Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

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retire14
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Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by retire14 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:25 am

We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.

thangngo
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by thangngo » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:32 am

retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
It's worth it if you want to enjoy the perks that come with the card: elite status at SPG/Marriot/Hilton, free access to Centurion Lounge, available bookings at AMEX Luxury Hotel collection and enjoy early check-in/late check-out/breakfast, etc. If you are retirees and enjoy finer things when you travel, this card is worth it. You can research this card on the internet. There are quite a lot of reviews on this card.

This card is not for frugal travelers or someone who is trying to earn points with cheaper annual fees.

ND Fan 1
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by ND Fan 1 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:44 am

retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
What was the bonus offer? The standard public offer is 60,000 MR points. There are some targeted at 100K MR. If you have the 100K offer, I would jump on it. Those points could go a long way if you travel a couple times a year. Most find MR valuable to transfer to airlines, the hotel choices aren't as good. A conservative estimate would value the points at 1 cent per point, so roughly $1000. If you only have the 60K public offer, not as good of a deal, and could wait for a better offer.

If you could somehow use the $200 airline credit and the $200 Uber credits (see if your city has Uber eats if you don't take Ubers), the annual fee is not as bad. You could also double dip the airline credit the first year. Redeem the airline credit a second time in 2018, then cancel your card within 30 days of the annual fee posting and the annual fee is reimbursed. You do have to select 1 specific airline to get the credit, so select one you travel the most. Can also buy gift cards to trigger the reimbursement.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by centrifuge41 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:47 am

If you can use the $200 uber credit, and $200 airline credit, then it's in a way, $150 AMF.

It seems like the one unique benefit of most cards in the $395+ range is airline lounge access. Chase Sapphire Reserve is also effectively $150 AMF after subtracting $300 travel credit from the $450 AMF. Do you plan on hitting lounges when traveling? As for those hotel statuses, do you stay at big chain hotels often? Is there a more fee-effective way of getting status if you only frequent one chain? E.g. a $75 Hilton Surpass card would get you gold there, if you don't have much need for Marriott or SPG status.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by simplesimon » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 am

In my experience AmEx is not as widely accepted as Visa, but this is a card in which you sign up for the benefits not related to its actual use to collect points.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is generally a better card, but from what I understand the AmEx Platinum benefits are a little bit higher quality.
Last edited by simplesimon on Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

ResearchMed
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:59 am

thangngo wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
It's worth it if you want to enjoy the perks that come with the card: elite status at SPG/Marriot/Hilton, free access to Centurion Lounge, available bookings at AMEX Luxury Hotel collection and enjoy early check-in/late check-out/breakfast, etc. If you are retirees and enjoy finer things when you travel, this card is worth it. You can research this card on the internet. There are quite a lot of reviews on this card.

This card is not for frugal travelers or someone who is trying to earn points with cheaper annual fees.
This ^

Look at the "perks" and see if they are things/benefits/services that you would want, and especially look at those that have actual $$ value, and whether you would spend that money anyway.

For example, IF you travel at the hotels that participate in Amex Plat's "Fine Hotels" program, there are a variety of perks.
Usually there is ~$100 food/bev credit per stay, which we would definitely use. Sometimes it's a spa credit, which would be wasted on us.
There is usually also "breakfast included" (but check if full breakfast or "continental"; we've had no trouble requesting regular breakfasts even when it was "supposed to be" continental).
Also, often an upgrade "upon availability" when checking in (more rarely, and mostly in the past, upon reserving).
There is a *guaranteed* 4pm checkout, and an early check-in "upon availability".
Those are nice, but of no "dollar value" to us.

They've added a new $200 Uber credit per year, but it must be spread out in 12 monthly charges, so not very useful if one doesn't like Uber.
This was added when they upped the annual fee from $495 to $550.

Right now, there is a 60,000 sign up bonus for the Membership Rewards, which can transfer to a variety of airlines, which we find the best use.

There is also a "Fine Dining" with an interesting perk (NOT sure if this is still in place): each participating restaurant promises to give one table each evening, regardless of availability, to an Amex Plat member when reserved through Concierge service. We *have* used that in the past, but not recently. Again, this is a convenience, not worth $$ directly.

