The Amex Platinum’s new hotel credit makes the card a better deal than it’s been in 4 years

Nov 10, 2021

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For many years, The Platinum Card® from American Express charged an annual fee of $450. In early 2017, that fee increased to $550. Now, the card is charging $695 per year (see rates and fees).

A price tag of $695 has spooked a lot of current (and would-be) cardholders. Yes, Amex has added another $1,000-plus in annual statement credits to the card, but many of them are too niche for most cardholders to maximize, such as an up-to-$300 statement credit for Equinox+ members on a SoulCycle at-home bike (up to 15 individual bike purchases per calendar year; enrollment required).

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However, there is one new benefit that is valuable enough and easy to use, which makes the Amex Platinum more worthwhile than it’s been in years. Cardholders now get up to $200 in annual statement credits toward Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings which requires  minimum two-night stay. Here’s how it works.

Related: The Platinum Card from American Express review

What is Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts?

When cardholders use their card to book stays through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, they receive elite-like benefits such as:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival (when available)
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out
  • Noon check-in (when available)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • One unique property amenity, such as a food and beverage or spa credit
  • On occasion, a third or fourth night free.

Thanks to all those value adds, booking hotel stays through Fine Hotels + Resorts is one of the standout benefits of the card. American Express claims you’ll get an average value of $550 in value when booking via Fine Hotels + Resorts.

I held off applying for the Amex Platinum primarily because this benefit didn’t appeal to me. I tend to book my luxury stays as award nights using hotel points, and I wasn’t interested in paying steep cash prices for a five-star hotel.

But I’ve since opened the Amex Platinum, and I’ve used Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts a couple of times. I can attest to the program’s estimated $550 in value per stay — though I would emphasize the verbiage Amex uses: “value,” not “savings.” You’re going to pay what you would have anyway — you’ll just get a lot of extras.

The Amex Platinum up to $200 Hotel credit makes the card a keeper

(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Amex Platinum received a benefits overhaul in 2021, acquiring some helpful new annual statement credits and a collection of highly specialized credits that many customers might have trouble using.

However, one helpful new annual statement credit is an up to $200 hotel credit for stays booked through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts (minimum one-night stay) or The Hotel Collection (minimum two-night stay).

Because Fine Hotels + Resorts properties tend to be expensive, luxury hotels, if you book even a single night’s stay each year via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, the ability to trigger this statement credit makes this card a better deal than it’s been since early 2017 – when it still charged a $450 annual fee – and effectively lowers the card’s current $695 fee to $495.

Let’s look at the savings of this credit combined with the benefits of Fine Hotels + Resorts. I’ve learned that the hotels aren’t always as expensive as you might think, which means you don’t have to book an extravagant getaway in order to take advantage of the credit.

The power of Amex Fine Hotels + resorts with the Amex Platinum up to $200 hotel credit

At the outset, one major thing to mention is that when you book a chain hotel (like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, etc.) through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, you earn both elite night credits and hotel points, unlike when you book through other online travel agencies. This means you can use the Amex Platinum’s up-to-$200 hotel credit without forfeiting any perks of booking direct (other than possibly a lower rate).

Here’s a look at a random date at The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland in 2022. As you can see, the cash rate is $299 per night. But it comes with a possible room upgrade (when available), free breakfast, and a $125 food and beverage credit. When you add on the Amex Platinum up to $200 hotel credit, that’s more than $350 in value for the price of $299. And if you secure a suite (like I did on a stay there booked through Fine Hotels + Resorts), that’s another $300+ in value.

(Screenshot from American Express)

Another excellent use of this credit was a bucket-list trip to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. This random date costs $344 a night but also comes with the standard Fine Hotels + Resorts amenities and a $100 food and beverage credit. Combine the up-to-$200 Amex Platinum hotel credit with this $100 credit and free breakfast for two, and you’re essentially getting the same amount of credits as the night costs.

My wife and I both have the Amex Platinum, and we plan to each book back-to-back nights at this hotel. We’ll both get the up to $200 statement credit, and we’ll even both get a $100 food and beverage credit, since we’re booking separate stays. That’s $800 in value-added to our vacation.

(Screenshot from American Express)

Finally, you should know that it’s totally possible to book an Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts property for under $200 — although I’ve personally never found one outside Southeast Asia and Africa, so you should try to use the credit for a stay that costs more than this.

For example, here’s a highly rated resort in Bali for $197 per night, which comes with the standard free breakfast and room upgrade when available. This property’s unique amenity is a 50-minute massage for two per room.

(Screenshot from American Express)

Related: 9 hotels where you can nearly stay for free with your Amex Platinum credit

Bottom line

If you use Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts even once per year, the Amex Platinum is a great deal for your situation. Not only do you get all those valuable elite-like benefits, but the card now offers up to $200 in annual statement credits toward stays booked through the portal, which helps offset part of its hefty annual fee.

I tend to book a stay or two through Fine Hotels + Resorts each year, so I can truthfully say that this new up-to-$200 hotel credit is as good as cash back in my pocket and makes paying the $695 annual fee just a bit easier, especially considering the card’s other benefits.

Apply here: The Platinum Card from American Express.

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

Featured photo by Michael Kai/Getty Images.

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