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How To Get Awesome Value From The American Express Platinum Card

No pain, no gain with the American Express Platinum card

Ok, I have to admit a £450 annual credit card is eye-watering. There is no way of avoiding the fee if you opt for the American Express Platinum card. 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?

American Express Platinum card
American Express Platinum card

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.

Benefit Cost Notes
Worldwide lounge access  £409 Assumes ten visits a year.
Worldwide travel insurance for you, and your family  £80 Based on current policy with Debenhams
Complimentary hotel room upgrades  £400 Based on figures provided by American Express and converted into GBP using the exchange rate as of 4th March 2018.
Elite hotel status in a range of loyalty programmes  £500 Assumes you stay ten nights a year and save around £50 by enjoying free drinks in the hotel Club room lounges.
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 figures assumes you spend £250 a year on car hire, but you can work out your own saving depending on how frequently you hire cars.
Total £1426.50

Worldwide lounge access

Bar in Gatwick airport Lounge
Bar in the No1 Traveller Lounge, Gatwick Airport

A Priority Pass membership costs £259 per person, or you could join and pay the guest entrance fee of £15 per visit. You can also pay for each individual visit to a lounge which costs from £25 per person. Assume you visit ten times a year, that £409 might justify the expense for this benefit alone. However, if you are using my hacks to travel in business for less than economy, then you may find that you cannot make use of this perk.

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.

A quick search on Holiday Extras for annual travel insurance, prices the same cover at £220 for a family of five. My current annual travel policy costs around £80, so I have used this conservative figure for the numbers.

posing in the mountains
Enjoy beautiful views in Cervinia knowing your American Express Platinum Card has it covered!

Complimentary hotel benefits

The card offers complimentary benefits, with an average value of $550, at over 975 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? 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.

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, Starwood Preferred Guest and Melia hotels. Now I genuinely think that this is perhaps one of the best benefits of the card. Such status grants you access to the hotel club lounges, where you can indulge in canapes and drinks free of charge.

This alone can be worth more than £50 a visit if a couple are travelling, 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 £500 on that basis.

Dinner at the Nest Hotel Incheon
Dinner at the Nest Hotel in Seoul, a member of SPG

Car rental benefits

Members gain access to the higher tiers of Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty programmes. This includes a discount of up to 15%. How much value you get from this will depend on how frequently you hire a car, but I have again assumed some conservative figures.

Sign up bonus

When you spend £2,000 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 £120, but this is waived in the first year. As long as you spend £2,000 within two months you will earn 20,000 American Express rewards points on this card (22,000 if you use this referral link).

Remember, this is the same as an American Express Gold card. It is a charge card and thus the balance needs paying off in full each month.

Grand Hotel Billia from the gardens
Book a fabulous weekend away with your American Express Platinum card so you can achieve the sign up bonus

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.

Is the American Express Platinum card worth it?

So, based on these rather conservative assumptions, I would argue that it is worth it. Once my 6 months is up (I only got rid of the American Express Gold card four months ago) I am definitely opting for this account.

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 £1,000 of savings so on that basis, this is awesome value.

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?

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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13 comments

  1. Tres interesting! I never put that much thought into which card I use and after reading your post I’m seriously beginning to regret that. I know it takes a lot of leg work in terms of doing the research to find the best card but clearly based on what you’ve outlined here, it’s absolutely worth it! Thanks for inspiring me to get my act together in this area!

  2. I’m not a heavy card user despite being an ex banker. As a general rule, I tend to avoid all cards with significantly high annual fees. But it is good that you have listed out the benefits in detail so that people can take an informed decision.

  3. My understanding is that the Amex travel insurance that comes free with the card is a very poor comparison with the Chase products. If traveling beyond the most basic travel plans I would use a chase card to book rangements, particularly the flight.

    • Sadly the Chase cards aren’t an option for us in the UK so I wouldn’t know. I’ve looked at the insurance though and would be quite happy substituting this policy for my annual travel policy

  4. I never knew about this. It’s really nice to save few bucks while u travel and definitely gonna think about this.

  5. Right now, I’m not sure I would get the most out of taking out this card, as I don’t spend that much each month. If I travelled as frequently to get the points, then it would justify the £450 annual fee. Something to definitely consider however, thanks for the tips.

  6. Man, that membership fee is quite the sticker shock!! With good planning and the right habits, I can see how the benefits would pay off… but I think a lot of people would intend to follow through and end up not using the perks. Common problem, I’m sure! Personally, I’d love to get my hands on that lounge access.

    • I know that’s why I’ve never indulged before. However we are due to reapply for Amex in a few months and I’m definitely going to try it then so will let you know how I get on

  7. Sounds like a pretty good deal – I am going to check it out! Thanks for sharing all of this information with us.

  8. This was an interesting read, though I dont use credit cards but I sometimes feel that its important while traveling and a card which has so many benefits and is so much to offer definitely calls for giving it a try. I am thinking high time I should apply for a card

  9. We have had the AMEX Platinum Card for a number of years and after a while we kind of lost track of all the inclusions and there have certainly been a number of times where we have taken out separate travel insurance especially where we weren’t sure if it covered certain trips and activities. We are fortunate in that we still accumulate points faster than we plan to use them and hold life membership to some airline lounges quite independent of the card so it really doesn’t provide too many advantages there. Like many things you sometimes keep the membership going as a matter of habit and just keep renewing each time you get the invoice in the mail – but I’m sure if we added ll the benefits up, it would still be worthwhile to keep. Nice post.

    • Thanks Nicole. Yes I checked out the travel insurance in detail as I wanted to know if it covered skiing and diving and it does

  10. Interesting…. At the moment as we are backpacking I”m not sure we would end up making our money back (without the luxury hotel rooms and car rental) but it’s definitely one to think about!

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