decide if there’s enough benefit here to offset the fee. In this review, we’ll highlight the card’s benefits, credits and earning potential to hopefully make that decision a little easier.
Courtesy of The Points Guy, here are just some of the many benefits associated with this card:
- 60,000 bonus points after you’ve spent $5,000 within the first three months of card membership
- Up to $200 annual airline fee in statement credits on incidental fees charged by the airline you select
- 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
- 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- $100 Saks credit, split into two $50 statement credits
- Complimentary Gold status at Hilton and Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program
Perusing that list, some obvious perks will no doubt immediately jump out at you, like:
The welcome offer
That pretty generous welcome offer of 60,000 bonus points will almost certainly be enough to catch some consumers’ attention. And when taking into account The Points Guy’s current valuation of American Express Membership Rewards points netting you about 2 cents apiece — so $1,200 in total from the 60,000-point offer — it’s definitely a nice introductory benefit. Since it is a one-time benefit, however, it shouldn’t calculated as an offset against the $550 annual fee, which is recurring. But if it gets you in the door, great.
Frequent travelers and road warriors will have no problem not only finding value in the Amex Platinum, but extracting enough benefit from it to outweigh the $550 annual fee. Here’s why.
Let’s start with lounge access. This card gets you into any of more than 30 Delta Sky Clubs around the globe, in addition to American Express’ own luxurious Centurion Lounges. The card’s Priority Pass membership also makes free food and drinks available at a growing number of airport restaurants and bars — a nice perk to compensate for that next layover. Then there’s the $200 airline fee credit that can pay for everything from checked bag fees to in-flight food and drink purchases. You also get $200 in Uber savings each year that are structured as a monthly $15 Uber credit, with up to an additional $20 extra in December (Pro tip: You can also use your credit for the month on an UberEats delivery).
As if all of the above wasn’t enough, travelers will also be able to take advantage of a slew of hotel-related perks with the Amex Platinum. They include complimentary gold status at Hilton and Marriott Hotels, in addition to being able to upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite Status without having to meet any minimum stay requirements. You can also take advantage of complimentary elite status with car rental brands like Avis and Hertz, which presents you with free membership in premium car rental programs that offer special upgrades and discounts.
Yes, the Amex Platinum’s annual fee is a bit steep, but for many travelers the card’s benefits will more than make up for it. The $200 annual airline fee credit, monthly Uber credits that total $200 per year, bi-annual $50 Saks credit and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit by themselves represent about $525 of value each year. Using those credits to cover expenses you’d already be paying, your effective annual fee drops to just $25 — which can be wiped out, and then some, by the card’s myriad other benefits. Of course, the true determinant of value will vary from one person to the next, depending on individual spending and travel habits — but, generally speaking, there’s a lot here to make the card an overall good value.