Updated: Review of the American Express Platinum Card

Pam

 

Today I want to talk to you about my favorite American Express Credit Card. Here’s my review of the American Express Platinum Card. So this card had an annual fee of $550 and it just got raised to $695. Will I keep it? Will it still be my favorite card?

** At the time of writing, you can get 125,000 Membership Rewards. This is an excellent sign-up bonus! The usual bonus is 60,00 Membership Rewards.

 

Airport Lounge Access

Probably the number one reason I keep my Amex Platinum card is that it gives me access to the very best airport lounges. Although I love to travel, hanging out at an airport waiting to board or passing time during a connecting flight is one of my least favorite things to do! Being able to go to a nice airport lounge and relax takes all the sting out of that. I can find a comfy seat, watch a movie on my computer, find something to eat and drink and use a clean bathroom. I have even taken a nap in a recliner and, even better, I have taken a shower after several transcontinental flights! This really lets me feel refreshed and ready to go sightseeing when I arrive at my destination.

 

The American Express Platinum Card gives access to the best lounges, in my opinion with their Global Lounge Collection. These include:

 

  • The Centurion Lounges (some of my very favorite)-Currently, you can bring two people in with you to enjoy food and beverage. Sadly, the ability to bring in two people is going to end in February 2023 and it will only let you in and cost you $50 for guests. One way to get around this would be to add a spouse or partner as an authorized user and that would be cheaper than them having their own card for entry into the Centurion Lounges.
  • The International American Express Lounges – American Express operates eleven lounges exclusively for Card Members internationally, providing comfort as you travel the world. Platinum Members receive unlimited, complimentary access. American Express Lounges worldwide include one Centurion Lounge in Argentina, 2 American Express Lounges in Australia, 2 in India, and 6 Centurion Clubs in Mexico.
  • Priority Pass Lounges – over 1,000 lounges in over 130 countries. This also includes a guest.
  • Escape Lounges
  • Delta Sky Club Lounges – this is a great lounge but you must have a Delta boarding pass for the day. I still use this lounge frequently.
  • Plaza Premium Lounges – over 50 worldwide.

 

That is a lot of lounges! With my American Express Platinum Card, I can literally find an airport lounge at almost any airport I travel to! Usually, it costs $35-$50 to enter an airport lounge. I value it at at least $20 and probably use one for myself and a friend 8 times a year. Conservatively, I value this benefit at $300+. I often use an airport lounge when I arrive at an airport and then during a connection. Most often, a friend or spouse is enjoying the benefits also! Trust me, once you spend time in an airport lounge, you won’t want to pass them up! My #1  reason to keep the American Express Platinum Card is being able to go to all these amazing lounges.

 

Woman sitting in chair in airport lounge

Here I am enjoying the Priority Pass lounge in the Bangkok airport!

 

$200 Airline Incidental Credit

With this benefit, you have to preselect an airline that you will use this on. You can change this each year in January. Because I fly United a lot, that is the airline I have selected. These incidentals include checked bags and in-flight refreshments, and lounge passes. Because I have cards that usually cover my checked bag, I usually buy United Lounge passes for when I fly United since this card doesn’t cover a United Lounge. This is not the greatest benefit, but I use it anyway.

 

$100 Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com Credit

I always use this credit. It is available on a semi-annual basis, $50 during the first 6 months of the year, $50 during the last 6 months. I usually buy my more expensive creams or makeup with this credit. I can always find a code for free shipping so I basically am paying nothing for something I’d buy anyway.

 

Clinique Cream sold at Saks

 

Up to $200 in Uber Rides Annually

If you use Uber regularly, this is a great benefit! Each month you can get a $15 Uber credit and in December a second $20 credit. All you need to do is pay with your Platinum card and signup ahead of time. You’ll even get a Uber VIP status so you’ll be matched with top-rated drivers! This is definitely worth $200 a year. Even better, you can also use it on Uber Eats! You can even get an Eats Pass, which gives you an unlimited $0 Delivery Fee and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants. this is complimentary for 12 months when you sign up with your Platinum Card. You can read here how to do that.

