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4 questions to answer before you get a Platinum Amex

by on Wed September 12, 2012 • No Comment

Platinum American ExpressIf you’re considering applying for The Platinum Card® from American Express – a favorite of many seasoned travelers, you should think before taking on the $450 annual fee.

For some people it’s a slam dunk – worth well more than $450 per year. For others…well read on…you’re most likely going to need one of the following benefits useful to make the card worthwhile…

1. Do you plan to use airport lounges more than 10 times in a year?

The biggest perk of The Platinum Card is the ability to access all Delta SkyClubs with yourself and 2 guests or your spouse and children. This is almost like having full membership in all three lounges. It usually costs $25-$50 to get a single entry to a lounge, so 10-20x gets you more than the $450 annual fee in value. And if you’re traveling with family it adds up more quickly — more like 5 visits and you’re better than ‘even’ with paying separately.

2. Do you stay at hotels that cost about $200 per night or more?

In this case, you’re likely to take advantage of the ‘Fine Hotels and Resorts’ benefits offered when you booking using the card – online or with the Amex travel agent. There are hundreds of hotels in the program, in most major cities, and every one of them will offer you: 1) 3pm or later checkout, 2) free breakfast for 2, 3) a space available room upgrade, and 4) a special amenity like lunch or dinner comped.

If you’re already staying at hotels like this the value here can add up quickly – breakfast can save you $50 a day.

3. Do you rack up $200 or more in airline fees a year?

American Express will reimburse up to $200 in fees associated with one airline of your choosing each year. These include baggage fees, in flight drink and meal purchases, change fees, and lounge passes. It’s a direct credit to your statement and real cash savings if these are fees you deal with each year.

4. Do you rent cars frequently from National or stay at Starwood hotels?

You get complimentary National Executive status with the Platinum Card. That offers you upgraded cars every time you rent (i.e. a Premium for the price of a Full Size). You also get free Gold status from Starwood hotels, which usually takes 10 stays per year. It offers 4pm late checkout, free wifi, and upgraded rooms.

There are a lot of other reasons to consider the Platinum Card – a list of specific benefits is available here for review. But these are the big ones that aren’t found on other cards and most likely to make the card worth its $450 fee.

If you find value in more than one of the above, then it becomes an even more compelling proposition. If you don’t, and are just interested in earning Membership Rewards points, the Premier Rewards Gold Card card is a better deal with a lower annual fee and higher earning rate.


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