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Is the American Express Platinum worth the annual fee?

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Is the American Express Platinum worth the annual fee?

Meghan HunterIs the American Express Platinum worth the annual fee?Million Mile Secrets Team

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When it comes to The Platinum Card® from American Express, the question isn’t, “Is it worth it?” (because it definitely is the first year), but rather, “Is the American Express Platinum worth it long term?”

This card comes with tons of benefits, a nice welcome bonus of 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements – and an eye-popping annual fee.

But it’s actually worth keeping if you use the ongoing perks, including:

  • Access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and others
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber credits
  • Up to $200 in annual airline incidental credits
  • Free Hilton Gold elite status (free breakfast, upgrades when available, late checkout) and Marriott Gold elite status
  • 5x points per dollar on airfare when booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel
  • Terms Apply

That’s because the value you can get from these benefits can far exceed the cost of the annual fee. Many MMS team members have (or have had) this card, myself included. It’s one of the best Amex credit cards. If you know a period of heavy travel is coming up, or you’re a road warrior, you definitely want to review the list of perks.

The Amex Platinum card is worth it for many, because it has great benefits, like comprehensive airport lounge access. (Photo by Wyatt Smith)

The best American Express Platinum card perks

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll earn 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Additionally, some of you will be targeted for an amazing 100,000 point bonus. You can check out our CardMatch tool to see if you qualify (offer subject to change at anytime).

That alone is enough for an award flight to nearly anywhere in the world, including any destination in the continental USHawaiithe Caribbean & Mexico, and Europe and can be worth hundreds, if not thousands, depending how you use your American Express points. You can convert your points into airline miles by utilizing Amex transfer partners. Check out our in-depth review of the Amex Platinum card for more information and ideas.

And the welcome bonus easily offsets the $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) the first year all on its own. It’s subsequent years you have to consider, because that’s a lot of money for a credit card.

Luckily, the benefits easily exceed the fee. Here are the best ones.

Up to $500 in annual credits, plus another $100 credit every four years

The Amex Platinum Card comes with a boatload of statement credits:

  • Up to $200 annual airline incidental fee credit on an airline of your choice
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits per year
  • Up to $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85)

The $200 airline fee credit and Uber credits reset every calendar year and you can use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years. These credits are an easy way to recoup nearly the entire cost of the card’s annual fee. Of course, that’s only if you use them — but note that you can use your $200 in Uber credits toward Uber Eats. That’s $200 in food each year with the Amex Platinum!

That said, if you take a few rides around town and pick up a gift, like perfume or a scarf, you can do well with the Amex Platinum Card – but only if you’re already paying for those things. If you go out of your way to use your credits, you aren’t really saving anything. The value of this perk is completely up to you. Using all the annual credits brings the net annual fee down to $50, which definitely makes the card a keeper.

Lounge access in nearly every major airport

Now here’s a perk that can really make or break your experience with the Amex Platinum Card.  You can access:

  • The Centurion Lounge network
  • International American Express Lounges
  • Delta Sky Clubs (when you’re flying Delta that day)
  • Priority Pass Select lounges (not valid at Priority Pass restaurants)
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Escape Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges

This is far and away the most comprehensive credit card you can possess for accessing airport lounges. No other credit card comes close to offering access to the same number of lounge clubs. This is the definitive airport lounge credit card.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
At Amex Centurion Lounges, you can get full meals, craft cocktails, WiFi, and even a spa treatment for completely free each time you visit (Photo by Summer Hull)

I’m a fan of Centurion Lounges in particular. By showing your card and boarding pass for a departing flight, you can enter (within 3 hours of departure) and bring two guests along.

These lounges have full buffet-style meals, a bar with specialty cocktails and local beers, business centers, free WiFi, and more. I easily value each visit at $25 — more if you bring guests.

If you visit once per month, that’s worth $300, assuming you agree with my valuation ($25 X 12). That’s over half the cost of the card’s annual fee. And of course, if you visit more often or value your visits for more, it’s worth getting the Amex Platinum Card for this perk alone.

Gold Elite status with Hilton and Marriott

The cool thing about this benefit is you get Hilton status and Marriott Bonvoy elite status with no stay requirements. You simply enroll and can take advantage of the perks, including elite upgrades, free breakfast (with Hilton Gold status), and late check-out, without any history with either chain.

When I stayed at the Hilton Tokyo, my friend and I got a huge buffet breakfast for free each morning of our 4-night stay and I’ve enjoyed opulent upgrades at Hilton hotels around the world.

Plus, I used a 4:00 pm late checkout for my family when we stayed in Hawaii. Our flights didn’t leave until 10:00 pm, so it was like getting an entire extra day to lounge on the beach!

It’s hard to put a value on this perk, but even just four free breakfasts can be a savings of over $100. Suffice it to say if you stay regularly at Hilton or Marriott hotels, it’s nice to enjoy these perks right out of the gate.

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

The Amex Platinum Card offers a perk that’s simply not given enough credit. You’ll receive access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which is a program that sharply elevates your experience at luxury hotels around the world. When you book your stay through Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll receive perks like guaranteed 4:00 pm late checkout, big room upgrades, your third night free, free breakfast, and more. Some hotels even have a unique benefit, like a $100 spa credit.

It’s worth pointing out that this is only useful if you’re paying for your stay — you can’t use this benefit if you’re booking an award stay. Just think of Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts as an online travel agency (like Orbitz) that guarantees you valuable benefits and upgrades. Team member Brendan just used this card perk to save hundreds in breakfast during his stay at the JW Marriott in Venice. He also received a $100 food credit and a room upgrade.

