American Express Platinum: Why It’s Worth the Annual Fee
(3/5 - 23 Votes)
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.
- Earn 25K Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 during your first three months of Card membership
- Premium travel benefits: access over 600 lounges worldwide when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, no foreign transaction fees
- Receive up to $200 annually in a statement credit with the airline of your choice to use towards baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases and more
- 24/7 Platinum Card® Concierge service for assistance with reservations, travel, gifts, and more
- Entertainment benefits: get Advance Tickets before the public and access once in a lifetime events with By Invitation Only®
- Terms and restrictions apply
- No foreign transaction fee
- Has annual fee
- Needs excellent credit
||Earn 25K Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 during your first three months of Card membership
||N/A[You must pay your balance in full each month]
Fringe benefits, front and center
The Amex Platinum card 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 always had access to Delta, American, Continental, and US Airways lounges (though Continental access will end in September). But now, the AmEx Platinum offers complimentary Priority Pass access to more than 600 airport lounges worldwide. 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 program – Global 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.
Other ways to recoup the annual 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.
- Points are worth 25% more with Pay with Points - If you use their “Pay with Points” feature to book your next vacation using American Express Membership Rewards points, Amex will credit 20% of those points back to your account. This makes these point redemptions worth 25% more than the standard 1 cent rate, and we’ve heard from a reliable source that Amex’s travel booking representatives essentially use Travelocity to book your trips, so you’re not getting ripped off by expensive travel agents.