The Amex Plat Travel Service used to be wonderful, but their service has pretty much fallen off a cliff unless one gets a good rep.
But you need to go through them to get the hotel perks, so we do that.
We've also found that if they call ahead to a hotel with a special request, there is usually that request plus some other niceties waiting.

If you book a cruise through them, there is usually "whatever perks the cruise line offers" plus some additional OBC (on board credit), which is nice, plus a really mediocre wine-tasting (a waste of time, in our minds; we tried that only once).

There is also something like a $200 annual credit for airline of your choice (same all year) for things like baggage fees, on board bev purchases, etc.
And they'll reimburse for Global Entry fees.

And we frequently make use of their linked airport lounges.

Importantly (at times), they REALLY stand behind the customer for any purchase dispute.

But it's a stiff fee if you don't use or want the perks.

Note: I've occasionally had good luck at non-participating hotels when checking in, plopping the Amex Plat card on the counter, and gently asking, "Do you happen to have any special perks/benefits for Amex cardholders?" (even when I know they don't).

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:18 am

The fee is getting too high for me so I'm cancelling this month as the fee comes due. The increase in fee with the addition of Uber is a waste for us.

You can use the airline credit to buy airline gift cards if done in a certain way. For example this year I was able to buy Delta gift cards in $50 increments and they were credited to the $200 credit.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:02 pm

simplesimon wrote:In my experience AmEx is not as widely accepted as Visa, but this is a card in which you sign up for the benefits not related to its actual use to collect points.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is generally a better card, but from what I understand the AmEx Platinum benefits are a little bit higher quality.
AmEx acceptance is actually improving. DW and I just took out a Delta Platinum AmEx, and so far I have not had a problem using it at grocery stores, restaurants, even convenience store gas pumps. I have yet to find a merchant that wouldn't accept it, which surprised me greatly. (Edit: just charged $850 worth of hardwood flooring to this card without even a blink. Just hit the target for the sign-up bonus. :D )

For the record, I had been looking at airline cards for the past year, finally decided on Delta due to bad experiences with United and AA, plus a recommendation from one of DW's co-workers who travels extensively. We took it out mainly for the free bags and the priority boarding. Those two perks are, frankly, worth the $195 per year fee to me.
Last edited by oldcomputerguy on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jhh9327
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by jhh9327 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:21 pm

Access to the Delta lounges when flying Delta has been a perk I've used quite a bit. But I'm strongly considering dropping it the next time the annual fee comes around due to the increase in the annual fee to $550. Don't use Uber enough to make up for the extra $100 they are now charging. The travel credit on this card is much harder to use than the travel credit CSR gives also.

Another perk not mentioned earlier by anyone with this card is you also get Executive status with National which gets you a nicer class of vehicle when using the emerald aisle and you earn free days quicker. National is who the company I work for has us utilize for rentals so this has been a nice benefit for me. There are benefits for Avis and Hertz as well.
Last edited by jhh9327 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jags4186
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:23 pm

If you want to try out the AMEX Platinum head over the Charles Schwab and open the Charles Schwab branded AMEX Platinum. You will also need to open a Schwab brokerage/checking account but those have no fees and $0 minimum balance (also the best checking account on the market IMO--all ATM fees reimbursed stateside and internationally). If you happen to have your money at Schwab, depending on your balance, you will get a $100 or $200 annual fee credit.

With the Schwab Platinum you will get the same 60k MR point bonus as you would straight from AMEX but also get the ability to cash out those points for $0.0125 each, meaning you would get $750 cash value for your bonus which would more than cover the first year's annual fee. At the end of the year if you decide to keep the card great, if not you can always close it.

Best part is that if you do get the 100k MR bonus offer from American Express for the vanilla Platinum card you will be eligible for that bonus as well since AMEX considers all of the cobranded AMEX Platinum cards to be distinct products. You won't run into the "once per lifetime" bonus issue.

rhoms33
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by rhoms33 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:53 pm

Depends entirely on the frequency of your travel and how you travel. I've had the card for a couple years now and I come out way ahead.

As an example I'll be vacationing in Hawaii for 7 days next month at a fhr resort. I'll be using a Centurion lounge on one leg and Delta sky lounge on the other. I'll have complimentary breakfast for 2 for 7 days, potentially a room upgrade, and a $100 food credit. I'm also using my annual $200 airline credit for seat upgrades. TSA precheck is another nice perk that will come in handy.

