[Disclosure: I get a commission if you’re approved using the links in this post.  I always include the best offer for a card even if it doesn’t pay me a commission.  If you choose to use my links, I appreciate the support.] The Platinum Card® by American Express application link Let’s start by saying this upfront: […]

26
Mar

American Express Platinum Review: Is It Worth the $450 Annual Fee?

Posted By Trav

American Express Platinum card

[Disclosure: I get a commission if you’re approved using the links in this post.  I always include the best offer for a card even if it doesn’t pay me a commission.  If you choose to use my links, I appreciate the support.]

The Platinum Card® by American Express application link

Let’s start by saying this upfront:  The American Express Platinum is certainly not for everyone.  

The main reason:  It carries a $450 annual fee that is NOT waived for the first year.

So why on Earth would anyone pay $450 to have a credit card?

Well, because I think the perks the American Express Platinum comes with are pretty amazing!

In this post, we’ll look at all the major details of the card and analyze whether this card is worth it for you.

The Details for the Platinum Card® from American Express

Here are the details of the current sign up bonus (bolding mine):

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With the Platinum Card, you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to enroll and select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms & restrictions apply.

Why I Like The American Express Platinum Card

Reason #1:  Increased Sign Up Bonus to 40k

The standard bonus is 25,000 American Express points, which is pretty paltry compared to other travel credit cards available.

However, the current bonus is 40k!  

15k more for the same card…Not bad!

And while Amex points may not be the best frequent flyer currency out there, they can of be pretty valuable when used correctly.

There have been a few times in recent years where people have been targeted for a 100k sign up bonus.  If you do get a targeted offer, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you should jump on it.

Reason #2:  $200 Airline Credit

Each calendar year, you’ll receive a $200 credit towards the airline of your choice.

You’ll specify which qualifying airline you want the credit with and then whenever you spend money on that airline, you’ll get reimbursed, up to $200 a year.

Spending can include buying a ticket, baggage fees, buying in flight food or drinks, and other incidentals.

The airline credit is good for every calendar year that you have the card open.

Reason #3: Great Lounge Access for the American Express Platinum Card

Having great lounge access is the MAIN reason most people decide to fork over the annual fee.  The Amex Platinum actually gives you 3 types of lounge access with varying stipulations.

Delta Lounges

All American Express Platinum cardholders can access participating Delta lounges as long as they have a flight with that airline later in the day.  Simply present your Platinum card and a valid boarding pass and you’re in.

Delta has 35 lounges worldwide, most of which are in the US.

Starting May 1st, 2014, if you wish to bring guests in the lounge, they’ll need to pay $29.

Priority Pass Lounges

The American Express Platinum card also gives you access to any of the Priority Pass lounges in the world, and boy, are there a lot of them.

Over 600 lounges in 100 countries and more than 300 cities, to be exact (well, kind of exact).  Wow!

Basically anywhere you fly, there will be a Priority Pass lounge waiting for you.

The only downside?  All guests will have to pay $27 to join you.

Just remember that you must enroll in Priority Pass first before you’re able to access the lounges.

Centurion Lounges

The American Express Platinum card now gives you unlimited access to any of the Centurion Lounges, which are the creme de la creme of airport lounges.

Currently, there are only 2 of them, in Las Vegas McCarran and Dallas/Fort Worth, but more are planned shortly.

You can read more about the Centurion Lounges here.

Reason #4: Free Global Entry for American Express Platinum cardholders

American Express Platinum Global Entry

Global Entry is the TSA’s expedited immigration service.  This means that instead of standing in a super long line at immigration when coming back in to the United States, you’ll be able to bypass and breeze right through.

Anyone who has had to go through the nightmare of immigration at JFK should be jumping for joy right now.

To get Global Entry, you’ll first have to apply online and then go to a Global Entry Enrollment Center (here’s the full list) for an interview.

After getting approved, you’ll have to pay the $100 fee with your Platinum card, which is good for 5 years.

However, with the American Express Platinum, you’ll get reimbursed that $100.

For anyone who travels internationally a few times a year or more, Global Entry can potentially save you HOURS.

Reason #5:  Adding an Authorized User, An Unknown Advantage

One of the major upsides to getting an American Express Platinum card is that you can add an authorized user and they receive all of the same perks EXCEPT for the $200 airline credit.

