Why the Amex Platinum is Worth the Hefty $550 Annual Fee

The American Express Platinum Card is one of the most prestigious and highly sought after charge cards that exist.  There’s just something about handing over that all-metal card that puts a smile on your face.  But, people often avoid this card for two reasons- the annual fee seems ridiculous, or they think they need near perfect credit to be eligible.  Both of those assumptions are far from the truth.  Referring to the latter, people have reported being approved for this card with a credit score as low as 670.  Let’s dig into why the Platinum Card is absolutely worth the annual fee.  There are scores of benefits to this card, but for the sake of justifying that annual fee, I’ll first focus on the ones that involve a direct fee credit.  Please note these are in no particular order.

1) $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit – This credit is designed to reimburse the cardholder for airline fees associated with an airline of your choosing.  The most common way this credit is used is for baggage fees or in-flight purchases.  For example- You use your Platinum card to pay the checked bag fee on your Delta flight, and it costs you $25.  While on your flight, you enjoy $25 worth of food and beverage.  A few days after the $50 worth of Delta spending posts to your account, it will be reimbursed.  You will have $150 remaining in airline fee credits for that year.  Another interesting and slightly less straight-forward way to use the credit is to purchase airline gift cards.  This does not work with all airlines and there are certain caveats for each.  For example, I have successfully used my card to purchase 2-$50 Delta gift cards, and that successfully triggered the fee credit.  It is worth looking into if it will actually work as far as which airline and which amount before you think about taking the gift card route.

2) $200 in Uber Credit – This credit is triggered when you add your Platinum card to your payment methods on your Uber account.  This gives you $15 per month (extra $20 in December for a total of $35 that month) to use towards Uber rides.  It is important to note that this expires at the end of each month if you don’t use it.  If you’re like me and don’t use Uber often, you may be pleased to hear that you can also use the credit for UberEats.  I use my credit each month to get a couple of free lunches delivered to work that I would have otherwise paid cash for.

3) $100 Saks Fifth Credit – This recently added perk allows cardholders to get $50 twice per year reimbursed for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases.  ($50 January to June, $50 July- December).  If you are not one to shop at Saks, I can promise you you’ll find something in the $50 range worth getting for free-ish.  I personally got a nice Polo Shirt that I needed that I found on clearance for $51.  I purchased the shirt with my Platinum card, and sure enough, a few days later only $1 remained from that purchase.

As you can see these credits instantly take that $550 annual fee down to an effective annual fee of just $50.  Now I’ll move on to some of the other benefits of this card that, in my opinion end up being worth much more than $50. 

airport lounge

1) Lounge Access – This card comes with some of the best airport lounge access available.  You get access to any of the American Express Centurion lounges throughout the country, Delta SkyClubs, Priority Pass, and several others.  What this means is that basically any airport you travel to or through, you will have access to free food, beverages, showers, Wi-Fi and other amenities.  This surely beats sitting in the terminal waiting for your flight.

2) Global Entry/TSA Precheck – This card will reimburse you for the fee to apply for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck.  I personally went with Global Entry, as this comes with the expedited customs experience while traveling abroad, while also giving you TSA Pre automatically.  The only reason to go with TSA pre instead is if you never leave the country, or you just don’t want to deal with the slightly more involved application process that comes with Global Entry.  These fees are usually $100 and $85 respectively.  I did not include this reimbursement above due to the fact that these memberships only need to be renewed every 5 years, so it would be unfair to give it face value.

3) Upgraded Statuses – Platinum cardholders also get automatic gold status with SPG and Hilton hotels, without every spending a night there.  This gives you great benefits like automatic upgrades and free Wi-Fi, breakfast etc. when staying at one of those properties.  You also get upgraded statuses with your choice of Hertz, Avis, or National Car Rental- giving you free upgrades and discounts simply for being a Platinum card holder.

4) Concierge – This is one of my favorite and possibly one of the most underutilized features of the Platinum card.  This is a 24/7 service that you can call for a variety of purposes.  Whether it’s booking tickets for travel, a concert, or reservations for dinner, the concierge is there to help.  My personal experience with this service has been excellent.  They are a wealth of knowledge, and they seem to be able to get you reservations or tickets even when there are none available if you call yourself.  They are extremely flexible with this service, going above and beyond.  There has reportedly been an instance where a man was out on his yacht and was planning to propose, but he needed flowers.  The Amex concierge managed to arrange to have a beautiful bouquet of flowers chartered out to him in time for the big event.

Wrap-up

The American Express Platinum card may be have one of the highest annual fees, but as you can see it easily gives arguably the best value of any credit card or charge card out there; nearly paying for itself.  The benefits mentioned above are just some highlights of the card.  It comes with many others such as 5X back on travel, free Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide, as well as the expected purchase protection, extended warranty etc.  This card is an essential for frequent travelers, and quite honestly if you can make use of most of the features mentioned today this would make a great addition to your wallet.

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