This trip alone nets me more than $550 in benefits, because of the way I choose to travel. If I were staying at a two star hotel, flying an airline with no lounge, etc, the card doesn't provide much benefit.

Bottom line, if you travel frequently and/or "lavishly" the card pays for itself quite quickly. Was said very well above, it's not for frugal travelers.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by squirm » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:57 pm

This card is targeted to us every couple years. The chase sapphire preferred is better, one year free and only 95/yr after with 50,000 sign up points.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by THY4373 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:23 pm

squirm wrote:The chase sapphire preferred is better, one year free and only 95/yr after with 50,000 sign up points.
That is a good card but it really depends what folks are looking for it might be better for you but not somebody else. I suggest folks look at all the features of the cards and the ways they can be used (think out of the box sometimes) and see if they get value out of them. I have both a personal and business plats at the moment because I get enough out of their somewhat different benefits to keep both. However in a year when some of the features on the business card expire, I'll likely drop it.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by indexonlyplease » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:28 pm

I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:28 pm

THY4373 wrote:
squirm wrote:The chase sapphire preferred is better, one year free and only 95/yr after with 50,000 sign up points.
That is a good card but it really depends what folks are looking for it might be better for you but not somebody else. I suggest folks look at all the features of the cards and the ways they can be used (think out of the box sometimes) and see if they get value out of them. I have both a personal and business plats at the moment because I get enough out of their somewhat different benefits to keep both. However in a year when some of the features on the business card expire, I'll likely drop it.
What are the "better" (or "different") perks of the Business Amex Plat vs. regular Amex Plat card?

Thanks.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:36 pm

We are relatively frequent users of the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and find that our annual fee is more than recouped after the second FHR stay -- and sometimes the first, depending on the property and the offer. The rest of the benefits, especially the $200 air credit which I immediately redeem into $200 worth of airline gift cards which are as good as cash for us, are icing on the cake. I generally do not put spend on the card, however.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by munemaker » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:45 pm

retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
Whether it is worth it is going to depend on your personal spending patterns. Run the numbers.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:09 pm

I really balked at the fee. It just seemed incredibly steep.

However, I had already been using Uber frequently so I had no problems fulfilling all of the criteria to get the full Uber credit.

The airline credit is very easy to get if you fly with moderate regularity. You get the credit when you "update" from Economy to almost any "Plus" fare, and since I always get the added legroom seats on flights across country, I easily met those credit requirements.

You get entry into travel lounges. While it's nice to be in comfortable surroundings, you also get the food (for free). So you essentially don't eat in airport restaurants anymore.

And then you get to decide how important the travel perks are. The concierge service will get you restaurant reservations that you might not be able to get. You get theater tickets which are hard to come by. But these are lifestyle issues.

Given the above credits, which we were already using anyway, the annual fee wound up being manageable. Everyone will have different experiences.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by simplesimon » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:23 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
simplesimon wrote:In my experience AmEx is not as widely accepted as Visa, but this is a card in which you sign up for the benefits not related to its actual use to collect points.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is generally a better card, but from what I understand the AmEx Platinum benefits are a little bit higher quality.
AmEx acceptance is actually improving. DW and I just took out a Delta Platinum AmEx, and so far I have not had a problem using it at grocery stores, restaurants, even convenience store gas pumps. I have yet to find a merchant that wouldn't accept it, which surprised me greatly.
Great to know, thanks. Any problems using it internationally?

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by nepats » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:31 pm

Jags4186 wrote:If you want to try out the AMEX Platinum head over the Charles Schwab and open the Charles Schwab branded AMEX Platinum. You will also need to open a Schwab brokerage/checking account but those have no fees and $0 minimum balance (also the best checking account on the market IMO--all ATM fees reimbursed stateside and internationally). If you happen to have your money at Schwab, depending on your balance, you will get a $100 or $200 annual fee credit.

With the Schwab Platinum you will get the same 60k MR point bonus as you would straight from AMEX but also get the ability to cash out those points for $0.0125 each, meaning you would get $750 cash value for your bonus which would more than cover the first year's annual fee. At the end of the year if you decide to keep the card great, if not you can always close it.

