Is The Platinum Card® From American Express (Really) Worth $550 Per Year?

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Initially, we may cringe when we learn a rewards-earning credit card charges a $550 annual fee. But, premium credit cards that come with these higher fees usually also have a long list of valuable benefits that help balance out the cost of the fee.

This is definitely the case with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

And while the benefits that come with the card have tremendous potential value, do they provide great value for you? And if so, is it enough value to offset the annual fee?

If you travel frequently and enjoy luxury travel benefits, you owe it to yourself to investigate The Platinum Card further. You may discover that you’re currently paying out of pocket for perks that come complimentary with the card.

Fortunately, in traditional Upgraded Points style, we’ve sorted through the details and compiled a list of benefits and the value you can expect from each one.

It’s very plausible the $550 annual fee could actually save you money.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • An overview of the benefits of The Platinum Card®
  • Which benefits of The Platinum Card® are the most valuable
  • What type of traveler is a good match for the card

Let’s get started and find out if the card delivers enough value to have it in your wallet.

Global Airport Lounge Access

The Benefit

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you receive unlimited worldwide access to all of the lounges in the American Express® Global Lounge Collection.

The Global Lounge Collection includes the following lounge networks:

  • Centurion Lounges
  • American Express® International Lounges
  • Priority Pass – note: Priority Pass memberships from US-issued American Express cards no longer include restaurants (‘non-lounge airport experiences’).
  • Delta SkyClub
  • Lufthansa Lounges – Temporary promotional access
  • Plaza Premium
  • Escape
  • Airspace

Cardholders are allowed to bring up to 2 guests into most lounges.

The Value of Airport Lounge Access

The value of airport lounge access will vary depending on the traveler, of course.

Rather than throw out a specific figure, allow us to illustrate the potential value by looking at possible scenarios where a traveler could benefit from complimentary lounge access.

If you currently:Potential annual value of having complimentary lounge access with the Platinum® Card:
  • Pay for a Priority Pass Membership
  • $429
  • Purchase (2) $35 airport lounge day passes per month
  • $840
  • Purchase (2) $50 airport lounge day passes per quarter
  • $400
  • Pay for a single airline-branded lounge membership but purchase day passes for spouse/family; (2) $59 day passes per quarter
  • $472
  • Pay for a family airline-branded lounge membership
  • $845 to $1250
  • $545

Looking at this table, it becomes clear that if you’re paying for any lounge access at all, you’ll realize a financial benefit by gaining complimentary lounge access.

In addition to replacing paid lounge access, you’ll also gain exclusive entry to Centurion Lounges, a privilege that can’t be purchased separately.

If you’re currently without lounge membership, there’s also the added value you might put on the comfort and convenience you could experience by having access to lounges during your travels.

Bottom Line: If you currently pay for lounge access, or are considering purchasing a lounge membership, the value of complimentary lounge access on The Platinum Card® could be reason alone to have the card. 

The Centurion Lounge (SEA)
Worldwide lounge access is one of the most valuable benefits of The Platinum Card. Image of SEA Centurion Lounge courtesy of thecenturionlounge.com.

Share Your Benefits With Others

For just $175 per year, you can add up to 3 additional authorized users to The Platinum Card®.

Authorized users receive full access benefits to the American Express Global Lounge Collection. A conservative estimate for unlimited lounge access for the cardholder plus 2 guests would be no less than $700 per year.

Authorized users also receive hotel and rental car program elite status, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit.

A Generous Welcome Bonus

While welcome bonuses vary, you can usually count on hundreds of dollars worth of travel when you’re approved for The Platinum Card®.

The bonus comes in the form of Membership Rewards Points earned after you spend the minimum required amount on the card within the first 3 months.

The value of the bonus alone could offset the cost of the card in the first year.

Hot Tip: If you are thinking about adding The Platinum Card® to your wallet, it’s best to do it when the welcome bonus is high since you can only earn one of these bonuses per lifetime. The 100,000 point welcome offer is the highest we have seen.

Airline Fee Credits

Select an airline and receive statement credits for purchases you make on The Platinum Card® for any incidental fees incurred on that airline.

You can receive up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year.

Airplane BA
Booking flights with Amex Travel or directly with the airlines earns 5x points. Image by Christine Krzyszton.

Elevated Earnings on Airline Tickets and Prepaid Hotel Stays

You’ll be earning 5 Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with the airline and for flights and pre-paid hotels booked through Amex Travel.