Again, if you make use of this perk it can easily save you $100s on a paid hotel stay. Yet another way you can offset the cost of the card’s annual fee.

The rest of the perks are gravy

Making good use of any of the benefits above make the Amex Platinum Card worth getting, and keeping long term.

But other ancillary perks have their own synergy to make this card even better. You’ll also get:

  • 5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through Amex Travel)
  • 5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel
  • Access to Amex Offers
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Return protection
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Global Assist hotline
  • Free ShopRunner subscription

It’s hard to place a value on this list of extras. That said, using any one of them can easily recover the cost of the annual fee.

For example, if you file a claim for purchase protection or extended warranty, you can save a lot of cash by using those perks just once.

Or if you book lots of flights directly with airlines, earning 5 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar will keep your collection well-stocked for when it’s time for an award trip.

I’ve saved almost $90 in the last year with Amex Offers

And if you use Amex Offers frequently, that can add up fast, too. I’ve used offers to save on gas, things around the house, and pet supplies. All of them were purchases I had to make anyway, so the rebates were money back in my pocket.

The total value of the Amex Platinum benefits

If you’re able to maximize many of the Amex Platinum card’s benefits, you’ll be looking at substantial savings over the course of the year.

The up to $500 in annual credits alone is almost enough to cover the card’s annual fee. Add that to the approximate $300 value you’ll get from lounge access and anther (at least) $200 even infrequent travelers can get from perks like Hilton Gold status, and you’re already saving $1,000 — just taking into consideration a few of the card’s perks.

So is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

Choosing to invest a hefty annual fee per year for a credit card is a big decision. Before you apply, you should have a plan to regain most – if not all – of your annual fee.

Scan the list of benefits and pick a couple you can make the most of. For you, that might be up to $200 in Uber credits, Hilton Gold elite status, and regular visits to airport lounges.

For someone else, it might be Amex Offers, up to $200 for airline incidentals, and the 5X bonus categories.

You’ll get access to Delta SkyClub lounges when flying Delta that same day. (Photo by Chris Sloan)

If you don’t have much travel coming up for reasons like finishing grad school, preparing for a new baby, or buying a home, then no, the Amex Platinum Card isn’t worth it for you.

Ultimately, the value of this ultra-premium card is based on your personal travel habits, preferences, and goals and if you can find a few perks you like – which should be easy, given there are so many – then yes, go for this card and enjoy it.

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum Card is an alluring and enigmatic card, especially for frequent travelers. It’s also the ultimate case of “you get what you pay for.”

That’s because if you can make use of the numerous perks, the annual fee will pay you back in spades, but if you don’t, well, many of the best credit cards for travel will suit you better.

The simplest way to decide if it’s right for you is to see if the up to $500 in annual statement credits ($200 for airline incidentals + $200 for Uber + $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue) are useful for you. If so, that brings the net annual fee down to $50 – and then it’s a no-brainer.  If not, review the other perks to see which ones will fit with your travel patterns and lifestyle.

Here’s our full Amex Platinum card review to help you decide. If you have the Amex Platinum Card already, which perks make the card worth the annual fee?

To learn more about the Amex Membership Rewards program, check out our full American Express points review and these other guides:

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets bi-weekly email newsletter.

For the rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.

Lead image courtesy of Delta

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Q: Is the American Express Platinum worth the annual fee?
A: Hell, no (for the great majority of people).

The Amex Platinum reminds me of all the large stuffed animals you see at carnival booths. If you are one of the miniscule few who can toss a small ring over the coke bottle and take home one of the large (stuffed) animals, good for you. But most folks will find it a frustrating waste of time and money.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, on the other hand, offers high-quality benefits that are far easier to use. The CSR doesn’t involve stupid games (like with the Amex annual airline fee credit) that lead to breakage (unclaimed benefits). It’s as if the CSR offers (for example) 5 high-quality benefits; while the Amex Platinum offers 15 benefits, of which 12 are minimally useful/usable.

Yep, it’s a good reminder to always do an analysis of each card’s benefits to see what it’s worth to you personally based on your travel and spending habits. For those who make use of the Amex Platinum’s credits, like the $200 airline fee credit and $200 in Uber Cash, it makes a huge dent in the card’s annual fee.

Petra Lee Hocking

I have been a loyal American Express member for 35 years and during that time I have enjoyed many of the card benefits. I have never however, received bonus loyalty points for my loyalty and I am tired of seeing the massive amounts of points being given away free to new members just for joining American Express. I recently sent a letter expressing my dissatisfaction to Rachel Stocks. It was answered by Amir T who suggested that I have always enjoyed the benefits of being an AMEX member, which I believe I have acknowledged with my loyalty over the years. He then went on to say that they must treat all customers equally, which THEY DO NOT as new customers receive huge amounts of bonus points with minimum spends. Mr Amir T then suggested that if I am dissatisfied I can complain to the Australian Complaints Authority. So much for customer privileges and loyalty. Thank you, American Express!

Agree with all that. Yesterday I found myself with three hours at OAK airport. The Escape lounge offered a wonderful respite from the crazy busy terminal. Love my Amex cards for all the benefits — especially the offers. Not cheap up front but pays (back) for itself quickly. YMMV.

Hi Paul!

Woohoo! Glad you were able to find a lounge.

I was stuck for ~3 hours flying out of terminal 5 at JFK one time, with no access to a lounge, and boy was it unpleasant!