🤔 Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?
If your eyes have recently been opened to the wonderful world of travel, there’s probably one aspect you’re still hesitant about… opening a credit card with an annual fee—let alone a big boy annual fee 👀
But don’t be like this scaredy cat. Be the strong, beautiful, confident travel Jedi that you are.
For the next five minutes, forget about that price tag and ask yourself the following questions:
Do I use food delivery services?
Do I pay for multiple streaming services?
Do I fly a handful of times each year?
Do I pay for airport food and alcohol?
Do I rideshare?
Do I want a free round-trip ticket to nearly anywhere on Earth?
Currently, you’ll get 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of your card membership. Terms apply.
Spending around $1,333 a month shouldn’t be too extreme if you funnel all your normal purchases through it. We have a past newsletter that talks about this practice of credit card cycling if you want more details.
It’s made of GLEAMING STAINLESS STEEL for crying out loud! If you’re looking for a thicc and bougie credit card, this is it.
💰 Statement credits worth thousands of dollars
Before diving into this, remember you don’t need to utilize every perk, credit, and offer just because it’s there. That gets exhausting, and by using just some of these credit statements, you’ll more than earn back the annual fee.
To be honest, the card has over $6,000 in potential statement credits each year, but some of them are so niche, that it’s impossible to utilize them all.
The average cardholder is more likely to get around $1,000 in value (which is still more than the annual fee, may I remind you 🙃).
1. Up to $200 in annual airline credits
Each year, you can select one airline to have this credit go towards incidentals like baggage fees, pet flight fees, airport lounge access, and much more!
Airlines on offer: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, and United
Net cost: $545 ($695 - $150) I get around $150 in value each year. We’re still in the red, but stick this out.
2. Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits each year
You’ll get $20 in monthly statement credits to reimburse you for the following expenses (enrollment required): Audible, Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The Disney Bundle (which includes Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times
I know for a fact that several of us at Daily Drop regularly download free audiobooks from Audible for long flights, specifically because of this credit.
Net cost: $305
3. Up to $200 in Uber Cash each year
When you add your Amex Platinum as a payment method in your Uber Wallet, you’ll automatically get $15 in Uber Cash deposited into your account at the beginning of each month (except in December when you’ll get a $35 deposit!).
These credits expire at the end of each month, so use ‘em or lose ‘em.
If you don’t use rideshare services often, you can also use them for Uber Eats deliveries. Food? Now we’re talking… 🥰
Net cost: $105
4. Up to $200 in hotel credits each year
When you book prepaid hotel stays via Amex Travel, you’re eligible for this credit. Your hotel must be part of Amex’s propriety hotel collection (Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection).
I used this credit to stay at a nice hotel in Dubai earlier this year. Even though I was there for two nights, I really only paid for one of them because of this!
Net cost: -$95 (we’re officially in the green!)
5. Up to $155 in Walmart+ credits each year
When you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership with your Amex Platinum card, you’ll receive a statement credit to reimburse you for the cost (enrollment required).
Walmart+ comes with perks like free grocery delivery on qualifying orders, free shipping, discounts at gas stations, etc. It also comes with free Paramount+ which is the only reason I enrolled my card. It’s essentially like another digital streaming credit!
Net cost: -$195 (I value this around $100 for me personally.)
These definitely fall into more of a niche category, but I’ll still briefly mention them here.
You’ll get up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits each year (up to $50 between January and June, and a second credit of up to $50 between July and December. I don’t always use this, so I’m going to conservatively value this at $0
You’ll also get up to $300 for Equinox in statement credits each year when using the Platinum card to make a single purchase of a SoulCycle At-Home Bike.
If you work out at Equinox gyms, congratulations—you’re independently wealthy and have little need for award travel 😅 I don’t use this… at all.
Net cost: -$195
🥂 Exclusive memberships and statuses
1. Airport lounge access
No one gives you better lounge access than the Amex Platinum. You’ll have access to 1,400+ lounges around the world, which makes it super easy to use no matter where you are.
These include the Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (with same-day Delta boarding pass), Priority Pass lounges, and Plaza Premium lounges. This is SO valuable!
Net cost: -$595 (With the frequency that I visit lounges and get free food and drinks, I’m realistically going to value this around $400, though it could be much greater.)
2. Up to $189 (in statement credits) to use annually for CLEAR® Plus
The CLEAR® program effectively lets you do something your parents have spent years grooming you to avoid: cut in line—the TSA line, specifically.
This is a cool perk if you want to use it, but I have Global Entry and therefore no need for this credit.
Net cost: -$595
3. Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement
But you can receive either a statement credit every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider).
Overall, I’ll put a value of $50 on this for me.
Net cost: -$645
4. Free elite statuses
With the Amex Platinum, you’ll receive automatic Gold status with both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs. There are some fantastic perks to holding this status.
On top of these statuses, you can also access Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which is something only Platinum and Centurion cardmembers can do.
They come with their own elite-like benefits from room upgrades, to complimentary breakfast, and late check-out (among others).
It’s hard to place a value on this, but if you consider the additional costs saved with things like a fancier room upgrade and free breakfast, I’m putting a $300 value on it for me personally.
Net cost: -$945
🏥 Solid travel insurance
The Amex Platinum has you covered with things like trip delay, interruption, and cancelation insurance. It will also cover you with a lost luggage reimbursement (among other things!).
This topic is impossible to attach a tangible dollar value to, but the amount of coverage you can get really adds to your overall peace of mind when traveling. Trust me 😉
*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
⭐️ Earning Amex Membership Rewards points
You’ll get 5x points per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly with the airline or through Amex Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year).
You’ll also get 5x points per dollar on hotels through Amex Travel, and 1x points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
✈️ Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards points
Amex points are some of the most valuable travel currencies in the travel-mastering world.
Your best value is going to be transferring those points to a travel partner, like an airline, to book (in many cases) nearly free flights.
Again, the intangible value of having transfer flexibility to score otherwise unaffordable business-class seats, for example, is just so good. There’s so much value on that that goes beyond a static dollar amount.
You want to prove to yourself that you can responsibly handle credit (and not succumb to the murderous interest rates) if you’re going to get involved with travel credit cards.
2. You don’t travel more than twice a year
Be honest with yourself. The Amex Platinum is truly a premium travel credit card. Many of the perks, benefits, and spending categories revolve around travel.
If that isn’t part of your (somewhat) regular lifestyle, then you likely won’t be able to maximize its benefits.
Overall, you might be paying a nearly $700 annual fee, BUT we amassed a net value of almost $1,000. And as you can see, we were EXTREMELY conservative with our valuations.
In summary, you could (very conservatively) get a value of:
$150 airline credit
$240 digital entertainment credit
Up to $200 Uber cash
Up to $200 hotel credits
$100 Walmart+ credit
$400 value with airport lounge access
$50 value for Global Entry (as one program example)
$300 worth of hotel elite status benefits
For a total of $1,640 - $695 annual fee = $945 in NET value
This net value doesn’t even consider all the intangible value like hundreds or thousands of dollars saved on travel insurance, having point transferability, etc.
So if you wanted to consider any of those credits higher than we did, just imagine the extra value you could get!
See? The Amex Platinum and its $695 annual fee aren’t so scary after all… for the right person.