That’s right, the authorized user has the same access to all the lounges, gets their Global Entry fee reimbursed, and even gets SPG Gold status.

Pretty sweet!

Of course, it does come at a price.  You can add up to 3 authorized users for $175/year (although if you only add one, it still costs $175).

Reason #6:  Free Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold Status

SPG Gold status gives you some nice perks, the two biggest being free room upgrades and late checkout.

Usually, you need to stay 25 nights per year at an SPG property to get Gold status, so getting it for free with the Amex Platinum is a nice benefit.

To get SPG Gold status, you’ll need to call SPG once you get your American Express Platinum card and request the status.  Then, you’ll have to fax over proof of your Platinum card.

Reason #7:  Other Minor Perks

Extended Warranty

Like all Amex cards, if you purchase a qualifying product with your Platinum card, Amex will extend the warranty one additional year past when the regular warranty expires.

Rental Car Insurance

When you rent a car with your Platinum card, you’ll automatically receive collision and loss insurance, meaning you can waive the expensive CDW insurance the rental car company will try to get you to buy.

The Downside of the American Express Platinum Card

Reason #1:  Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and is NOT waived the first year.  If you’re not someone who will make use of the lounge access, then paying $450 is probably not worth it for you.

On a positive note, you will get reimbursed $200 each calendar year in airline credit.

Is The American Express Platinum Card Worth It?

Now, it’s time to answer the big question:  Are all those perks worth the $450 price tag?

Of course, the answer will vary from person to person, but let’s look at some generalities.

If you’re someone who would purchase lounge access anyway, the answer is a resounding yes.

If you’re someone who travels internationally 5 times a year or more and would like lounge access but don’t normally pay for it, the answer is yes, since you’ll also get free Global Entry.

If you are someone who frequents a certain airline and would definitely hit the maximum credit of $200 each year, the answer is yes, at least for the first year.

If you are someone who travels sporadically and usually travels in business class, then the answer is probably no, since you’ll have lounge access already.

If you are someone who only travels 2-3 times a year, the answer is no.

Final Word(s)

I definitely think the American Express Platinum card is one of the most interesting travel credit cards out there.  It offers, in my opinion, some of the best extra perks out of all travel credit cards, but $450 is a ton of money.

The best way to determine if it makes sense to you is to figure out how much you value the main perk, lounge access, and how much you plan on using it throughout the year.

Then, take in to account some of the secondary perks, like Global Entry, and figure out if you’d be coming out ahead if you got the card.

The Platinum® Card by American Express application link

(I will get a commission if you apply through my link.  As always, your support is much appreciated).

Do you think $450 is crazy to pay for an annual fee or is the American Express Platinum card an amazing value?  

Are you considering getting it or do you already have it?  If you have it, how do you maximize it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, so fire away!

(globe photo courtesy of xenomurphy)

This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

63 thoughts on “American Express Platinum Review: Is It Worth the $450 Annual Fee?”

  1. Robert says:

    Do I understand that flying under business class (even on awards) automatically gets the flyer(s) lounge access? On all airlines flying at the time? Thanks for a reply

    1. KevininRI says:

      Most (if not all) airlines will allow pre-flight lounge access (and arrival lounge access if applicable) without elite status on an international business or first class ticket (even awards). But not for domestic first class (unless you’re connecting to another international flight in business or first class).

      1. Trav says:

        @Robert, @KevininRI- Yep, correct. Even award tickets give you lounge access if they are business or first class.

    2. Jackie says:

      for US airlines, only international business class (or specialties like UA p.s. or AA transcon flagship). regular domestic first doesn’t entitle lounge access.

  2. Jon says:

    This card also entitles you to access to the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program, with some good discounts on room rates at a number of upscale destinations.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jon- Very true. I’ve never used the Fine Hotels and Resorts program…what type of discounts have you gotten?

      1. I’ve received a buy 3 get the 4th night free at the Peninsula Tokyo along with late checkout and free Afternoon Tea with Amex FHR.

        1. Trav says:

          @askmrlee- That’s a really nice perk right there! Personally, I don’t usually pay for hotel stays, so it wouldn’t help me much, but for anyone who does (or who is lucky enough to have their business pay for it), this could be invaluable.

          What was the going rate for a night at the Pennisula Tokyo?

  3. Aaron says:

    Global Entry is $100 for 5 years of validity to my knowledge. Not per year.

