The Platinum Card® from American Express: Worth the $550 Annual Fee?

The Platinum Card® from American Express is your ticket airport lounge access, exclusive pre-sales for events, hotel status, and more. The card is a charge card, not a credit card, that earns Membership Rewards points.

If you can maximize the benefits, the card might be worth the $550 annual fee.

The Platinum Card® Calculator

Ask Sebby crunches the numbers for you to calculate the Expected Value of the Platinum Card®. For the expected value of points, we derive the approximate dollar value based on the numbers you enter in the calculator. Scroll down to the end of the post to see our methodology.

The calculator below contains default figures and serve as an example only. Users should insert their own data for the most accurate results.

Welcome Offer

The Platinum Card® has a 60,000 point welcome offer after spending $5,000 on the card within the first 3 months of account opening.

American Express has a “once in a lifetime” welcome offer rule. To qualify for this offer, you must not currently have the card and/or have received a previous Platinum Card® welcome offer.

If you attempt to apply and you are greeted with a pop-up that says you aren’t eligible for the welcome offer, then you will not receive one.

Calculation Methodology

The results from the above calculator are based on your ability to reach the minimum spend requirement to earn the welcome offer, your amount of spend on different categories, how you plan to redeem American Express Membership Rewards, and how much relative value you assign to the other benefits.

The “Years” referenced in the calculator refer to the cardmember year, based on when you are approved for the card.

  • Year 1 = first 12 months of card membership

  • Year 2 = the following 12 months afterward

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points, after $5,000 in spend within the first 3 months

  • Point Multipliers:

    • Earn 5X points points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel

    • Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

    • Earn 1X points on all other purchases

  • Credits:

    • $200 annual airline fee credit per calendar year to use for incidental fees like baggage fees

    • Up to $200 Uber credit, distributed $15/month and $35 in December

    • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, issued in $50 increments every 6 months per calendar year

    • $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit once every 4 years

  • Other Benefits:

    • Amex Concierge — score hard to get restaurant reservations and concert tickets

    • Centurion Lounge access for you and up to 2 guests

    • Priority Pass Select membership (airport lounge access), with up to 2 guests

    • Automatic Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status

    • Automatic Hilton HHonors Gold Status

    • Transfer points to airline partners

    • No foreign transaction fee

  • Terms apply

The value of the “Other Benefits” is going to be different for everyone based on the cards you have in your wallet, and how often you can utilize them. In the calculator, you should enter the dollar amounts for how much you value the benefit.

How much are Membership Rewards Points worth?

American Express Membership Rewards Redemption Rates
Value Per Point
Cash Back via Statement Credit 0.6 cents
Amazon.com 0.7 cents
Travel via Pay with Points 1 cent
Cash Out via Charles Schwab 1.25 cents
Airline Transfer Partners 1-2 cents

Calculating the Value of Membership Rewards Points

Cash Back via Statement Credit

Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 0.6 cents per point when you redeem them for cash back via statement credit. In the image below, we would need 2,450 MR points to pay for a $14.70 purchase.

  • $14.70/2,450 MR points = $0.006

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

Amazon.com Purchases

When you use Membership Rewards points to shop on Amazon.com, points are worth 0.7 cents per point.

In the example below, the 10,000 MR points are worth $70.00 on Amazon.com.

  • $70/10,000 MR points = $0.007

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

Travel via Pay with Points

Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when you book flights and use Pay with Points through American Express Travel.

  • $100/10,000 MR points = $0.01

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

image via https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator

Cash Out via Charles Schwab Platinum

American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab cardholders can transfer Membership Rewards points into your eligible Schwab account.

You can deposit 60,000 points for $750.

  • $750/60,000 MR points = $0.0125

image via https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/credit_cards

image via https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/credit_cards

Airline Transfer Partners

The valuation of Membership Rewards points varies when you use airline transfer partners. Point valuations can range from 1-2 cents per points based on how you redeem them.

For example, a first class ticket could be worth more than an economy redemption based on the retail price.

To calculate the value of your specific redemption:

  • (Retail price of airfare) / (number of MR points required) = Cents Per Point Valuation

image via https://rewards.americanexpress.com/myca/loyalty/us/catalog/view/ptlanding/?tier=PR

image via https://rewards.americanexpress.com/myca/loyalty/us/catalog/view/ptlanding/?tier=PR


Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”