Amex Platinum Card Review: Is it Worth the Annual Fee?

Amex Platinum Card Review: Is it Worth the Annual Fee?

Are you wondering if the metal UK American Express Platinum charge card is right for you? I’ve had it for the last year so here is my Amex Platinum Card review on exactly how I found it, one year on. I’ll go into detail on how much the card really cost me and how much I saved (or didn’t save) with my Platinum card.

This card is definitely aimed at someone who travels a lot and enjoys luxury travel.

I signed up to the card in 2019. At that point the annual fee was ‘only’ £450. I’ll be basing all of my savings from that fee. You should be aware that they’ve now increased the annual fee to £575. After reading this Amex Platinum Card review hopefully it’ll give you an idea if the Platinum card is right for you. Is it worth the annual £575 fee? Let’s find out.

In each section I’ll give you an idea of the benefits and break down exactly what I used throughout the year. I use this card for the perks alongside my Revolut card while I’m abroad.

Sign up Bonus

American Express has recently updated their sign up bonuses across their card range. This made it more difficult to get multiple sign up bonuses from their range. Firstly, make sure you’re eligible for the sign up bonus. Secondly, make sure you check before you sign up but at the time of writing it was 30,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend £4,000 in the first three months. That is quite a high spend threshold so make sure you do time it with a big purchase you’re planning on making anyway. With the card being a charge card, remember you do have to pay the full balance off each month.

If you’re referred using my link, you’ll get an additional 5,000 points.

30,000 Membership Rewards points can get you:
30,000 Avios
30,000 Emirates Skywards
30,000 Etihad Guest
30,000 Flying Blue
30,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
45,000 Marriot Bonvoy
60,000 Hilton Honors
90,000 Radisson Rewards

When I signed up it was a £2,000 spend within the first three months for 30,000 points (plus my 5,000 for being referred). Luckily I was paying for flights to Nice and I got a new laptop too so I got my first 35,000 points fairly quickly.

The value of 35,000 Membership Rewards points would typically be at least £350. The valuation of a Membership Reward point can vary but a good base to work from is 1p per point. This bonus will only be for signing up though, you won’t get this amount of points every year.

Cost: £450 (£575 in 2020)
Points Value: £350

Lounge Access

One of the best perks of having the American Express Platinum charge card is access to airport lounges. The card comes with enhanced membership of Priority Pass. You can’t actually buy the level of membership you get, even from Priority Pass themselves.

With American Express you get free unlimited access to a wide range of airport lounges for you, plus a guest.

Edinburgh Airport Breakfast

Even the top membership with Priority Pass (Prestige) you have to pay £20 for your guest every time. At the time of writing the Prestige membership costs £339 a year. This Amex lounge access is even better than that.

You get even more than the Prestige level of Priority Pass though. You get access to Plaza Premium Lounges, the amazing American Express Centurion Lounges plus a few others. There won’t be many airports across the world where you won’t find a lounge that you can access with the card. You can find a list of all accessible lounges here.

I accessed 14 lounges, in four different countries, in 2019. The average entry cost, if I didn’t have the Platinum card, was £29. That would’ve cost me roughly £410. I also signed in a guest for 11 of those trips with an average cost of £30. This saved roughly £300. That’s a massive saving of £710 in the year!

If I didn’t have the card, would I really have spent £710 in the year on lounge access at airports though? To be honest, probably not. Some of the lounges were overpriced for what you got. I’ll be conservative here and say I would’ve spent just over half that between me and my other half – so £400 worth of value here. Your mileage may vary though. You could easily get £575 worth of value in airport lounges alone if you use them enough.

Lounge Value: £400

Hotel Status

One of the perks of the Amex Platinum charge card is the status it gives you in various hotel loyalty schemes. You’ll get Gold status, and all the perks it brings, with Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, Melia Rewards and Radisson Rewards. You’ll also get Jade status in the Shangri-La Golden Circle program.

I don’t think the hotel status is good enough to warrant getting the card but it’s a nice addition. Especially if you use any of those hotels regularly.

I travel a little bit with work so I’m always using either my Hilton Honours Gold or my Radisson Rewards Gold. In these schemes you get bonus points, potential free upgrades, discounts on food, the odd free drink and welcome gifts. I’ve used the Head for Points valuations of 0.3p and 0.33p for Hilton Honours points and Radisson Rewards points respectively.

Here’s the value I’ve got from hotel status this year:

Hilton nights: 13
Bonus Hilton points: 13,772, worth £41.32
Extra value: £47.50

Radisson nights: 5
Bonus Radisson points: 2,877, worth £9.49
Extra value: £0

Hotel Status Value: £99

Hotels

In addition to the hotel status, you also get quite a lot of perks through various hotel schemes. I’ve not used any of these in the last year but you could get so much value if you’re looking to stay in luxury hotels.

Fine Hotels & Resorts

Amex boast that you can get an average total value of £400 per booking, of two nights, at over 1,000 amazing properties worldwide. These perks include noon check-in (if available), room upgrade (if available), daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4pm late checkout and a unique property benefit (such as $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two people). As the name suggests, these properties are pretty amazing. I did a random search in March 2020 and the cost of a place in London started at around £400 per night. Four Seasons, The Savoy and the Shard Shangri-La featuring in the list.

The Hotel Collection

This scheme is also available through Amex Platinum. If you book two consecutive nights then you get $100 hotel credit and, if available, a room upgrade. These properties are probably the next tier down from the Fine Hotels & Resorts hotels. This program includes curated hotels from brands such as Hyatt and Hilton.

