Keeping My Amex Platinum – Here’s Why

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.

Other Lounges

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

About Marshall Jackson

Marshall Jackson is a former airline pilot, grounded by diabetes. After spending several years in operations management, he exited the airline business for a more stable career. But that hasn't dampened his interest in airplanes, airlines and travel in general.

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  1. Good points to consider! I just canceled the Delta Reserve and picked up a Platinum Amex. I also like the dedicated line to help with travel emergencies and roadside assistance. What really sold me on the card was the service I have received at Amex over the years, back when I just had a Costco Amex and a corporate card. They have always given me spectacular service. Delta… not so much…

  2. It is hard for me to justify keeping this card this card. Amex was kind in their retention offer to me so I decided to keep it for one more year. Given the benefits, or should I say lack thereof, it will be hard to make the same decison at the next renewal. I hope amex ups its game by adding more benefits to this card.

  3. It’s definitely an individual decision. In my case, I also have a Reserve Business card, which may or may not go when the annual fee comes due. I am not certain the upgrade tie-breaker is worth the money for me. In any case, some reallocation in my card portfolio is going to happen over the next 12 months.

  4. Good points though as someone who doesn’t value lounge access that much, I don’t think I’d be keeping the card. Of course, since I’m not that into lounge access, that’s why I don’t have the card in the first place 😀

  5. I’m keeping mine. At $250 (after the $200 rebate) I still use Alaska Lounges and the Centurion Lounge in Vegas. There’s the Fine Hotels and Gold Hotels value, 5% Hyatt savings (Bus PLT) and the Amex Syncing savings. Also they may add new benefits as the year goes on. Either way I should come out ahead.

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