    1. Trav says:

      @Aaron- You’re right, I just looked at it. $100 does get you 5 years of validity. Makes Global Entry even more worth it in my mind, regardless of whether you have the Amex Platinum card.

      Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Brad says:

    Global Entry fee is 100 per five years. Only charged once upon finishing application- whether or not you are approved for it.

    1. Trav says:

      @Brad- Thanks, good to know. I changed it above.

  5. twothirds says:

    The plat card also gets you access to Fine Hotels and Resorts. This will often get you early checkin, late checkout, room upgrades, free breakfast and sometimes a resort credit. This will help offset the $450 annual fee as well.

    1. Trav says:

      @twothirds- Definitely a great perk if you pay for hotel stays. If used right, it could even cover the $450 annual fee itself.

  6. Jay K says:

    Mathematically, I’d take into consideration that buying $400 worth of gift cards WILL get you $400 reimbursed…because it’s not a YMMV situation-From the reports on FT, everyone gets it reimbursed.
    Even for someone who doesn’t fly too often (like me), Global Entry is awesome because it will last for 5 years.
    So just that alone gives you $550 worth of value. Ofcourse I got the card with a targeted offer of 100k points with $5k spend, so it was totally worth it for me.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jay K- Yeah, the first year you will get the $400 reimbursed, even if it is just gift cards, so it definitely is worth it for that first year. But since you can only get it once, I’m going to wait until the 100k bonus hits, and then go for it.

      The question of whether it is worth it for the 2nd year is a bit more unclear for me. Are you planning on keeping it open a 2nd year?

      1. Jay K says:

        LOL. No way.
        With all the extensive travelling I did, I used the Priority Pass ZERO times! And since I was flying GlobalFirst, I had lounge access anyway.

        Now, If I traveled a lot, I would probably hold on to the card.

        Though I won’t cancel it, I’ll just downgrade it to some non-fee version.

  7. Steven says:

    Global entry is $100 for 5 years, not $100 a yr. So once you pay your application fee you do not pay again until you have to reapply again in 5 years much like a passport

    1. Trav says:

      @Steven- Thanks for the correction. I changed it above.

  8. Jeffrey Gossard says:

    Trav,
    With the Amex Mercedes Benz card don’t you get all the same benefits with 50,000 points bonus for $25 more of annual fee?
    Gooselator

    1. Trav says:

      @Jeffrey Gossard- There has been a lot of discussion as to whether the Mercedes Benz card gives you a $200 airline credit and the Priority Pass lounge access. It doesn’t say that it does anywhere on the application page.

      Does anyone know if these benefits are part of the Mercedes Benz platinum card? If so, then yep, you could pay $25 more and get 50k points instead of 25k.

      Also, you can get both cards since they are separate products. I wouldn’t do it unless the sign up bonus was super high for both, since the benefits overlap, but it is possible.

      1. KevininRI says:

        The T&C of the Mercedes Benz Plat card 50K bonus state “This offer is not valid for existing Platinum Card members from American Express.” So you would not be able to get the bonus for both unless you were to cancel one card then reapply for the other (thus having to liquidate your MR account first).

        1. Trav says:

          @KevininRI- I know the terms and conditions of the MB Platinum say that you can’t get it if you have another Platinum card, but according to everyone at this Flyertalk thread, they are considered two different products and that you are able to get both.

          Seems like another case of the T&C’s not being enforced, a good thing for us!

  9. One important note: Priority Pass Select through American Express does not give you access to the United lounges listed in PP’s directory.

  10. pianodude says:

    My wife and I have now had five of the Plat cards (Personal, Mercedes, Biz)with bonuses ranging from 25K to 100K. On each card we have been successfully reimbursed $400 for AA gift cards and $25 on Small Business Saturdays.
    We both have SPG Gold, have visited a couple AA lounges, and plan to sign up for Global Entry before our current cards expire.
    One of the cards we cancelled within 60 days without paying the annual fee (got the card around November 1, used the perks, cancelled before the end of January). A couple cards we cancelled sometime during the first year and received a prorated refund of the annual fee. A couple cards we will be cancelling when the year is up.

    1. Trav says:

      @pianodude- Wow, that’s pretty incredible. Have you ever had a problem with Amex noticing that you cancel the cards so quickly after you open them up? I know that it can work in the short run, but could there possibly be long term reprecusssion, such as Amex shutting down your accounts?

