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 — and associated border closures and flight cancellations — my husband and I haven’t traveled internationally much in the last year. And although we’re now taking some discrete international trips, I’m not sure when we’ll completely return to our global digital nomad lifestyle.
When my husband’s Amex Platinum annual fee came due last October, 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. But, after considering the pros and cons, we decided to keep his Amex Platinum card and the three additional cardmembers on his account. And, especially since Amex recently revamped the Platinum Card, I expect we’ll renew again this year. In this post, I’ll describe why we’ll likely keep our Amex Platinum cards for another year.
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Perks that provide value when we aren’t traveling
Historically, Amex has centered most of the Amex Platinum benefits around travel. But, even though we’re traveling less right now, we can still get value from the Amex Platinum’s non-travel benefits. These non-travel benefits include:
- 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 in Saks credits, split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year. Enrollment required.
- Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits, split into $20 statement credits each month for eligible purchases with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- Up to $300 in Equinox credits, split into $25 statement credits each month for select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- Assorted Amex Offers, although eligibility for some offers is limited. You must enroll for offers in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
Even ignoring any value we might get from Amex Offers and Equinox credits, the Uber, Saks and digital entertainment credits will provide us up to $540 of value each year. This value goes a long way toward justifying the $870 we’ll need to pay in annual fees later this year. After all, the Amex Platinum annual fee is $695 (see rates and fees) and the annual fee to have up to three additional Platinum cardmembers is $175 (see rates and fees).
Keeping his Amex Platinum account open also offers value in several other ways, even while we’re traveling less. 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 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 I recently wrote about unique perks that keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet.
Valuable perks for future travel
If we weren’t starting to take some discrete international trips, it would be more difficult to justify keeping our Amex Platinum cards. But although we still have our recreational vehicle as a base, we’re starting to travel internationally again and have many trips booked for late 2021 and early 2022. It’s unclear how many of these trips we’ll end up taking, but we expect our Amex Platinum cards will begin to provide more value as we increase our international travel.
In particular, the following Amex Platinum benefits will provide value as we restart travel:
- 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year)
- 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on through Amex Travel
- Up to $200 prepaid hotel booking credit annually for prepaid bookings at Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties, which requires a minimum two-night stay, made through American Express Travel
- 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 Amex Centurion 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
- Up to $189 Clear membership credit per year when you use your card to pay for Clear membership
- 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 these 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. As such, we’ll easily get value from the newly added $200 prepaid hotel booking credit each year.
And although I earned Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status organically last year and plan to earn Titanium Elite this 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 emergency medical transportation assistance is a primary reason we generally don’t purchase travel insurance.
Additional cardmember benefits
After my husband 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 and access to book hotel stays through The Hotel Collection.
Having three additional Platinum cardmembers who also use the card’s benefits certainly pushed my husband to keep his Amex Platinum. Sure, he could have canceled his account and I could have signed up for an Amex Platinum card. 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.
So, if you don’t already have an Amex Platinum card and you’re eligible for the Amex Platinum’s welcome offer, now may be an excellent time to apply. After all, as I discussed in this guide, you can still get significant value from the card even if you aren’t traveling frequently 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.
Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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