The Deal Mommy

Why I’m Still Bullish on the AMEX Platinum Card

Disclosure: I do NOT have an affiliate relationship with American Express Charge Cards so have no skin in this particular game. 

Apologies if this post is a little inside baseball as it’s a response to a fellow Saverocity post, but I think it’s a good question to discuss: with all of the other products out there, are Membership Rewards worth collecting?

I’m going to answer this one quickly: Yes. Here’s why: diversify, diversify, diversify! As rapidly as the credit card reward schemes change, I find it foolish to keep all of my points in one basket. I like the hotel partners, especially in Europe. I just had a great stay at the Comfort Inn Bolivar in Rome for all of 10,000 Choice points a night. Also seems a good time as any to confess my ode to Avios.

I think Matt’s post does raise another good question: with all the recent changes, is the Platinum card still worth the $450 annual fee? First, we have to net out the fee to its actual cost by taking out the cash equivalent benefit of $200 airline credit. I’ll leave aside global entry as it can only be used once and the other various offers as they spread across most AMEX products. So we’re actually asking if the platinum is worth $250/year.

I’ll start by saying if we’re discussing the personal card, my answer is maybe. For some, too many benefits were stripped to make the juice worth the squeeze.

Here are the benefits that I use available across both cards:

  •  Fine Hotels and Resorts program, which I find extremely lucrative as the incentives stack with the hotel chains’ loyalty promotions and give stay credit.
  • Starwood Gold, Hilton Gold, and numerous car rental chain status upgrades
  • Car rental insurance and preferred rates (although less so now that I have a Citi Thank You)
  • Priority Pass Select (less so with Citi AA Executive and Chase Sapphire Reserve)
  • Departures Magazine (just seeing if you’re still with me!)

How does the math work for you?  Will you pay an annual fee to hold on to your Platinum card? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

27 thoughts on “Why I’m Still Bullish on the AMEX Platinum Card

  1. Becky

    The math doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I loved the card my first year but downgraded about 18 months into membership when they stripped a lot of the lounge benefits. I’ve found many of the benefits easily replicable (e.g. Virtuoso for FHR, UR for pay with points, SPG status through other means) and other benefits not relevant to my travel needs (Hyatt discount, paid rental car insurance).

    Unless they introduce new benefits, I just don’t see the value beyond first year.

  2. Paul

    I find it extremely odd that any self respecting travel hacker pays cold hard cash for hotel rooms or airplane tix. As such, “perks” like Fine Hotels or pay with points shouldn’t even a consideration if you play the game halfway decently.

    As such, Plat cards aren’t worth keeping absent being given retention bonuses that offset the $250 net cost. Last time they gave 25K MRs to keep the card. Anything less than 15K retention and I’d cancel.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Paul,
      I guess it depends how you define “hacker”. To me, time has as much (if not more) value than money. I try to skate in the sweet spot in between effort and results.

      And yes, retention bonuses are also a factor.

      1. Matt

        I was thinking to write a post to counter this, but that might get out of control 🙂

        I’m with Paul on this, there is no way I would pay $2500 for Hyatt stays, I just can’t justify it in my budget- so I lose a lot of value there. However, I kinda value the card fee at $50 rather than $250 since the $200 is calendar year. That said, I find it very difficult to spend the vouchers – I had about $1100 of AA until recently, when I managed to finally pay ‘cash’ for a domestic ticket.

        FHR – I had one great stay in Canada- Four Seasons or something, but I don’t think I would regularly use this, the prices aren’t cheap, even when you average in the free night and the credit. Again, I am a cheapie, so I don’t like to spend my money here.

        Car rentals – I like the 6pm return on Hertz, but I’ve probably booked with them twice in 3 years.

        Priority Pass – pretty crap, but I’ll take it, the lounges tend to be awful, but there is the odd gem out there. I appreciated being able to rest and shower in IST on route to MLE when our outbound flights got bumped down into X.

        I’m not familiar enough with Choice – I know I don’t rate them over here, but in EU they may be good, along with BW. I am happy with ‘good enough’ when overseas, but like a bit classier in the US for whatever strange reason.

        I’ll likely keep the card, with a retention – this year I got $700 (5+2) in statement credits when they did away with AA but I have to figure out some good use of those points, because its bugging me right now!

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          Oooohhh…post war! I must be one of the few bloggers that actually admits to spending money on travel.

          I hear you. I got the $700, too, which was better than a kick in the head.

  3. Pingback: Credit Card Cancellation for Beginners – asthejoeflies

  4. awty

    I spend money on travel. Mostly because schedule is far more important to me than any other factor. There are times when I can go, and if award windows line up, great. If not, we pay or stay home. It doesn’t mean I’ll break the bank, but $2500 in Hyatt stays for a year doesn’t sound too bad to me. I bought the Milepoint P2 membership this year mostly for that – 10% off Hyatt gift certs, plus 5% additional using the biz plat (which I then canceled and got a biz SPG instead).

    Right now I keep a biz SPG and personal Platinum. I went that way because they offered me the $500 additional for losing US/AA lounges on the personal card. Truthfully, I’ll probably keep the personal platinum because at least once a year I get a lot of value out of an FHR stay at the Park Hyatt Aviara – it’s usually 3rd night free and we’ll go for 9 nights to visit family out there. It might be called a PH, but it’s generally $200-220 a night when we stay, before factoring in the free nights.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      My thoughts exactly. I’ve got 2 weeks in Japan coming up, so I’m thinking cash+points +diamond suite upgrades.

      Last year it was Bastille Day week in Paris in a comically large suite for 159 euro + DSR.

  5. Leana@ Milesforfamily

    I really enjoyed reading the post because it shows how in this hobby there is no right or wrong answer. Personally, I would never consider renewing Platinum card, but I am very fee-averse. I constantly switch cards, so it better be something truly great like Chase IHG Mastercard.
    But I totally understand your logic. Once again, to each his /her own.

  6. Kay

    Thx for the post. I got the 100k point offer and have extracted every benefit from the card, need to decide if I’m going to downgrade. Look forward to comments. As an aside, I’ve yet to use a single MR point! Waiting for a good transfer bonus I guess…

  7. David

    I don’t understand this caption: “Views from 2 Hyatt Places, a reason I keep the AMEX Business Platinum.”

    I don’t believe Hyatt Places qualify for the OPEN savings discount, is there another benefit with using the AX Bus Plat for Hyatt Places that I’m missing from this post?

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi David, there is an easy hack for this: buy Hyatt gift cards at regency/grand/park hotels, spend then at Hyatt place or house.

  8. AMJ

    We just cancelled my husband’s Amex Platinum yesterday. It was great the year the we had it (especially when the AA lounges were included), but there is no way I can justify the annual fee. I usually book Hyatt visits with the Costco discount (which I think is 10%) or a AAA discount.

  9. Kenny

    I’ll cancel mine after a year, no questions. Paying $2500 for stays to maintain status in a program that serves as few areas as Hyatt would be ridiculous for us – Hyatt has a hotel in maybe 30% of the places we choose to visit. I think hotel status can easily blind people into missing out on great destinations and areas that happen to not have that particular brand of hotel. Great post and discussion though – too many travel hackers get so wrapped up in the ‘it’s all free!’ mindset that they ignore the very real costs that most of us do incur along the way.

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