Best part is that if you do get the 100k MR bonus offer from American Express for the vanilla Platinum card you will be eligible for that bonus as well since AMEX considers all of the cobranded AMEX Platinum cards to be distinct products. You won't run into the "once per lifetime" bonus issue.
Great idea! I recently received an offer for the 100K miles for the business platinum. How do I redeem that offer for the Charles version?

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by masteraleph » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:37 pm

The only US merchants I find not accepting AMEX, besides Costco, are small merchants/restaurants using traditional payment processors. The ones that use iPad/tablet type POS setups with Square or a similar vendor all take it, and it seems to me like that's where small merchants are heading.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:41 pm

indexonlyplease wrote:I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
In general, it's a good idea to incorporate base rates in your assessments. However, in this case, people not using their reward miles and points are a different population from those actively pursuing miles and points. A rational miles-and-points player accumulates rewards that provide him or her with a good return on investment, and uses these rewards as soon as possible.

Some of us are getting a sufficient return on investment to pay for credit cards. With my United MileagePlus Explorer, I get earlier boarding, can check in one piece of luggage free, and when searching reward-based flights I see more flights than those who don't own this card. I also get two passes annually to a United lounge and carry them as "insurance" for long flight delays.

Your mileage (pun) may vary.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:43 pm

nepats wrote: Great idea! I recently received an offer for the 100K miles for the business platinum. How do I redeem that offer for the Charles version?
You would need to open the Schwab Platinum and the Business Platinum. There is no Schwab business platinum. Just check the spending requirement on the business platinum you might find yourself needing to spend $20k to get the 100k points.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/inv ... edit_cards

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:45 pm

indexonlyplease wrote:I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
And of those 10% maybe 10% use the points effectively. I can assure you I've made out significantly better than anyone using a 2% cashback card.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by GoldenFinch » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:46 pm

masteraleph wrote:The only US merchants I find not accepting AMEX, besides Costco, are small merchants/restaurants using traditional payment processors. The ones that use iPad/tablet type POS setups with Square or a similar vendor all take it, and it seems to me like that's where small merchants are heading.
We use AMEX for almost everything and I've also noticed that more and more small businesses are accepting the card. AMEX users tend to have more money and spend more. I think that is why more small merchants and businesses in general are giving in and accepting it.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by indexonlyplease » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:49 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
indexonlyplease wrote:I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
In general, it's a good idea to incorporate base rates in your assessments. However, in this case, people not using their reward miles and points are a different population from those actively pursuing miles and points. A rational miles-and-points player accumulates rewards that provide him or her with a good return on investment, and uses these rewards as soon as possible.

Some of us are getting a sufficient return on investment to pay for credit cards. With my United MileagePlus Explorer, I get earlier boarding, can check in one piece of luggage free, and when searching reward-based flights I see more flights than those who don't own this card. I also get two passes annually to a United lounge and carry them as "insurance" for long flight delays.

Your mileage (pun) may vary.

Victoria
Looks like it works for you. But what about the rest of the people. So I am glad you get to enjoy. I also get to enjoy the same, Bank of America gives me a 75% bonus on my rewards every January when i cash them out. So, I have the cash to pay for the extras.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:56 pm

simplesimon wrote: Great to know, thanks. Any problems using it internationally?
Only just got the card about a month ago, haven't been out of the country since then, but AmEx says there is no foreign transaction fee. However, I already have a Capital One Visa that I use when travelling internationally, so I probably won't have occasion to find out anytime soon.
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by auggiedoggies » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:01 pm

indexonlyplease wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
indexonlyplease wrote:I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
In general, it's a good idea to incorporate base rates in your assessments. However, in this case, people not using their reward miles and points are a different population from those actively pursuing miles and points. A rational miles-and-points player accumulates rewards that provide him or her with a good return on investment, and uses these rewards as soon as possible.

Some of us are getting a sufficient return on investment to pay for credit cards. With my United MileagePlus Explorer, I get earlier boarding, can check in one piece of luggage free, and when searching reward-based flights I see more flights than those who don't own this card. I also get two passes annually to a United lounge and carry them as "insurance" for long flight delays.

Your mileage (pun) may vary.

Victoria
Looks like it works for you. But what about the rest of the people. So I am glad you get to enjoy. I also get to enjoy the same, Bank of America gives me a 75% bonus on my rewards every January when i cash them out. So, I have the cash to pay for the extras.

