Is The Platinum Card® from American Express Worth the Annual Fee?

Female passenger waiting her flight at airport lounge

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The Platinum Card® from American Express recently increased its annual fee from $550 to $695. While the card issuer also added new perks, some may be wondering if the card's benefits are worth the yearly cost. If this card's hefty annual fee has you wincing, here's how to decide if it's right for you.

Benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express

As with every card that charges an annual fee, it's important to run the numbers before you apply to determine if you'd get enough value from the card every year to make it worth the cost. Keep in mind that while a card may offer enough theoretical value to make up for its annual fee, it only makes sense to keep it if you actually plan to use those benefits. Terms apply to all American Express offers.

Here's a comprehensive list of what The Platinum Card® from American Express offers and how much each perk is worth:

  • Welcome offer: As a new cardholder, you could be eligible for 100,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months you have the card. You can get up to 1 cent per point when you redeem your rewards with Amex, making the bonus worth up to $1,000. You may also get more value by transferring points to an Amex partner.
  • $200 airline fee credit: You can get up to $200 in statement credits annually for airline incidental fees, such as checked baggage and inflight food and drinks paid for with your card and charged by the airline. You can only get the credit on one airline, which you can choose from a list of major U.S. carriers. You can update your selected airline once per year in January.
  • $200 Uber Cash benefit: You'll get up to $200 in Uber Cash every year—that's up to $15 most months and $35 in December. You can use your Uber Cash to pay for rides or Uber Eats food delivery. Cardholders could also automatically become an Uber VIP member, where available. This benefit does not extend to additional card members.
  • $240 digital entertainment credit: Each month, you'll get up to $20 in statement credits for subscription fees for Peacock, The New York Times, Audible and SiriusXM that are paid for using your card. Enrollment is required to receive this benefit.
  • $200 hotel credit: You'll get up to $200 in statement credits every year on select prepaid hotel reservations booked through American Express Travel with your card. (Some bookings require a minimum two-night stay.)
  • $300 Equinox credit: Cardholders get up to a $25 statement credit every month when they use their card to pay for a monthly membership to Equinox All Access, Destination or E by Equinox, or for Equinox+.
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit: You'll get a statement credit every 4 or 4.5 years that covers the application fee for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85) when you use your card. The perk is effectively worth up to $20 per year.
  • $100 Saks credit: From January through June, and again for the July through December period, cardholders can get a statement credit of up to $50 when you use your card to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com.
  • Complimentary CLEAR membership: Each year, you'll get up to $179 in statement credits when you use your card to pay the membership fee for CLEAR, which offers access to expedited airport security.
  • Airport lounge access: The card offers access to the following airport lounge networks: The Centurion Lounge, American Express Global Lounge Collection, Airspace Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Escape Lounge, Priority Pass Select, Plaza Premium and Lufthansa. Amenities can vary by lounge, but many offer complimentary food and beverages, comfortable seating and more.
  • Elite status: The card offers automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status with Hilton Honors when you enroll. You'll also be able to enroll in Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club, all of which may offer discounts and complimentary upgrades when you rent a car.
  • The Hotel Collection credits: When you book a stay of two nights or more at a property in The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel, you'll get a $100 experience credit for qualifying activities like dining or spa treatments.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts perks: When you book a stay at a property in the Fine Hotels & Resorts program through American Express Travel, you'll get benefits at each property. Examples include daily breakfast for two, late checkout and a $100 experience credit.

As you can tell, the card works best for people who regularly travel. Depending on how you plan to use the card and your travel habits, you could easily earn back more than the cost of the annual fee.

Using only the benefits with a predetermined annual value and the welcome offer, you can get up to $2,439 in the first year alone. After that, you could get up to $1,439 per year in value. Combine that with points earned when making purchases, too, and you can get even more value.

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Is the Annual Fee Worthwhile?

The annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express is worthwhile if you take advantage of most of the card's benefits—in the first year, you can make up for it with the welcome offer alone.

Additionally, you should consider the value you expect to get from the card's rewards. Cardholders get 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked with airlines or through the American Express Travel portal up to 500,000 per year, 5 points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar spent on most other purchases. During your first 6 months with the card, purchases at restaurants worldwide and at Shop Small-participating merchants in the U.S. get you 10 points per dollar spent—up to $25,000 in purchases.

That said, you'll need to keep using the benefits the card offers to offset the annual fee every year you have the card. That can be difficult because some, such as the airline incidental fee credit, have limitations that make it harder to maximize.

But if you travel often enough to use the card's benefits regularly and earn a lot of rewards points as you spend, it can make sense to have the card in your wallet.

Alternatives to The Platinum Card® from American Express

If you're looking for a travel credit card that offers a lot of value with a lower annual fee or no annual fee at all, here are two options to consider:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: This premium travel credit card offers airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, special rental car privileges and more. While the $550 annual fee is steep, it's not as high as you'd pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: This mid-tier travel card packs a punch despite its $95 annual fee. The card offers 5 points per dollar on travel booked through Chase; 3 points per dollar on dining, streaming services and online grocery purchases; 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases; and 1 point per dollar on everything else. You'll also get an annual $50 statement credit on hotel stays booked through Chase and a 10% points bonus every year based on your spending.

Check Your Credit Before Applying for Your Next Card

If you're thinking of getting a new card, make sure to check your credit score before you apply. Most of the top travel rewards cards require good or excellent credit. That typically means a credit score of 670 or above, though the higher it is, the better your odds of approval.

If your credit score needs some work, review your credit report for areas you can potentially address and take the time to improve your score before you apply.

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