  11. HikerT says:

    I don’t see any mention of premium global assist. Platinum and centurion cardholders get the “premium” benefit which pays for medical evacuation. I don’t buy travel insurance so it’s good to have coverage for things that might otherwise be financially devastating.

    https://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/pdf/card-benefits/PlatinumCardfromAmericanExpress/Premium_Global_Assist.pdf

    1. Trav says:

      @HikerT- I was not aware of this perk. In reading through the terms, it says they “may cover the cost of medical evaluation.” Do you happen to know what this “may” means? If there are specific instances that they will and won’t?

      Also, have you ever had to use this before? I agree that this can be invaluable if something does happen.

      1. HikerT says:

        I interpret it to mean that a medical professional deems it necessary.

        I’ve never needed medivac (and sincerely hope I never will) but have read about others who did. Here is one account per google:

        http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?41645-American-Express-rules!

        Also, you don’t need to put charges for the trip on the card, you just need to be a platinum or centurion cardholder. They only pay to fly you to the nearest facility, not necessarily fly you home.

        1. Jeffry says:

          I have heard many stories about this particular feature of the card being used, and it was one of the big swaying points for me. I travel mostly domestically and even then being evac’ed if necessary is a it plus for having the card. All the other stuff I use, this perk I don’t want to, but glad to have it.

          1. Trav says:

            @HikerT @Jeffry- Yeah, lets hope you don’t have to use it, but if you ever did, it could be a lifesaver (literally). I also really like this safety net.

  12. Hans says:

    Do the additional authorized users also each get SPG gold status?

    1. Trav says:

      @Hans- Yes, I believe so. The only thing they don’t get is the $200 airline credit.

  13. pianodude says:

    @Trav – No repercussions,yet. As an aside, we were reimbursed for 16 Amex cards on Small Biz Saturday in 2012, 13 cards in 2011. Some were secondary users, a couple were Amex in name only (BofA, Citi).
    We have, and use, a few other Amex cards (SPG, Costco, Hilton). We have each had, and closed, numerous Amex cards (Plat, Premier, Gold, Delta); several of the cards we have had more than once.

    1. Trav says:

      @pianodude- Wow, congrats. Then you are certainly pulling off a major coup! 16 Amex cards on Small Biz Saturday…what a mental picture!

  14. Santastico says:

    As you said the value of these perks vary by person to person but I do not agree with some of the values you attach to the perks. For example, you said that the value of a lounge access is $10. A one day pass of a Delta lounge will cost you $50. For me this card is well worth the $450 annual fee. I usually travel business class for business trips so I would not need the lounge access but I fly economy with my family (wife + 2 kids) domestic and internationally at least 3 times/year. Having lounge access when traveling with kids is in my view PRICELESS!!! It is a place where they can use a decent bathroom, have a kids play area to play games, run around, etc… and for the parents to relax. We usually get longer layovers when traveling with the kids so lounge access is a must. With the Amex Platinum I can get access for me, my wife and 2 kids with no issues just using my card. I got the Global Entry which is a $100 every 5 years. For people that travel international it is a must have. Spending 5 minutes in the immigration at JFK instead of 90 minutes makes a huge difference and I was able many times to board earlier connecting flights just because I was in and out of immigration in less than 10 minutes. I also use a lot the Premium rental car insurance where you pay $25 per rental and get full primary coverage and have not to worry about using your own insurance in case of a claim. The free SPG Gold status is also a great perk since I do not stay enough on SPG properties to attain that status level with nights. Thus, when I am at a SPG property I get all the gold perks which include lounge access, free breakfast, room upgrade and free wifi. Every year I use the $200 airline credit which basically reduces the cost of this card to $250. Lastly the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is a great perk. It usually only offer high end properties but in most cases you can stay 4 nights and only pay 3, get free breakfast for 2, late check out until 4PM, room upgrade and a $100 credit to use in the hotel. I use it at least once/year. Thus, for me this card is totally worth the $450 annual fee just for the perks. I never put any big expense on it since it only gives you 1MR per $1 dollar you spend.

    1. Trav says:

      @Santastico- This is a great, clear write up of why the card can be an absolute STEAL for some people. I completely agree that if you use it enough and fully maximize it’s benefits, you can pay that $450 annual fee many times over!