So just because some people don't bother to put in the minimal amount of time to make it work for them, it means that it's useless for others? My wife and I have received literally 5 figures worth of travel/hotels/cash over the past 10 years from credit card points, without paying a cent of interest. If I have to pay $450 in annual fees, but I receive perks that more than cover that, how is it a losing proposition?

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:02 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
simplesimon wrote: Great to know, thanks. Any problems using it internationally?
Only just got the card about a month ago, haven't been out of the country since then, but AmEx says there is no foreign transaction fee. However, I already have a Capital One Visa that I use when travelling internationally, so I probably won't have occasion to find out anytime soon.
Because of the great protections Amex usually offers in cases of disputes, we try to use Amex as much as possible when overseas.
(Ditto, within the USA, for any potentially squirrelly purchase, such as from a small, unknown vendor, although those are pretty infrequent.)

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by sperry8 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:15 pm

Jags4186 wrote:If you want to try out the AMEX Platinum head over the Charles Schwab and open the Charles Schwab branded AMEX Platinum. You will also need to open a Schwab brokerage/checking account but those have no fees and $0 minimum balance (also the best checking account on the market IMO--all ATM fees reimbursed stateside and internationally). If you happen to have your money at Schwab, depending on your balance, you will get a $100 or $200 annual fee credit.

With the Schwab Platinum you will get the same 60k MR point bonus as you would straight from AMEX but also get the ability to cash out those points for $0.0125 each, meaning you would get $750 cash value for your bonus which would more than cover the first year's annual fee. At the end of the year if you decide to keep the card great, if not you can always close it.

Best part is that if you do get the 100k MR bonus offer from American Express for the vanilla Platinum card you will be eligible for that bonus as well since AMEX considers all of the cobranded AMEX Platinum cards to be distinct products. You won't run into the "once per lifetime" bonus issue.
This is a really interesting option. I was considering the Ameriprise Amex Platinum version which comes fee waived for the 1st year. But you are suggesting that the Schwab version will net us $200 in cash 1st year ($750 - $550 annual fee). One is allowed to redeem the points immediately upon hitting the required min spend to get the 60k MR points for $750 cash? Just for having a Schwab brokerage acct (regardless of the amount in it)?

btw - one other benefit no one has mentioned is reduced rental car rates. In my case, the Amex Platinum CDP with Hertz offers ~ a 20% discount on car rentals versus every other rate I'm entitled to (AAA, USAA, Airline codes, etc.). That can add up depending on how much one rents annually.

Finally re the FHR program, while the benefits are excellent, Flyertalkers have mentioned that the rates are not always the lowest. That is, you can find a lower rate sometimes elsewhere (direct or via OTAs). So you have to balance potentially a higher rate vs the extra benefits.
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:04 pm

sperry8 wrote:One is allowed to redeem the points immediately upon hitting the required min spend to get the 60k MR points for $750 cash? Just for having a Schwab brokerage acct (regardless of the amount in it)?
Yes. And if you have MR from other cards those points can also be redeemed for $0.0125 each. My aunt and uncle had amassed 800,000 AMEX points over 30 years and never used them. I signed them up for the card so they could cash them out for around $10,000. Also, if you have $250,000 of assets with Schwab you will get a $100 credit towards the AF and if you have $1,000,000 in assets you will get $200 credit towards the annual fee.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by William104 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:05 pm

One thing I don't think has been mentioned here is about the retention offers AMEX will give you if you try to cancel. I am on my 2nd year on mine as I was going to cancel before it renews since I used all the benefits. They gave me a $350 credit to offset the annual making it more than worth keeping for another year. It was very easy to get as well since they basically ask you "can we make you an offer to make it worth keeping it?" Now I can easily cover that with the airline credit and additional perks it offers.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:37 pm

Only 10% of people are using frequent flyer points? Really!?! That is mind-numbing. We've used hundreds of thousands of those points for plane tickets over the years and I can't imagine leaving that kind of money on the table.

The question about AMEX acceptance internationally is extremely variable. It is true that some countries have few merchants who accept AMEX. However, there's been a significant uptick in acceptance throughout Europe. We were just in Sweden where it was accepted everywhere (although many many merchants don't even accept cash anymore, which was enlightening).

