AMEX Platinum...after the first year

Discussion in 'American Express | Membership Rewards' started by muflyer, Apr 24, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. muflyer

    muflyer Silver Member

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    I am giving strong consideration to picking up an AMEX Platinum for the first time...I note that it has an impressive roster of benefits, including the current promo offering 50K MR points....with the current 50 percent first time transfer to Delta, that seems like a nice set of benefits for the $450 annual fee. However, I am wondering how many of you keep the AMEX Platinum around after the first year...are there any retention incentives? The standard benefits are nice, but I'm not sure based on my current travel patterns if I will get full value out of those. I have a family and most of my travel is on my own dime...so I am not on the road as often as many. I am planning an upcoming international trip which likely will put in me in coach and so the lounges will be nice...but that likely is over a year away. Overall, I am simply curious if folks think paying $450 is worthwhile for the card for someone like me. Thanks for any insight.
     
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  2. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    What are your travel patterns? Do you accumulate airline fees that the fee-refund would cover? Do you get value out of lounge access, domestically and internationally(most likely priority pass for overseas lounges, which means either spending for additional cards or a copay for guests)? Do you stay at upper-end hotels covered by FHR? Rent cars on occasion and care about upgrades?

    For long-term keeping, go through the long list of benefits, figure out what you care about, and weigh the value vs. the cost. In my case, the biggest $ benefit is the lounge access, and I use airport lounges regularly. Of course, there are other ways to obtain this at similar cost to consider as well...

    If you're not getting value out of lounge access, airline fee credit, or FHR, or really digging into the other incremental benefits (free tripit pro, for example) it's a lot less easy to sell yourself on the value of the card.
     
  3. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    I think a recent article in Executive Road Warrior on New American Express Benefits Save Business Travelers Time and Money might be helpful.
     
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  4. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    When the price went up to $450 this year, I was ready to give it up. But I travel enough that the new(ish) benefits make a big difference for me.

    Airport lounges are the biggest for me, and with AA, DL and US now covered (and I can access US even when I'm not traveling on them), I have a much wider variety of airlines that will help me out when we have issues.

    I have two kids, so Jet Blue is getting introduced into the mix. The $200 credit toward expenses is nice.

    I signed up for Priority Pass. No idea if I will actually use it.

    Global Entry won't do much for me and I'm not willing to go through the application process and interview.

    The concierge service is an overpriced reservation system and the travel benefits are good, but not as good as you could get by going through a Virtuoso travel agent.

    The rewards program is sub-par.

    Bottom Line: If you are a frequent traveler and like/need lounge access and the other benes, the card is an unbeatable value. If not, I wouldn't waste my money.

    As always, YMMV.

    Mike
     
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  5. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    Thanks Mike, That's a great assessment for those of us wondering. For me, I'd consider it if I were traveling frequently, but I can probably find just as good of a sign-up bonus another way.
     
  6. muflyer

    muflyer Silver Member

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    I'm still on the fence about it. I was feeling the pressure to possibly apply and get the Delta match...but even with the status....they are still "skypesos" and I'm not sure how 50K MRs + a 50 % bonus =75K Skypessos is valued when compared to *A carriers and their miles or even OW miles. The benefits sound enticing, but I may wait until I get closer to a time when I will have more international travel and can better utilize the Global entry and Priority Pass lounges around the world. Does anyone know how long the current 50K MR for AMEX Platinum is scheduled to last?
     
  7. travelinmike33
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    travelinmike33 Silver Member

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    What fees are associated with the concierge service? I always assumed there were some, but never see them mentioned anywhere.
     
  8. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    There aren't any fees, per se, for the service. In other words, you can call them and ask for whatever you want. The problem is that they don't necessarily have tools that are any better than you do. For instance, if you want a reservation at a restaurant that isn't one of their fine dining specialties, they'll just call and try to make a reservation for you. Or if you want event tickets, they may just call a ticket broker. I don't use them for much, since they never seem to be able to get me anything that I can't get on my own.

    Mike
     
  9. AdamRx
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    AdamRx Silver Member

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    Naturally, everyone is going have a different reason for keeping it. Since you are already intrigued by the offer, I think you should go for it. With the bonus points and new international benefits on top of that, it really is a great deal, even if you do just use it for the 1 year. I think you'll know if you are going to keep it within the first few months. When I first signed up in 04, I wondered how long I would pay the annual fee, and I'm still doing it.
    Even if you don't think you will use all of the benefits, you may find yourself checking them out. For instance, you may think you will use Global Entry, but if you sign up the one time ($100 application fee reimbursed), it is actually good for 5 years.
    We have used FH&R, concierge for reservations and tickets (call me lazy, but it's easier to speed dial them and have them do the legwork), lounge access, 200 airline credit, priority pass, and have used our MR points for transfers to multiple airlines for award tickets.
    No plans on giving it up anytime soon!
     
  10. infomofo
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    infomofo Active Member

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    The fees are more implicit. Just for the sake of comparison, I called to get a quote on getting a car to pick me up at the vegas airport and take me to my hotel. They quoted me over 100 dollars. Calling a private car company directly for the same service would be about 80 dollars.

