Here’s how much value you can get from the Amex Platinum card in your 1st year

I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary at The Points Guy. However, hitting that milestone also marked another important anniversary — I’ve now been learning the ins and outs of the points and miles world for a full year.

One of my first major decisions after beginning my points and miles education was to finally get my first premium travel card, The Platinum Card® from American Express. I documented my journey through a series of stories last year on my favorite benefits, my love of airport lounges and booking my first big points redemption on a business-class flight to Europe.

Now that I’ve gleaned a year’s worth of data (and travel memories) to look back on, it’s time to determine if the Amex Platinum’s benefits outweigh the high $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), earning it a permanent spot in my wallet.

Determining the value of the Amex Platinum

In my opinion, the value of a credit card can’t be determined solely using math. Certain things, like alleviating stress at the airport or the comfort of a lie-flat seat on a transatlantic flight, cannot be measured in numbers alone.

For the sake of this exercise, however, I will focus mostly on the monetary value of the Amex Platinum card.

TPG staffer Tarah Chieffi used American Express Membership Rewards points to fly KLM’s business class from New York to Amsterdam. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

I added up the money I saved on things like grocery delivery through Amex’s partnership with Walmart+, programs like Clear and Global Entry that expedite airport security wait times, and the extra hotel perks I enjoyed by booking trips through Amex’s The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels + Resorts.

Taking it a step further, I included savings on complimentary food and drinks at airport lounges that I would have otherwise spent money on and the monetary value of the card’s generous welcome offer.

However, I didn’t include things like the $200 in airline fee statement credits because I used mine for upgraded Southwest boarding, which I wouldn’t have spent my own money on. I also didn’t use the Equinox or SoulCycle credits because I can’t take advantage of those where I live.

This demonstrates that this card’s value – or any card’s, really – will vary from person to person. A long list of perks is meaningless if you can’t use them. My advice is: Before applying for a card, read through the benefits to make sure you will actually take full advantage of the card.

Welcome offer

The Amex Platinum consistently has one of the most valuable welcome offers out there. Currently, you can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 during your first six months of cardmembership.

However, you might be able to earn a higher welcome offer through a friend’s or loved one’s referral link through June 7. You could also be targeted for a higher bonus through the CardMatch tool (although offers through CardMatch are not guaranteed and are subject to change at any time).

According to TPG’s points and miles valuations, American Express Membership Rewards points are currently worth 2 cents each. That makes this welcome offer worth $1,600, which can be used toward flights and hotels booked through the American Express Travel portal.

Exterior of Escape Lounge at PBI
The Escape Lounge at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI). TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

The welcome bonus alone outweighs the card’s $695 annual fee, but you obviously have to spend $6,000 to get there. I switched almost all of my family’s everyday spending to my new Platinum card to help me meet the minimum spending without buying anything I couldn’t afford – the most important rule of credit card usage.

It’s worth noting that this $1,600 in value can only be realized in the first year. It makes the card quite valuable in the first year, but it can’t be included in calculations for the second year and beyond.

Travel benefits

The Amex Platinum stays true to its “premium travel card” designation with a bevy of travel benefits that I took full advantage of over the past year.

I signed up for Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck) and a Clear membership to expedite my time waiting in security at the airport.

With the Amex Platinum, you’re reimbursed up to $100 every four years for Global Entry (or 4 1/2 years for TSA PreCheck) and $189 annually for your Clear membership. These benefits saved me $289 last year and precious time (and stress) at the airport. (Enrollment is required.)

The Amex Platinum also offers an up-to-$200 statement credit when you book through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. Both programs offer additional perks during your stay, as well.

My husband and I stayed two nights at The Eliza Jane, part of The Hotel Collection, in New Orleans last March. We received our $200 statement credit, an upgrade from a standard king-bed room to a suite with a view of Magazine Street and a $100 credit to use on food and drinks or at the gift shop during our stay.

Exterior of Eliza Jane hotel.
The Eliza Jane hotel in New Orleans. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

I also stayed at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel during a visit to Universal Orlando last November. This hotel is part of the Fine Hotels + Resorts program, which got me daily breakfast for two, early check-in and late checkout, and a $100 food and beverage credit to use during my stay.