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:53 pm

William104 wrote:One thing I don't think has been mentioned here is about the retention offers AMEX will give you if you try to cancel. I am on my 2nd year on mine as I was going to cancel before it renews since I used all the benefits. They gave me a $350 credit to offset the annual making it more than worth keeping for another year. It was very easy to get as well since they basically ask you "can we make you an offer to make it worth keeping it?" Now I can easily cover that with the airline credit and additional perks it offers.
This is interesting. I'm going to give this a try when I call to cancel the card in a few weeks. If they offer me a credit like that I will keep it.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:23 am

I have the personal Amex Plat card. Pretty much the only charges I put on the card is airfare, which now earns 5X MR points. For most of my spend, my CSR is much better.

Anyone needs to determine the value of the benefits. I personally won't get much if any value out of Uber, so the annual fee increase that came with it will make me consider dropping it.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by sperry8 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:32 am

Jags4186 wrote:
sperry8 wrote:One is allowed to redeem the points immediately upon hitting the required min spend to get the 60k MR points for $750 cash? Just for having a Schwab brokerage acct (regardless of the amount in it)?
Yes. And if you have MR from other cards those points can also be redeemed for $0.0125 each. My aunt and uncle had amassed 800,000 AMEX points over 30 years and never used them. I signed them up for the card so they could cash them out for around $10,000. Also, if you have $250,000 of assets with Schwab you will get a $100 credit towards the AF and if you have $1,000,000 in assets you will get $200 credit towards the annual fee.
Well, that's great news. I shall definitely switch to applying for the Schwab Amex Plat card and not the Ameriprise one. Thanks!! :moneybag
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Cruise » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:53 am

retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:14 am

Cruise wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.
Not sure about the Ameriprise branded version, but for the plain Amex Plat, if the supplemental card holder gets a Gold card (not Plat), then there is no charge. And you can have quite a few supplemental Gold holders.
If the supplemental holder has "authorization" on the main Plat card, they can do most things by phone, but just have the "gold" version to plop down when making an in-person transaction.

RM
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by takeshi » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:51 am

retire14 wrote:Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?
Your call to make just as it is with worth on any topic. Worth isn't just a matter of the topic at hand but how well the given topic fits an individual's needs/wants. My wife and I found it worthwhile for a couple of years but not this year, for example, so even an individual's sense of worth can change over time. We just haven't been traveling much this year though we did use the $200 airline credit (we canceled this year). We didn't get the 100K targeted bonus but the 60K bonus we got helped to offset the first year AF even though we really have not been able to do better than 0.6 to 0.8 cents per Membership Rewards point. Others are certainly able to get better value per point -- you'd have to take a look into this yourself. The Platinum, however, generally isn't a great card for accruing MR points.

If you're looking for value for the dollar, probably not though there are a lot of value based benefits that can help to somewhat mitigate the high annual fee. Check FlyerTalk for tips on maximizing use of the annual $200 airline credit. In the 2 years we used it we were able to fully make use of it each year without increasing spending. If you can make use of the Global Entry Credit that can help a bit though only once every 5 years. If you can maximize the Uber credit that can also help.

However, those that find it worthwhile generally find it to be so because of the premium travel benefits. Review those benefits and see if they seem like they would be useful to you.
retire14 wrote:Is there a comparable card for a lower fee?
Similar cards have a similar AF.
Jags4186 wrote:With the Schwab Platinum you will get the same 60k MR point bonus as you would straight from AMEX but also get the ability to cash out those points for $0.0125 each, meaning you would get $750 cash value for your bonus which would more than cover the first year's annual fee.
1.25 cents is a lot better than what were able to do but transferring to airline partners can yield higher rewards value for those that can leverage redemptions with the airline partners -- especially for premium international cabins.
ResearchMed wrote:Not sure about the Ameriprise branded version, but for the plain Amex Plat, if the supplemental card holder gets a Gold card (not Plat), then there is no charge. And you can have quite a few supplemental Gold holders.
The Morgan Stanley Platinum has no charge for the first Platinum authorized user and Platinum AU''s get most of the same benefits as the primary: Global Entry credit, hotel & rental car status, lounge access, etc but not the airline fee credit and I don't think the Uber credit. I think the other Platinum that hasn't been mentioned is the Mercedes Benz but IIRC it doesn't offer any breaks on authorized users thought MB drivers might find its specific benefits worth considering.
indexonlyplease wrote:Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
All of my cards with AF are a net positive for me and to a significant degree or else I wouldn't keep them. It's certainly possible that a no AF card is a best fit for a given person but it requires looking beyond just the AF and considering total cost/benefit.

