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Is the Amex Platinum worth the yearly fee?

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You’ve probably heard of The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s often considered one of the best luxury travel credit cards out there.

But this rewards credit card actually works well for a broad range of consumers thanks to perks such as Uber credits that allow ride-share users to save up to $200 on rides throughout the calendar year. Plus, long-standing benefits like airport lounge access and annual airline credits aren’t just for luxury flyers—most cardholders can take advantage of them even if they only travel once or twice a year.

The biggest downside to the Platinum card is its $695 annual fee, but even that can be offset by rewards if you take advantage of all the card has to offer. Here’s a breakdown of whether the fee may be worth it for you and how to get the most value from your Platinum card each year.

Details of the Platinum Card from American Express

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 on your card within six months of account opening
  • Earn 5X points on directly-booked airfare and flights booked through amextravel.com (up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com, 2X points on prepaid car rentals through amextravel.com and 1X points on other purchases
  • Qualify for up to $400 in travel credits each year (up to $200 in hotel credits and up to $200 in airline fee credits)
  • Receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, plus entry into the American Express Global Lounge Collection and Delta Sky Clubs when you fly Delta
  • Get up to $200 in Uber credits each year (up to $15 per month and up to $35 in December)
  • Get up to $179 in Clear credits and up to $100 in credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership
  • Get up to $100 in Saks credits ($50 each half of the year) for card purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or Saks.com
  • Enjoy automatic Gold elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs
  • Qualify for travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption coverage, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and secondary auto rental coverage
  • Get up to $240 in digital entertainment credits with subscriptions or eligible purchases with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times
  • Get up to $300 in eligible Equinox memberships credits (enrollment required)
  • Get up to $155 (plus applicable taxes) per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95 plus applicable taxes), available each month your Walmart+ monthly membership is paid with your Amex Platinum
  • Enjoy a $300 credit for each eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike purchase using your card through American Express’ provided link
  • Additional card members have access to the global dining access offered by Resy

Lucrative welcome bonus

After approval for the Amex Platinum, you can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 within six months of account opening. This generous welcome bonus is awarded on top of the points you earn for regular spending. (Note, you might be able to score an even bigger bonus of up to 150,000 points after you spend $6,000 in the first three months if you are targeted via CardMatch.)

Since American Express Membership Rewards points are worth approximately 2 cents each according to valuations from The Points Guy, a 100,000-point welcome bonus could be worth $2,000 depending on how you redeem your rewards. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of options since Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, travel through American Express Travel and transfers to American Express transfer partners like Delta Air Lines and Hilton Honors.

Rewards

Alongside the standard point-earning opportunities highlighted above, there are limited-time opportunities that arise and allow you to earn cash back or points when you make purchases with popular retailers and restaurants.

You also have the opportunity to earn additional points through referral bonuses once you’re eligible. Approved referrals can earn cardholders 15,000 points (up to 55,000 points each year).

Annual fee

Within the past year, the Amex Platinum annual fee increased from $550 to $695. Understandably, some cardholders aren’t so sure they’ll get good use out of this increasingly expensive card and are considering canceling their Amex Platinum.

Despite the high annual fee, there is still opportunity to profit from the American Express Platinum card. Because this card offers so many monthly and annual credits, if utilized strategically, you can gain $2,100 in recurring value each year.

Newer aspects of the Platinum Card from American Express

While the American Express Platinum Card has retained many of its valuable perks, this card has introduced some exciting new credits over the past year.

Hotel credits

You can earn an annual statement credit of up to $200 for prepaid hotel bookings through Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties when bookings are made through the American Express Travel portal.

Clear membership credit

Travel lovers will appreciate gaining an annual statement credit (up to $179) towards a Clear membership. Clear provides travelers with access to faster security screening at more than 50 domestic airports.

Digital entertainment credits

Stay entertained with up to $240 in yearly digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month in statement credits) that can be applied to Peacock, The New York Times, Audible and SiriusXM.

Equinox membership credits

Fitness fanatics can save a pretty penny with up to $300 worth of annual statement credits ($25 per month) that can be applied to in-club or digital membership fees at Equinox. This includes Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox and Equinox+ memberships (enrollment required).

Up to $155 in Walmart+ credits

Interested in making grocery shopping easier? Enjoy up to $155 (plus applicable taxes) per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95 plus applicable taxes). To take advantage, simply pay your monthly Walmart+ membership with your Amex Platinum card.

Up to $300 in SoulCycle credits

Looking to beef up your at-home workout game? Get up to $300 in credits for each eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike purchase made using your Amex Platinum card (through Amex’s provided link).

Wheels Up membership

If you desire a pricey Wheels Up membership ($2,995 to $17,500 for the first year), you’ll save big with the Amex Platinum—which provides up to $2,000 in flight credits for booking charters. While most cardholders won’t take advantage of this perk, it more than cancels out the annual fee if this is a benefit you’ll actually utilize.

Resy Global Dining Access program

Foodies—clear some room on your calendar. The Resy Global Dining Access program helps you secure reservations at hard-to-book restaurants.

Benefits of the Amex Platinum

Still not sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of the Amex Platinum fee increase? Here’s a look at some additional benefits this card has to offer.

