Is the Amex Platinum Worth The $695 Annual Fee?

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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?

Amex Platinum benefits

Benefit Potential value Details of the benefit Is this a new benefit?
Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.

You will also earn 10X points on eligible purchases on your new 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. That’s an additional 9X points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.

$2,120 (Points are valued at 2 cents per point. This assumes you earn the full welcome bonus plus an additional 6,000 in points when you charge $6,000 in order to hit the spend requirement, assuming an earning rate of 1 point per dollar) As you spend on the card, you will earn the following:
5X per $1 booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, up to $500,000 per year; 5X per $1 on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com; 1x per $1 on other purchases
No, however, this welcome offer is elevated. In the past, the welcome offer was 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
$200 Hotel credit $200 Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid hotel stays at either Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. Must book with American Express Travel and pay with the Amex Platinum. Yes
Up to $200 Airline fee credit $200 Get $200 each year in incidental credits (i.e. checked bag fees, in-flight drinks, etc.) Must select one airline and charge to Amex Plat. No
$300 Equinox credit $300 You will get a $25 statement credit each month for an Equinox gym membership or towards their fitness app. The Equinox app alone costs $39.99 per month, and a club membership will run you close to $200 per month. Yes
Airport lounge access Variable You will receive access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes: Priority Pass membership, Delta Sky Club access and Centurion lounges. No
$200 Uber credit $200 You will get $15 in Uber Cash per month (bonus $20 in December) for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders. No
Up to $240 digital entertainment credit $240 You will get $20 back each month for one or more of the following services: Peacock, The New York Times, Audible or Sirius XM. Yes
$100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit $100 You will receive up to $100 every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry. Because TSA PreCheck is included with Global Entry, it is advantageous to apply for Global Entry to use the entire $100 credit every 4 years. No
$179 CLEAR credit $100 You will receive up to $179 per year in statement credit to apply for CLEAR, a biometric security program located at airports and stadiums across the U.S. We only value this at $100 because members of select airline loyalty programs can apply for CLEAR at a discounted rate. Yes
$100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit $100 You will receive $50 semiannually to use at either Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com. No
Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status Variable You will receive complimentary Gold status benefits when you book directly at Hilton properties. Gold status includes: daily food/beverage credit, upgrades when available, fifth night free when using points and free Wi-Fi. No
Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status Variable You will receive complimentary Gold Elite status benefits when you book directly at Marriott properties. Gold status includes: upgrades when available, late checkout and enhanced Wi-Fi. No
Terms apply.

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

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).

Bottom line

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    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

  • Welcome bonus

    100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit Needed

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.

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