      The $10 per lounge access was just my personal valuation. Because I don’t travel with kids (yet), the lounge access is nice but definitely not a necessity. Of course, there are times when I’d pay more than $10 for lounge access (such as my 7 hour layover in Rome), but the $10 was just an average of how much I’d value it.

      Thanks for providing a great overview of how this card can be EXTREMELY beneficial for people with different traveling habits than mine. I’m really glad you find it so useful, and even without kids, you’re persuading me towards getting it…now I just need the bonus to bump up to 100k!

  15. I held an Amex Plat for several years when my wife was traveling to Europe for business. The key benefit was the (now discontinued) free companion ticket in Business Class (full fare); since my wife was being comped for her travel it meant I could go on trips for free. The Delta and Continental lounge passes were useful, although today I tend to time my airport arrive such that it’s not worth going in. Don’t know that I ever got a benefit from the SPG status (maybe I just don’t stay in those hotels) and frankly I’ve never had much use for the miles or the brownie points: I’ll sometime try to use them for an upgrade, but if I get free tickets, I don’t get miles for the trips, so I put my status (currently DL Plat) at risk. Right now, I use an Amex DL Plat, which gets me MQMs, th most valuable thing I could ask for.

    NB – Global Entry fee is $100 for FIVE YEARS; it is not annual

    1. Trav says:

      @Chris Bastian- That’s a really interesting take on it and I’m surprised that you don’t have much use for miles…certainly different from the status quo! The free companion ticket would have been an amazing perk for people in your situation. Talk about a coup!

      Do you solely use your Amex DL Plat now?

  16. Santastico says:

    With the Amex Platinum you get lounge access with Delta, AA and US Airways for domestic flights even if you are flying in coach

    1. Jay K says:

      I’ve heard about this…and I’ve also heard that they don’t check at the entrance, so technically you could use your card even AFTER it’s expired??

  17. Valhalla says:

    If you get the Business version, you get access to the Amex OPEN network – I use this frequently as I stay at Marriott properties often and rent cars through Hertz. A great way to get an additional 5% cash back (the Gold Business card offers that too). This adds a few hundred bucks in return on top of the other benefits you already mentioned!

    1. Trav says:

      @Valhalla- So the Amex Open network gives you an automatic 5% back on Marriott and Hertz products? Do you also earn points for the purchases?

  18. Angel says:

    On the application is says that ” I understand that the annual fee for the Primary Card is $450 and $300 for each Additional Business Platinum Card”. Where did you guys get that it was $175 for the first additional card and that you can get two more at no cost? How can I avoid this $300 for an additional card?

    1. Trav says:

      @Angel- I believe you are looking at the BUSINESS Platinum card. For the PERSONAL Platinum card, the terms and conditions state:

      “For up to 3 Additional Platinum Cards, the annual fee is $175.”

      1. Angel says:

        So you recommend getting the personal versus the business? Is there a difference in the perks that you get?

        1. Trav says:

          @Angel- You can get both, but if you are planning on adding an authorized user, I definitely suggest the personal one. Other than that, the perks should be the same.

  19. ronald b says:

    You can call a Dr. from anywhere in the world to get help. that with the medivac feature its a good card to have in the wallet.

    1. Trav says:

      @ronald b- That’s great to know. Definitely makes this invaluable for travel…takes all the worry out of it, should an unfortunate accident occur.

  20. Jen N. says:

    This card was very useful for me many years ago when I fully used its perks. Now, i only use the $200 incidental fee for gift cards to spend towards airline tickets and maybe 1 or 2 lounge visits a year. I also value my lounge visits at $10 per (no kids, & only need it when i need a quiet place to nap, otherwise i’m at the sports bar at the gate). So therefore I use about $220 out of the $450 fee. In addition, I put 100% spending on my Chase cards (CSP, Freedom, MP Explorer, & Hyatt cards).

    Clearly, and obviously I don’t need the Amex Plat anymore however, I am attached to it because Amex has treated me so well in the past. I want to, more importantly need to cancel it (wasting $230 a year in annual fees after doing the math). Call me crazy but I feel like it has sentimental value so i still keep it every year. LoL. Help, tell me I need to cancel it ! Anyone else keep a AF card as sentimental value? Or do you know someone?

    1. Trav says:

      @Jen N.- Hmm, very interesting point and one I hadn’t thought of before. I kind of did this with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I don’t really need both the CSP and the Ink Bold, and could have downgraded one or the other, but I kept them both open. One of the reasons is that I simply just like the CSP, even though the benefits that it gives probably aren’t worth the $95 annual fee for me.

