Why the Amex Platinum card is still in the wallets of these TPG staffers — despite annual fee hike

Jul 13, 2021

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Many who carry The Platinum Card® from American Express may question why they should keep it — and its new $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) — in their wallets. However, that higher annual fee now comes with new lifestyle credits and benefits. While the card has paid for itself with its myriad lucrative travel-related benefits, the pickings are slim on non-travel purchases.

Although American Express has stepped up to the plate to offer more benefits, there’s still that pesky $695 annual fee. So is keeping the Amex Platinum Card in your wallet still an option? I polled TPG staffers to see who’s keeping the card and who’s getting rid of it at the end of their cardmember anniversary.

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Steve Sibley, president

(Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)

It seems like a no-brainer to me.  Based on my tracker, I’m up to $1,337 saved on American Express Platinum card this year and — that’s before the new annual Clear membership statement credit and the new up to $200 hotel statement credit. And not to mention I’ve been in Amex Centurion Lounges six times in the last month alone. I also redeemed my Membership Rewards for $6,000 worth of plane tickets. The up to $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts statement credit and the up to $189 annual Clear statement credit more than pay for the increased annual fee, so I actually feel better about it. And finally, the Amex Offers game has been strong this year. So it’s a yes. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: Amex revamps Platinum Card with new ‘lifestyle-focused’ benefits, higher annual fee and big welcome bonus

Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor

Using Clear
A Clear line. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

I plan to keep my Amex Platinum card. The Clear benefit has been nice for my wife and parents. I also used the up to $200 Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program (FHR) statement credit this year and expect to do it in future years.

Clint Henderson, senior news editor

(Photo courtesy of Residence Inn Hotels)

Despite the big hike in the annual fee, I have saved enough money and earned enough points to make keeping my American Express Platinum card a no-brainer. I’ve been able to use the Centurion lounges several times already in 2021. I saved $30 with a stay at a Comfort Inn through Amex Offers. I got $75 back for an Avis car rental and $23 in credits for Teleflora and another $10 for Bombas socks. I got statement credits for Paypal purchases totaling at least $120. I plan on several more hotel stays and the potential for as much as $60 back through additional hotel stays (Hilton and/or other brands).

I’ve saved up to $200 this year from statement credits for a hotel stay booked through Amex Travel. I also received the up to $100 back from the annual Saks Fifth Avenue statement credits ($50/every six months), and will use the entire up to $200 available in airline fee statement credits for fees at Delta Air Lines. I also got a $100 statement credit from Best Buy for my purchase of an iWatch from BestBuy.com. Finally, I’m really looking forward to getting the new Clear benefit (worth about $139 to me). Enrollment required for select benefits.

I’ve also finally redeemed some of my hoarded American Express Membership Rewards points. I got a business-class flight worth nearly $4,000 for 144,000 Membership Rewards points. In statement credits alone, I’ve saved at least $640 in 2021. Even with the annual fee hike, I think the card is still definitely worth it.

Related: How our cruise writer got $4,456 in value from his Amex Platinum in a year — even during the pandemic

Benét Wilson, senior editor

American Express Centurion Lounge in Denver
I enjoyed having the Amex Centurion Lounge at Denver International Airport (DEN). (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I’ve done a good bit of traveling in the past year. As airport lounges have reopened, I’ve taken full advantage of them, thanks to the access I get with my Amex Platinum card. After a redeye flight from Anchorage to Denver International Airport (DEN), I was happy to get myself back together at this still-new Amex Centurion Lounge. There was a great selection of food and drinks. And I look forward to having even more lounge access via Centurion Studios.

I’ve used Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts to book a few rooms with some sweet perks. I’ve been a Clear member (via my SkyMiles account) for years, but I’m happy that I can now get it for free. The new digital entertainment statement credit covers my Sirius XM (thanks to a sweet deal after I mulled canceling it) and I still have enough left over to upgrade to Peacock premium. And as a foodie, I’m really looking forward to trying out the new Global Dining Access program by Resy.

Related: Guide to lounge access with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Chris Dong, credit cards writer

The Four Seasons Madrid is part of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program. (Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

For a $145 annual fee increase, I’m getting at least $300 in additional value per year — without even trying. The up to $200 prepaid hotel statement credit is easy to use for a Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection booking and I switched my New York Times subscription to my Amex Platinum so I can use (at least some of) the card’s up to $240 annual digital entertainment statement credit to cover a portion of my bill. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: 16 things to do when you get the Amex Platinum

Ashley Onadele, writer

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

I also get a ton of value out of Amex Offers. Along with broad lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) perks and travel credits, the Platinum Card produces significant savings. It’s also the only premium card I have at the moment, which adds to the value of keeping it for me.

Melanie Lieberman, senior travel editor

(Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

I’m a big fan of the Equinox credit. I’ve been an Equinox member since 2015 and knowing I’ll get $300 back (via an up to $300 annual statement credit) every calendar year on a purchase I was making anyway immediately offsets the annual fee hike. But I’m also really excited about the up to $200 annual hotel credit that  requires a minimum two-night stay, which should be much easier to use than the airline fee credit that has become so restrictive. I was on the fence about getting Clear, but now that too seems like a no-brainer since it will be effectively paid for by a credit card I already have in my wallet.

Related: Your guide to using the new Amex Platinum Equinox credit

Team cancel/on the fence

TPG staffers who are canceling their Amex Platinum cards include senior writer Victoria Walker, editor at large Zach Honig and senior aviation business reporter David Slotnick.

Honig, who had the coveted yellow Platinum card, canceled because he felt it was just too big of an expense. Plus, he still has The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which gets him lounge access. And Slotnick upgraded his Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card to a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. He had the Reserve before, so he couldn’t apply for a new one and get the bonus. However, he did get an offer for 5,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) for upgrading.

Reviews editor Nick Ellis is very much on the fence when it comes to his Amex Platinum card. He likes the FHR hotel credit and the entertainment credit for his New York Times subscription. And having lounge access is good, although he primarily flies delta and has Sky Club access. But he feels the card’s new $695 annual fee is really a tough pill to swallow.

Another one on the fence about keeping the Amex Platinum card is Kelley King, a credit cards SEO associate. On the one hand, she doesn’t want to lose lounge access for friends and family. On the other, she’s always been lost on how to use the up to $200 annual airline fee credit. She finds the new up to $200 credit on prepaid hotel bookings (through Fine Hotels + Resorts® and The Hotel Collection) nice but is unsure if she’ll take advantage of it.

Bottom line

As you can see above, some TPG staffers are all for the new Amex Platinum changes and don’t mind paying the $695 annual fee. Others are a hard pass or are still trying to decide what to do. In the end, each person needs to look at the card’s benefits, new and old, and decide if it fits with their spending habits and lifestyle. If yes, pay the new fee and enjoy all your new perks. If not, now may be the time to downgrade within the American Express Card family — or even consider another card issuer.

Related: 10x bonus point categories and 100k welcome offer: The Platinum Card from American Express review

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

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy

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