 

Fee Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry

Every four years you have the opportunity to get a credit of $85 for TSA Precheck or $100 for Global Entry. This lets you breeze through security!

 

Hilton Gold Status and Marriott Gold Status

Just by holding the American Express Platinum Card, you suddenly have Gold Status with Hilton and Marriot hotel chains. Here’s what you can expect for those benefits:

Marriott Gold Elite Status

  • Upgraded room at check-in, subject to availability
  • 25% points bonus on paid stays
  • 2:00 pm late check out, based on availability
  • Welcome gift of 250-500 points
  • Complimentary enhanced wifi

 

Hilton Honors Gold

  • Space available room upgrade
  • 2 bottles of water, complimentary
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • 5th night free on award stays
  • Late check out
  • 80% bonus points on paid stays

 

Hotel status is another perk that makes every stay valuable and makes the high annual fee worth keeping the card.

 

Miscellaneous Perks (read your documents for what is covered)

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance – secondary insurance
  • 24/7 Premium Global Assist Hotline
  • Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance

 

Points Earnings

One of the top ways to use your card is to pay for flights where you will earn 5 Membership Rewards for every dollar spent. This can really add up. You can also earn the same rate by booking hotels through amextravel.com. You will earn 1 Membership Reward for every dollar spent elsewhere. Additionally, you will earn 10x for evey dollar spent on restaurants and small businesses for the first six months you have the card – this is huge!

 

New Benefits

Let’s go over the new benefits now to see if they make up for the $145 increase in price.

  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card – okay, I can probably use that one but I’ll need to remember I have it.
  • Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card at participating partners. Enrollment is required – this can be used for Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and the New York Times. I will use this since I have it but it is not particulary compelling for me. I will probably use it on Audible.
  • Receive a $179 Clear Credit – I already have this so this is valuable to me. I was keeping my American Express Green Card because it gave me a $100 credit with it when linked to my United card. I can now cancel the green card and get full credit for my Clear membership. This is very useful to me!
  • $300 Equinox Credit – This is per year for an exercise program. I have an Orange Theory Membership so I won’t be using this.
  • Cell Phone Protection – Effective April 1, 2021, you can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month’s wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Yes, this is something I find useful too.

 

With the new credits I will save get my Clear membership for free. I find this to make up for the $145 increase in price. Additionally, I will use the hotel credit each year and the streaming credits. It will also be nice to have that cell phone protection. All in all, the increased benefits more than make up for the increased cost.

 

Membership Rewards

Membership Rewards are the name of the points you get when you charge through your American Express Platinum Card. What we love about them is that they are transferable points. That means you can use them to transfer to select airline and hotel points. I have most recently used some of mine to transfer to Delta and a last-minute trip to Maui last winter.

Airline and Hotel partners include:

  • Asia Miles
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • British Airways
  • Delta
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Quantas Frequent Flyer
  • SAS
  • Singapore
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Radisson Hotel
  • Marriott Hotels

 

Not every transfer is a 1:1 transfer but many are. Additionally, there are often times when the transfer is a special deal and you can get more miles/points for your Membership Rewards.

 

Woman sitting in business class on airplane

You could fly on Emirates with a transfer of Membership Rewards.

 

Bottom Line

My American Express Platinum Card is one of my favorite cards. I believe I will still get more value from it than the $695 I will have to pay for it annually. The important thing to remember is that the first year you apply for it you get bonus points too for meeting minimum spend. Currently, that signup bonus is 100,000 Membership Rewards after a minimum spend of $6,000 in six months. The usual sign-up bonus is 60,000 Membership Rewards.

With that 100,000 Membership Rewards, I could get at a one-way ticket in a business class seat. Or even better, I could book a roundtrip ticket on ANA to Japan and fly business.  A one-way business class ticket would be worth more than $4,000 so I find the annual fee worth it the first year for sure. Try it for that first year and see if you want to keep it in your wallet indefinitely, like me! I hope my review of the American Express Platinum Card will entice you to try it out. What are your thoughts? Are the benefits worth the increased price for the annual fee?

 

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