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has a hefty annual fee, but it also offers extensive benefits. So is the card worth getting? That depends on your spending, travel habits and how well you . Here’s how to decide if is worth the cost to you.
New cardmembers can collect a stack of welcome bonus points. Plus, cardmembers earn points for every purchase.
Other benefits also help make the card worthwhile:
Membership Rewards points are redeemable for travel booked directly through American Express, gift cards, statement credits or online shopping, or you can convert them into airline miles with partner programs.
Depending on how you use them, those points are worth anywhere from 0.5 cent to 1 cent each. That means your welcome bonus is worth several hundred dollars and can offset the annual fee for the first year if you use your points well. Terms apply.
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Every year, you can charge up to $200 in incidental fees with one airline, and those charges will be automatically reimbursed in the form of a statement credit.
First, you select an airline (you can change your designated airline in January every year). Then, just use the card to pay for checked-bag fees, seat assignment fees or in-flight refreshments.
Take full advantage of this benefit every year and it essentially puts $200 back in your pocket. Terms apply.
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Like other ultra-premium credit cards, offers a statement credit for either . Because Global Entry comes with TSA Precheck, it makes sense for most people to get Global Entry if they have a passport.
The card reimburses you $100 every four years when you use the card to pay the application fee for Global Entry. Or, you can get reimbursed $85 every 4 1/2 years if you opt for TSA Precheck. If you don’t already have this benefit from another credit card, figure this perk has a value of around $25 per year. Terms apply.
With , every purchase can earn you Membership Rewards points — but some purchases earn more than others.
The 5 points per dollar you earn on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com can offset a big portion of your annual fee. For example, if you spend $4,000 per year this way on flights and hotels, you’ll earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points, worth several hundred dollars depending how you redeem them.
If your business needs to make big purchases — anything over $5,000 — those buys give you 1.5 points per dollar. Making two qualifying $6,000 purchases on the card every year would get you 18,000 Membership Rewards, worth a couple hundred dollars depending on your specific redemption. Terms apply.
Redeem your points in the American Express travel portal for any first or business class flight, or on any class of flight on a single airline you preselect, and you’ll get 35% of your points rebated back to you. This means you can stretch your points even further. Now, that 50,000-point flight will cost you only 32,500 points. Terms apply.
allows you to access five different kinds of , including:
The value that you’ll get from this benefit depends on how much you travel and what other airport lounge access you already have. It’s hard to put a dollar value on this benefit, but a conservative method is to think of what you would spend in airports on food and drinks without lounge access.
If you’d shell out $15 on average for a sandwich consumed at a crowded gate, free food and drinks in an airport lounge 10 times per year would put $150 back in your pocket (with the added bonus of a quieter, more spacious area to enjoy them in). Terms apply.
Holders of this card qualify for elite status in several hotel and rental car loyalty programs:
But don’t assume your new elite status kicks in automatically. For example, you have to take steps to request your Gold status in Marriott Bonvoy. Once you do, you’ll enjoy perks like possible room upgrades, accelerated points earning and a chance for late checkout on every qualifying stay at a hotel or resort in the Bonvoy program. Terms apply.
The rental car coverage, baggage insurance, extended warranties and other travel and purchase protections that come with this card can be extremely valuable if you know how to use them.
For example, when you rent a car, you must decline the collision damage waiver offered at the rental car counter in order to get coverage from your card benefits. Spend some time learning about your coverages so you can get the most out of them, hopefully further offsetting your card’s annual fee. Terms apply.
’s annual fee is undeniably high. But you can put that much and more back in your pocket if you make the most of this card. Points earning, fee credits, loyalty program status and travel and purchase protections can easily offset the cost for users who can take full advantage of them.
To view rates and fees of , see .
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