      As for your case, I think its time to cut the cord with the Amex Platinum. $230 is A LOT of money, year in and year out, to waste. Of course, you can do as you please, but you did want someone to tell you to close it, so I’m doing that!

      1. Jen says:

        Thanks! I value advice from expert bloggers more than regular “civilians”. You’re right I just need to cancel it. I”m gonna get the Amex Blue instead, no perks but at least i’ll always have Amex in my wallet. lol

  21. Warren says:

    I think the people here who value lounge access at $10 don’t fly out of NYC :)

    Even aside from the times I’m flying with children, whether it’s JFK or LGA, the lines and gates are nearly always super crowded… I show up way early to get through security in 20 minutes, sometimes 40 minutes, then sit around for 60-90 minutes waiting for my flight to board (the boarding times are often delayed by 20 minutes). There are often literally no seats left by the departure gate, I end up sitting on the floor, and forget about having outlets to charge laptops or cell phones.

    I would pay up to $50 per airport visit to have a lounge to sit in a comfy chair, charge my stuff, have light snacks and drinks, WiFi access, space to sit and eat at a table (even if it’s food I bought on the concourse), maybe even access to a shower… Oh yeah. And more so when traveling with children!

    I have had numerous good experiences using the FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) benefits also, particularly at the Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston (duh). I seem to do one or two of those stays a year and the $100 food credit per stay, plus free breakfasts, room upgrade (to junior suite or harbor view) and late check-out, are well appreciated.

    I do need to be more conscientious about maximizing my return with the $200 credit – buying a gift card before the year is out if I haven’t done anything else, for example, and I hadn’t known about the Global Entry program at all, much less the fee coverage benefit. Going to handle that right now!

    1. Trav says:

      @Warren- Very valid points. Yes, I was definitely lowballing with the $10 figure. It could be much, much higher depending on your situation (i.e. kids!).

      And you DEFINITELY have to check out Global Entry. It allows you to skip immigration lines when coming back to the US from an international flight (easily saving you at least an hour at JFK each time) and also allows you to become a member of TSA Precheck. This means you can skip all the lines at security!

      For $100 for 5 years, it’s definitely worth it..and you’ll get reimbursed that $100 if you have the Amex Platinum!

      Thanks for all the info on the Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR). Never used it myself, because I rarely stay at hotels, but that is super useful for people who do.

      Man, this card gets better and better each time…now if I could only get the targeted 100k offer!

  22. Warren says:

    I’d also add that while I’ve only used the Concierge service a few times – maybe 8 times in 6 years – it’s been really useful a number of times, with one or two standout, invaluable assists to mention.

    Most of the time I use it to get better reservations (or any reservations) booked at NYC restaurants like The Four Seasons or Gotham Bar and Grill in slots other than “before 6pm or after 8:45pm”, which was the best I could do online or by calling the restaurant myself. I put in the request through the concierge and boom!, I’ve got a 7:00 or 7:30pm table (though there have been times they’ve come up blank as well, and I had to go with a “second choice” venue). And when I told the concierge (who asked about any special occasion) it was, say, for an anniversary dinner with my wife, she passed that along and we got free desserts, too!

    The standout moment, though, was this:

    About 5 years ago, my wife (who was not herself a Plat card holder) was coming back on a redeye flight in March from California to NY when it got rerouted and forced to land at Chicago O’Hare due to a storm. A few other NY bound flights were similarly disgorged. They were dumped into O’Hare at 11:30pm and she was calling to tell me she’d be on standby for another flight in the morning, along with 200+ other people so who knew when it would be, and how she was going to have to sleep in a corner of the terminal because there weren’t even any seats left to sit in. She had no idea where any local hotels might be, or which ones if any had any rooms free, and the kiosks with hotel/car rental info phone lines had people lined up 20 deep and growing.

    I said I’d call her back and immediately called the AmEx Plat Concierge, figuring as a travel agency at heart this was their moment to shine. And shine they did. Within ten minutes – while they put me on hold, and in assisting not me the cardholder in distress, but my wife – they came back and told me they’d gotten her a room at a nearby hotel with a shuttle van at location X to take her there, and a cheap ticket (like under $100 including all taxes/fees) for a 6:30am flight on another airline (JetBlue) back to NY in the morning.

