Is the Amex Platinum Card worth the $450 Annual Fee? – Answering Your Question!

Great question! While I am open to paying annual fees on credit cards, the points and benefits earned MUST outweigh that fee, otherwise the card goes against everything that this site stands for – enhancing your travel experience while saving you money in the process!

The American Express Platinum Charge Card comes with a nice sign-up bonus along with a long list of travel perks and benefits, but with a $450 annual fee, it is not for everyone! While $450 is a lot of money to spend to be a credit card holder, IT IS POSSIBLE to justify this fee if you can maximize the cards sign-up bonus and benefits!

In fact, I will say that it is not only possible, but likely that even the casual traveler will earn $1,000 or greater in net value in the first year after considering the $450 annual fee!

Doubts? Here – I’ll prove it by illustrating some of the most valuable perks and then calculating the value of these perks!

 

Amex Platinum

  1. The Sign-up Bonus – The American Express Platinum Card currently offers 40,000 Membership Rewards upon spending $3,000 in 3 months from account opening. American Express Membership Rewards are valued anywhere from 1 cent per point (for flights booked through Amex Travel portal) to greater than 2 cents per point (if transferred to American Express Travel partners – like Singapore Airlines)! We will estimate the value at the mid-range and say that the 40,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $500.

Note: Many people are targeted for higher sign-ups ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 but since 40,000 is the current public offer, we will stick with this for purposes of calculating the point value. If you are targeted then that means the value of this card even more worth the sign-up!

  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $50

 

Airline Fee Credit
Easy money! Every year of card membership!
  1. Annual $200 Airline Fee Credit Each calendar year, cardholders are eligible for a $200 airline fee reimbursement! You will have to select a valid airline prior to making a charge to use the credit and the reimbursement credit is NOT valid towards purchase of actual airfare. The credit is intended to offset fees (i.e. baggage fees, changes fees, seat assignment fees, etc.), however, there are many sources (AA, WN, UA, DL) suggesting that the purchase of low dollar value ($50-$100) airline gift cards directly from the airlines are able to trigger the credit.
  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit = $200
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $250

 

IMG_8048
Welcome to expedited security!
  1. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit – Hate waiting in the security lines? Tired of taking your shoes off and removing your laptop from your carry-on? Jealous of those travelers zipping past you in the expedited security line? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you are in need of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck! 
    U9C6QN06UU
    Did you know that Global Entry also gets you TSA PreCheck!?

    While these typically cost $100 (Global Entry) or $85 (TSA PreCheck), the American Express Platinum card will reimburse you! Do airport security better – get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck! (Note: A Global Entry Membership provides expedited customs entry into the US when travelling internationally and [most of the time] provides you with TSA PreCheck!)

  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit (from #2) = $200
  • Value of TSA PreCheck = $85
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $335 

    FullSizeRender
    You have to experience the Centurion Lounges…
  1. Lounge Access – Delta SkyClub, American Express Centurion, & Priority Pass – As an American Express Platinum cardholder, you receive complementary access to all Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta Airlines), Airspaces Lounges and a Priority Pass Select Membership (see the Priority Pass Lounge network)! 
    IMG_0752
    The Oman Air Lounge in Bangkok is a member of the Priority Pass Lounge Network!

    Airport lounges provide a nice escape from the normal hustle and bustle of a busy airport and can also get you free, food, drinks and Wi-fi(depending on the lounge). The value of these perks really depends on the amount of travel you have through airports with SkyClub, Centurion, and Priority Pass lounges, but even if you only experience 3-4 lounge visits per year, this can be a difference maker!

  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit (from #2) = $200
  • Value of TSA PreCheck (from #3) = $85
  • Value of Lounge Access = $200 (est. 4 visits per year)
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $485
FullSizeRender (2)
Treat yourself to some complimentary “hair of the dog” at the Amex Centurion Lounge!

