3 reasons my husband and I are keeping our Amex Platinum Cards
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It isn’t easy to top The Platinum Card® from American Express when it comes to premium travel perks. But, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, my husband JT and I have grounded our previously quite frequent travels. And, despite the promise vaccines bring, I’m not sure when we’ll get back to our global digital nomad lifestyle.
So, when JT’s $550 Amex Platinum annual fee (see rates and fees) came due, we considered canceling. After all, on top of his annual fee, we also pay a $175 annual fee (see rates and fees) to have three additional cardmembers (including me) on his account.
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Perks we’re using now
Amex has centered most of the Amex Platinum’s benefits around travel. But, even though we’re not traveling right now, the Amex Platinum provides several non-travel benefits. Some of these are ongoing perks, while others are pandemic-era temporary additions. Here are several of the credits we can use even while grounded:
- Limited-time up-to-$30 monthly PayPal credit for January through June 2021 (up to $180 total)
- Up to $200 in Uber credits, split into monthly $15 credits for rides or Eats orders in the U.S. plus an up-to-$20 bonus in December
- Up-to-$100 Saks credit, split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year. Enrollment required.
- Assorted very valuable Amex Offers. Eligibility for some offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
Even ignoring any value we might get from Amex Offers, the PayPal, Uber and Saks credits will provide us up to $480 of value in 2021. But even while not traveling, keeping his Amex Platinum account open offers value in several other ways.
For example, the Amex Platinum offers purchase protection, extended warranty protection and return protection when we purchase eligible items with our cards. Although we typically use Citi credit cards that provide a two-year extension for extended warranty protection, Amex’s shopping protections do occasionally provide us value.
Plus, having access to the Amex Platinum and its benefits as a cardmember provides intangible value to both of us professionally. After all, we both frequently write about the Amex Platinum card. For example, I once wrote about how I got $160 of food and drink included on a $153 Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts stay. And last week I wrote about unique perks that keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet.
Valuable perks for future travel
If we expected to remain grounded for another year, it would be more difficult to justify keeping our Amex Platinum cards. But we have lots of trips booked for mid- and late 2021. Even though it’s unclear how many of these trips we’ll take, we expect our Amex Platinum cards will provide some value on actual travel later this year.
In particular, the following Amex Platinum benefits will provide value once we restart travel:
- 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year)
- 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- Up to $200 in statement credits annually for incidental fees charged by one airline of our choice. Enrollment required.
- Access to lounges in Amex’s Global Lounge Collection, including the growing network of Amex Centurion Lounges, U.S. Escape Lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges and Delta Sky Club lounges when flying Delta. Enrollment required.
- Hotel elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Enrollment required.
- Access to elite-like perks when booking hotels through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program
- Trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance on eligible travel booked with the Amex Platinum
- Emergency medical transportation assistance at no cost if there is a medical need and transport is advisable due to the inadequacy of local facilities
Of course, the value provided by the perks is challenging to calculate even in a typical year filled with travel. And we often book flights using the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card because we prefer Chase’s less-restrictive included travel insurance.
However, we get significant value from Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program and Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. Plus, although I earned Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status organically last year, I rely on Hilton Honors Gold status (enrollment required) as an Amex Platinum additional cardmember when staying with Hilton. And the Amex Platinum’s medical transportation assistance is the primary reason we generally don’t purchase travel insurance.
Additional cardmember benefits
After JT signed up for the Amex Platinum in 2017, he added his mom, dad and me as additional Platinum cardmembers on his account. After all, Amex Platinum cardmembers can add up to three additional Platinum cardmembers for a flat additional $175 fee (see rates and fees). And additional Platinum cardmembers get many of the same benefits as primary cardmembers, including:
- Complimentary access to lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges and Delta Sky Club lounges when flying same-day Delta flights
- Access to book hotel stays with elite-like perks through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Hilton Honors Gold status
Note that additional Platinum cardmembers are different than additional Gold cardmembers, which you can add for no extra cost. And complimentary Gold cards are different than the popular American Express® Gold Card. In short, complimentary Gold cards don’t provide many perks besides the same earning rates as the Amex Platinum, access to book hotel stays through The Hotel Collection and a Global Entry application fee credit every four years (or a TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 4 1/2 years) (up to $100).
Having three additional Platinum cardmembers who also use the card’s benefits certainly pushed JT to keep his Amex Platinum. Sure, he could have canceled his account and I could have signed up for an Amex Platinum card and added JT and his parents as additional cardmembers. But I’m likely not eligible for the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus. And, due to Amex’s welcome bonus policies, I am not willing to sign up for the Amex Platinum without a welcome bonus.
The Amex Platinum currently offers an elevated welcome offer. You can earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases) during your first six months of card membership. As such, you can earn up to 225,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you apply now. You can also check out CardMatch to see if you are one of the lucky ones targeted for an even-higher 100,000-point welcome offer.
If you don’t already have an Amex Platinum card, you may be interested in applying. After all, as I discussed in this guide, you can still get significant value from the card even if you aren’t traveling right now. And by applying now, you can build up your stash of American Express Membership Rewards points for some much-anticipated post-pandemic travel.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber savings annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees