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The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the highest annual fee personal cards out there. The personal Platinum card from American Express has an annual fee of $550. Wow! Considering you are paying $550 a year for simply holding a credit card, that’s pretty shocking when you have to tell your friends and family about it because that amount of annual fee indeed is pretty steep. However, there are more benefits to this card than just the annual fee itself, and you can decide whether those benefits justify that $550 annual fee or not.
Welcome Sign-up Bonus
First thing first, for those that are new to the Platinum card from American Express, you always want to aim for the highest welcome sign-up bonus points when available. American Express has a strict one bonus per life-time policy that prevents you from getting the sign-up bonus points over and over again though there are some loopholes to it. But generally speaking, it is not fast and easy to get a second sign-up bonus points with American Express for the same card. Therefore, always go for the highest welcome bonus points, and in our opinion paying for the annual fee for the first year or better yet zero annual fee for the first year to get those sign-up bonus points are pretty good deal.
It all comes down to the benefits that you can get out of the Platinum card. Is the card worth keeping for such a high amount of annual fee? We are not going to go into the nitty gritty details of the card’s benefits, but here are the most obvious benefits that you should consider when deciding whether to keep or cancel the Platinum card from American Express.
$200 Airline Reimbursements Fee
I look at this benefit as a cash value of $200 that will be spend on airline incidental fees each year. If you have a good use of a specific airline each year, that essentially drops the annual fee down to $350. Please note that, airfare and airline gift card’s purchases are not covered under American Express terms for this airline fees credit, but there are work arounds thanks to the points community. I make good use of the $200 airline fee credit through Southwest airline.
$200 Uber Cash
This is another face value of $200 that if you will be using the shared ride Uber service a lot. Each month, you are given $15 in Uber cash to use, so that is $180 Uber cash a year plus $20 bonus in December month. However, the Uber cash does not accumulate, meaning if you don’t use the $15 credit in a month, that credit is forfeited. So if you are using Uber at least once a month, that essentially drops the annual fee down to $150.
$100 Saks Fifth Avenue Statement Credit
If you enjoy shopping at the Saks Fifth Avenue or their online store, from January to June you can earn up to $50 in statement credit and then another up to $50 in statement credit from July through December. Factoring this benefit in along with the two benefits above, if you can take advantage of all these credits, the annual fee is knocked down to only $50.
American Express gives its cardmembers ability to use the card on certain merchants and receive statement credits back. There are several of them that range from shopping, dinning to traveling and entertainment. Each statement credit does not appear to be much, but they can really add up if you continue utilizing this Amex offers benefit in your account each year. This essentially can help reducing the annual fee on the Platinum card as well.
Airport Lounges Access
By holding the Amex Platinum card, you can access to the following airport lounges subject to each lounge’s access policy:
- American Express Centurion Lounges
- Delta Sky Club Lounges (Cardholder only and is flying with Delta)
- Priority Pass Select Lounges
- Escape Lounges
- Airspace Lounges
- Plaza Premium Lounges
- International American Express Lounges
- Lufthansa Lounges
Automatic Hilton Gold Status
In practice, you have to have 20 stays in a calendar year or 40 nights in a calendar year or earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year in order to achieve the Hilton Gold status. That’s a lot of money spending at Hilton hotels! Amex Platinum card gives you automatic straight to Gold status with Hilton program. The Gold status is only one down from Hilton’s highest tier status called Diamond. With Hilton Gold elite status, you receive a 80% bonus on all the Hilton Honors Base Points you earn, room upgrade, late check-out, and complimentary breakfast at all Hilton properties.
$100 Statement Credit for Global Entry or $85 Statement Credit for TSA Pre-Check
This benefit is worth mentioning; however, only one credit will be given in a four year period for Global Entry or in a 4.5 year period for TSA Pre-check. You can also use this benefit for friends and family, but the benefit is only reset every 4 years.
Is the Amex Platinum Card Worth the Annual Fee $550?
In reality, you are essentially spending $500 in cash every year for airline fees, Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you can make good use of all these 3 obvious face value benefits, then keep the card because you only pay $50 to hold on to the Platinum card. This card is one of the premium travel card that comes with other travel benefits such as complimentary airport lounges access, Global Entry or TSP Pre-Check fee reimbursement every 4 years, Hilton Gold status that is only one below their highest Diamond status, Marriott Gold Elite status though that doesn’t mean much with Marriott nowadays, and a free National Emerald Club Executive status with National rental car. In addition, you also get 5x Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, as well as prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com portal site. You also get access to Amex offers for some statement credits throughout your card’s membership period.
On another hand, if you cannot make good use of those 3 obvious $500 face value benefits, then you may consider the cost that may incur from not getting other benefits on this card such as having to pay to get into an airport lounge, no Hilton Gold status that gives you complimentary breakfast at Hilton hotels and resort worldwide, and then having to pay $100 fee for Global Entry application or $85 fee for TSA Pre-Check every 4 years. Crunching in those numbers will allow you to make a sound decision whether to keep or cancel the card. There are more benefits to this card but what mentioned here are the most obvious and valuable ones. If you think you can live without these benefits or you already have another credit card that offers the same benefits, then canceling the card is the way to go.
If you decide to cancel the card though, it’s worth calling American Express for a retention offer. Sometimes, they do give out some spending tasks to complete to earn certain Amex Membership Rewards points if you value Amex points. Also, by canceling the card you are forfeiting the Amex points on your account unless you have another Amex card that earns the Membership Rewards points as well to keep those points alive after the cancelation. Keep in mind that American Express also has a rule that you have 30 days after the annual fee is posted to cancel the card and request a full annual fee refund if you need more time to think this through.