Amex Platinum is worth it if you travel frequently, spend a lot, and can take advantage of the card’s many benefits. Amex Platinum benefits include Uber and airline fee credits, lounge access and more. But the Platinum Card from American Express is not worth it if you rarely travel and won’t spend enough ($5,000 in the first 6 months) to qualify for the card’s initial bonus: 75,000 points. That bonus, along with the card’s annual travel credits, goes a long way toward affording Amex Platinum’s $550 annual fee.
But before you decide, let’s do a little bit of math to see whether Amex Platinum is worth the expense, starting the first year:
- Amex Platinum annual fee = $550
- Amex Platinum initial bonus = $600 (points value)
- Minimum rewards earned, 1 point per $1 spent, to qualify for bonus = $50 (points value)
- Annual Uber credit = $200
- Annual airline fee credit = $200
- Saks Fifth Avenue Credit = $100
- Lounge access = $100
- TSA pre-screening application waiver = $100
So for your first year alone, you could wind up with $800 in net value ($1,350 in rewards and other perks, minus the $550 annual fee). And that doesn’t even factor in the card’s normal, purchase-based rewards, which would add at least another $50 in value.
Normal spending could add even more, too, if your purchases qualify for Amex Platinum’s ongoing bonus rewards rates: 5 points per $1 spent on airfare and prepaid hotel stays booked through American Express. Similarly, there are other benefits that you could take advantage of, including Gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors loyalty programs and complimentary amenities worth with an average of $550 per stay at participating Fine Hotels and Resorts.
Now let’s look at the card’s second year. You’re still paying the $550 annual fee, but you no longer have an initial bonus to help make up for it. Also gone in year two is the value of the pre-screening application waiver, if you use it year one. As a result, if you spend the same amount as the first year, the total value of your benefits would be about $650, which isn’t much more than the annual fee. So you’d be putting in and getting out about the same amount of value. To really make money with this card after the first year, you’d have to spend a lot more.
So Amex Platinum is a good card for big spenders who travel all the time and can wring every drop of value out of its benefits. But it’s too expensive for light spenders and occasional travelers.
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