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A few months ago, we heard rumblings of an annual fee increase on The Platinum Card® from American Express to $695 — and today, those rumors are coming to fruition.
That’s right: The most expensive travel rewards card you can apply for is getting even pricier.
The card, previously clocking in at a $550 annual fee, will be hiking its price to almost $700. While it’s certainly a staggering price tag, American Express is introducing a host of new perks and benefits. Here’s a closer look to help you decide if it’s worth it to you to apply for the card — and how it compares to some other travel cards with lower annual fees.
- $200 hotel credit as an annual statement credit for prepaid bookings through the Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection properties made through American Express Travel
- $179 annual statement credit for a Clear membership
- $240 in annual statement credits ($20 per month) on purchases or subscriptions with Audible, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock
- $300 in annual statement credits ($25 per month) on select Equinox memberships or a digital subscriptions to Equinox+, an on-demand fitness app
Cardholders will also get more lifestyle and experience-based perks, including 40% off a membership for the Premium Private Jet Program with Wheels Up, as well as up to $2,000 in initial year flight credits to book private charter flights; and access to the Global Dining Access program by Resy, where cardholders can get exclusive tables at some of the world’s top restaurants.
These perks are in addition to those that the card already offered, including a $200 airline fee credit, $200 annually in Uber Cash, up to a $100 credit on a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit and access to global lounges such as the Amex Centurion Lounge and Delta SkyClubs (when flying same-day Delta flights).
The card also earns 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com and is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. New cardholders can also earn 10 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and when they Shop Small® in the U.S. (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases) in the first six months.
The new benefits go into effect on July 1, 2021 for both existing and new card members. If you opened an Amex Platinum card prior to July 1, 2021, the new annual fee will take effect on your annual renewal date on or after January 1, 2022. For new card members (as of July 1), the new fee will go into effect immediately.
If you add up all of the existing and new credits, you’re looking at over $1,400 in value in your first year alone. But that is only valuable to you if you use them. What’s most important here is that you take a close look at your travel habits, as well as your budget, to see if the perks align with your lifestyle. For example, if you don’t use Equinox, Uber and Clear, that’s over $600 worth of perks that you would not use, which could make the card not worth it to you. If you do use these services, as well as other perks that the card offers, you can easily offset the cost of the annual fee.
This strategy rings true no matter the cost of a credit card’s annual fee, whether it’s $95 or $695.
What Credit Cards to Get Instead of the Amex Platinum
That said, there’s no denying that $695 is a lot of money. If you took a critical look at your spending habits and decided this card just isn’t worth it for you, there are plenty of other travel credit cards on the market at lower annual fees.
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Amex Platinum’s main competitor, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, also has a high annual fee at $550, but comes with perks like a $300 annual travel credit, $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck fee every four years, $60 in DoorDash credits and a complimentary Dash Pass subscription throughout 2021 and up to $120 in eligible Peloton purchases. You’ll also receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select lounge membership, which gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world.
It’s offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening, and earns 3 points per dollar on all dining and travel purchases, plus 1 point per dollar on everything else.
American Express® Gold Card
The Amex Gold card is another premium travel rewards credit card, especially aimed towards travelers who also love to eat. With perks like $100 in annual dining statement credits, $100 in Uber Cash and an Uber Eats Pass membership valued at almost another $120, you’re looking at $340 worth of benefits alone in the first year. This can help negate the cost of the $250 annual fee.
It is offering a welcome offer of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within six months of card membership, and earns 4 points per dollar on dining and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), as well as 3 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel and 1 point on everything else.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Now is the best time to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, as it’s offering a 100,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. It has a $95 annual fee and comes with perks like complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (must be activated by 12/31/21), and up to $60 in statement credits towards a Peloton membership. It also earns 2 points per dollar on dining and travel, as well as 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture card is a flexible travel rewards credit card that earns 2 Capital One Venture miles per dollar on all purchases. You can qualify for 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 within the first twelve months of account opening, or earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. It doesn’t come with many travel perks, though, other than a $100 application fee credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. The card has a $95 annual fee.