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Over the last few months, I’ve written frequently about my irritation with how American Express has been steadily increasing annual fees on many of their credit cards and how it’s changing my travel credit card strategy. The Amex Platinum is one such card. I first got the card when it had a $450 annual fee. Right now, you’ll shell out $695 each year if you get the card. I’ve previously written about how this card has been diminishing in value and whether it really makes sense to keep it long term.

Amex Platinum Card – Keep, Cancel or Downgrade?

If you refer to my posts linked in the previous paragraph, you’ll get a sense of how much I detest the way the credits are structured. However, does it make sense for you? After carrying the pain vanilla Amex Platinum card for many years, when it still had the $450 annual fee, I canceled the card once the $695 annual fee went into effect.

A few years later in 2021, I picked up the Schwab Platinum card, before Amex put the Platinum card family restrictions in place. In April, the annual fee was due for a second time. I reached out to Amex’s chat rep for a retention offer and was offered no retention offer. I still renewed this card this time around. Now you may ask, why did I still renew it? Here’s how the math looks for me.

Crunching the Numbers

Benefit Face Value Used/Unused Value I Assign to the benefit Notes
Airline Fee Credit $200 Yes $150 United Travel Bank purchases
Digital Entertainment Credit $200 No $0 No active memberships
Centurion Lounge Access N/A Yes $150 Multiple visits each year
Clear Credit $189 No $0 Not useful for my style of travel
Saks Credit $100 No $75 A lot of items seem overpriced to me
FHR Hotel Credit $200 Yes $200 One of my favorite benefit, as I love FHR properties
Walmart Credit $155 No $0 Don’t shop at Walmart
Delta Sky Club Access N/A No $0 Don’t fly Delta
Uber Cash $200 Partially $75 Don’t use it each month, Uber eats overpriced
Equinox Credit $300 No $0 Not useful
Hilton Gold N/A Yes $350 Very useful, especially with free breakfast outside the US
Marriott Gold N/A No $0 Already have the Bonvoy Brilliant, which gives me complimentary Platinum status
Refer a friend bonus N/A Yes $500 You can earn $100 per referral, max of $1,000 each calendar year


I’d be the first to admit that I don’t find all the credits easy to use. However, referral bonuses, fine hotels and resorts credit benefit and centurion lounge access still remain some of my favorite benefits. Even if you take out the referral bonuses, I could still derive a value of $1,000 for a card that charges an annual fee of $695.

Also, every now and then, I use my Schwab Platinum card to convert points into cash. For every 10,000 Membership Rewards points I convert, Amex deposits $110 into my Schwab account.

amex platinum card

I converted 250,000 points into $2,750.

The Pundit’s Mantra

For a $695 annual fee, I don’t blame you if the card doesn’t make sense for you for a second year. However, in this case, I’ve made good use of some of the benefits. Moreover, I’ve been able to liquidate my points to my Schwab account. Once you convert points into cash at a 1.1 cents per point ratio, you can either transfer the money to your bank or invest that money via Schwab.

I don’t recommend people going out of their way, altering buyer behavior, jumping through hoops, just to justify using a quarterly or monthly credit. In this case, while I’m not using all the benefits, I’m using a few benefits to extract outsized value.

In this case, I was able to get $1,500 in value from the card in a single year. Your pattern of travel may be different, so your numbers may tell a very different story.

Which is/are your favorite Amex Platinum Card benefit(s)? Which benefits do you find the most valuable, beyond merely earning the welcome bonus? Tell us in the comments section.


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