..and this is picking nits but the AmEx Platinum is not a credit card.
sperry8 wrote:btw - one other benefit no one has mentioned is reduced rental car rates. In my case, the Amex Platinum CDP with Hertz offers ~ a 20% discount on car rentals versus every other rate I'm entitled to (AAA, USAA, Airline codes, etc.).
Interesting. I've generally found the USAA CDP to offer better discounts. However, I've been using Silvercar more often than Hertz recently.
William104 wrote:One thing I don't think has been mentioned here is about the retention offers AMEX will give you if you try to cancel.
These are not a given. Generally, those with more usage will be more likely to get an offer and to get better offers. Still, it doesn't hurt to ask.
squirm wrote:This card is targeted to us every couple years. The chase sapphire preferred is better, one year free and only 95/yr after with 50,000 sign up points.
Better is subjective just as worth is. At one time we found both the Platinum and the CSP worthwhile. Now, the Platinum isn't worthwhile and the CSR is a better fit for us than the CSP. Each needs to do his/her due diligence versus relying on sweeping generalizations about whether or not a given card is better than another. AF and sign on bonuses are certainly considerations but there's much more to consider as well.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by squirm » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:14 pm

Chase has UR which is very good... Too bad they got rid of the dividend on the rewards.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by sperry8 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:24 pm

Cruise wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.
Not sure why you'd choose Ameriprise over Schwab. Schwab will give you $750 back if you redeem your MR rewards for cash for spending $5k in the first 3 months. That's better than fee waived $550.
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Cruise » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:11 pm

sperry8 wrote:
Cruise wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.
Not sure why you'd choose Ameriprise over Schwab. Schwab will give you $750 back if you redeem your MR rewards for cash for spending $5k in the first 3 months. That's better than fee waived $550.
I thank you for pointing that out that option. Even with the $175 AU fee, it is a wash with the $750 cash back, if that mode is selected. I'll have to consider it when I pull the trigger. While I did not want to open up another banking relationship, perhaps I will. What is the minimum needed to invest with Schwab in order to open a Plat with them? Thanks.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Hawaiishrimp » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:04 pm

Not anymore. I'm switching back to AmEx Gold Business now.
I save and invest my money, so money can make money for me, so I don't have to make money eventually.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by sperry8 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:27 am

Cruise wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
Cruise wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.
Not sure why you'd choose Ameriprise over Schwab. Schwab will give you $750 back if you redeem your MR rewards for cash for spending $5k in the first 3 months. That's better than fee waived $550.
I thank you for pointing that out that option. Even with the $175 AU fee, it is a wash with the $750 cash back, if that mode is selected. I'll have to consider it when I pull the trigger. While I did not want to open up another banking relationship, perhaps I will. What is the minimum needed to invest with Schwab in order to open a Plat with them? Thanks.
According to Flyertalk: "There is a $1000 minimum investment to open the brokerage account, but if you open a linked high-yield investor checking account with the brokerage account, the balance requirements are waived."
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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Cruise » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:33 am

sperry8 wrote:
Cruise wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
Cruise wrote:
retire14 wrote:We are retirees and travel several times/year. Currently we have United mileage Plus card at $95/year. We recently got an invite in the mail from Amex and was intrigued by its marketing brochure. It looks good for the $550 fee. What do bogleheads here think? Is it worth it? Is there a comparable card for a lower fee? TIA.
I am about to pull the trigger on getting an AMEX Plat, most likely the Ameriprise, which is no fee for a year, and the freedom to cancel at any time without a fee. The Ameriprise also does not charge for authorized users for the first year.

