The Platinum Card From American Express has been taking it on the chin lately. First came the huge loss of the AA and US lounges in March. Then, to top it off, Delta’s recent changes with Sky Club access for Platinum Card members – effective May 1 the cardmember has access, but guests are $29 per person (up to 2), really hit the card product hard. I wrote about the now questionable value of the card for certain people here. That said, after considering everything, I am keeping the Platinum Card.
When Sky Club Access is All That Matters
If you look at the card as purely a Sky Club access play, then here is where you are. For the $450 annual fee ($495 if you go for the Mercedes Benz version) you get access to the Sky Club for yourself. That’s the same price as a Sky Club Individual Membership (coming this spring). Let’s look at the case of Mr and Mrs MJ. If I wanted access to the Sky Club for myself and MrsMJ when she’s traveling with me, I would have to buy the $695 Executive Membership. Alternatively, I could add MrsMJ as an additional user on my Platinum Card (I already have) for an additional $175 above my annual fee – or $450 + $175. That’s $625 total, a savings of $70 from Executive Membership. Not only that, MrsMJ can access the Sky Club on her own with her Platinum Card.
However, there’s more. We both also get access to Priority Pass Select featuring many lounges around the world. Further, Platinum Card membership gets you access to Airspace Lounges in BWI, CLE, and JFK (T5). Finally, and very importantly, the Platinum Card comes with access to the Centurion Lounges at DFW and LAS, with other lounges coming soon.
There’s More to Travel Than Lounges
Now that we’ve covered lounges, let’s not forget the other benefits of the Platinum Card. There’s Starwood Preferred Gold status as well as preferred status with Avis, Hertz, and National car rental. As far as money in your pocket, the $200 annual airline fee credit cannot be ignored. You can even use that to pay for guest privileges into the Sky Club if Delta is your chosen carrier for the airline fee credit. As a frequent floater, the Cruise Privileges Program is worth considering too.
In conclusion, while the Amex Platinum has lost some luster of late, I think it’s still worth a look for many travelers. It’s definitely worth thinking about for Sky Club access depending on your travel patterns. As my longest held card, the Platinum Card From American Express will remain in my wallet for the foreseeable future.
-January 27, 2014