No pain, no gain with the American Express Platinum card
Ok, I have to admit a £575 annual credit card is eye-watering. There is no way of avoiding the fee if you opt for the American Express Platinum. Sadly, unlike the American Express Gold card, there is no free pass in year one. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a total rip-off. After all, much as I love my American Express rewards points, I am not sure I can justify the cost of the American Express Platinum simply to earn American Express points. But, this card offers some pretty impressive benefits, so do these benefits justify the high cost?
Benefits of the AMEX Platinum card
I have listed the benefits of the card, and their rough value below so you can make your own mind up.
|Worldwide lounge access||£539||Prestige membership costs £339 per annum and includes unlimited visits. Guests pay £20. This cost therefore assumes ten visits per year taking a guest.|
|Worldwide travel insurance for you, and your family||£410.01||Based on figures from Holiday Extras on 31/8/19|
|Complimentary hotel room upgrades||£452.39||Based on figures provided by American Express and converted into GBP using the exchange rate as of 31/8/19.|
|Elite hotel status in a range of loyalty programmes||£600||If you stay ten nights a year and enjoy free drinks in the hotel Club room lounges plus complimentary breakfast for two, estimated saving is around £60 a night.|
|Elite status in a number of car rental loyalty programmes||£37.50||The value of this benefit is hugely variable, as there are many factors involved in determining a price for car hire. This figure assumes you spend £250 a year on car hire, but you can work out your own saving depending on how frequently you hire cars.|
|One Fine Stay||£164.50||Credit for a booking|
Worldwide lounge access
The card includes Priority Pass membership which allows access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide. Priority pass Membership usually costs £339 per person, or you can join for £69 and pay the guest entrance fee of £20 per visit. You can also visit other lounges which usually cost from £25 per person.
Note that the American Express Platinum card allows you to take one guest as a cardholder. Assume you visit ten times a year, and take a guest each time, the value of this benefit is thus £339 plus £200. That £539 almost covers your card fee! That alone might justify the expense for the card. However, if you are using my hacks to travel in business for less than the cost of economy, then you may find that you cannot make enough use of this perk to make it worthwhile.
If you wish to add supplementary cardholder to the account they can also take a guest for free, but it costs £285 for a supplementary cardholder.
Worldwide travel insurance
Worldwide travel insurance, which includes skiing and diving, is included for those under 70 (read full terms and conditions here). The insurance includes family members under 25 and even covers gap years. It also covers extended trips up to 90 dats.
A quick search on Holiday Extras for annual travel insurance, prices the same cover at £410 for a family of five including worldwide travel and winter sports.
Complimentary hotel benefits
The card offers complimentary benefits, with an average value of $550, at over q,000 luxury hotels worldwide. This includes room upgrades where possible, complimentary breakfast and a late check-out, guaranteed until 4 pm. Now, who doesn’t love a room upgrade?
Hotel tier status
Membership grants you elite status in a number of leading hotel loyalty partner programmes. This includes Hilton Honors, Shangri-La Golden Circle and Marriot Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, Radisson and Melia hotels. Now I genuinely think that this is perhaps one of the best benefits of the card. Such status often grants you access to the hotel club lounges, where you can indulge in canapes and drinks free of charge. You can also benefit from complimentary breakfasts and room upgrades. Just the thought brings back memories of our suite at the Waldorf Royal Astoria in New Orleans! What a superb room it was, made even better because we got it free with our elite status.
This alone can be worth more than £60 a visit for a couple, especially if you consider that a glass of wine in such hotels can often set you back a tenner. If you stay just ten nights a year in these hotels, you will save £600 on that basis.
One Fine Stay
Platinum card holders also receive a $200 (worth £164.50 as at 31/8/19) credit for every booking made with One Fine Stay. This company offers luxury homes around the world, a bit like a very upmarket Airbnb (sign up using this link if you haven’t already).
Car rental benefits
Sign up bonus
When you spend £4,000 within the first three months of membership, you will earn a whopping sign-up bonus of 30,000. This is the best deal there is in the UK, however other cards offer up to 26,000 with much lower fees. For instance, the premium British Airways AMEX card has an annual fee of £195 and a sign up bonus of 25,000 (26,000 if you use this referral link). Alternatively, the American Express Gold has an annual fee of £140, but this is waived in the first year. As long as you spend £3,000 within three months you will earn 10,000 American Express rewards points on this card (12,000 if you use this referral link).
Remember, this is a charge card and thus the balance needs paying off in full each month. If you fail to do so you forfeit your membership reward points for the month so it could be a costly mistake.
Ongoing American Express membership rewards
Surprisingly, the earnings rate is the same as the American Express Gold card. You only earn 1 point per £1 spend which is a little less than you might expect given the annual fee. The great thing about these rewards however, is that you are not restricted to a specific airline loyalty club, as you are with the British Airways AMEX card. Instead, you can transfer points to any of the American Express airline partners.
Private car hire
Receive a £10 credit for any bookings made with Addison Lee (appears to be London only so no use to us Northerners!) and Tristar car services.
A bit of bling
Some of you might like the glossy metal card.
Global dining collection
Foodies might drool at the prospect of dining in some of the best global restaurants. AMEX hold reserved tables for American Express Platinum Cardmembers at some of the best restaurants on the planet. They might even be able to help you meet your kitchen heroes, or arrange complimentary tour of a renowned kitchen.
Is the American Express Platinum card worth it?
So, based on these rather conservative assumptions, I would argue that it is worth it. Even if you take out the card, achieve the sign up bonus and subsequently cancel, you still retain elite status for the remainder of the year. You will also be eligible for a partial refund of the membership fee.
Even at conservative estimates, I think it would be relatively easy to gain over £1,500 of savings using the American Express Platinum card. Now if you happen to be tempted by all these goodies, sign up using this link to earn an additional 5,000 reward points. Just spend £4,000 within four months and you will bank a whopping 35,000 membership rewards.
What do you think?
Maybe you have already opted for this card. How much value do you estimate you gain, and would you recommend it to others?