Are the new American Express Platinum benefits worth the hefty annual fee?

With Chase’s entry into the premium card market American Express has seen even more competition to its long standing premium credit card the American Express Platinum card. But does it stack up with Chase’s new entry into the market?

Rundown on the Platinum Card

Annual Fee: $550

Yup, the annual fee is pretty hefty and is $100 more than most cards in the same premium card market.

Sign Up Bonus: 60,000 MR points.

This is an increase of their signup bonus which was 40,000 points before the benefit change. Best estimates put MR points worth around 1.9 cents apiece. Of course, how you use them dictates their worth. This puts the signup bonus roughly equal to Chase Sapphire Reserve card which is 50,000 points. Sometimes there are targeted mailers for 100,000 points. If you do receive a target 100,000 points offer I would sign up.

Ways to offset the annual fee

  • $100 credit for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry.

It seems almost cliché now since every card on the market seems to offer this credit.

  • $200 airline fee credit.

This is supposed to be used for things like seat upgrades or baggage fees. You have to preselect the airline it can be used for in the beginning of the year and only will reimburse for that airline. While the credit is only supposed to be used for certain things it is relatively easy to get reimbursed for airline gift cards if you buy in smaller denominations. We typically purchase 2 $100 American Airlines gift cards with our credit, and a few days after the purchase the airline credit is automatically applied to the account.

  • $200 Uber Credit:

This is new benefit added to the card. Every month your Uber account will have $15 added to it and in December an extra $20 is also added for a total of $200 a year. The credit expires at the end of each month. If you are someone that uses Uber frequently then getting value out of this is a no brainer. The credit also applied to Uber Eats as well which is what we have been using it for.

If you can take advantage of the airline credit and the Uber credit, then the annual fee is brought down to $150.  Since you can’t use the TSA precheck credit every year I won’t count that in the calculation.

Point Earning.

This card is pretty terrible as an everyday spending card. MR points themselves are similar to chase UR with various partner airlines and hotels but the bonus categories aren’t as good.

  • 5x points on airfare booked directly through the airline,
  • 5x points on pre-paid hotels booked directly through American Express Travel and
  • 1x everywhere else.

5x on air fare is good especially for those who pay for their own airline tickets and their work reimburses them.

5x on prepaid hotel stays booked directly through American express is pretty worthless because these hotels stays typically don’t earn rewards points toward the hotel or count toward elite status.

1x everywhere else. This is pretty meh where MR points are worth around 1.9 cents when transferred to partners.

So, is the $150 equivalent annual fee worth it? Well, there are a few more perks that potentially make it worth it to some.

Hilton Gold Status.

Typically achieved after 20 stays or 40 nights.

Hilton Gold is a great mid-tier status

25% bonus points on stays

5th night free when booking award nights

Room Upgrades

And other full info here.

The best benefit is breakfast. Hilton Gold members receive free breakfast at full service Hiltons that typically wouldn’t offer it for free. This can save you money while traveling and be a great start to your day.

SPG Gold

Typically achieved after 10 stays or 25 nights

50% bonus points on stays

4 p.m. checkout

Enhanced rooms at check in

Full details here.

Marriott Gold

Typically achieved after 50 nights

With the recent acquisition of Starwood by Marriott your automatic SPG Gold status will match to Marriott Gold when you link the accounts. This unintended consequence give the Amex Platinum even more value.

Benefits Include:

Guaranteed Late Check Out

25% Bonus Points on stays

Executive Lounge Access and Free breakfast at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott, Delta hotels.

Full Details here.

More free food. It’s great to be able to grab a snack or a nice breakfast whenever.

Airport Lounge Access

Priorty Pass:

The Amex Platinum offers priority pass membership like many other premium credit cards, which is a network of airport lounges that you can visit. Full details here.

Centurion Lounge:

These are American Expresses own lounge and you must have an Amex Platinum Card to enter. While there are only a few of them they are easily some of the best airport lounges in the U.S. It’s a great place to get a free meal, and drinks during your layover. Full details here.

Current Locations:

  • Dallas DFW
  • Houston IAH
  • Las Vegas LAS
  • New York LGA
  • Miami MIA
  • Seattle SEA
  • San Francisco SFO

Delta Sky Club:

Only when traveling on Delta and guests are $29.

So, the burning question is it worth the $550 annual fee?

The answer is no/yes/maybe.

It depends on your situation and how much you travel, and use Uber. If you can easily use the travel credit and Uber credit, then the effective annual fee is only $150. If you travel enough and stay in Hiltons or Marriott’s the free breakfast and lounge access may offset the rest of the annual fee.

So does it compare to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Yes and no. Both cards in the premium credit card category but they are very different. I wold recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve for those looking for an everyday spending card used for getting a lot of points through spending.

I reccomend the American Express Platinum Card for those who travel enough to take advantage of the mid tier hotel status and airport lounges but don’t travel enough to earn those statuses organically. Although, this isn’t a one or the other game. In the spirit of churning, why not both?

On a final note:

Adding authorized users is $175 for 3 and $175 for each additional. Authorized user also get access to all the airport lounges and get Hilton, SPG, and Marriott Gold status, so it can be worth it. Each user also gets their own $100 Precheck/Global Entry Credit.

Though, authorized users do not get additional airline credits or Uber credits.

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