The Vacation Collection

This program goes above and beyond to make your holiday extra special. You’ll be upgraded and be afforded early check-in and late check-out, if available. If you stay two or more nights then you could receive things like complimentary dining packages, spa treatments or resort credit. There are also some good deals available if you are travelling with kids.

Brussels Lounge - Stella Artois

There are a few more programs here too including Crafted Journeys which helps to create travel experiences you can only dream of. There’s also booking ’normal’ hotels through Amex’s website which will earn you two Amex Membership Reward points per £1 spent.

There’s definitely room to make some money back using some of these programs but I’ve not been able to this year.

Hotels Value: £0

Travel Insurance

If you pay for your holiday with any American Express card, you’ll be covered by worldwide protection. This is included for you, your partner, your children and any supplementary cardholders. This is a pretty great deal, but only when you pay using an Amex card. I use my British Airways Amex (referral link) to pay for the holidays (extra points) and then can use the insurance attached to my Platinum card.

With this you’ll also get car rental insurance rather than having to pay for the additional insurance that you’re usually forced into buying. It covers the usual things – if you have to cancel, cut short or postpone your trip, personal belongings including money and purchase protection.

I get worldwide travel insurance through my work for £3.50 a month. My partner also gets this. For the two of us that equals £84 for the year. The average annual worldwide multi-trip insurance comes at around £40-£120 so I’ll use my £42 per person per year to work out my saving.

Travel Insurance Value: £84

Other

You’ll also get some other bits and bobs from Amex if you have a Platinum Card including:

  • £10 credit each month for any spend on Addison Lee and Tristar car services;
  • Up to $300 in onboard credit when you book a cruise through Amex;
  • Access to the Global Dining Collection with complimentary perks at some world-renowned restaurants;
  • Access to exclusive events for Platinum holders only (including wine tasting, private dining experiences with chefs and hospitality at Brighton & Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium);
  • Enhanced perks at MatchesFashion.com which offers complimentary local delivery in-store, complimentary in-store tailoring and preferred access to personal shoppers; and
  • Access to Amex offers including money off your normal spending at various places throughout the UK

This year I’ve only used the Amex offers which gave me £10 off ASOS and £25 off Amazon. This has meant I’ve had a saving of £35 here but as you can see above you can really get a lot more out of this. I did apply for Brighton and Hove Albion hospitality tickets but I was unsuccessful. That would’ve given me around £200 per person of value in that alone.

Other Value: £35

Concierge

One of the Platinum experience perks that comes with the Platinum card is the concierge service. This is a 24/7 travel and lifestyle service that can take care of arranging travel for you, discovering secret places within countries or even booking you a last minute table for an anniversary you forgot about!

I used the concierge service once during the year to try and find me the best hotel with the best view of the Eiffel Tower. Within a few hours the Amex member of staff came back with four suggestions. Luckily they agreed with the one that I had already found! They were really helpful and were more than willing to do some research to help me achieve what I was looking for.

Priority Pass Edinburgh Lounge Options

Another thing about having a concierge on speed dial is that they can get you access to things you couldn’t get yourself. One of the biggest things that I read about was that they’re able to get you restaurant reservations at the best restaurants that only deal with locals. There are a few restaurants in Tokyo, Japan that don’t allow bookings from foreigners but the concierge service would sort all that out for you.

I’m going to mark the value here as £0 because even though it’s incredibly useful, it didn’t necessarily save me any money. Your mileage may vary of course!

Concierge Value: £0

Supplementary Cards

Another great thing with the Platinum card is that you can add supplementary cardholders on to your account. This isn’t necessarily great on its own but it does mean that you can get an additional Platinum card for someone else. The first additional card is free but it means you get another Priority Pass lounge access pass.

If you gave it to your partner then you could get a family of four into a lounge for free. This would essentially double your savings.

If you were to add another Platinum supplementary cardholder then you’d have to pay an annual fee of £285. However, you can also apply for up to four complimentary supplementary Green or Gold coloured Amex cards. The Green card comes with some travel insurance whilst the Gold card gives you two complimentary lounge access passes per year.

The value here for the five complimentary supplementary cards could work out to be quite significant if you’re using them within your family. I’m marking this as £0 as I’ve yet to add another cardholder onto my Platinum card but I’ll be doing that soon.

Supplementary Card Value: £0

Totals:

Points Value: £350
Lounge Value: £400
Hotel Status Value: £99
Hotels Value: £0
Travel Insurance Value: £84
Other Value: £35
Concierge Value: £0
Supplementary Card Value: £0

TOTAL VALUE: £968
TOTAL COST: £450 (£575 in 2020)
TOTAL SAVING: £518

This year, I’ll be paying £575 a year and I won’t get my 35,000 Membership Rewards points again. This will mean my rough cost/saving next year will come down quite drastically from a ‘gain’ of £518 to a gain of just £43. That’s if I don’t add any value elsewhere which I’ll be looking to do more of. That includes adding a supplementary cardholder, using the Addison Lee £10 per month, using more of the hotel programs and the exclusive events.

I can easily make the £575 annual fee work for me; as long as I travel as much in 2020 as I did in 2019. Hopefully my Amex Platinum Card review next year will show similar savings! Is it worth the annual fee for you?

Amex Platinum Card Review - Card

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