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American Express Platinum Card Review: Worth The $699 Annual Fee?

This post looks at my latest credit card sign-up: the American Express Platinum Card, and why I think the insane $699 annual fee may actually be worth it, at least in the first year as an Amex Platinum card member.

As a credit card rewards junkie I’ve never been shy about signing up for a new travel rewards card to take advantage of bonus points and perks. If I find good value beyond the initial welcome bonus and perks then I tend to keep the card. If not, then I cancel the card before the annual fee comes due again.

Still, $699 is a steep price to pay to experiment with the value of a credit card rewards program. Is the American Express Platinum Card worth the fee? Let’s take a look:

American Express Platinum Card Review

American Express Platinum Card Review

What attracted me to the Amex Platinum card is the 50,000-point sign-up bonus (when you spend $3,000 in the first three months). I had an annual car insurance bill due for $1,500, so after that I only had to spend $500 per month for three months to get the bonus. Easy.

Bonus 10,000 points:

Also, if you know an existing American Express Platinum Card holder and use their referral link to sign-up you’ll get an additional 10,000 points – for a total of 60,000 Membership Rewards points.

Transfer to Aeroplan Program

I like American Express Membership Rewards because I can transfer the points 1:1 to the Aeroplan program. With Aeroplan, 50,000 miles will get you two round-trip tickets anywhere in North America.

Assuming one mile is worth 1.5 cents to 2.5 cents then 60,000 points can be worth between $900 and $1,500 in travel rewards.

So with bonus points alone you can already see the tremendous value offered by the American Express Platinum Card.

Other airline transfer partners include Asia Miles, British Airways, and Delta SkyMiles.

The value doesn’t stop there.

Earn Rate

With the American Express Platinum Card you’ll earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent on dining, 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent on travel, and 1 Membership Rewards point for all other purchases charged to your card.

You’re automatically enrolled in the First Tier of the Membership Rewards program, where points can be transferred into other frequent flyer and hotel programs, including 1:1 to Aeroplan and Avios.

Use points to book flights within Canada or to anywhere in the world with the Fixed Points Travel Program.

Small business owner? Check out the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Airport Lounge Access

Members get access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide including the Platinum Lounge Benefit, the Airport Club Program and Priority Pass at the “prestige level” which is valued at $399 USD per year and includes unlimited visits.

Priority Pass Lounge

$200 Annual Travel Credit

You’ll also get a $200 annual travel credit, which must be redeemed through American Express Travel and paid for on your American Express Platinum Card.

The travel credit is available on your card anniversary, so if you apply mid-way through the year you’ll get one $200 credit, but then you’ll have to wait until mid-way through next year to get your next $200 credit.

You can turn that $200 annual travel credit into cash (statement credit) by booking a fully refundable hotel. American Express will issue the credit, but the hotel won’t charge your card until after your stay – so just cancel your hotel reservation and pocket the $200.

Hotel Program Memberships

Your Amex Platinum Card automatically gives you the privileges of:

  • Preferred Gold Membership in the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program
  • Gold Elite status membership with Radisson Hotels
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status membership

You can also transfer your Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors as part of Amex’s frequent travel participants program.

International Airline Program

Take advantage of the International Airline Program, which offers discounted companion tickets, complimentary upgrades, or special discounted airfares to destinations around the world.

Amex Platinum International Airline Program

Travel Insurance Coverage

Extensive travel insurance coverage includes:

  • Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft Damage Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Travel Emergency Assistance
  • StandbyMD Travel Medical Concierge

Amex Referral program

As a Platinum card member, you can earn a referral bonus of 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for each approved referral, up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 225,000 Membership Rewards points.

Is the Amex Platinum Card worth $699?

After unpacking all of the value included in the American Express Platinum Card we can determine whether the $699 annual fee is worth it. Here’s a quick calculation:

  • 60,000 points (when using a referral link) = $900 to $1,500
  • Annual Travel Credit = $200
  • Airport Lounge Access = $0 to $399 (depending on usage)
  • Total value = $1,100 to $2,099

Subtract the annual fee ($699) and you’re left with a net value of between $401 and $1,400 in the first year.

Final thoughts

It’s clear that American Express Platinum Card members can extract enough value from the program in the first year to warrant applying for the card. Its ongoing value after year one will depend on your personal situation and usage of the other benefits such as lounge access and hotel upgrades. To me, the ongoing value is questionable but your mileage may vary.

The bottom line: If you’re interested in the Amex Platinum Card for the premium travel benefits or simply to churn it in the first year, use my referral link and get an extra 10,000 bonus points to get you started.

4 Comments

  1. Erin D on April 23, 2018 at 1:36 am

    50,000 Aeroplan miles/points will get you two tickets anywhere in Canada/North America. That is not very clear in this sentence:

    With Aeroplan, 50,000 miles will get you a round-trip flight anywhere in Canada and the U.S.



    • Erin D on April 23, 2018 at 1:37 am

      I meant to say two round trip tickets.



      • Robb Engen on April 23, 2018 at 6:58 am

        Hi Erin, you’re right and that was an error on my part. I’ve updated the post to reflect that you’d indeed get two round-trip flights with 50,000 Aeroplan miles.

        Thanks!
        Robb



  2. Eric Lange on April 23, 2018 at 8:08 am

    due to a my being in the ticket exchange business, (we help folks that own tickets for leafs, raptors, concerts, blue jays etc, find a home for their tickets), we spend alot of money using my american express platinum corporate card, and then we transfer the points to aeroplan where we fly staff to supervise trade show move-in and outs.. Last year we flew some 53 flights within Canada and i estimate i saved some $35,000 by using the American Express card, so the $699 is a deal!!. I decided last week to fly to edmonton, got the fight for 25,000 points and something like $115 worth of taxes, i supervised a project for a very large client, ensured it was done right, and flew back the same day, so while i spend some 11 hours flying or at the airport, my client was thrilled we thought enough about his business that we would fly out to supervise a 3 hour project.. But our cost was so little to ensure that our client was thrilled with the total service as he uses us at projects across Canada. We had a record use in March 2018 of $334,000 worth of charges on my american express card, which means 417,500 more points into my account. I know that is highly unusual but the price of Leaf play-off tickets are high and we own alot of season tickets



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