The Platinum Card from American Express: Do the Perks Justify the Fee?
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On the surface, a card with a $550 annual fee doesn't just seem extravagant, but also wasteful. However, there's a reason The Platinum Card® from American Express is popular and used by savvy travelers. Let's take a look at what a premium credit card offers.
Why We Like This Card
- 60,000 bonus points
- $200 annual airline fee credit
How This Card Works
First, let's get one thing straight — this is a charge card, not a credit card. That means that all cardmembers are expected to pay their entire statement in full each month. It's also how I use all of my credit cards, and doing so might be the most wise and frugal piece of personal finance advice that anyone can offer. However, if you ever need to carry a balance, you should not use a charge card.
Next, this is a rewards card. Cardholders earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and one Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These points can be applied toward travel reservations, gift cards, or other products and services. Cardmembers can also transfer their points to miles with over a dozen different airlines. The annual fee is $550.
(See also: 5 Best Premium Credit Cards)
Bonus offer: Get 60,000 points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of card membership.
Reviewing this card's benefit is like examining a top-of-the-line Swiss Army knife. Along with the standard benefits that American Express is known for, like various travel insurances, shoping services, and purchase protections, this card offers a number of premium perks that you won't find with most other cards. So let me just touch upon what I find to be the highlights, but be advised that it would take me pages to describe everything.
Hilton Honors™ Gold Status. Cardholders may enroll into the Hilton Honors™ rewards program and able to enjoy Gold Status for as long as they are a cardmember. Also, if you stay a minimum of two consecutive nights at a Hilton property, you'll receive a room upgrade, if available, as well as a $75 hotel credit to use on qualifying dining, spa, or resort activities. (See also: Best Credit Cards with Free Hotel Status Upgrades)
Airline fee credit. Hate airline fees? This card will reimburse you for up to $200 a year in airline fees such as luggage fees, seat fees, and in-flight food and entertainment. The credit does not apply to ticket purchases or first class upgrades, and you must enroll into this program and select a qualifying airline to get the statement credit.
Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Receive a statement credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) every 5 years for the application fee.
VIP treatment. Many credit cards offer some sort of special treatment, but this is the real deal. Membership includes 24/7 access to a personalized concierge service providing a range of services such as travel arrangements, dinner reservations, event ticket bookings, or directions.
Airport Lounge Access. Get access to over 1,000 airport lounges in the Global Lounge Collection, including The Centurion lounge network, Delta Sky Clubs, Airspace Lounges and the International American Express lounges. Membership in these airport lounges can often cost as much as $850 per year or more. (See also: Best Credit Cards with Free Airport Lounge Access)
Uber savings. Cardmembers get monthly credits to pay for Uber rides, up to $200 annually.
- $550 Annual Fee
- No APR (balance is paid in full each month)
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
Steep annual fee. There is no way around $550 a year for an annual fee. (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)
Additional cardholder fee. Most cards offer free additional cards, but American Express is charging $175 each. Nevertheless, this can be reasonable considering that the additional cardholder will get all the same lounge access as the primary cardholder, allowing frequent travelers to save money.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® from our partner Citi, is also an elite type of travel credit card and offers a wide variety of travel benefits. You get access to the American Airlines Admirals Club for two guests or all immediate family members, which is worth at least $400 by itself. Other benefits include first bag checked free, dedicated priority check-in, boarding privileges, and 25% savings on in-flight purchases. You can also earn two miles for each dollar you spend on purchases with American Airlines and one mile on other purchases. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. The annual fee is $450.
Who This Card Is Best For
An ideal user of this card is someone who travels frequently and can use many of the lounge access and travel rewards features of this card. When you think about it, it doesn't take that much business or leisure travel to rack up $200 in fees especially if you frequently use airport lounges.
Terms apply. See rates and fees.
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