Justifying a $450 Annual Fee: Why I Signed Up for an The Platinum Card® from American Express

Three or four years ago I first learned about The Platinum Card ® from American Express. I almost chocked on my sandwich when I noticed that some fools were paying $450 per year for the card.

I thought those were the type of people who need to visit Help Me Travel Cheap and learn how to travel on less.

Well, yesterday I signed up (and was approved) for the The Platinum Card ® from American Express.

4 Ways to Justified a $450 Annual Fee for the The Platinum Card ® from American Express

  1. 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards After Spending $2,000 in the first 3 months for Card membership. That means the value of the miles alone is at least $250.
  2. $200 Annual Airline Credit. Once you designate a preferred airline, you can get credited for up to $200 per year for various charges. This includes things like baggage and on board services. Fortunately, it also includes cheap flights (less than $150) and gift cards (purchased in $50 blocks). Since this is an annual benefit, I can get it in 2012 and 2013 before I cancel the card and get a $400 airline credit.
  3. Airport Lounge Access. In the USA, you can enter any Delta, American, and US Airways lounge when you’re flying the same day on one of those airlines. In fact, you can enter the US Airways lounge even if you’re flying another airline. The benefit applies to the card holder and one guest. Fortunately, children under 18 can also enter, so our family of five will be able to have lounge access. Since we’ll be doing a lot of traveling over the next 12 months, I decided that if we were ever going to enjoy this benefit, this would be the time.
  4. Starwood Hotels Gold Status. Honestly, the Gold status doesn’t get you a lot, but it does give you free Internet. As a blogger, I’ll enjoy the internet when we’re staying a week at the Four Points in Kuala Lampur in a few months. I’m sure in the next twelve months we’ll have even more Starwood stays.

In the end, I figure that if I keep the card for a year, I’ll pay $450 but get $500 worth of American Express Rewards and $400 worth of American Airlines gift cards or other purchases, and I’ll have a year worth of access to airport lounges.

Other benefits that didn’t factor in my decision, but I may or may not use:

  1. Global Entry Benefit ($100 value) as a Platinum card holder you can sign up for Global Entry free of charge.
  2. Hertz Club Gold Membership include a 4 hour grace period. A handy benefit when your rental period is going to stretch beyond the allocated 24 hour allowance.
  3. 20% discount on pay with points. As a Platinum member, you’d be eligible to pay with points at a 20% mileage reduction.

The Platinum card is definitely not for everyone. However, depending on your travel needs, one day it may find a home in your wallet.  You get get 25,000 bonus American Express Rewards points with the The Platinum Card ® from American Express.

By the way, the The Business Platinum Card ® from American Express OPEN version of the card usually doesn’t offer any sign up bonuses, but it currently has a 25,000 point sign up bonus for spending $5,000 in the first three months for Card membership.


  1. Tony says

    Another benefit is the exclusive hotel benefits. If you are going to stay at one of their hotels (they are very expensive) but the card will literally pay for itself in one visit. That’s why I got it a few years ago. Stayed at the Montage Laguna Beach. Got $50 credit for breakfast everyday, $200 spa credit and the price thru AMEX was $500 cheaper for the stay than thru the hotel website. Plus they upgrade you automatically if available, so got an ocean front room

    • Craig says

      Very true. I don’t usually stay at high end hotels, but it’s definitely a good benefit for those who would use it.

  2. Carol says


    To use the $200 Annual Airline Credit, will it work to purchase four $50 gift cards from any airline? I assume the gift cards would need to be purchased on the airline’s website – ? Can those gift cards be used to purchase a ticket on that airline at a later date?

    As always, thanks for the great information and suggestions!

    • Craig says

      You’ll first need to select your preferred airline from the list of eligible airlines. What matters is how the purchase shows up and how it is categorized. So if you went to aa.com and bought a gift card it would recognized as an aa.com purchase and should be credited. Yes, you can later use the gift cards to purchase a ticket.

  3. Carol says

    Does it work if you purchase four $50 gift cards in one transaction, or should it be separate transactions? If separate transactions, should there be a span of time (how long?) between each purchase? Has anyone tried this with any airline besides American?

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