Membership Rewards Points redeemed for travel through Amex Travel result in a value of 1 cent per point. The ability to transfer points to airline partners can result in a value considerably higher.

But let’s be ultra-conservative and calculate that if you spent $8,000 per year on qualifying travel, you would receive 40,000 Membership Rewards Points for a minimum value of $400.

Uber Cash Credits

Register your card and become an Uber VIP. Then, enjoy receiving credits deposited into your Uber Cash account each month. Credits can be used towards Uber or Uber Eats purchases.

You’ll receive $15 each month in the form of a credit applied towards your Uber purchases. In December, you receive a $35 credit.

The total value of Uber credits is maxed at $200 per calendar year. 

Luxury Hotel Elevated Earnings and Credits

Holders of The Platinum Card® receive 5 Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent on pre-paid hotel bookings through Amex Travel.

In addition, bookings at Fine Hotel & Resorts receive special benefits such as room upgrades, breakfast for two, late checkout, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Pre-paid stays of 2 nights or more at The Hotel Collection receive $100 in hotel credit to spend on eligible dining, spa, and resort activities.

Global Entry Statement Credit

If you haven’t yet signed up for Global Entry, now’s the time. You’ll receive a $100 statement credit when you use The Platinum Card® to pay the Global Entry fee.

If you’re already enrolled in Global Entry, you can pay your renewal with The Platinum Card® and receive a statement credit every 4 years.

While Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck you could sign up separately and receive an $85 statement credit for the TSA PreCheck fee.

Hot Tip: Questions about this perk? Read our top Global Entry FAQs and check out the best credit cards that offer complimentary Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

Hotel Program Elite Status

Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status

Holders of The Platinum Card® receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite status.

Gold Elite members receive the 5th consecutive reward night booked free, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, 80% bonus points, free Wi-Fi, late checkout, and more.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status

The Platinum Card® holders receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

Gold Elite members receive room upgrades, 5th consecutive reward night free, late checkout, free internet, 25% bonus points, welcome points, and more.

The actual value you gain from having hotel elite status will depend on how frequently you stay at branded properties and the benefits you experience.

However, the extra benefits received for having elite status could easily generate $300 per year in value.

Registration is required to activate status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs.

Car Rental Program Benefits

You’ll receive complimentary car rental loyalty program elite status with The Platinum Card®. Perks include vehicle upgrades, fast track service for pick up and drop off, and elevated rewards earning.

The following car rental loyalty program benefits are included:

  • National Emerald Club Executive Elite StatusElevated Elite status, accelerated earnings, car selection privileges, easy returns, and upgrades
  • Avis Preferred Club – Special discounts and upgrades
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – Upgrades and discounts

The value you receive for these benefits will depend on the frequency with which you rent vehicles with these companies.

To learn more, see our guide about the rental car benefits that come with The Platinum Card®.

Cruise and Vacation Packages Discount

Book a Cruise or Vacation Package of $3,000 or more through Platinum Card® Destinations and receive $100 shipboard credit or discount.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Reserve and pay for your rental car with The Platinum Card® and receive coverage if the car is damaged or stolen.

To receive this benefit, you must refuse the rental car agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage when you pick up the car.

The cost of the rental car agency’s CDW coverage can range $20-$30 per day.

If you rented a vehicle 10 days per year, the value of this benefit would be $200-$300, depending on the cost of the car agency’s CDW.

Hot Tip: For more information on this benefit, check out our dedicated article on maximizing car rental insurance & benefits with the Platinum Card

Amex benefits
The benefits that come with The Platinum Card® are many. Image courtesy of American Express.

Additional Benefits

The Platinum Card® has plenty of additional benefits that may offer value when utilized.

  • Entertainment and Dining Access – Receive preferred access to events, priority restaurant reservations, and ticket pre-sales
  • International Airline Program – Receive discounts on premium airfare
  • Shoprunner – Free 2 day shipping and returns
  • Amex Auto Purchasing Program – Potentially save thousands off the cost of your vehicle purchase
  • Extended Warranty – Extends the manufacturer’s warranty for an additional 2-5 years for qualifying purchases
  • Purchase Protection – Provides 120 days of coverage (90 days in New York) for damage, loss, or theft of qualifying purchases
  • Baggage Insurance Plan – Provides up to $3,000 of coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage if the trip was purchased with The Platinum® Card
  • The Travel Collection – Receive discounts, amenities, and cruise stateroom credits when booking through TTC. Annual membership normally costs $295 but is complimentary with The Platinum Card®
  • Delta Private Jets – Receive a 20% discount on published fares

You can view a list of all card benefits here or access the benefits guide that comes with the card for details, terms, and conditions.

