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Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

May 30, 2023
11 min read
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These days, consumers have no lack of choices when it comes to premium travel rewards cards. Although many of these premium cards charge high annual fees, the benefits, statement credits and earning potential they provide can make paying for them worthwhile.

However, before you sign up for a new card — or if you’re considering whether to keep or cancel a card you already carry — it’s important to ask yourself whether the card is worth the annual fee.

Today, we’ll consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which has a steep $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). However, there are strong arguments in favor of the card, such as an impressive roster of transfer partners, valuable earnings rates and up to hundreds of dollars in perks.

This guide considers all the advantages, earning potential and money-saving features of the card so you can decide whether it is worth the annual fee.

Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express with 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Amex Platinum statement credits

The Amex Platinum Card offers eight main statement credits that can reduce the effective cost of the annual fee. If used fully, these credits amount to nearly $1,600 in value per year, more than double the card’s annual fee.

Let’s look at each credit individually and how you can take full advantage of them.

Enrollment is required for select benefits:

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Airline fee credit

This is one of the most basic, yet still confusing (to some), benefits of the Amex Platinum Card. Each calendar (not account anniversary) year, cardmembers can get up to $200 back in statement credits toward incidental fees on a single U.S. airline of their choice that they designate.

Technically, this credit is meant to be used toward charges such as checked baggage fees, seat assignment fees, airline lounge passes and similar expenses. Depending on how airlines code certain purchases, however, it is also sometimes possible to purchase airline gift cards to use toward tickets and be reimbursed via the credit (note that this can change unexpectedly).

Potential annual value: $200.


Uber credits

Cardmembers receive up to $200 in Uber Cash per calendar year toward U.S. rides and Uber Eats orders. They can also register for complimentary Uber VIP status, which gives access to better cars and better-rated drivers in select locations. You must link your Platinum Card to your Uber account to take advantage of this benefit. Once that’s done, you’ll automatically receive $15 in Uber cash credit each month, except for December, when you get $35 worth.

The monthly credit can be used on multiple rides, but any unused portion doesn’t roll over at the end of the month. Assuming you take one or two rides or place an Uber Eats order in the U.S. each month, it’s easy to max out this perk.

Potential annual value: $200.

Related: How to make sure you’re getting your Amex Platinum Uber credits


Saks Fifth Avenue credit

The card’s Saks Fifth Avenue credit is available in the form of two $50 statement credits per year. Each year you can get one $50 statement credit for Saks purchases between Jan. 1 and June 30 and another $50 statement credit for purchases between July 1 and Dec. 31.

You’ll need to enroll your Amex Platinum Card for this benefit to take effect, but there’s no minimum purchase required. If you don’t shop at Saks yourself, you can still buy lots of gifts for others (enrollment is required).

Potential annual value: $100.

Related: Your guide to the Amex Platinum Saks Fifth Avenue credit

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit

This is another great benefit targeted toward frequent travelers. When you pay for the $100 Global Entry application fee or the $78 TSA PreCheck fee using your card, it will be refunded to you as a statement credit, up to $100. Cardholders are eligible for this statement credit every four years (4.5 for PreCheck) since you must renew your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership every five years. Because Global Entry also qualifies you for TSA PreCheck, let’s rate the full value of this benefit at $100 but amortize it over the four years.

Potential annual value: $25.

Related: Key things to know before getting Global Entry


Hotel credit

Cardmembers receive up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year when booking a prepaid stay via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection on Amex Travel. Note that if you’re booking through The Hotel Collection, there’s a minimum stay requirement of two nights.

Potential annual value: $200.

Related: How the Amex Platinum card easily saved me $200 on a one-night hotel stay

Clear Plus membership credit

One of the card’s other, newer benefits that can help you save time and stress at the airport is the annual statement credit for Clear Plus membership of up to $189, which should cover the whole cost of joining this program. Clear lets you use biometric kiosks for identification purposes. You can skip the TSA agent shuffling through other travelers’ identification and head straight to the front of the security line.

