Is the AMEX Plat still worth the $$$?

Discussion in 'American Express | Membership Rewards' started by garyst16, Sep 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    I know there have been a few discussions here and on the the other BB, but have to ask again...I 've carried and AMEX since 1989 (Gold Rewards now) and have often considered moving to the Plat for the benefits. With Continental being pulled from the airline club mix (presumably because of the merger), are the benefits still worth the cost? I fly mostly on AA and have an Admirals Club membership which is discounted to $300 because of EXP status, but will probably not make that again this year :confused:. So with the cost of the Admirals club @ $300, plus the $200 reimbursement for airline costs, I am pretty much breaking even...any other reasons to carry this card Vs another, maybe like the Chase Sapphire or the Citi Thank You?
     
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  2. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The club access is the biggest thing - CO is going away, but Priority Pass has been added. Hotel and rental car status may be of interest as well, and if you haven't signed up for Global Entry yet but are interested in doing so, Amex will refund the charge. Throw in a signup bonus (I believe the Mercedes-branded one may by the way to go here), and it's at least worthwhile for first year.

    Premier Rewards Gold is better on the points-earning front. Sapphire Preferred is as well, assuming the partners work for you. My recollection is that Thank You points are basically redeemable for 1%, which is not attractive to me at all. What is your preferred strategy for point redemption?
     
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  3. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    Thanks, mattsteg. I will look into the rental car status benny as I am not aware of what they offer. I already have Global Entry, so that's out. I have a 50K link...hopefully it is still valid. I usually transfer points into programs that are offering bonuses, rarely ever do I use the "pay with points" option.
     
  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Amex is generally the best for transferring points, Sapphire Preferred has fewer partners (but some different from Amex - BA, CO, KE, Hyatt are the most interesting) and less of a history of transfer bonuses. PR Gold is better on earning, Plat has more ancillary benefits. The car rental benefit is comped National Executive status, which is pretty nice. There's also Starwood gold, which is nice for the 4pm checkout and occasional preferential treatment, but not a real strong elite status.
     
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  5. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    You have made reference to the PR Gold in both posts. Is the earning potential that much improved over the GR? I am *wood Plat but will look into the national EX program.
     
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  6. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    There are 2 current gold amex rewards cards. "Premier Rewards Gold" earns 3x on airfare, 2x on gas/groceries, $175 annual fee, 15k point bonus for 30k spend.. Gold earns 1x with everything, with $125 annual fee. If you have significant spend on airfare in particular, and gas/groceries, there's greater earnings there. Hitting the 30k threshold bumps things up as well. The PR gold is the highest-earning Amex. Were you to spend 30k on it and only spend on airfare, you'd earn 3.5 MR points per dollar spent - easily over 5 miles per dollar if you transfer under a decent promotion.
     
  7. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Separate out Amex Platinum from Membership Rewards, you can get Membership Rewards without coming out of pocket for Platinum and in fact the points bonuses on the Premier Rewards Gold card are better.

    Amex Platinum becomes worth it if you fly more than a single airline, you get AA/DL/US lounge access plus access through Priority Pass Select (which in the US includes Alaska Board Rooms).

    They reimburse $200 in fees, Global Entry, various other benefits. But it's not quite the same as getting an AAdmiral's Club membership at least for now because you need to fly AA same-day and they don't currently give you wifi access in the lounge when getting in via the Amex card.

    If you won't use DL/US/etc lounge access then it's sort of a wash and not obvious that it's overwhelmingly worth it. But it's still a very good card.
     
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  8. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    So...based on these responses...it looks like I will be keeping the AMEX Platinum for the 50K bonus and the $200 reimbursement...dumping my current Gold card and replacing it with the Premier Rewards Gold card, and renewing my Admirals Club membership...

    Thanks for all of the info!
     
  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    If you're keeping Amex Platinum I wouldn't renew Admirals Club. You get access to the Admiral's Club with the Amex Plat. You don't get internet, but you could always buy it. So unless you're buying internet more than 30 times you come out ahead dropping the membership. In fact just using the savings getting rid of the club membership to buy a mifi device/subscription. ;)
     
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  10. From NYC
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    From NYC Gold Member

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    Have to add that the Platinum concierge has been incredibly helpful and time-saving whenever I’ve used them.
     
  11. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    A few other benefits to consider: National Executive Status, and Starwood Gold status. Starwood Gold isn't going to help for you, but the National status gives you a good backup. The free TripIt Pro app is helpful as well.

    The Fine Hotel & Resorts program is also very nice.

    Amex recently did add a few bonuses ($200 credit, US Airways Club, Global Entry, TripIt, Priority Pass Select etc) to compensate for Continental leaving.

    The question for you is do you see yourself flying Delta occasionally or utilizing a US Air or Priority Pass Select (no United /CO lounge)? if yes - Amex Plat provides some advantages for a similar cost. Do you see yourself flying out of an airport with an Admirals Club but not on American (EWR on US airways is one example)? Then the Admirals Club might be a better deal.

    If you have family or a companion that you would give a supplementary card to, $175 for 3 cards gets all those card holders Admirals Club access (or DL/US). For example, my sister is primarily an AA flyer and I primarily fly US. However, with Amex Plat, we both get lounge access for less than a pass individually.

    All else equal, the Admirals Club membership provides some additional benefits you don't get with an Amex Plat. Wifi and proactive trip montioring are two key benefits. Amex has a lot of other additional benefits you won't get otherwise - whether they're worth it to you depends.
     