I was up and headed to the parks too early to use the free breakfast, but I did use the $100 dining credit to treat some of my fellow TPG staffers who were in town to dinner and drinks.

The Amex Platinum also offers $200 annually in Uber Cash, which can be used for Uber’s ride-hailing services or Uber Eats food delivery.

I received $15 in Uber Cash each month – plus a $20 bonus in December. I had no issues using it up on rides to and from the airport and the occasional coffee delivery when I was stuck at home with sick kids and in need of a caffeine fix. (Enrollment is required.)

I’m not loyal enough to any one hotel brand to have earned elite status. Still, you can receive automatic elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors with the Amex Platinum card.

It’s difficult to put a monetary amount on this perk, but TPG values Marriott Gold Elite status at $805 per year and Hilton Honors Gold at $1,220 per year. These numbers are based on a mix of bonus points earnings, room upgrades, food and beverage credits and more. (Enrollment is required.)

Last but not least is complimentary airport lounge access through the Global Lounge Collection. This benefit gets you into more than 1,400 Amex-branded and partner lounges at airports across the globe.

The amount of money I saved by drinking and dining in airport lounges over the past year rather than hitting up a Starbucks by my gate is well over $100, but we will use that number to be conservative. (Enrollment is required.)

Lifestyle benefits

The Amex Platinum offers benefits outside of the travel realm that I found a lot of value in, as well.

Walmart+ membership through the Amex Platinum. WALMART

The card offers cardmembers a statement credit of up to $155 per year toward a Walmart+ grocery delivery membership.

Walmart+ costs $12.95 monthly, so the annual credit knocks the effective cost down to zero. Walmart+ offers free next-day and two-day shipping on items from, fuel savings of 5 cents off per gallon at Walmart and Murphy stations, prescription savings and free delivery from your local Walmart store on orders of $35 or more. (Enrollment is required.)

Related: Walmart+ adds complimentary Paramount+ subscription, free for Amex Platinum cardholders

With the card’s up to $240 annual digital entertainment statement credit, you can receive monthly statement credits for the following subscriptions:

  • Peacock.
  • Audible.
  • Sirius XM.
  • The New York Times.
  • Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — or the Disney Bundle (which includes all three services).

I use mine for the Disney Bundle, which is $19.99 per month, but effectively free with the statement credits. (Enrollment is required.)

There is also an up-to-$100 Saks Fifth Avenue statement credit, broken down into a $50 credit from January through June and an additional $50 from July through December.

Last year, I got my hands on a sparkly pair of Kate Spade earrings and a cheetah-print Michael Kors dress that I found on the clearance rack for just under $50. (Enrollment is required for select benefits.)

Deciding whether to keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet

So, what was my grand total for the year? Based solely on the benefits listed here, I received $5,109 in value from the Amex Platinum card in my first year.

That more than makes up for the $695 annual fee, but more importantly helped me save money on both everyday and travel expenses. It also allowed me to travel in a way that I wasn’t able to before signing up for the card.

Including the welcome bonus, I earned just under 270,000 points on my Amex Platinum in the first year. I redeemed most of those points for the trip to Europe I mentioned above and used the points for a mix of business-class and economy flights and hotel stays.

Even if I subtract the $1,600 value from the welcome bonus, I’ll still receive plenty of value from the card this year and hereby decree that the Amex Platinum has earned a permanent place in my wallet. Also, I’ll ask for a retention offer each year when my annual fee posts to earn bonus points or statement credits.

Bottom line

Looking back on my first year with a premium travel rewards card, I’ve learned a lot about maximizing a card’s benefits and my long-term approach to credit cards. Everyone has different goals when it comes to using credit cards and playing the points and miles game.

I know myself well enough to know that I don’t have the time or patience to carry more than a handful of cards, and that’s OK. I now know enough (thanks to TPG’s helpful credit card experts) to make the most of the cards I have without stressing myself out.

After a full year with the Amex Platinum card, I am familiar with the benefits and how to use them. This will help me reap the benefits of the card for years to come.

It will also help me better understand how to maximize future cards I add to my wallet, which is pretty much guaranteed to happen now that I’ve learned how powerful they can be.

Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express and earn a welcome bonus of 80,000 points.

Related: How many credit cards should I have?

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here

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