    Concierge is still useful for coordinating really difficult logistics, like in a location that I don't speak the language and want to make sure everything goes smoothly.
     
  11. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Amex Plat benefits I've used this membership year, in addition to points and normal stuff:

    1. FHR (some FHR hotels are not Virtuoso and vice versa)
    2. $200 airline reimbursement
    3. $100 global entry fee reimbursement
    4. No fee on foreign exchange

    These have reduced my cost of membership a lot. I have also gotten Priority Club, don't know if it will make much of a difference since I am already Star gold, and have membership in UA, DL, and AA clubs.

    The few times I've tried the concierge service, I found it useless. Unlike the above poster's experience, for me the concierge service has been at its worst outside the US.
     
  12. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    Same here for me with the concierge. I can't seem to get them to be useful.

    I've also used the annual travel benefit, although I probably won't get that credit until after I actually travel.
     
  13. aanswer

    aanswer Silver Member

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    I signed up for the card 2 years ago. Has been well worth it so far.

    1. Priority Pass: I started using this and it has definitely been helpful thus far.
    2. No FTF: A huge benefit for me personally. I couldn't use my card internationally because of it.
    3. Protection: The extended warranty, lost/stolen items protection is good, given that I buy way too many tech things.
    4. SPG Gold: As someone who uses SPG properties almost exclusively, it's a good benefit.
    5. Hertz #1: Sounds small, but it's an awesome benefit. Living in NYC, car rentals are a rip-off. I needed to book a car today for 24 hours and the Hertz regular price was $120. I got it for $80. If I rented cars more frequently, I'd make my money back on this feature alone.
    6. $200 credit: I don't plan on going for top-tier with United this year, so the on-board credit would be extremely helpful.
    7. Customer service: This is the one financial company that refuses to give me a hard-time. I signed up for their 50K MR points / 2 year fee-free offer when I wasn't one of the target recipients. Requested that it be honored. And they did.
    8. Concierge: I've only used this twice. Once was on New Year's Eve. Called them at 6pm. Requested reservations at a super-popular place in Singapore for that night. 2 hours later, I have dinner reservations.

    For me, the above benefits are worth the $450.
     
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  14. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    It might also be worth comparing the AMEX to other cards that can give you similar benefits. I was considering this card for the lounge membership, but like you most of my travel in on my own dime (though with an upcoming international trip in Y) so I decided a lounge membership wasn't worth it..

    Chase has some decent cards. The CO Presidential Plus card gets you a lounge membership (access to US, UA, and CO lounges) plus free bags (comparable to the $200 travel fee credit) and "Premier Travel" benefits on CO for a slightly lower annual fee ($395). It also has no foreign transaction fees. No sign-up bonus at the moment. Unless you fly CO often, I would guess the "fringe" benefits for the AMEX are probably better.

    The card I settled on was the Chase Sapphire Preferred (currently a 50k point sign-up bonus). It also has no foreign transaction fees. The Chase points are pretty flexible, similar AMEX membership rewards (dunno which is better) and you can transfer them 1:1 to CO and BA, plus some hotel programs. A neat benefit is you can get CO Presidents Club day passes for 2500 points with it. With only a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) it gives me just enough travel benefits, plus the chance to get into a lounge every once in a while if I need to, without dropping a huge annual fee.

    Not necessarily trying to sell you on the Chase cards, but offering them up as a comparison in value for the annual fee.
     
  15. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    I don't understand this part. Because you travel on your own dime, lounge membership is not worth it?
     
  16. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I travel on my own dime... so I don't fly as often as a business traveler (I left that part out). I've only got maybe 10 opportunities to actually use a lounge in a year. With the 10 visit Priority Pass membership I'm paying around $25/visit. If I've got a super long layover somewhere then I can get a day pass (like the 2500 point PC passes from Chase).
     
  17. wheat27
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    wheat27 Silver Member

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    I'm actually starting to think about canceling the card in the next month or two. I've already received my $200 reimbursement for this year (and last year since I signed up in December) and I'm planning on applying for global entry before I would cancel. I figure I would save at least few months of annual fee that would be refunded since I've had the card less than a year, and would start the 2 year timer for being able to reapply sooner rather than later. If I manage another 50k better signup bonus I might end up better off than if I keep the card.
     
  18. stan
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    stan Silver Member

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    "would start the 2 year timer for being able to reapply"---- My question is :
    Does all Amex cards allow you to receive a 2nd bonus after two years, I thought it was once in a "life time"
     
  19. wheat27
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    wheat27 Silver Member

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    I haven't personally had this confirmed by AMEX but it seems to be generally accepted on TOBB that AMEX views you as eligible for signup bonuses 2 years after canceling the card.

    My personal experiences on reapplying after 2 years is limited to The SPG card, I'm on my third cycle of signing two years after canceling the old card and I have actually received my third signup bonus as of last month.

    I have seen reports of people getting second or third signup bonuses without the two year waiting period but I suspect these folks just got lucky.
     
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  20. stan
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    stan Silver Member

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    Thanks for the info , as I wanted to re-get a delta sky miles card
    all are welcome to give input
     

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