My Review After One Year And How To Get The Most Value The First Year And Every Card Member Year Afterwards.
Did you read "Everything About The American Express Platinum Card?" If you have, great. If not, perhaps you should go read that. My review and decision about the Platinum Card by American Express after one year is based off that post and my experience using the card.
The perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card is many. But I think you will agree that quality is better than quantity. From the beginning, I decided to get the card based off the monetary returns and perks. The perks seemed to surpass the $550 annual fee. So does it? I'm going to start from my beginning.
Meeting The Monthly Spend To Get The Bonus Points The First Year As A Card Member
First, I made sure I earned the 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 within 3 months. It was guaranteed for me because I used the American Express Platinum Card for all my monthly expenses and purchases. In addition, I used the Amex Platinum Card to make all other purchases. I met the requirement in two months. Here were my monthly expenses:
- Broadband Internet
- Entertainment Expenses
- Miscellaneous Expenses (Groceries other than food)
- Purchases (Digital Camera and UAV)
The money I spent was money I would have spent. I liked the idea of getting something back in return for spending my money, the American Express bonus points. I transferred these points to my Kris Flyer account and was able to purchase a one way ticket, Singapore Airlines Suites Class, from New York (JFK) to Singapore Airport (SIN). The bonus points were critical to getting a Singapore Airlines Suites Class ticket because a one way ticket from JFK to SIN on January 2019 costs over $8,500. I only spent $1,000 to get the remaining Kris Flyer points I needed to get a ticket on a Singapore Suites Class.
American Express Platinum Card Perks I Used The Very First Year As A Card Member
Uber: I used Uber from November 2017 to April 2018. That was $110 value.
Priority Pass Select: The annual membership fee starts at $300 and the next level costs $429. This year in 2018, I stayed at over 10 Priority Pass Select lounges in New York, Japan, Singapore, San Francisco, Vietnam, and Korea. If you check the annual fee at Priority Pass Select website, only the $429 annual membership fee gives that privilege. The $299 membership only gives you 10 visits. So, I give this perk a monetary value of $429 each year.
NOTE: Just by adding the Uber and Priority Pass Select, I have gotten a monetary benefit of $539 from the American Express Platinum Card annual fee of $550.
National Car Rental: I rented a car at New York because I got to JFK one day before my Singapore Airlines Suites Class flight from New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN). I had a hotel reservation outside the airport. I was able to select a car from a Special Selection as an Emerald member. A complimentary Emerald member, thanks to American Express Platinum Card.
Collision Damage Waiver: I refused the car rental collision damage waiver at New York. I also refused the collision damage waiver for 3 weeks in South Korea, saving over $300.
Airline Travel Credit: I read that travel ticket vouchers could be purchased directly from partner airlines. So I chose Delta Airlines as the airline choice for the year and bought 4 travel voucher tickets on Delta's website on November 2017. It was in $50 increments. A total of $200. To my surprise, the purchase was reimbursed by American Express. It took less than one billing statement. This may have been changed since November 2017. Please comment down below if you are able to purchase airline vouchers and get reimbursed.
I didn't mention American Express Platinum Card's complimentary gold SPG and gold Hilton Honors because I have a higher elite status membership with the SPG and Hilton cards. I used the higher membership status to get better experience at the SPG and Hilton hotels in South Korea.
My First Year As A Card Member. Was It Worth It?
The first year was worth it. I paid $550 annual fee and $1,000 worth of points to purchase a one way Singapore Airlines Suites Class ticket. A one way Singapore Suites Class costs $8,500. My total out of pocket expense was $1,550. My total monetary return was $9,554.
The additional benefits I got from the Card:
1. Uber ($110),
2. Priority Pass Select ($429),
3. National Car Rental ($15),
4. Collision Damage Waiver ($300),
5. Airline Travel Credit ($200)
6. Singapore Airlines Suites Class ticket price that costs anywhere from $8500 to $12,000.
Subtract $9,554 from $1550 and the result is $8004. This means I saved $8,004. Money I didn't spend.
What Are The Perks For Travelers Or Non-Travelers?
If you travel once or more every year, lets see what you will be using:
1. Uber ($200) Uber can only be used in the U.S.
2. Global Lounge Collection, Centurion Lounge, Priority Pass Select ($429)
3. Saks Fifth Avenue Credit ($100)
4. Airline Travel Credit ($200)
5. 5X points earned on flights, hotel bookings.
6. Collision Damage Waiver
7. Fine Hotels and Resorts Program
8. No Foreign Transaction Fees
9. The Hotel Collection
10. TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry Fee Credit
11. SPG Gold Status
12. Hilton Gold Status
13. Departure Magazine delivered to your doorstep
14. Complimentary BOINGO American Express Preferred Plan Wi-Fi
I haven't even mentioned the other services and perks like Phone Protection Plan, Returned Item Protection, Global Dining Collection, etc.
If you travel more than twice a year, the benefits are very valuable.
Is American Express Platinum Worth It Past The First Year In The U.S. or Outside the U.S. For Travelers or Non-Travelers?
If I didn't travel and lived in the U.S. and I was strictly looking at the $550 annual fee and the gains I get with keeping it, I would be losing money. How did I come to that conclusion? Three of the perks doesn't require any travelling. They are Uber ($200), the Departure magazine, and use the Saks Fifth Avenue $100 annual credit. So, it seems I pay $550 annual fee to get only $300 worth of goods, because I am not using the rest of the perks that requires travelling.
But is it really?
I think its more complicated than that. I am currently living and working in South Korea. Even if I didn't travel for 5 years, I would still have the Uber, Priority Pass Select annual membership, SPG Gold Status, Hilton Gold Status, BOINGO Wi-Fi, Airline Travel Credit, National Emerald Car Rental status, Collision Damage Waiver, TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry Fee. All complimentary and ready for use if I need it. I don't need to meet any requirements or spend money to keep these perks. For each of the five years. This benefit applies to both within the U.S. and other countries like South Korea.
I think that the benefits are mostly standby benefits for travelers. One thing to remember is that the American Express Platinum Card is a travel card. If you traveled only once a year and used the benefits, the $550 annual fee is less than what you would have paid to get the benefits on your own.
Obviously, the American Express Platinum card has tremendous value for travelers. The card is positioned as a travel card and there are other cards that offers perks for people that don't travel much. However, the Platinum Card has a lot of valuable immediate and standby perks, but only if you get to use it.
In the end, I think it is worth keeping the card. What do you think?
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