The Platinum Card(R) from American Express is very expensive ($450 annual fee), but for certain travelers, it is worth it. I don’t use it as a primary spending card since there are better deals for earning points on the spend (e.g., the Starwood Amex), but the sum of its other benefits may be worth the fee. They have also recently added some international benefits (including no foreign transaction fees) that can change the equation.
Basically, you pay $450, but you get 25k (on the personal version – see details below for the Biz version) MR bonus points (worth at least $250), free global entry ($100) and $200 toward miscellaneous fees on one airline, so you can look at the first year as paid for before even getting all the executive lounge and other benefits.
$200 Miscellaneous Fee Rebate
Do understand that the $200 airline credit would normally be difficult to use since it is only for baggage fees, on board meals and certain other miscellaneous charges. However, many people have been able to get credit for various small purchases (generally under $100) on certain airlines including gift certificates and the like. For example, I was able to get the $180 I spent on a 500-mile upgrade credits (in multiple transactions) from American refunded. I have heard others have even had small fares reimbursed. The following are the airlines you can link to the card and general thoughts on your ability to get reimbursed for airline gift cards. Please comment on your experience getting reimbursements so others will know.
- Airtran – some evidence
- Alaska – strong evidence
- American – strong evidence; very strong for buying upgrade “stickers”
- Delta – must buy and use gift certificates in person only so of minimal use anyway
- Frontier – no evidence
- Hawaiian – no evidence
- Jetblue – appears to not work
- Spirit – no evidence, and who fits in their seats anyway
- Southwest – very strong evidence
- United – unclear
- Continental – mixed evidence
- USAir – mixed evidence
Note: AMEX can change this unwritten policy at any time without notice and/or can apply it arbitrarily. Use at your own risk. Consider just buying a GC for $20 and seeing if the credit comes in. If it does, maybe buy one for $90, wait then another for $90.
You also get the Priority Pass Select Card which really is great. You get free access to many (probably most) airline clubs around the world for one person. The Platinum Card also gives you access to American, Delta and US Air lounges for you and up to two guests if you have a same day flight on that airline.
Other interesting benefits that I have used include free Global Entry (never wait in line at US Immigration again) and a major benefit package from Equinox Fitness. You also have access to elite status with Hertz, Avis and National along with Starwood Gold (call 800-525-3355 for the SPG upgade).
Their companion ticket is worthless for most people since the fare you need to book is often twice the going rate and the cruise stateroom credit doesn’t always provide you with the best deal (if you have a cruise booking of over $5,000, contact me and I will find you a better deal).
Note: They say you are supposed to be a first time Platinum holder, but the Fidelity Amex Platinum (a real Platinum) I had a while back and that didn’t stop me from getting the points.
Note: a “0″ for credit score means that Credit Karma is missing score data for the card.