The Amex Platinum Card Now Has a $550 Annual Fee -- Is It Worth It?

The American Express Platinum card was the original "high-end" credit card, and it has been well-known as a symbol of luxury and affluence since its introduction more than 30 years ago. Recently, American Express announced that its flagship product was increasing its annual fee by $100, from $450 to $550. However, the card's benefits have been sweetened as well. So, is the Platinum card still worth its cost?

American Express Platinum Benefits

American Express announced a revamped set of Amex Platinum benefits that went into effect on March 30, 2017. These benefits include some new features, as well as the existing benefits cardholders enjoy, such as:

  • $200 in annual credits for Uber rides within the U.S., as well as VIP status (where available). This is given as a monthly credit of $15, with an additional $20 bonus in December.
  • $200 airline fee credit, for incidental charges such as baggage fees, on a single airline of the cardholder's choosing.
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold status and Hilton Honors Gold Status.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and eligible hotel stays booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.
  • Airport lounge access through an expansion of the Global Lounge Collection. This includes Delta Sky Club lounges, Centurion Lounges, and many more -- over 1,000 airport lounges altogether in 120 countries.
  • Additional Amex Gold cards can be issued on a Platinum account (for other authorized users) with no additional annual fee. The annual fee is $175 for up to three additional platinum cards on the account.
  • Hotel benefits at the Fine Hotels and Resorts collection, such as free breakfast and late checkouts.
  • Complementary access to Boingo Wireless Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Access to the Delta Private Jets program.
  • Access to a new Global Dining Collection.
  • A new metallic card design.

Is the Amex Platinum annual fee justified?

Here's the million-dollar (or should I say $550?) question. As with most credit cards that charge a fee and offer perks and rewards, the Amex Platinum is only worth the price of membership if you find enough value in the benefits to justify it.

When evaluating any credit card, don't put too much weight on any introductory APR or point bonus. Those are nice, but aren't reason to pay an annual fee in perpetuity. Having said that, excluding any introductory offer, there are certainly ways that the card could be worth the cost.

For example, the $200 Uber credit and $200 credit for travel incidentals nearly pay for the annual fee all by themselves, if you use them. If you live in an area where you would never need to use Uber, for example, this benefit has little value to you. The same can be said for the airline lounge access. An individual membership to the Delta Sky Clubs costs $495 per year all by itself, and the Platinum card gives you access to Sky Clubs and many more lounges. So, for someone who travels frequently and values a quiet place to grab a drink and/or get some work done, this benefit alone can be worth the cost of the card.

The bottom line is that American Express' revised Platinum card is certainly a strong effort, and shows Amex's commitment to innovation and adapting to consumer trends. Whether or not the card is worth the higher $550 annual fee for you depends on whether you can find $550 of annual value in its list of benefits.

Other travel credit cards to consider

There are alternative cards to consider if the $550 annual fee is too steep. Our picks of the best travel credit card bonuses are a good place to start and a few offers stand out.

Best for: Travel Bonuses Chase Sapphire Preferred®

4.5 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our card ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Our Bottom Line

An excellent card with exceptional sign up bonuses for new cardholders. A large network for redemptions makes it an easy choice for travel rewards. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Review
Credit Rating Requirement: good
Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Best for: Premium travel rewards Chase Sapphire Reserve®

4.5 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our card ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Our Bottom Line

The closest competitor to Amex's Platinum card. With up to $750 in rewards bonuses and up to $400 in travel credits it is a standout for premium travel rewards, and one of our top ranked cards for this category. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review
Credit Rating Requirement: good
Highlights

  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Named a 'Best Travel Credit Card for 2017' by MONEY®Magazine
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

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