Make sure to activate this credit first under the “Benefits” section of your Amex Platinum account, which will then send you to the Clear website to sign up for the membership.

Potential annual value: $189.

Related: Clear expedited airport security program: Is it worth it?


Digital entertainment credit

In an attempt to make the Platinum Card more lifestyle-focused, Amex added a digital entertainment credit that offers reimbursement for the following services: Audible, Peacock, SiriusXM, The New York Times, Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu and The Wall Street Journal. You can mix and match how you’d like to take advantage of this, but you’ll earn up to $240 in annual statement credits (broken down into $20 monthly increments). While you may or may not subscribe to the eligible services, it can help offset the cost if you already use one of the services listed above. (Enrollment is required).

Potential annual value: $240.

Related: Best credit cards for streaming services

Walmart+ credit

Among this card’s newer perks is up to $155 in annual statement credits toward the cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal). Monthly membership costs $12.95 plus local sales tax, so the statement credits should cover most, if not all, of that. Plus Up Benefits not eligible.

If you’re a regular Walmart customer, this can save you a ton of money.

Potential annual value: $155.

Equinox credit

When you pay for your eligible Equinox membership or the Equinox+ fitness app, you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credits each year. The app costs $40 per month and may be useful to those who don’t live near an Equinox physical location. Additionally, all Equinox memberships include complimentary access to the Equinox+ fitness app.

Potential annual value: $300.

Related: At home or at the gym: The best credit cards to maximize your next workout

Other Amex Platinum card benefits

The statement credits described in the previous section can easily help bring your effective annual fee down from the published $695 to $0 per year. However, even if you can’t use all of the credits — perhaps because you can’t access the Equinox locations, you don’t like shopping at Saks, or you can’t find anyone to use the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit that seemingly comes with every premium credit card these days — it’s still possible that the card’s other perks and earning potential will provide enough value to justify the annual fee.

Some of the Amex Platinum’s benefits discussed below may provide no value to you but significant value to someone else. So, I won’t assign specific values to them but will outline their scope so you can estimate their value for yourself.


Airline and hotel bonus categories

Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar on airfare when booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. They are also eligible to earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel, including prepaid Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings made online. The Platinum card also has trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance. However, it still does not include baggage delay reimbursement.


Lounge access

The Platinum Card has the best lounge access benefits of almost any rewards card, thanks to The American Express Global Lounge Collection. The Lounge Collection includes Priority Pass Select membership and access to Delta SkyClubs, Escape lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, Air Space lounges, Centurion Lounges and International American Express Lounges.

The card’s Priority Pass Select membership gets the cardholder and two guests into more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide for free, although you’ll need to request your membership card. In addition, unlike the Priory Pass privileges on other cards, it does not include credits at airport restaurants. (Enrollment is required for Priority Pass.)

Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors elite status

Some cardholders tend to forget about the hotel elite status that comes with the Platinum Card. You can enroll for Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status as a cardholder. TPG values Hilton Honors Gold status at $1,255 and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status at $840 based on certain stay and spending habits.

However, note that these figures are based on earning status the regular way through nights and stays and leveraging those benefits on those nights and stays. So, if you stay fewer nights, you’ll likely get less value from the status. (Enrollment required.)

Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts

Platinum cardholders can book stays through the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program. By doing so, you’ll get elite-like benefits, including noon check-in (based on availability), room upgrades (when available), daily breakfast for two people, complimentary Wi-Fi, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout and a unique property amenity valued at $100 or more. Plus, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid stays booked online through FHR.

Read more in TPG’s full guide on the Fine Hotels + Resorts Program.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits

Bottom line

The Platinum Card from American Express carries a $695 annual fee, but for many travelers, the card’s benefits will more than offset that charge.

If you can maximize all of its annual statement credits, you’re looking at nearly $1,600 in value. Plus, the various other benefits of the card can be worth even more for most frequent travelers.

However, if you feel the annual fee isn't worth it, then consider the American Express® Gold Card if you like to eat out and cook at home, or the American Express® Green Card if you travel a lot.

Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express with 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Katie Genter and Benét J. Wilson.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.