 

breakfast bread

  1. Gold Status at Starwood and HiltonAs a Platinum cardholder you receive complimentary Gold status at both Starwood and Hilton Hotel chains. While Gold status is not the top-tier status at either hotel brand, this mid-range status can earn you room upgrades, late check-out, point bonuses, premium internet, and even complimentary breakfast (Hilton only). The value of hotel status really depends on how much you stay at these hotel brands. 
    ef1bf4b3-c5ea-4bf3-8c08-069176681eda
    Upgrade at a gorgeous hotel, like the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam? Sign me up!

    For frequent travelers, Gold Status at both SPG and Hilton can be worth a combined $1,500+ per year, while leisurely travelers will achieve a much lower, but still very rewarding, value! I will take conservative approach here and estimate the status value at a modest $25 per night.

  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit (from #2) = $200
  • Value of TSA PreCheck (from #3) = $85
  • Value of Lounge Access = $200 (est. 4 visits per year)
  • Value of Hotel Status = $400 (est. 8 hotel nights per year)
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $935 
9RD8UKZ8H8
Unplugging is hard…. so don’t!
  1. Boingo Wi-Fi Plan As a Platinum Cardholder you receive free Wi-Fi access through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. This plan provides you with complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi access at over 1 million and can be accessed on up to four devices! Wi-Fi access can come in quite handy when travelling and this perk can save your from the annoying Wi-Fi charges you would otherwise incur!
  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit (from #2) = $200
  • Value of TSA PreCheck (from #3) = $85
  • Value of Lounge Access = $200 (est. 4 visits per year)
  • Value of Hotel Status = $400 (est. 4 hotel stays per year)
  • Value of Boingo Wi-Fi Plan = $30
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $965

 

  1. Other Perks:

– Rental Car status (Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive)

– Access to Amex Offers (a perk of most American Express cards)

Amex offers fromnt screen
Save money on every day expenses with Amex Offers!

ShopRunner 2-Day Shipping (a perk of most American Express cards)

– Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

– Access to The Platinum Concierge

– Access to Invitation Only Events & Ticket Pre-Sales

Saint Pablo
Get early access to the best concerts in town!

– No Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Value of Points (from #1) = $500
  • Value of Airline Credit (from #2) = $200
  • Value of TSA PreCheck (from #3) = $85
  • Value of Lounge Access = $200 (est. 4 visits per year)
  • Value of Hotel Status = $400 (est. 4 hotel stays per year)
  • Value of Boingo Wi-Fi Plan = $30
  • Value of “Other Perks” = $35 (at a minimum)
  • Annual Fee = ($450)
  • Net Value (Cost) = $1,000 – BAM! 

    Money
    All about da Benjamins!

And there you have it! Remember, this is just my estimated valuation of the points and benefits offered by the American Express Platinum Card for the casual traveler/credit card user for the first year (second year will be less rewarding, considering the lack of a sign-up bonus) and can serve as somewhat of a midpoint of the value that you should expect to achieve from this card.

IMG_8677
Travel the world with a touch of luxury carrying your Platinum card!

There are some who will be able to gain a much higher value than $1,000 by leveraging point transfer partners and maximizing elite status benefits on frequent travels, while there are others who only travel 1-2 times per year out of a city with no airport lounge and can assume to achieve less than the $1,000 value.

Thinking of making a move and signing up for the card? Here are just a few additional Platinum Cardholder data points and tips not covered above:

  • This is a charge card, meaning you must pay your balance in full every month
  • The card is great for the benefits, but not so great to spend on, as it only earns 1x Membership Rewards points per $1 on all spending. Go for a card like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold (offering 3x on airfare, 2x on gas & groceries, 1x everything else) if you are looking to amass Membership Rewards with everyday spending

Final Thought

So, is the American Express Platinum Card worth it?

IT CAN BE – that is for you to decide!

It is up to you to know your travel plans and travel habits to determine if this card is the right fit for you. I have the card myself and have been able to achieve that mid-point of $1,000 in value in my first year as a cardholder!

Is the Platinum Card right for you? Send questions to accountingyourpoints@yahoo.com

Monkey
Decisions…Decisions…

Happy [Platinum] Travels!

DW

 

 

 


5 thoughts on “Is the Amex Platinum Card worth the $450 Annual Fee? – Answering Your Question!

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