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American Express Platinum: Why It’s Worth the Fee

It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that the American Express Platinum is overhyped and overpriced. But don’t let the $450 annual fee deter you: you’ll get far more than that in lounge access, airline fee credits and other juicy perks. When it comes to combining luxury and practicality, no one does it like the Amex Platinum.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
American Express Platinum Credit Card
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  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply
thumbsupPros
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$450 Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. N/A N/A [You must pay your balance in full each month]

Fringe benefits, front and center

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a number of auxiliary perks that aren’t exclusively the domain of the ultra-rich, but are also huge improvements for any international travelers. And many of these new benefits are actually quantifiable, so the numbers hold out: the $450 annual fee is an investment that’ll pay for itself and then some.

  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership – Cardholders have access to more than 600 airport lounges worldwide with the Priority Pass program, as well as Centurion and select Delta and Airspace lounges. It one-upped the PenFed Platinum Travel Rewards, which only offers 2 free passes a year. By contrast, AmEx offers Select access, which means cardholders get complimentary access to lounges all over the world (and $27 for guests). This sort of access normally costs around $400, and is definitely worth it to anyone who often flies overseas.
  • No more foreign transaction fees – American Express credit cards typically charge 2.7% of every purchase cardholders make overseas, which can mean hundreds of dollars to anyone spending big bucks on hotel rooms, food, rental cards and such while traveling. But this fee has now been dropped, putting the Platinum card amongst the ranks of the few credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
  • $100 credit towards the Global Entry programGlobal Entry is a government program allowing certain individuals “expedited clearance” upon re-entry into the U.S. Amex can’t guarantee that cardholders will be approved (an extensive application and background check process are necessary to prove you aren’t a risk), but they will rebate the $100 application fee.
  • Up to $200 credit toward expenses on your favorite airline – Just register your preferred airline with Amex, and they’ll refund up to $200 per year of incidentals like baggage fees, change fees, or in-flight meals.
  • Hugo Rodriguez

    Does anyone know if there are charges to use ATMs abroad with the amex platinum?

    • Hugo Rodriguez

      I checked, there are. Hefty too.

      • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

        You can use your Amex Platinum to get cash from an ATM by enrolling in Express Cash, but it’s expensive as all get out. There’s a 3% fee ($5 minimum, no maximum) plus any surcharges imposed by the ATM owner.

        You’re far better off using the Capital One 360 checking account, which has no foreign transaction fee and reimburses ATM surcharges.

  • Eric Gilbert

    The problem with the Centurion lounges is they do have one in Vegas (concourse D) but I can’t see how they will be successful in larger airports such as Miami being they would have to have multiple ones in different terminals such as terminal A, B, C, D, etc …Customers are not going to want to use a lounge then have to check in their luggage afterwards plus possibly walk a mile or more to get to their gate and go through TSA. I can no longer justify the 450.00 for this card. The Platinum card used to be prestigious now anyone can get one who is willing to pay the 450.00 annual fee. They used to let you in the Continental (United AIrlines ), US Airways/American and Delta and you could bring in two guests when the annual fee was 300.. Now that benefit is gone accept Delta and any guests you have to pay for. Furthermore, they only give you one dollar for every dollar you spend while competitor cards give you up to 3 points for every dollar you charge for gas. I am going to apply for the American Airlines card which has a 450.00 fee and allows you to use the US Airways and American lounges which are located in the terminal where you are flying out from.Not

  • Parkerthon

    I’ve come to the conclusion after going back and forth on this card, that it’s really aimed at people with a large amount of disposable income that like to travel and live well. The nicest perks are all really more like convenient VIP customer care services than freebies. This is not a freebie card and this is not a cashback/miles card really. I travel a lot and I know a number of people that have recommended this card to me that have fantastic stories about the perks, but since my wife and I have a young child, I’m passing for now because of the high annual fee and lack of exotic blow it out travel plans in our future. Amex knows the market it’s going after here and it isn’t people trying to score some free vacation.

  • Verdkey2222

    The platinum concierge is a luxury not in the respect as they will be able to get un-obtainable tickets or reservations. Its an easy 1 stop shop for these things. You call, tell them a few restaurants that you want at what time, or events. They will call you with all of the options. They will actually book everything for you in advance, you then select what you want and they will cancel the rest. If you want the service you are referring to, you need to be invited to have the centurion card.

  • solomonshv

    i thought this card had no foreign transaction fee? they still charged you?

  • solomonshv

    my former employer spent nearly $1 million a year on supplies, travel and expenses for his business. and he never got the invitation either. they do however waive his annual fee on his business platinum card.

  • Eric Gilbert

    The problem with the Centurion lounges is they do have one in Vegas (concourse D) but I can’t see how they will be successful in larger airports such as Miami being they would have to have multiple ones in different terminals such as terminal A, B, C, D, etc …Customers are not going to want to use a lounge then have to check in their luggage afterwards plus possibly walk a mile or more to get to their gate and go through TSA. I can no longer justify the 450.00 for this card. The Platinum card used to be prestigious now anyone can get one who is willing to pay the 450.00 annual fee. They used to let you in the Continental (United AIrlines ), US Airways/American and Delta and you could bring in two guests when the annual fee was 300.. Now that benefit is gone accept Delta and any guests you have to pay for. Furthermore, they only give you one dollar for every dollar you spend while competitor cards give you up to 3 points for every dollar you charge for gas. I am going to apply for the American Airlines card which has a 450.00 fee and allows you to use the US Airways and American lounges which are located in the terminal where you are flying out from.

  • Guest

    Honestly the only reason I have this card is travel. I use it for entry to the lounges. I live in Dallas and American Express has a top notch lounge in the airport. Real food, real drinks, even mini spa treatments. The airline fees are useful as well when traveling with my family because it covers in-flight food purchases when we all fly in coach. And covering the global entry program fees is huge. There are also a slew of travel benefits not listed here. The 450 dollar price tag is large, but I would probably spend about that much anyways on an Admirals Club membership.

  • Darren vao

    my question had always been, if you are spending 250k a year on your card, does that 3700 you get back really matter??