The American Express Platinum Card is a premium credit card with a lot of perks but also comes with a hefty annual fee, $450 to be exact. But don’t stop reading yet, there are a lot of perks that can easily make up for the $450 annual fee, let’s look at the perks offered in addition to the sign up bonus. When signing up for the card you get 40,000 Membership reward points once you spend $3,000. 40k MRP will transfer to Hawaiian Airlines or Delta, for example. 35k Hawaiian points will get you a roundtrip to any Hawaiian island.
The Platinum Card is a card for avid travelers that prefer to travel in comfort and in style. The biggest perk is that this card provides airline incidental credit. This is free money ($200 per year) you receive reimbursement for when you pay for things such as checked bags, seat upgrades to first class, food and alcohol while in the air, etc. Although the terms of the card say that the $200 yearly credit won’t apply to airline ticket purchases there is anecdotal evidence here on flyertalk showing that you can apply the credit to gift card purchases. You can then use those gift cards to pay for flights. The other great piece of this $200 yearly credit is that you have this credit once every calendar year. If you buy two $100 gift cards this year and two more next spring, you would effectively get $400 in flights before the next annual fee is due. The $200 credit resets every January 1st, so you will lose it if you don’t use it. Just cancel the card before the 12th month and your $450 annual fee for one year would actually only amount to ‘$50’ since you can get $400 in airfare through gift card purchases. You can effectively have this card for $50 for 12 months and get all the perks (and bragging rights, to some) of having the Platinum Card.
The other great perk to the Platinum Card is airline lounge access. Have you ever walked through an airport and noticed those discrete areas with men in business suits coming in and out? Those are “first class” lounges. This card gets you unlimited access to a number of lounges for free. Lounges typically offer free food, alcohol, quiet working areas, super clean restrooms, and FAST Wifi. Did I mention they are quiet?
Here are the lounges you get access to:
• American Express Centurion Lounges (airports: LAS, DFW, MIA, SEA, SFO, LGA)
• AirSpace Lounges (airports: JFK, CLE, BWI, SAN)
• Delta Sky Club (must be flying Delta that day; Airports: ATL, BOS, ORD, CVG, DFW, DTW, FLL, HNL, IND, JAX, LAX, MEM, MIA, MKE, MSP, BNA, MSY, JFK, LGA, EWR, MCO, PHL, PDX, RDU, SLC, SAN, SFO, SEA, TPA, DCA, PBI)
• Priority Pass Select (Airports: 600+ locations worldwide)
Here is a little taste of what the Centurion Lounges offer, everything is 100% free for Platinum Card holders (plus two guests with you)
Clearly, you can see that this card provides a lot of travel goodies, but this is just the surface of the benefits. Let’s touch on a few more.
The Platinum Card will provide you up to $100 to apply for the Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85) programs. Either of these programs will get you through security at the airport in a breeze. You won’t have to take off your jacket, shoes, and no body scanner. In addition to those exemptions you also get to go through an exclusive line at airport security, drastically speeding things up! Both of these programs are good for 5 years of travel.
Platinum Card holder automatically get free Gold status with Starwood Hotels. (IE: Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels)
Gold Starwood status will get you room upgrades, free wifi, late checkout, bonus points when you stay, etc. Here is the view we scored on an upgrade at the W Fort Lauderdale
Another awesome perk is free Boingo Wifi access. You will get unlimited access to any Boingo hotspot. Boingo has hotspots world-wide and has saved my butt a few times when other Wifi options would have charged me.
You will also receive free automatic rental car coverage/insurance. This applies world-wide with the exception of about 5-7 countries. (ones you probably won’t visit). This is a zero deductible insurance that will cover any damage at no cost to you. All you have to do is pay for the car with your Platinum card and waive the insurance the rental car company provides.
So a quick recap of the card:
$450 annual fee (you can cancel at any time before it renews)
40k Membership Reward Points that transfer to a number of airlines and hotels. Easily enough for a round trip to Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean. ($500 value)
Up to $400 airline incidentals, if used correctly, that can be applied to cover gift card purchases, aka $400 in free plane tickets!
$100 to cover your Global Entry or TSA Precheck Application
Access to Airport Lounges, these are usually $50 per visit, you do the math depending on how often you would visit them.
As you can see, that is easily over $1,000 in perks/credits if leveraged correctly, so you have to decide if the $450 annual fee is worth it. There is no defined income requirement to be approved for this card. Amex says you just have to live in the USA and be 18 years old, at a minimum, to qualify. I was auto-approved with no hiccups and I love this card! If you are going to sign up, shoot me a quick message with your email so I can send you a referral link, Amex will give me some free points too 🙂