The Platinum Card from American Express continues to be a popular premium travel credit card for many. It offers things like 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines, multiple travel credits, and a host of other benefits such as hotel elite status and other credits for goods or services from select merchants. I picked up The Platinum Card in November 2020 when it was offering a hefty sign-up bonus.
But I won’t be keeping the card. Here’s why.
That Annual Fee Keeps Increasing
When I snagged the card, the annual fee was already an eye-watering $550 per year. This was already an increase of $100 from the $450 annual fee when I first really got into the credit card world. It didn’t seem worth it then, which is one reason I held off from applying for the card for literally years. Amex enticed me with a 125,000-point welcome offer. That seemed sufficient, plus the other benefits offered by the card.
But now the fee is $695. Which is crazy. Yes, you have somewhere around $1,500 in annual credits, plus other perks. But I don’t see $1,500 in credits, many of which I will not be able to fully use, to be worth enough to justify a $695 annual fee. I can receive the main key benefits (e.g. high airline earning rates, hotel elite status, Priority Pass membership) with other cards.
It’s a “Glorified Coupon Book”
For quite a few years, American Express was synonymous with affluence and luxury. Then they approved me, a college student at the time, for the SPG Preferred credit card in 2013 and it was all downhill from there. Just kidding. Partially.
Rather than a status symbol, the Platinum Card has become a glorified coupon book. With a plethora of credits, so many that I can hardly keep track of them all, you have to do a bunch of math to determine whether the card is even remotely close to worth it. And with credits like $155 for Walmart+, there is nothing left of the affluence label.
For reference, here are most of the annual credits:
- $200 hotel credit
- $200 airline incidental credit
- $240 digital entertainment credit
- $200 Uber cash
- $300 Equinox credit
- $179 CLEAR credit
Amex Reeled Me In With a Business Platinum Offer
Why keep an Amex Platinum Card when you can exchange one for the other? American Express has been sending me a ridiculous number of upgrade offers or “Expand Your Membership” offers over the past months. I added an American Express Business Gold Card with a bonus of 90,000 Membership Rewards points. When I was presented with a Business Platinum Card offer that included a bonus of 150,000 Membership Rewards points, I couldn’t possibly say no. Even with it’s huge fee.
The only benefits I really use from the Platinum card (lounge access and airline fee credit being the main two), I receive with the Business Platinum. I was also able to get a cheap laptop for ~$19 after the $200 Dell credit and emptying my stash of Dell Rewards.
Final Thoughts on Closing My Amex Platinum Card
The Amex Platinum is on the chopping block for whenever it’s fee come due, which I expect to be within the next two weeks. There is nothing incentivizing me to keep it, not with a higher annual fee, it’s ever-increasing list of marginally useful credits, and the fact it has effectively been replaced.
What about you? Do you still see The Platinum Card as the end-all of premium travel credit cards?