Hot Tip: Having second thoughts about The Platinum Card® and wondering about The American Express® Gold Card? We’ve got an article that compares the two: The Platinum Card® from American Express vs The American Express® Gold Card – so don’t miss it!

Final Thoughts

The Platinum Card® from American Express is not for everyone.

The card is a charge card so it must be paid off each statement period. If your financial situation doesn’t allow for this, the card isn’t a fit for you.

In order to find enough value to offset the annual fee, you must be able to utilize the benefits that come with the card. If you don’t travel frequently or spend on flights and hotels, the card may not deliver enough value to be worth it for you.

The Platinum Card® from American Express could be an excellent fit if you:

  • Currently pay for airport lounge access
  • Purchase a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays
  • Use Uber or Uber Eats
  • Are considering Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Frequently stay at Hilton or Marriott properties
  • Frequently rent from Hertz, Avis, or National car rental agencies
  • Have no hotel loyalty program but enjoy luxury hotel perks
  • Pay for upgraded seats, baggage fees, or other airline incidentals
  • Want your family to share lounge access and elite benefits with you

To be sure you’re maximizing all the benefits that come with the card, access our guide on what to do when you first receive The Platinum Card®.


Featured Image: Courtesy of Upgraded Points

FAQ

Is the Platinum Card's $550 annual fee worth it?

If you can use enough of the travel benefits that come with the card, the $550 annual fee is definitely worth it.

If you currently pay for lounge access, Global Entry, Uber, or incidental airline purchases, you’ll realize enough value to make having The Platinum Card® worthwhile.

If you aren’t a frequent traveler or you lack the ability to pay off the card each statement period, The Platinum Card® is not a good fit for you.

Can I transfer Membership Rewards Points to airlines?

Yes, in fact, it’s possible to receive the best value for your Membership Rewards Points when transferring them to airline partners.

The points you earn on The Platinum Card® can be transferred to 17 different airline partners and 2 hotel partners.

You can also use your Membership Rewards Points at a fixed redemption rate to purchase flights on any airline through Amex Travel.

How do the Uber credits work?

When you receive your Platinum Card®, you’ll register and link your card to your Uber account. You’ll receive VIP status and qualify for monthly credits to your Uber Cash account.

Each month $15 in credits are deposited into your Uber Cash account and can be used towards Uber or Uber Eats purchases. In the month of December, you’ll receive $35 in credits.

If an Uber ride costs more than the number of credits you have in your Uber Cash account, you can pay the difference with The Platinum Card® or add funds to your account.

Do Platinum Card authorized users get lounge access?

Yes, authorized users receive the same access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection as the primary cardholder.

This includes access to all network lounges for the authorized user plus 2 additional guests at no extra charge.

You can add up to 3 authorized users to The Platinum Card® for a total of $175 each card year.

Do I need to show my Platinum Card for lounge access?

Your Platinum Card® will serve as your membership card for all Global Lounge Collection properties with the exception of Priority Pass Select.

You’ll need to enroll with Priority Pass by accessing your The Platinum Card® account online and signing up under the “Benefits” tab.

Once enrolled, Priority Pass will send you a separate membership card that you’ll need to show to gain access to Priority Pass lounges.

It can take 10-14 business days to receive your Priority Pass card in the mail.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. DaveS · May 21, 2019 · Reply

    I have a question concerning “flavors” of Amex Platinum cards. I have cycled through several. One was the Ameriprise version, which formerly came without a points bonus or first year fee, but offered all the benefits. That version has relatively recently switched to the standard “bonus but fee not waived” conditions of the other flavors.

    As a previous holder of the Ameriprise version, can I now get it again and receive the bonus? I believe the usual “once in a lifetime” restrictions refer to getting a bonus, not getting a card, so that I could do that, right? Do you know of anyone who has reapplied for the Ameriprise and received the bonus since that change was made?

    • Stephen Au · May 22, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Dave,

      We are not American Express, and this can’t be perceived as legal or financial advice. However, the data points suggest that as as long as you haven’t gotten the welcome bonus, then you can get it. This is, of course, dependent on whether or not you get the dreaded sign-up bonus pop-up, which disqualifies you from getting the bonus in any case.

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