Why I love my Amex Platinum card and will keep it forever
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And I’m planning on keeping it forever, despite the hefty annual fee. I first got the Amex Platinum card way back in 2000 when I knew literally nothing about the world of points and miles. In fact, I don’t think I even got points for signing up! At the time, I thought I was something special just for holding the card (oh, the shallowness of youth).
The prestige factor remains high for many, but I’ve moved on to the many benefits of the card that, in my opinion, easily justify the annual fee. Among them? The automatic Gold status with Marriott and Hilton hotels, $200 a year in airline fee credit, automatic elite status with Hertz, and the $200 a year in Uber credits.
For the first time in my life, I used my American Express Membership Rewards points this year, too. I transferred my Amex points to Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue program for Delta One flights to Israel in December. The flight booked with cash would have been $3,693. I used 144,000 Membership Rewards points instead. The same flight booked via Delta SkyMiles would have been 210,000 miles.
Anyway, those are just a few of the perks. Read on for all the ways I got value from the card in the last year, and all the ways I’m maximizing it in 2021 and into the future.
While I didn’t travel as much as usual in 2020, and forfeited my access to Centurion lounges, I saved enough money and earned enough points to make keeping the card a no-brainer.
One of my favorite things about the Platinum card is the automatic Gold status with both Marriott and Hilton. I already have Diamond status at Hilton through my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — at a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) — but the status at Marriott came in handy several times. I’ve been upgraded and gotten super late checkout just because of the automatic status granted by the Amex card. In fact, the card gives you status in several elite programs.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Membership Rewards points
I also earned more than 35,000 Membership Rewards points last year, including 20,000 points as a bonus for keeping my card. While I don’t put everyday spending on the card, I do use it for airline purchases to get 5x points, and I use it for rental cars for the auto insurance benefits. I’ve also gotten some lucrative referral bonuses in years past.
In just the last six months of 2020, I count $501.16 in statement credits alone. Among the best credits? The $20 a month for your wireless bill and another $20 a month for streaming services (no longer available). I got $100 back from the biannual Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 every six months). I also earned the whole $200 available in airline fee credit for fees at Delta Air Lines. Those rebates came from pet-in-cabin fees.
While I wasn’t able to maximize my Uber credits, I did get at least $110 worth of the $200. Conservatively, I’d say I got at least $850 in value in statement credits and fee refunds alone in 2020.
2021 is off to a good start in earning back my annual fee.
I’ve been able to use a couple of lounges this year. The card gives you access to Delta lounges when flying on Delta flights. Of course, the best lounges to me are the Centurion lounges where you get entry no matter who you are flying.
I’ve already gotten two refunds of Delta Air Lines fees ($125 for a pet-in-cabin fee). I plan on getting my full $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits and the remainder of my Uber credits too.
The other big credit for me this year will be the new-in-2020 benefit of up to $200 in travel credit available to personal cardholders who renew their card between April 2020 and March 2021. It’s good on bookings made via the American Express Travel portal. Yes, that’s on top of the $200 annual airline fee credit. I think I want to try to use it to book that long-planned and twice-canceled trip to Tahiti.
Related: My ill-fated trip to Tahiti
Burning those points
I’ve also finally redeemed some of my hoarded American Express Membership Rewards points as I mentioned above. I got a business-class flight worth nearly $4,000 for 144,000 MR points. Talk about a return on my annual fee investment.
Wait, there’s more
Here’s just a few of the other benefits of the card compiled by our crack credit card team:
- The Platinum Card from American Express gets you 75,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership (you may be eligible for an Amex Platinum 125,000-point bonus offer using the CardMatch tool); new cardholders can also earn 10x points per dollar spent on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations on up to $15,000 in combined purchases during your first six months of membership.
- 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
- 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass in the U.S., valued at $10 per month, if you enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
- Up to a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or an $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every four years.
- Points transfer to 21 airline and hotel partners.
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights and the Airspace and Escape lounges.
- Complimentary Gold status at Hilton and Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
- $550 annual fee (see rates and fees)
I would say conservatively that I’m getting at least $1,000 in value out of my Amex Platinum every year. This year, because of my redemption of Membership Rewards points, I’d say that will jump into the $3,000-$4,000 range. Not a bad return on a $550 investment, in my opinion.
I’ve tried to explain my logic of paying high annual fees to my friends and family countless times over the years. Hopefully, this lays it out a little more clearly and I can send this article to them to explain why they need this card too.
As the old Amex slogan goes, “Membership has its privileges!”
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.
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