MilesForTwo

Why I Applied for the AMEX Platinum

A couple weeks ago, a hidden American Express link was shared on reddit.com that allowed you to apply for the AMEX Platinum card with a 100k Membership Rewards sign up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months. Check out the thread here: Reddit: AMEX Platinum 100k Link Thread. Since you can only get an AMEX sign up bonus once per lifetime, it is crucial to jump on the highest signup bonus possible.

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Now at first glance this card has a pretty hefty price tag. The annual fee is $450 and it is not waived for the first year. However, in this case, many of the benefits far outweigh the annual fee. I’ve assigned dollar value to many of the benefits that I plan on using. It is worth noting that I only plan on keeping this card for one year and cancelling it when the next annual fee comes up.

Airline Fee Credit (Value: $400)

The AMEX Platinum comes with an annual $200 airline fee reimbursement credit. You get this benefit once per calendar year. So I’ll get $200 in 2016 and another $200 in 2017. The way it works is you select an airline that you want to be reimbursed for fees such as checked bags and other incidentals. There are several tricks and hacks to get this credit to trigger without spending on actual “airline fees”. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but think small airline gift cards.

Global Entry/TSA Pre Credit (Value: $25)

My wife and I already have the NEXUS, which includes Global Entry and TSA Pre. We had no need for Global Entry, but my sister hadn’t applied yet so I used the credit on her. Therefore, while I did get a credit of $100 the value to me was probably only around $25 since it was more of a gift than anything.

Centurion Lounge Access (Value: $50)

The AMEX Platinum gives you access to all the Centurion Lounges. There are currently six locations with one more being added in Summer 2016. These airport lounges serve free food and drinks. They also offer a nice space to relax and recharge your electronics before you get on your flight. You are allowed to bring one guest with you as well. You can read about our first visit to the SeaTac Centurion Studio here. The drinks and food we consumed during our first visit would have cost us at least $30 elsewhere. This perk might have a little less value for you if you don’t often fly out of an airport with a Centurion Lounge.

Priority Pass (Value: $25)

Another benefit is the Priority Pass, which gives you access to hundreds of lounges worldwide. Unfortunately, this pass is only good for one person so I’d have to pay for my wife to join me. Since I rarely travel without her, this pass is worth about half as much since I’ll have to pay for her to have access.

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status (Value: $50)

My wife and I love the Starwood Hotel Collection. We also have quite a bit of SPG points that we plan on burning in the next year before the Marriott merger takes full effect. With that being said, SPG Gold gives us an enhanced room at check-in, welcome gift, and late checkout when available. These are some nice perks, which I’ll assign a $50 value to.

Roadside Assistance (Value: $50)

This benefit includes towing, jump starts, tire changing, lockout services, and fuel delivery. I used to pay $50/year for AAA roadside assistance. Before applying for this card, I only had roadside assistance on my wife’s car since that’s the car we drive the most. However, now I have coverage if I were to ever have a problem with my car, which is highly probable since I drive a pretty old Honda Accord.

100,000 Membership Rewards (Value: $1,800)

Last, but not least, the sign up bonus. I already have a plan for my 100k Membership Rewards. I am transferring them to Singapore Airlines for a first class trip to Asia. I’ll get at least 8-10 cents per point on this redemption. Therefore, the true value of this sign up bonus is probably closer to $9,000. However, at a base level MR are worth around 1.8 cents per point.

Other Benefits Worth Noting:
  • Hilton HHonors Gold Status – I already have this from a status match so there’s no value to me.
  • AMEX Concierge – Not sure I’ll really have a reason to use this benefit.
  • Primary Car Rental Insurance – I have this benefit with my CSP right now so probably won’t use it on my AMEX Platinum.
Here’s the cost breakdown:
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Benefits/Points: ($2,400)
  • Difference: ($1,950)

I felt I was pretty conservative in my estimated values. Either way if you ask me, that’s a pretty good return for a $450 annual fee.