Up to $400 in travel credits

This card comes with up to $400 in travel credits each year, split between airline and hotel credits. The $200 airline fee credit can go toward your airline of choice, but there are some rules that can limit its value. You must commit to a single airline, and your $200 airline credit only applies to eligible incidental purchases with that airline.

That means you can only use it for purchases such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, and you can’t use it to pay for flights or upgrades. This makes the credit less flexible than comparable travel credits from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige® Card.

As noted above, the $200 hotel credit is redeemable through statement credits each year when booking through American Express Travel at an eligible Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection property. Regardless of whether you have an additional card on your account, if you book an eligible property, you will receive this credit across all cards on your account.

Broad airport lounge access

One area where the Amex Platinum really stands out is in the airport lounge access it offers. Where many top travel credit cards only offer a Priority Pass Select membership, this card takes airport lounge membership a step further.

For starters, you’ll receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which lets you enter over 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries and over 500 airports. You’ll also get access to Amex Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta Air Lines.

Up to $200 in Uber credits

This card offers up to $200 in Uber credits, which are awarded on a monthly basis in increments of $15. In December, cardholders get an extra $20 for a total of $35 in credits toward both Uber rides and Uber Eats orders. Uber VIP access is automatically included and other discounts, giveaways and perks may be available.

These credits can be useful if you use Uber for ride-sharing often, but it’s important to remember that they don’t roll over from month to month. If you use Uber infrequently, you may not get the full value each year.

Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits

Get up to $100 in credits to cover your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee. You receive the Global Entry credit every four years and the TSA PreCheck credit every four and a half years at select airports. Note, if you apply and get approved for Global Entry, you will have access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.

You do have to pay for these memberships with your credit card for the fee credit to apply, and the charges will appear as a statement credit. Purchases can be made by both basic and additional card members on the account, but the statement credit cannot exceed $100.

Automatic Gold status with Hilton and Marriott

If you frequently stay with major hotel brands, you’ll enjoy Gold elite status with both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs just for being a Platinum cardmember. This status can help you secure elite loyalty perks when you stay at hotels with either brand. The automatic status will also help you climb the ladder toward higher levels of elite status even faster.

Important travel insurance benefits

You’ll score travel insurance benefits when you use your credit card to pay for travel with a common carrier, which includes everything from trip cancellation and interruption coverage, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and secondary auto rental coverage when you pay with your credit card.

Is the Platinum Card from American Express worth it?

Before you decide whether the Platinum Card is worth the annual fee, you should consider whether you’ll use all the benefits. This card can easily be a good deal for people who ride with Uber and visit airport lounges a few times per month. But it’s also beneficial for consumers who are loyal to a single airline where they can easily use the credit or those who want access to a flexible rewards program allowing points transfers to airline and hotel partners.

If you decide to go with this card and play your, ahem, cards right, you could easily offset the high annual fee of $695 with the statement and fee credits. After all, the card’s hotel and airline fee credits (up to $200 each), Uber credits (up to $200), Clear credit (up to $179), Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits (up to $100), Saks credit (up to $100), digital entertainment credits (up to $240), Equinox credit (up to $300), Walmart+ credit (up to $155) and SoulCycle credit (up to $300) would offset the fee completely. Not to mention the savings provided by the other perks and benefits if you take advantage of all the card has to offer.

Before you apply, take the time to compare top travel credit cards to determine which ones might work best for your needs. The Platinum Card could be ideal based on the way you travel and spend your rewards. Be sure you’re informed before committing to the price tag, even with the valuable benefits you’ll receive in return.

Alternate American Express Cards (if the Platinum’s annual fee is too high)

Some cardholders won’t get anywhere near using the benefits to offset the Platinum’s annual fee. In this case, they should look into other American Express credit cards.

The American Express® Gold Card, for instance, offers new cardholders 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first six months and has an annual fee of $250. It also offers rewards on dining, groceries and flights.

The American Express® Green Card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Its annual fee is only $150, and you can earn points on dining, transportation and travel. Cardholders may also earn credits for Clear security fees and airport lounge access.

The bottom line

You’ll really need to evaluate the benefits of the American Express Platinum to determine whether or not you’ll earn enough rewards to balance out the $695 annual fee. If you travel a lot, it’s easy to see how the rewards would be well worth it. However, even cardholders who don’t travel too often can benefit greatly by making strategic purchases—especially if they can utilize the many credits offered for specific retailers, fitness brands and entertainment subscriptions.

Take a look at your existing spending habits and see how they line up with the Platinum Card’s benefits. The last thing you want to do is overspend in an attempt to make the most out of your card.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Written by
Jacqueline DeMarco
Personal Finance Writer
Jacqueline is a contributor for Bankrate and has worked with more than a dozen financial brands, including LendingTree, Credit Karma, Fundera, Chime, MagnifyMoney, Student Loan Hero, ValuePenguin, SoFi and Northwestern Mutual, providing thoughtful content to give readers insight into complex topics that they likely didn’t learn in school. You can learn more about her work and connect with her on LinkedIn or at JacquelineDeMarco.com. Sometimes she’s even interviewed about her career and running a freelance writing business.
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