by Elizabeth Aldrich | Jan. 20, 2021
The card's benefits are geared toward travelers, but $1,800-plus in limited-time offers might make it worth keeping anyway.
The past year has been a rough one for frequent travelers, and credit card lovers have seen their beloved travel credit cards lose a lot of value while they're stuck at home.
The Platinum Card® from American Express isn't immune to this loss in value. Due to its steep annual fee, it's one of the harder cards to justify keeping open if you aren't traveling. However, there are still some benefits -- and a long list of limited-time offers -- that might make the card worth keeping around.
Chase has made plenty of changes to its premium travel credit cards over the past year to make sure cardholders are still getting enough value without traveling. But American Express has left its Platinum Card virtually untouched. We'll get into a long list of limited-time offers that were recently announced below, but the card's main rewards system and benefits are still largely focused on travel.
For example, Amex hasn't added any bonus earning categories in light of COVID-19 that aren't travel-related. You'll still earn 5x points on flights purchased directly from the airline or through American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels, but you'll only earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
This means that if you aren't traveling, you can't earn more than 1 point per $1 with The Platinum Card® from American Express. You could earn more than that on everyday purchases with just about any other rewards credit card.
What's more, most of the card's main benefits -- from airport lounge access to elite hotel status -- require you to travel to take advantage of them. If you're staying close to home, there are really only two benefits you can use: the Uber credits and the Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits.
Cardholders get $15 per month in Uber cash -- plus an extra $20 in December -- that can be used for both Uber rides and Uber Eats. Even if you're avoiding ridesharing services, you can use these credits to cover food delivery. This is a benefit that's easy to max out and provides you with $200 in annual value.
In addition to Uber credits, you also get $100 per year in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases -- $50 in the first half of the year and $50 in the latter half. This is a fun perk, but it's a little harder to take advantage of without spending money you normally wouldn't. If you do shop regularly at Saks, though, this adds an extra $100 in annual value to the card.
Even if you max out The Platinum Card® from American Express's two non-travel benefits, you're still only getting $300 in annual value on a card with a $550 annual fee. Luckily, American Express recently announced a long list of limited-time offers geared toward online shoppers that can earn you more than $1,800 in statement credits.
The first offer gets you up to $30 per month in statement credits for PayPal purchases until June 30, 2021. If you're able to max this out -- which shouldn't be too hard considering most online merchants accept PayPal -- you'll earn a total of $180 in statement credits. Since there's a monthly maximum, you'll want to link your card to your PayPal account and get started as soon as possible.
The second is a long list of statement credits you can earn on eligible purchases with popular online retailers through Amex Offers. They total $1,700 in savings, but you probably won't be able to take advantage of them all. That being said, they are geared toward people who are stuck at home, so you should be able to find some savings in here.
Before you close your card, consider whether you'll want to use it next year. If you think you'll want it around in the long run, it might be worth holding onto it this year even if it ends up costing you more than you can earn with it.
If you're unsure, you can also consider downgrading to another top Amex card, like the American Express® Gold Card or the American Express® Green Card. That way, you won't lose your account history on your credit report. Both of these cards come with significantly lower annual fees and rewards structures that are easier to earn if you aren't traveling.
If you can take advantage of a significant portion of The Platinum Card® from American Express's limited-time offers, it's probably worth keeping the card even if you aren't traveling. On the other hand, if you don't see yourself using most of those offers, and you don't plan to travel any time soon, it might be time to consider saying goodbye to your Platinum Card.
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