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The Platinum Card® from American Express recently underwent a major revamp of the benefits offered on the card. Several new features were added, but to offset that cost, American Express raised the annual fee from $550 to $695 (see rates and fees).
While $550 was already a steep price to pay, raising it another 25% has many questioning if the card is still worth it. On top of that, as the travel industry continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, some consumers are wondering whether a travel credit card like the Amex Platinum is right for them.
Below, Select breaks down the Amex Platinum’s rewards, benefits and fees to help you decide if it’s the right card for you, despite the higher annual fee.
Is the Amex Platinum worth it?
The American Express Platinum Card, known for its prestigious benefits and sleek appearance, is a card worth bragging about. Between the numerous travel benefits, reputable concierge service and consumer protections, the card is worth considering if you can stomach the steep annual fee.
However, some credit card enthusiasts have compared the new benefits to that of a “coupon book,” questioning the true value these credits are offering Platinum cardmembers. Many of the benefits, like the entertainment and Equinox credits, are essentially forcing some customers to spend more money than they normally would — defeating the purpose of the card saving you money.
In addition, there are valid arguments that the Amex Platinum card is only worth holding onto for one year, and then cardholders should consider canceling when the second annual fee posts on the billing statement because the value of benefits significantly decreases after the first year, most notably because you won’t receive a second the welcome offer.
Here is a list of the benefits you will receive in your first year of card membership:
With over $3,500 in potential value, it’s easy to justify having the American Express Platinum Card for one year — even with a nearly $700 annual fee.
However, many of the above values are estimates. You have to ask yourself: Are these credits really worth their face value? We valued Amex points at 2 cents apiece, which is possible if you’re transferring them to airline partners. But not everyone will extract that much value from Amex points.
Unfortunately, the Equinox and entertainment credits are more like coupons. Equinox is a pricey fitness club with limited locations, and the entertainment credit is limited to just a handful of subscription services, these benefits deliver questionable value when justifying the annual fee.
It’s harder to put a price on airline lounge access and elite status with Hilton and Marriott. Some may get huge value from these benefits if they’re frequent travelers at airports with qualifying lounges or prefer staying at Hilton and Marriott properties. An annual membership to the Delta SkyClub alone starts $545. Others may not be able to easily access these benefits based on location or travel habits.
You could also argue the CLEAR membership becomes less valuable if you enroll in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck in year one since TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are accepted at every U.S. airport.
What to know if you are considering the Amex Platinum
If you’re considering the Amex Platinum, it could be worth it for the first year, and then reevaluate when the second annual fee posts. But aside from the benefits, be sure to evaluate your own spending prior to applying. If you have travel purchases like flights and hotels coming up, you can take advantage of the 5X points for every dollar spent on travel booked through American Express.
The value of the credits we tallied up doesn’t take into account other American Express features such as purchase protection, travel insurance and concierge service, among others. For many, the customer support they receive as a Platinum cardmember makes the annual fee worthwhile.
In addition, take the time to figure out if you’ll be able to use the credits. For example, if you already paying for an Equinox or New York Times subscription, then those are valuable benefits. But for those uninterested or unable to access the benefits, you might want to consider another credit card.
But most importantly, don’t force yourself into a difficult financial situation just to have a credit card. If the annual fee is too expensive, don’t fret — there are several other credit cards you can consider without a steep annual fee.
Alternatives to the Amex Platinum
Whether you’re a current Amex Platinum cardholder, or are considering applying for it, it is advantageous to consider all options available. It could be another American Express credit card, a business credit card if you are a business owner or a comparable travel credit card that may be a better option for you.
If you want similar travel perks to the Amex Platinum, consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It comes with airport lounge access, hotel elite status and travel credits like the personal Platinum card, but has a slightly lower annual fee of $595 (see rates and fees).
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another premium travel card loaded with benefits, including a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass airport lounge membership, $60 DoorDash credit plus it earns 3x points on all travel and dining purchases. However, it does have a $550 annual fee.
For those who don’t want to fork over north of $500 for an annual fee, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express® Gold Card. The Sapphire Preferred currently has a massive 100,000-point welcome bonus which you’ll earn after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. Those points are worth $1,250 for travel when booking through Chase and the card carries an annual fee of only $95.
The Amex Gold is a strong points-earning card since it gets 4X points for every dollar spent on dining, including restaurants, takeout and delivery and 4x points for every dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 (then 1x point). It also comes with Uber and dining credits worth up to $240 a year, which helps offset the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
The Platinum Card from American Express still remains an excellent card for luxury travelers. Between the welcome offer, laundry list of benefits, consumer protections and excellent concierge service, it is an experience having the card. However, a $695 annual fee is an eye-popping figure for many that can lead some to question the value.
Overall, the Amex Platinum still remains worth it if you can take advantage of the benefits without overextending yourself. At the end of the day, it’s not financially savvy to spend more money just to take advantage of the card’s benefits. But if you can strategically plan purchases you were already going to make that align with the benefits of the card, it is still worth it.
On the American Express secure site
Earn 10X points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you shop small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership, 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases
100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.