Is The Platinum Card from American Express worth the annual fee?

Sep 7, 2019

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Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express UK — Earn 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points if you are approved and spend £4,000 in the first three months of Cardmembership.

The American Express Platinum Card is at the top end of premium cards on offer in the UK — both with regards to the annual fee though also when it comes to benefits and perks that come with the card. Though many premium cards carry what can be seen as high annual fees, the benefits, earning and saving potential can be worth more than the annual fee for some cardmembers. And American Express has packed The Platinum Card with a range of benefit and features. So when deciding which card to get, it’s important to take a look at the details and decide whether the card is worth the annual fee.

Before doing so, it’s important to know that it is a ‘charge card’, meaning that cardholders need to pay the amount owed in full at the end of every month unlike ‘credit cards’, which allow holders to carry forward balances and pay them at a later date.

Our full review of the American Express Platinum Card can be found here. Today, we are taking a look at the benefits that come with the card to help decide if these are worth the annual fee of £575.

Calculating value and if it’s worth it is difficult, as the value of some benefits can be subjective and very much depend on individual usage and needs.

This guide considers the benefits, earning and saving potential of the Platinum Card so you can decide for yourself whether it is worth the annual fee for you.

(Photo by Josh Gribben / The Points Guy)

Overview of benefits

The Platinum Card from American Express UK comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 in the first three months of holding the card. We value Membership Rewards points at 1.4p each, so depending on use, these could be worth £420. It’s worth noting that American Express has this year introduced restrictions as to who and when sign-up bonuses can be earned – full details can be found here.

Cardmembers continue to earn 1 Membership Reward point per £ spent, which can be used with a range of airline and hotel transfer partners as well as used as statement credit (though the value on the latter tends to be below the TPG valuation of a Membership Rewards point).

You get a £10 per month credit with Addison Lee, which worth up to £120 annually. You also get a $200 (~£150) credit for every booking with onefinestay.com, car rental benefits, worldwide travel insurance for the cardholder, their family and supplementary cardholders, purchase and refund protection and fraud guarantee, as well as the Platinum concierge, access to Platinum events and restaurant benefits.

When it comes to other benefits, you get hotel elite status as well as airport lounge access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries around the world.

Membership Rewards points

In short, if you can’t earn points or miles with a card, we tend not be excited about it. The simplest uses of Membership Rewards points are to transfer them to British Airways Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, though there are many more opportunities including to book some exciting flights such as Singapore Suites via a transfer to Singapore’s KrisFlyer programme. We value Membership Rewards points higher than Avios themselves, as they are more ‘liquid’ in that they can be used across a broader range of programmes and thus offer more flexibility than just Avios.

Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites. Photo by Brian Kelly / The Points Guy
Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites. (Photo by Brian Kelly / The Points Guy)

Lounge access

The Platinum Card offers a wide range of lounge benefits. Members can access all American Express Centurion Lounges (the first UK one is coming to London Heathrow Terminal 3 early next year), which are usually of higher quality than the average airline business-class lounge. This is particularly true when travelling within the US.

Cardholders also get a Priority Pass membership with the card, which allows the member and one guest to access all Priority Pass lounges. Though it’s not quite like-for-like, a Prestige Priority Pass membership allowing full access costs £339 per year if bought separately.

The Platinum Card also gives access to Plaza Premium Lounges as well as Delta Sky Club (with a valid Delta boarding pass), as well as the Eurostar Business Premier Lounges.

(Photo by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy)

Hotel & lodging benefits

Again, there are a number of benefits in this space. Amex runs its own travel agency, and hotels booked via the service that are part of the Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection come with a number of benefits. Depending on the hotel, these can include upgrades (if rooms are available), late checkout, free breakfast, as well as other perks and benefits often associated with having status in major hotel programmes like World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

Talking of hotel status, Platinum cardholders (and the first supplementary cardmember) get fast-tracked to higher tiers with leading hotel loyalty programmes around the world including Hilton Honors Elite Gold status, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, Melia Rewards Gold status, Radisson Rewards Gold status and Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade membership. We love status and loyalty programmes, and some of these are actually quite valuable. For example, Hilton Honors Gold status gives free breakfast as a benefit, which can be a nice money-saving perk. Further, elite status means earning more points per stay, which is why we typically value hotel elite status at several hundreds of pounds.

Last but not least, a new benefit in 2019 is a $200 (~£150) credit for any Onefinestay stays, which, for frequent users, can in itself justify the card fee.

Hilton Tel Aviv Hotel. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)

Rental car benefits

Similar to hotel status, members can enjoy Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star membership.

More tangibly, for those hiring cars frequently, the card comes with insurance cover in place of additional or optional insurances offered by car rental companies, such as collision damage waiver, loss damage waiver, removal/reduction of excess, theft protection and personal accident insurance.

Like other benefits, individual usage plays a part here. And in order to take advantage of the insurances that come with the card, you’ll have to enroll in the benefit.

Other benefits

Some other benefits are less tangible to calculate — especially those that fit into the lifestyle or peace of mind categories. Undoubtedly though, there’s value that can be extracted, for example, the Dining Collection benefits, which offers 20% off at some top restaurants in the UK. It’s worth going through all the benefits if you decide to apply for the card and actively try to use them.

Travel insurance is not just a peace of mind benefit, but also a more tangible one. We’ve found Amex’s insurance partners to be good and speedy when it comes to claims — including on the travel inconvenience side where the cover includes delays, lost or delayed luggage or missed connections. Comprehensive worldwide travel insurance for members, supplementary cardholders and their families can make the annual fee worth it. Insurance coverage is subject to enrollment.

Purchase and refund protection give both that peace of mind coverage as well as tangible insurance coverage should issues with a merchant arise.

Bottom line

As said, whether the Platinum Card is worth the annual fee very much depends on individual circumstances, usage and the subjective view of some of these benefits. That said, the Platinum Card and its fee isn’t for everyone.

However, as outlined above, it can be easy — especially for the frequent traveller — to get more value out of the Card than the fee. Simply by using the tangible benefits such as Addison Lee (up to £120 per year), Priority Pass membership, elite statuses and general lounge access (worth £300+ per year), as well as rental car insurance and other general insurances, you can extract some great value from the card’s benefits. Whilst £575 once a year upfront is a large sum, those benefits could cost you at other points throughout the year if purchased or used separately.

The welcome bonus in itself is worth at least £420, according to our latest valuations. Add travel insurance and hotel status, which we value potentially at several hundreds of pounds due to free perks and increased earnings, and some of the other benefits and it can be a great card.

Our full review of the The Platinum Card from American Express UK can be found here.

To apply for the card, click here.

Featured image by Delta Airlines

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.