I Had Sticker Shock Over the Amex Platinum Card’s Annual Fee — but Opened It Anyway

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Although my husband and I started using credit card rewards for free travel years ago we’ve shied away from obtaining higher annual fee cards. The high fees didn’t feel justifiable, and thus we never took the time to apply for one.

Now that we are a few years in we’ve been expanding our card choices. This brought us to open our first premium card recently — The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Read more: Amex Platinum card review

If you’re unfamiliar with the Platinum Card, it is a heavy-duty metal card, and it’s definitely got the sleek factor going for it. The card comes with a hefty fee at $695 a year (See Rates).

Prior to obtaining this card, the most we had paid for an annual fee was $250 (See Rates) for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. This felt like a lot at the time, but the companion certificate that comes with the card made it worth it for us.

Before we applied for the Platinum Card we really had to dig into the benefits to see if it made sense for us. Here’s why we finally decided to open the card.

The Amex Platinum’s benefits make it worth the annual fee

Regular APR

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Featured Reward

100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards
    • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
    • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
    • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
    • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
    • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
    • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
    • $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
    • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on eligible Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
    • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
    • $695 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

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    We aren’t what most would consider upscale travelers, so credit cards with high annual fees have never been our thing. As we looked ahead to travel in 2022 however, it made sense for us to apply for the Platinum Card. Here are the six benefits that we are using to justify the higher fee: 

    1. Digital subscription credits

    Platinum Card members receive up to $240 in annual statement credits** (up to $20 per month) for purchases/subscriptions with Audible, The New York Times, SiriusXM, and Peacock.

    Read more: How to use the Amex Platinum digital subscription credit to save up to $240 per year on services like Audible and SiriusXM

    We already use Audible, so it was easy to link our account to the American Express card and have it cover our membership. This saves us roughly $180 per year. 

    2. Uber Cash

    Although we normally don’t use Uber each month, we can now use

    Uber Eats

    to deliver take out to our home. The Platinum Card offers up to $200 in Uber cash annually** ($15 per month plus a $20 bonus in December), which you can use toward Uber Eats orders.

    Read more: Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $200 in Uber Cash credits every year — here’s how to use the benefit, even if you’re not traveling

    This means that each month if we don’t have a date night or travel experience planned where we will need an Uber, we can use the credit towards food we would have had delivered anyway. This gives us $200 back a year. 

    3. Saks Fifth Avenue credits

    Although I wasn’t 100% sure we would use the up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 from January to June, and up to $50 from July through December)**, I can now say that we have. While shopping for a new dress for an upcoming vacation, I made sure to browse the under $50 sale link on the Saks website.

    Read more: The Amex Platinum card offers up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and you can ‘stack’ other discounts to save more on your purchases

    Sure enough, I found the perfect Steve Madden white and gold wrap dress for our upcoming trip. Originally $150 and on sale for $45, I was happy with the discount and the fact that our credit card was covering the cost. 

    4. Delta SkyClub access

    My husband travels a lot for business and was definitely excited about this perk. Cardholders can access Delta SkyClub airport lounges when they fly with the airline — in addition to accessing Priority Pass**, Centurion, and other Amex Global Lounge collection lounges.

    Read more: The best credit cards that offer airport lounge access

    He’s gotten free food and drink in airport lounges, making his frequent work travel experience more enjoyable. 

    5. Annual hotel credit

    With the amount of traveling that we do, we are looking forward to using this newer perk. Cardholders get up to $200 per calendar year toward prepaid hotels that are part of Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection.

    Read more: My plan to maximize the Amex Platinum card’s new $200 hotel credit for a nearly free luxury stay

    Although we normally stay in Airbnbs, we have browsed the hotel options through the American Express Travel platform and are planning to use the $200 credit at some point in spring or summer. Worst case scenario the husband and I will book a hotel for a staycation in Minneapolis or Wisconsin and use it as a good excuse to get away!

    6. Airline incidental fee credit

    The Platinum Card comes with up to $200 per year in airline incidental fee credits** on one qualifying airline you choose. While admittedly I didn’t know what this benefit all entailed, I’ve since learned that it typically covers charges such as for overweight luggage fees, airport lounge day passes, and inflight food and beverages.

    Read more: The Amex airline fee credit can save you up to $250 a year on extras like checked bags, but don’t assume all incidentals will trigger the reimbursement

    While on a recent trip to Tucson we had to consolidate luggage for myself and our youngest child so I could fly home without my husband more easily. We knew the piece was going to exceed the airline’s 50-pound weight limit, but didn’t sweat it being the Platinum Card will reimburse the $100 charge. 

    We’ll save nearly $900 from the Platinum card’s benefits

    These benefits add up to at least $880 worth of money saved. While this is a great reason alone to consider this card, we also earned the card’s welcome bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership.

    We will likely transfer these points to Delta SkyMiles, one of American Express’ transfer partners, to help cover a trip to Europe or California later this year. 

    When my husband and I were initially discussing the Platinum Card it definitely gave me sticker shock. However, when we looked at what other options we may have for obtaining points to use toward Delta (our preferred airline) or for hotels, we felt that this card was our best option.

    We also considered the new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, but Delta is not a Capital One transfer partner, and thus decided to start with an American Express card.

    Read more: Don’t let the Amex Platinum’s new ‘lifestyle’ benefits distract you from its true value — here’s what the card is worth to the average person

    The full range of benefits that we will actually use makes up for the steep annual fee. If you do decide to go for the Platinum Card, be sure to enroll in these benefits after you sign in to your account so you don’t miss out. 

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