I know, I know—being in possession of a credit card with a $550 annual fee is distinctly off-brand for Katie Gatti. I expend a lot of mental (and sometimes physical) energy plotting how to avoid paying fees for things, so to voluntarily pay one is, I admit, surprising.
But the Platinum card packs a big punch. The most alluring benefits include (and, here, I have to laugh—they’re benefits, but in some ways, you’re just paying for them upfront with the fee):
If you don’t travel, this won’t be helpful. Like, at all. But if you DO travel or want to start traveling frequently, read on…
After considering all the purported value, I decided to take the plunge—mostly because they sent me a direct mail offer for a 100,000-point bonus and pre-approval.
100,000 points is really no longer a thing in the travel rewards world due to people abusing credit card churn (get card, use points, close card), so I figured 100,000 would be worth it even if I decide I’m not getting $550 in value otherwise.
The standard points offer on this card, if approved, is 60,000. Still pretty solid.
One other thing to note—it’s a charge card, not a credit card, which means you really can’t carry a balance. This also means you have no preset spending limit. Depending on your financial situation, you could spend on this card indefinitely—but you have to pay it off every month.
Theoretically, this would mean it doesn’t affect your credit score, either, but a more seasoned Platinum cardholder told me they’ll make you an offer within your first year of membership to switch it to a credit card in exchange for 15,000 points.
I’m allowing myself to be the Platinum Card guinea pig here and not beat myself up if I don’t end up getting my money’s worth. All in the name of internet journalism, right?
The annual fee hits on your first statement closing, and man, it is painful. To make myself feel better, I started recording all the value I was getting from the card. I’m going to total it at the end of the year and see if it surpasses $550 substantially enough to warrant getting it again.
Here are my initial thoughts:
Spend threshold and points
I’m a little irritated because I hit the $5,000 spend threshold a month ago and the points JUST posted today, but I was told it takes 6-8 weeks. Just annoying to rush to spend $5k (on rent, car insurance, and other things I was going to buy anyway) and then not get the points immediately—the Chase Ultimate Rewards points show up right away, so that was my expectation with Platinum.
Travel portal/booking travel with points
The travel portal seems all right, but I think I’m more partial to Chase’s so far—Chase’s looks exactly like Booking.com so it’s super familiar. AmEx seems to have created their own and I’m not sure their points are as valuable, but TBD.
I'm interested to see the redemption ability and how it compares, especially because the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers similar benefits to the Platinum (for more on my experience with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, click here). For context, I believe the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450, so slightly less.
The airline incidentals credit
The airline credit is supposed to be for incidental fees (inflight wifi, food, bag fees, etc.), but if you buy a gift card, it codes sometimes as an incidental so you can redeem it for flights. I already used the airline credit (as expected) by buying a $200 gift card and then redeeming it the next day for our Hawaii flights.
The trick is (and again, you have to keep current on these hacks because they do change) to declare Southwest or Delta as your airline, then purchase a gift card from either carrier the next day. The only time I’ve seen people not get the credit on Southwest, it’s because they listed Southwest as their carrier and then, minutes later, purchased the gift card. You’ll want to wait a day to be safe.
*Note on the Southwest incidental—I spent $223 on a fare difference for two flights I changed, and AmEx reimbursed me for part of it. This makes me think flight changes are considered incidental purchases, even though you’re just purchasing airfare.
We were hungry when we landed in Oakland before taking off for Maui, and usually, we’d buy airport food—always expensive. Instead, as soon as I landed, I got a notification from the AmEx app welcoming me to the Oakland airport and telling me where the lounge was.
We went in (you have to show your card and a boarding pass) and got to use the cappuccino bar and had bagels with salmon. Much better than your standard Dunkin Donuts breakfast. If we had more time we would’ve sat down and ordered drinks, but we had 10 minutes so we sped through it.
We didn’t think we were going to clear the standby list on the way back to Dallas, so we anticipated being stuck in Oakland until the 8 p.m. departure to Albuquerque (don’t ask—it’s a good unpublished connection to Dallas), and I was low-key very excited to sit down for a real, free dinner at the lounge. Luckily, though, we made it on the flight home.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory—I have no problem using $15 in Uber Cash every month, especially if we have a trip (which we usually do). Once you add your card to the app, every month it loads $15 more into your Uber Cash balance. This is use it or lose it, so it doesn’t roll over or accumulate.
Hotels and car rentals
I’ve kinda flubbed this one so far. I haven’t stayed in a hotel (just an Airbnb) since getting it, so I’m not sure how the upgrades work (or how often). You have to book directly with the hotel to technically get an upgrade, so it doesn’t sound like you can use the travel portal to do so (however, I read on an AmEx Reddit that sometimes if you show the card they’ll do the upgrade at the front desk).
I'll have to do a little more research on how to maximize the benefit here (get the 5x points on the hotel while also ensuring an upgrade), but I'll do a post about my experience whether it's good or bad.
We got a rental car in Hawaii, but I waited until the day of arrival to reserve it so the “National Emerald Executive Club” status I hold because of the card didn’t do much for me (they were out of cars). I hadn’t set up the Hertz or Avis Preferred statuses yet. I’ll note here that I saw the lot of cars they give to Emerald Executives, and they looked pretty nice.
Because we travel a lot and almost always get a hotel and rental car, this benefit really sounded like it could improve our experiences a lot OR make them cheaper (maybe both).
Weird stuff I wasn’t expecting
Look, I have pretty good credit, but I’m by no means “Platinum card” wealthy. I’m surprised I got approved for this card since it’s known for being targeted to rich people. I feel like it’s probably easier than they make it seem to get approved, they just want to make sure you can afford a fee. Like all other credit cards, they’ll ask your annual income.
In the same vein, it’s been hilarious to me how many people make comments about it. Whether it’s people I’m eating with at a restaurant (rarely) when I put the card on the table or the waitress who comes over to take it away, people will literally say, “Ohhh, Platinum! You have this?” as though it’s hard to get. Based on my experience… I don’t think so.
The card is also solid metal and pretty thick, so it feels cool and substantial. It does that “tap” thing at checkout where you just wave it over the reader and it works, which is nice if you’re scared to swipe or use the chip for security reasons.
If these benefits sound enticing or applicable to you and you’re already interested, I would so appreciate if you'd use my referral link to apply—just as a small kickback if I’ve provided you any value on katiegatti.com. On a similar note, thank you for reading and taking an interest in my content. I'd love to hear any and all feedback you have.
And if you want to hear more before taking the plunge, I totally understand—I’ll keep posting about my AmEx experience (AmExperience?) as time goes on.
The young woman's money guide for all the things you're too embarrassed to ask your friends. Build the life you thought you were too broke to afford through managing your spending habits, travel hacking, and simple, smart investing.
Full-time Brand marketer at Southwest Airlines, part-time Yoga Sculpt teacher, occasional Waffle House Model and reformed materialist.
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