    As she boarded her hotel shuttle van, 3 or 4 other people who overheard her conversation decided to get on the van with her, hoping there would be rooms available for them too when they got there (since my wife had gotten a room at the last minute). Unfortunately, as she checked in at the front desk, she overheard them get told that the hotel was (now) fully booked!

    This moment more than any other has had me renewing the Plat card even when I was underutilizing the travel benefits like the $200 credit or Global Entry fee coverage… Now that both my wife and I are doing a lot more air travel than before (she flies like 10 times a year now, and I’m up to 4), I’ve gotten her her own Plat card, and will use the two other “free” extra cards for my parents.

  23. M Abbasi says:

    Hi Trav. I have both the AMEX Platinum and AMEX MB Platinum. The benefits for both cards are IDENTICAL including Priority Pass and $200 airline credit as I have the Priority Pass cards from both Platinum cards and also signed up for $200 airline credit with American Airlines one MB Platinum and US Airways on the regular Platinum. The additional benefits for the MB card are the $100 per year towards MB genuine accessories which I have also used, $1000 down payment voucher towards a new MB and 2000 lease mileage overage paid. If you own a MB, its so worth the extra $25 per year. I also confirmed with platinum card services before i signed up for the MB card to make sure that I will receive the 50k bonus miles and lo n behold, I sure did. They told me that you can not have the EXACT same kind of platinum card in order to get the 50k bonus points. For example if I had a AMEX MB Platinum and wanted to get another one, I wouldn’t get the bonus. Thank you for all the useful info this your post.

    1. Trav says:

      @M Abbasi- Great to know. When did you get the Amex Platinum MB? In the last month, reports seem to be that you can’t get the bonus for both cards, but if you got the Platinum MB recently, then maybe you still can double dip.

      And I do agree that if you are an MB owner, the extra $25 a year is well worth it. Sadly, I am not!

      1. M says:

        Hi Trav… Sorry for such a late reply. I signed up for the MB Platinum late October/early September. I received my bonus miles a month later after I spent the required amount so I was able to take advantage of that. I still have both Platinum cards open, the regular one and the MB one which means current members can take advantage. What AMEX Platinum Srvcs had told me that you can not have the exact same card to get the miles as MB wasn’t a regular Platinum, that’s why I qualified.

        Also on a side note, we are set to travel to Dallas for a wedding next month so I wanted to take advantage of both of my platinum cards for the airline credit. I’ve American as my primary carrier on both cards to I purchased their gift cards online. I made a mistake of purchasing a $200 gift card all in one on my platinum card but then realized my mistake and broke them into $50 increments on my MB platinum. I was sure that I won’t get the $200 reimbursed but was hopeful for the 4 gift cards of $50. To my surprise, this morning I was reimbursed the full amount on both of my platinum cards. $200 lump sump on the platinum and $50 x 4 on my MB. So I wanted to share this with the Platinum card members that it’s not a myth and still works as of 01/17/2014. Thank you again for such a wonderful info and articles and talk soon.

        1. Trav says:

          @M- Well, well, well…looks like you’ve really maximized the Amex Platinum cards for all they are worth! And yes, people are reporting that they are getting credit for gift cards, even though, as you say, it isn’t supposed to work. Surprised you got the $200 lump sum. Nicely done!

  24. Eric Gilbert says:

    The problem with the Centurion lounges is they do have one in Vegas (concourse D) but I can’t see how they will be successful in larger airports such as Miami being they would have to have multiple ones in different terminals such as terminal A, B, C, D, etc …Customers are not going to want to use a lounge then have to check in their luggage afterwards plus possibly walk a mile or more to get to their gate and go through TSA. I can no longer justify the 450.00 for this card. The Platinum card used to be prestigious now anyone can get one who is willing to pay the 450.00 annual fee. They used to let you in the Continental (United AIrlines ), US Airways/American and Delta and you could bring in two guests when the annual fee was 300.. Now that benefit is gone accept Delta and any guests you have to pay for. Furthermore, they only give you one dollar for every dollar you spend while competitor cards give you up to 3 points for every dollar you charge for gas. I am going to apply for the American Airlines card which has a 450.00 fee and allows you to use the US Airways and American lounges which are located in the terminal where you are flying out from.

    1. Trav says:

      @Eric Gilbert- I do agree, the Platinum has certainly lost prestige recently. I’d rather have the AA Executive card as well.

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