Is the American Express Platinum still worth holding?

If I were one of the select few bloggers with affiliate links, you would expect this to be an immediate skip, because, from their perspective, the American Express Platinum is clearly worth holding or better yet, applying for a new one! and here’s 10 affiliate links to use! Me on the other hand, hopefully you’ve come to expect a bit more objective. 

American Express Platinum

The New Annual Fee for American Express Platinum Cards

In March of 2017, American Express added a bunch of benefits to its Personal American Express Platinum card, but with those benefits, came a jarring annual fee increase to $550.

The new benefits (via Gary Leff):

  • New metal card design
  • $200 annual Uber credit (parsed out monthly)
  • 5x earning on some hotel bookings
  • Free authorized user Gold cards
  • 2 free guests on Priority Pass lounge visits
  • 2, $100 Statement Credits for Saks 5th Avenue (my add)

Then, we learned that the Business American Express Platinum card would get new benefits, too:

The new benefits, via Doctor of Credit:

  • One Year Complimentary Platinum Global Access from WeWork ($2.7k value)
  • 2, $100 Statement Credits for purchases at Dell (think this breaks out to the first 6 months of the year and second six months)
  • $100 Hotel Credit at properties in The Hotel Collection
  • 5x points earning at
  • 2 free guests on Priority Pass lounge visits

Of course, the Business Platinum comes with a jaw dropping $595 annual fee.

Let us not forget, the Sign-on Bonus Rules

Some years ago, American Express introduce a “once per lifetime” rule for getting sign-on bonuses. There are some ways to circumvent this, such as for example, when American Express introduces new cards. There are some slight variations on the business side as well.

That said, I offer that more often than not, the conversation about American Express is the long term value of holding the card, since you can justify away a lot of things when you’re getting 100,000 Membership Rewards points in year one. But is a card costing $550-595 a year worth keeping long term? For me at this point, the jury was still out.

American Express Priority Passes No Longer have Priority Pass Restaurant Benefits

Late last month, it came out that for Hong Kong and US based American Express Platinum card holders will lose access to Priority Pass Restaurant Benefits. Starting 1 August, your American Express Platinum provided Priority Pass card loses significant value. If I knew which card came from American Express, it would have a giant “X” on it.

American Express Platinum, Priority Pass

Last year I wrote how Priority Pass was changing the game for airport lounges. So you can probably guess how I feel about American Express’ change to their Platinum card Priority Pass benefit.

Is American Express on its way down?

When I first started in the game, American Express was the head of the pack in the premium travel card market. They may have been the only mainstream game in town at the time. Since then, Citi Prestige came in big, and has since scaled things back, with changes such as making it harder to use their fourth night free benefit and increasing the annual fee to $495. Chase, on the other hand hasn’t made any notable pull back of benefits, unless you consider the risk of shutdown. There’s also a bunch of great discussion about Chase Shutdowns on the Milenomics Podcast, such as Episode 17.

Bottom Line: Hard to renew

Full disclosure – I just got myself a new American Express Business Platinum, with a 100k Membership Rewards sign-up bonus, so I’m in for at least the year. My wife on the other hand, has had hers for years, and we’re seriously thinking of downgrading when the annual fee hits. Both of our cards are business, and so the annual fee, while a business expense, still is significant enough that we want to be sure we are getting sufficient value. A few years ago, I had cancelled my previous American Express Platinum and we tried with me as an Authorized User. That math is even more challenged with changes like the Priority Pass downgrade.

What are your thoughts? Do you have an American Express Platinum card? Will you be renewing when the annual fee hits?


9 thoughts on “Is the American Express Platinum still worth holding?

  1. I’m leaning towards keeping it. Besides the things you mentioned, I value the 10 international wifi passes. The 35% rebate on certain flights is great and I fly Delta a lot, so getting into Delta lounges is a definite plus. I rarely travel through an airport that has AmEx lounge so the Delta lounge is extremely useful.
    Also, I love me a 45 min. full massage for $21 in Mex City’s AmEx lounge. 🙂

    • Yeah, as a non-Delta flyer, that part eluded me. I think being a Delta flyer definitely moves the needle on this card.

    • what airline do you fly besides delta that can use gogo? AA doesn’t have gogo nor united so wifi passes are useless to me!

  2. For me, I’ll keep it. I use the Uber credits each month. I easily use the air fare credit. I spend roughly $30K on airfare every year. 150K MR points at minimum is worth $1500, but I get more value than that w/their (comparatively) large group of transfer partners.

    This is a really good card for frequent Delta flyers that are below the Diamond tier because it comes w/free access to Delta lounges ($450 value). It also comes w/access to Amex lounges if you have those available to you.

    • @AeroLance – I’m a bit surprised the Uber Credits make sense for you – I’m curious, do you use your AMEX Plat for all Uber charges? Do you feel the 2x beyond the credit is worth the opportunity cost? (I think CSR gets 3x if I recall correctly).

  3. The 35% rebate on business class redemptions should save me more than half of the annual fee if my first attempt works as planned for my business card. Various other benefits as well make this a keeper for now, although the WeWork credit is absolutely worthless to me.

    • @Christian – the 35% rebate is by far the most useful aspect to me as well. I’ve also found them finding cheaper flights than I found via ITA which has been a great benefit. But, you need to redeem a lot to make that make sense after the first year.

  4. One bad thing that not many people mention about this card is the lack of benefit for delayed or cancelled flights. Citi Prestige has it ($500). Chase Sapphire does as well. Amex Platinum does not. I needed this a few weeks back and used the wrong card. I will never book a flight with Amex platinum again.

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