Credit Cards Blog

Finance Blogs » Credit Cards » How it feels to be platinum

How it feels to be platinum

By Janna Herron ·
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

For a few hours last week, I took a break from being a regular Jane to try out the life of an American Express Platinum cardholder.

The credit card issuer invited me, along with my closest media cohorts, to a lunch catered by Swiss-born, renowned chef Daniel Humm, whose soon-to-be released cookbook shares the same name as his Manhattan restaurant -- Eleven Madison Park.

The aim was to create a "by invitation only" event that typically only Platinum cardholders can attend.

There was wine, bubbly and sparkling water along with hors d'oeuvres such as puffed pastries and raw tuna on rice cakes drizzled with deliciouness. Reporters sipped and nibbled while overlooking unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Jersey City.

Later, we sat down and dined on a three-course meal, starting with a vamped-up beet course, followed by a chicken entree with black truffles, butternut squash, parsnips and cabbage. We finished with a chocolate ganache, some kind of chestnut ball and brown butter ice cream.

By the time I gulped the last of my dessert wine, I was wondering why I wasn't a Platinum cardholder. The benefits are enticing. Travelers can pay for their flight on any airline with points; get room upgrades, continental breakfast and late checkout at many hotels and resorts; pay no foreign transaction fees; get access to airport lounges; and receive a $200 airline fee credit and a $100 credit toward the U.S. Global Entry program that expedites getting back into the country.

And that's just for travelers. There are all kinds of purchase and service protections, plus these exclusive events such as a fashion week runway show or a meet-and-greet with Oprah.

But here's one drawback: the annual fee = $450.

One reporter there noted many of the perks from the Platinum card more than pay for itself. For example, the credits toward the Global Entry program and airline fees reduce the annual fee to $150. That's true for the first year, but the Global Entry membership lasts for five years before you have to pay another $100 to renew. And there may be years you don't use the airline fee credit. So, shelling out 450 big ones might not pencil out.

Also, this is a charge card, not a credit card. That means the cardholder must pay off the entire balance in full each month. There are some exceptions, of course. But if your wallet gets tight sometimes and you need the ability to pay a $20 minimum, this card might not be for you.

The bottom line is this: No one credit card is everything to everyone. So before being razzled and dazzled by the offers coming into the mail, ask yourself if this card fits your lifestyle and finances.

While I may want a Platinum experiences once in a while, it's probably best for me to wait for the next press junket.

What kind of rewards credit cards do you like?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
1 Comment
October 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

450 a year?


I do way better by just using my rewards card to rack up points for free flights. I don't fly too much, maybe once a year or two, so a Platinum card is worthless to me.

Airport lounges aren't a draw for me.
And I regularly book hotels that include a breakfast already.
And while that "event" sounds rather nice, I'm more of a "NY pizza" kinda guy anyway.

Platinum, you say? Pass, I say.