Is the Amex Platinum Card Still Worth It? (3 Year Review)
3 American Express Platinum Cards

Money at 30: When the Fee Hits – The Platinum Card 3 Years Later

“Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”

All year long, I write about the various awesome things I get to do and ways I get to save with my American Express Platinum card. Nevertheless, when the annual fee hit my account earlier this month, it reminded me that holding the card does require a commitment. What’s more, this was the first time I was assessed the new annual fee of $695, which increased from $550 last year.

So, as someone who’s had the American Express Platinum card for three years and has now experienced an annual fee hike, is the card still worth it? Let’s take a look at a few of my thoughts on that very topic.

My Thoughts on the Amex Platinum After Three Years as a Cardmember

American Express Centurion Lounge

Lounge access

Since airport lounge access was one of the main reasons I initially applied for the Amex Platinum card, it’s also where I’ll start this reflection. Incidentally, I recently mused on what lounge access was actually worth. While that’s still hard to determine, what I can say is that, every time my wife and I have visited a SkyClub or Centurion Lounge, we’ve remarked on just how much we enjoy the experience and love having the ability to relax a bit before our flights. I should also note that those two particular lounge options were why we went with the Platinum over the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

While I may have been able to justify the $550 annual fee with the lounge access alone (that still might have been a stretch), doing so for the new $695 fee is not possible in my situation. Still, we’re very glad to have it in the mix and it goes a long way toward making the card worth it — even if it doesn’t get it there all on its own.

Do the credits add up?

When American Express overhauled the Platinum card last summer and raised the annual fee, it began advertising that the card offers more than $1,400 in value thanks to a number of credits. Unfortunately, while that’s technically true, a lot of these credits don’t really make sense for most people. Take, for example, the Equinox credit or SoulCycle bike credit, which offer a lot on paper but aren’t all that practical to most.

While critics of the card have pointed to benefits like these and mocked Amex for them, I have to say that the majority of the credits offered actually do help offset the annual fee for me. For example, the $200 in Uber credits ($15 per month, except $35 in December) have been easy to use for us as we’ve taken to placing an Uber Eats pick-up order each month in a bid to get the best value from this benefit. Meanwhile, we’ve managed to use the Digital Entertainment Credit (up to $20 a month) without adding any new services to our list as my Audible subscription taps $15 of it while her Sirius XM triggers the other $5. On top of that, we really enjoyed redeeming our $200 Fine Hotels and Resorts credit for a stay at Crockfords Las Vegas earlier this year.

Granted, some of the other credits are used but aren’t ones I’d value at their full amount. These include the Walmart+ subscription I now get for free but don’t make much use of and the semi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 between January and June and another $50 between July and December), which we’ve spent strategically but could live without. I’ve also never been a big fan of the fairly hard-to-utilize Airline Incidentals credit (up to $200 per year), although I did manage to use all of it last year when visiting my mom for Thanksgiving. Speaking of air travel, while I wouldn’t pay for Clear on my own, I do love having an effectively free membership thanks to Amex.

All things considered, if you add up the $200 in Uber credits, $200 FHR credit, and $240 Digital Entertainment credit, the $640 total is within striking distance of the $695 annual fee. Therefore, it’s hard for me to complain about the credits I’m not using when there are so many others that are providing me with value.

Amex Offers & Benefits

Amex Offers

I’ve written about Amex Offers before but they continue to be winners for me. According to my account dashboard, I’ve saved $1,120.84 in three years of using these offers. Most recently, this included some Amex Member Week deals such as saving $50 on a $100 Dell order (I bought some Nintendo Switch games). Other offers that I’ve redeemed in the past year include $60 back on a Vegas stay, $100 on a different Vegas stay, and a total of $20 back from my T-Mobile bill. Not all Amex Offers are hits — but, with 100 available at a time, there’s a good chance you’ll find something good.

Authorized users

Before I get into this section, I should note that adding an authorized user to the Platinum card isn’t free — well, if you want them to have an actual Platinum card and not just a “gold” card. Interestingly, the fee to add AUs is $175 for up to three cardholders. In other words, whether you add one person or three, you’ll pay a $175 fee.

Since we wanted to add my wife to the card, we decided to also invite a couple of our trusted friends to be AUs as well. To me, this has been awesome as it allows me to gift these friends with lounge access, help them save money with Amex Offers, and more. That said, be aware that authorized users don’t receive any of the credits associated with the card. Still, I think the ability to add up to three people for this fairly reasonable fee is an underrated Platinum perk.

My Membership Rewards balance

Finally, I realize that I’ve managed to talk up all of these Platinum benefits without even mentioning the rewards it offers. Let me change that by sharing my Membership Rewards balance after three years. As of this writing, I currently have 280,514 points. On the low end, if redeemed for a deposit into my American Express Rewards Checking account, that’d amount to about $2,240. On the other end, from what I’ve seen, this amount could potentially be used to get us two round-trip business class tickets by transferring points to a travel partner… depending on how we booked, where we were going, etc.

While that’s pretty good, I do need to put a couple of asterisks on that number — one big and one small. Starting with the little one, I did previously transfer 19,000 MR points to Hilton, so those points aren’t included in my total. As for the reason why this number isn’t a fair representation of what the Platinum card has netted me, it also includes MRs earned from my Amex Gold card. So, although I won’t be including the balance in my consideration of whether or not the card is still a good deal for me, I figured it was still worth mentioning.

The Verdict: Is the American Express Platinum Card Still Worth It?

In short, yes, I do still think the American Express Platinum is worth it for me. While paying $695 upfront for the card is never easy, the benefits I as a card member do end up outweighing that figure significantly. In fact, with the credits provided to me doing the heavy lifting in terms of making up for that fee (even when valuing said credits conservatively), the other perks — such as lounge access, Amex Offers, and even the Members Rewards points — are all gravy. Therefore, I plan on holding my Amex Platinum through year three and likely beyond.

Fioney has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fioney.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.” (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney.com to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney staff.)

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

"The Unbanking of America" Book Review

In her new book " The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives" author Lisa Servon looks at everything from the payday loan industry to FinTech while also discussing the changing economics of the middle class.
Charlie and SpeedBump logos

Charlie Introduces SpeedBump Fraud Protection Feature

A FinTech that helps prevent adults from falling victim to scams and fraud is adding a new feature to further that cause. About SpeedBump: Today, Charlie announced the launch of its SpeedBump feature. This tool combines alerts, pauses, and real-time education to help protect older adults who may be vulnerable to scams and fraud. SpeedBump may be activated when Charlie customers take certain actions, such as adding a payee, making...
AMEX card in the middle of a restaurant table full of food

American Express to Acquire Tock from Squarespace

American Express is expanding its dining platform with not one but two acquisitions. About the acquisitions: Today, Amex announced that it will be acquiring the restaurant reservation service Tock from Squarespace (who purchased the company in 2021). The purchase is expected to be for $400 million in cash but is subject to closing conditions, customary adjustments, and regulatory approval. Amex also notes that, as part of the deal with Squarespace,...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...