The Platinum Card from American Express: Do the Perks Justify the Fee?

By Jason Steele. Last updated 6 April 2020. 1 comment

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On the surface, a card with a $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) doesn't just seem extravagant, it might also seem 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 point welcome offer. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit (with restrictions)

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, 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on, and one 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. 

(See also: 5 Best Premium Credit Cards)

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Terms apply.

Other Benefits

Reviewing this card's benefits 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 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 and Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite Status. Having gold status at hotel programs gives you exciting perks like upgrades, late checkout, and more. (See also: Best Credit Cards with Free Hotel Status Upgrades)

Fee credits. 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. You also get a fee credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) every 4 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 1,200 airport lounges around the world. Membership in just one of these airport lounge programs can start at $500. Cardholders get access to several the Global Lounge Collection, which includes the Centurion lounge network, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select, and 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.

Saks Fifth Avenue Credits. Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your card. Enrollment required.


Steep annual fee. There is no way around $550 a year for an annual fee. You must be sure you will take advantage of enough of the card's benefits and services for this to be worth it. (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)

Additional cardholder fee. Most cards offer free additional cards, but American Express is charging $175 each. (See Rates & Fees) 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.

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.

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The Platinum Card from American Express: Do the Perks Justify the Fee?

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Guest's picture

My parents have the AMEX platinum and it has served us pretty well. It is convenient for travel, my parents travel a lot for work and I go to school out of state so I fly back and forth frequently so we rack up miles pretty quickly. It is also easy to use overseas, I signed up for a Discover card with the intention of using it as Diners Club in Italy for Spring Break, and it was found nowhere and was impossible to use. I called Amex and was able to easily get oversea charges approved and take out cash from ATMs.