Is the Platinum Card from American Express worth its annual fee?

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The Platinum Card® from American Express is often considered one of the best luxury travel credit cards out there.

But this card actually works well for a broad range of consumers thanks to perks such as Uber credits, allowing 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.

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 this card has to offer. Here’s a breakdown of whether this fee may be worth it for you and how to get the most value from your Platinum Card each year.

The Platinum Card® from American Express: Details and benefits

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 on your card within six months of account opening
  • Earn 5X points on flights booked with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1X points on other purchases
  • Qualify for up to $400 in travel credits each year ($200 hotel credit and $200 airline fee credit)
  • 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 a $179 Clear credit and credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck ($100 or $85 every five years)
  • Get up to $100 Saks credit ($50 each half of the year) for card purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or
  • Enjoy automatic Gold elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors program
  • Qualify for travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption coverage, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and secondary auto rental coverage
  • Get up to $240 credit in digital entertainment with subscriptions or eligible purchases with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times
  • Get up to $300 in Equinox credit (enrollment required)
  • Additional card members have access to the Global Dining Access offered by Resy program

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 Amex partners like Delta Air Lines and Hilton Honors.

Up to $400 in travel credits

This card also comes with up to $400 in travel credits each year, split between a hotel and airline credit. 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.

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; 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®.

Broad airport lounge access

One area where The Platinum Card from American Express 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.

You’ll receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for starters, which is worth approximately $429 and lets you enter over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. But you’ll also get access to The Centurion Network lounges as well as 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 UberEats orders. UberVIP 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 or only sporadically, you may not get the full value each year.

$179 Clear credit and up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit

The $179 Clear credit will give you an assigned touchless identity verification that scans your face and eyes allowing you to move faster through identity verification checks which come before your physical screening.

You’ll also get an application fee credit of $100 when you apply for Global Entry or $85 when you apply for TSA PreCheck with the Platinum Card. You may receive the Global Entry credit every four years and the credit for TSA Precheck every 4.5 years at select airports. However, 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 this membership 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 $179 or $100, depending on the credit.

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, which you’ll receive just for being a Platinum Card cardholder. This status can help you secure elite loyalty perks when you stay with hotels with either brand, but having 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 to trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and secondary auto rental coverage when you pay with your credit card.

More ways to earn credits

Amex recently added even more benefits for their cardholders, including:

Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits

You can enjoy up to $240 in digital entertainment credits per year for subscriptions or eligible purchases with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times. These will be received in $20 per month statement credits.

Up to $300 Equinox credit

If you have an existing membership with Equinox or decide to enroll, you can receive a $300 credit per year in the form of $25 per month statement credits. Equinox membership can cost up to $275 per month if you make a 12-month commitment, so this is essentially a free months’ worth of membership. Your membership can be updated online or by speaking with Equinox customer service for support.

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 do 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 ($200 each), Uber credits ($200), Clear credit ($179), Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits (up to $100), Saks credit ($100), digital entertainment credits (up to $240) and Equinox credit (up to $300) would offset the fee completely with a net value of over $700. 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 from American Express could be ideal based on the way you travel and spend your rewards, but make sure you’re informed before committing to the price tag, even with the valuable benefits you’ll receive in return.

Alternate Amex 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 cards Amex offers.

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 an annual fee of $250. It also gives rewards for dining, groceries, flights, and opportunities to earn credits for dining.

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

Siobhan Niele contributed additional reporting to this post.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
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