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  12. Weltall900

    Weltall900 Active Member

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    I got in on the 100k sign up bonus with the Platinum, with that I'd say it has been more than worth it. Without that, I would have passed on the card. It really depends on how much you actually fly, and I don't fly enough to make it worth it. However, the benefits and services really are top notch.
     
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  13. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Remember that unlike other airlines, the US lounge access does not require you to be flying on US. For other lounge access with the Plat card, remember that codeshares do not count and this does not include most shared/contract lounges that a club membership would cover.

    I've been generally very pleased with their customer service and FHR is extremely worthwhile if you tend to stay in top hotels.
     
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  14. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I've had the Platinum card for 14 years and wouldnt think of letting it lapse. I use a myriad of their benefits throughout the year.

    A) I find the FHR program to be very helpful. Virtuoso, fspp, etc, don't offer guaranteed 4 pm late check out. Amex FHR gets it guaranteed no matter what - including resort hotels. Including at Christmas. Including when they're fully booked.
    B) Probably once every other year, I participate in one of their platinum exclusive events. Field access at the Dolphins' stadium (whatever it is called now) during a game. A vinter's wine dinner at per se. A cooking class with jacques Pepin
    C) I wouldnt reach gold at star wood, but get it via Amex - which helps a bunch at spg properties
    D) I like being able to deal with the concierge via email. Flowers and little odds and ends can be taken care of on the blackberry...without wasting time on the phone.
    E) they have private club access in two or three cities...nice to have
    F) the airline lounge access. Covers me most everywhere that I go.
    G) global entry fee coverage
    H) I pay for my wife to have a 2nd card - then cards 3 and 4 are free. So, I've given them to the inlaws so they can also get lounge access (and global entry, if they're so inclined).
    I) customer service that always takes my side first..and asks questions of others later. I invariably have one merchant dispute a year - and have prevailed every single time - including one or two close calls.

    I haven't used my $200 airline fee credit - because I don't pay airline fees. I think I'll do what Seth did and buy drinks for everyone on the plane one time later this year.

    I also stumbled upon a undocumented benefit earlier this summer. This will invariably save me $500 to $1k a year, too. http://www.sitinfirst.com/2011/09/undocumented-amex-platinum-benefit-single-traveler-benefit/

    I also have a delta reserve card - for the free first class companion ticket, tie breaker for upgrades and mqm bonus - but the Amex Plat card is my main card - and I couldnt imagine my financial, travel and personal life without it.
     
  15. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    Can you explain E and H more please.

    What private club access are you talking about?

    Why don't you pay for the 3rd and 4th card?
     
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  16. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Those are the standard terms for Amex - $175 for up to 3 additional cards. The fee is the same whether you get 1 or 3. The 4th and beyond are $175 each.
     
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  17. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Amex Plat gets access to Tattingers Club in Sydney and one or two others. Nothing in North America. Tatt's is nicer than my reciprocal club in Syd, so I've used it once or twice (my club is more convenient).

    There is no additional card fee for cards #3 and #4. they get all benefits, except the $200 misc fee credit, which covers all cards with that one amount.
     
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  18. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    I did not know that. I thought all additional card-members had to pay the $175 annual fee.
     
  19. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Another option is to buy miles direct from the airline. Amex refunds them, right?
     
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  20. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Not true. There's a VIP lounge in the Staples Center in LA, and I thought I remembered something similar in New York, and in several high-end malls during Christmas season last year.
     
  21. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    please share some examples, I'm more interested in the helpful aspect rather than time-saving. Thanks.
     
  22. From NYC
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    I used to work for a TV commercial production company doing shoots in different parts of the world. Sometimes the client would have specific requests for things to be in a commercial: specific models of cars in a specific color, for example, and once, a private jet in the background. I simply called up Platinum concierge, told them the city and date I needed these items and they got back to me with the information and had everything standing by for my approval. Saved me and my production team a lot of calling around. Of course, the charges for the rentals went on the card.

    Another time, I was in LA on a shoot and the director had never been to the Grand Canyon. We had a long weekend off, and thought of getting a camper to drive around in and sleep in. I called up PC, and they had one arranged for us in Flagstaff and arranged for the company renting to pick us up at the airport and drive us back there when we turned it in.

    Last, a friend wanted to have a non-raunchy bachelor weekend in Vegas with things like sky-diving, cart racing, etc. PC came up with a list of places we could go for me. No, they wouldn’t’ve arranged for any raunchy stuff.

    That’s just 3 of the things they’ve done in the past. Hope this is the kind of thing you were looking for me to answer.
     
  23. javacodeguy

    javacodeguy Gold Member

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    I've heard from other people that this is not possible. At least for USAirways the charges come through as a Points.com purchase and AmEx won't reimburse. The safe thing of course is to buy a very small amount, then wait and see if it's reimbursed before spending a bunch more.
     
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  24. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I've done well with asking Plat card concierge to make restaurant reservations for me.

    The rental car insurance coverage is nice too, especially as it applies to most cars in most countries (but check carefully, there are exceptions).
     
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  25. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    What about programs like Delta's Award Builder or United's Award Accelerator?

    /edit Answered my own question on this week's Delta flight - yes, Amex did reimburse Award Builder. So, this will be one way to burn the remainder of your yearly $200 towards the end of the year.
     

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