I have a JP Morgan Reserve, which gives access to UA lounges and also Priority Pass. It also has great dining and travel bonuses. What it does not have, which is drawing me to also acquire the Amex Plat, is their international airline program, which recently underwent a major change:

http://iap.americanexpress.com/

According to this forum, users are seeing 10% off their Business and First fares when booking through the IAP program:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american ... 017-a.html

With the 10% off benefit, one would recoup the cost with one person's international J travel a year. Add to that the benefits of the FHR program (4th night free at Hyatts and some other hotels), it is hard to ignore this card.
Not sure why you'd choose Ameriprise over Schwab. Schwab will give you $750 back if you redeem your MR rewards for cash for spending $5k in the first 3 months. That's better than fee waived $550.
I thank you for pointing that out that option. Even with the $175 AU fee, it is a wash with the $750 cash back, if that mode is selected. I'll have to consider it when I pull the trigger. While I did not want to open up another banking relationship, perhaps I will. What is the minimum needed to invest with Schwab in order to open a Plat with them? Thanks.
According to Flyertalk: "There is a $1000 minimum investment to open the brokerage account, but if you open a linked high-yield investor checking account with the brokerage account, the balance requirements are waived."
Thanks. If I had to have branding mess up the clean look of the Plat, I'd rather have Schwab on there rather than Ameriprise :)

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by THY4373 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:09 am

ResearchMed wrote:
What are the "better" (or "different") perks of the Business Amex Plat vs. regular Amex Plat card?

Thanks.

RM
The Business Platinum has a feature where if you use Amex MR points to offset the cash cost of an airline ticket (1 cent per MR point) purchase you get a 50% refund back of those points 31-days later. This means that MR points are worth 2 cents for cash purchased economy tickets with your chosen airline and for any business or first class ticket. And since these are cash purchased tickets you will earn points on them just like other cash tickets.

This is a Bus Plat only feature and if you travel a lot like me it is pretty useful when paid airfares are low and award costs are high or non-existent. The other great thing is this feature works on all MR points you earn and I earn MR points at higher rates than 1x per dollar.

Unfortunately this feature was just too rich for Amex and they lowered it to 35% (effectively make it 1.5x cents vs 2 cents) for new cards and cards open for more than a year. Those of us with a less than year old card were grandfathered until we hit the year mark.

The other feature of the Bus plat not in the Personal Plat is if you make a purchase of $5k or greater you get 1.5 MR points per $1 vs 1. Depending on your spend habits and the games one plays this can also be a valuable feature.

Amex is great at slicing and dicing their cards with different features. For example I love the 5x back on airline purchases that the Personal Plat has but of course for the Business Plat they only give you that only on Amex travel purchases.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by Cruise » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:05 am

I pulled the trigger and got the Plat.

Within a day, I got reimbursed for $200 of airline credit.

I just checked on an international flight in Business. The IAP program quote I got was $800 per person less than what I would have paid if I purchased on my own, a 17% discount. I guess I'll have to travel a lot to justify the cost of this card :)

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by wfrobinette » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:40 pm

indexonlyplease wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:28 pm
I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
Most don't use because they never get enough miles to get a free ticket. The last I checked I couldn't find anywhere to use my 25k miles I have at American. Cheapest free ticket was 35,000 miles and the fair was $200 RT for an outright purchase. Ditched my mileage/points cards years ago (Though just took United up on their 70,000 bonus miles for $95) due the rising mileage needed for reward tickets.


I've been in cashback land for about 5 years now and gladly pay for Amex Blue preferred ($90/year) to enjoy 6% back in groceries and 3% on gas to net over $500 in statement credits per year.

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Re: Is Amex Platinum worth the high fees?

Post by indexonlyplease » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:40 pm

wfrobinette wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:40 pm
indexonlyplease wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:28 pm
I just heard on the radio the other day that only 10% of people use their air miles.

Can't imagine payng for a credit card. No matter what they offer.
Most don't use because they never get enough miles to get a free ticket. The last I checked I couldn't find anywhere to use my 25k miles I have at American. Cheapest free ticket was 35,000 miles and the fair was $200 RT for an outright purchase. Ditched my mileage/points cards years ago (Though just took United up on their 70,000 bonus miles for $95) due the rising mileage needed for reward tickets.


I've been in cashback land for about 5 years now and gladly pay for Amex Blue preferred ($90/year) to enjoy 6% back in groceries and 3% on gas to net over $500 in statement credits per year.
Check with Bank of America. I forgot what is required but I cash in the points every January and get a 75% bonus. I like the cash back and the bonus is nice. You would have to check with BOA what they require at the bank. My wife uses same card and the points and bonus go together

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