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Is American Express Platinum worth £450, even with 30,000 points?

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Of all the credit and charge cards we cover on Head for Points, American Express Platinum is the one that people often find the hardest to get their head around.

On the one hand, American Express Platinum offers the biggest single sign-up bonus of any UK travel card.  You receive 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, which convert into:

  • 30,000 Avios
  • 30,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
  • 30,000 Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Flying Blue, Alitalia, Asia Miles, Delta, Finnair or SAS miles
  • 60,000 Hilton Honors points
  • 15,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points (= 45,000 Marriott Reward points)
  • 90,000 Radisson Rewards points
  • 2,000 Club Eurostar points

….. and many other non-travel rewards.  I wrote this article on the most valuable Membership Rewards redemptions.  You need to spend £2,000 within 90 days to receive the 30,000 points.

On the other hand, it has an annual fee of £450.

You can, of course, cancel the card at any point for a pro-rata fee refund.  This reduces the risk considerably if you don’t find it is right for you.

Remember that the Platinum card is a charge card, not a credit card.  You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.

I have had one since 1999, so clearly there is real value to be had.

The best way of looking at it is like this.  American Express Platinum may or may not be right for you based on your current travel patterns.  There is no right or wrong answer – although arguably the 30,000 point sign-up bonus makes it excellent value for the first year.

Even if it is right for you, it may not be right for you in two years or five years.  If it isn’t right for you today, it might be next year.

Here are the American Express Platinum core benefits (for me)

Here are the key card benefits to me.  As you read on, you will probably say to yourself that you would value some of these at nothing.  That’s fine.  You may value some of the benefits that I never use.  As I said, there is no right or wrong decision about whether Platinum works for you.

Full travel insurance

You receive travel insurance for yourself and your family as long as you are under 70.  You can insure five other people and their families by giving them supplementary cards on your account.  Some benefits require you to pay for your trip with an American Express card (any UK personal Amex card, not necessarily Platinum) but the core medical benefit is automatic.  My family relies on this as our core family travel policy and do not pay for any other cover.

Car hire insurance

You receive full car hire insurance.  As we live in London and don’t own a car, this is very useful for us as we hire 3-4 times per year.

Airport lounge access via Priority Pass

You and your main supplementary cardholder will each receive a Priority Pass card.  This gets the cardholder plus a guest into 1,000 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Club Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 which we reviewed here.  As you get two Priority Pass cards, each of which allows a free guest, you can get a family of four into a lounge.  This article (click) looks at the UK lounges you can access with Priority Pass.

Platinum cardholders can also access the impressive Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 by showing their Platinum card – this lounge is not in Priority Pass but Amex has a direct deal.  You can also get into Amex’s own network of high quality ‘Centurion’ airport lounges for free.  These are primarily in the US but are rolling out globally – new ones opened in Hong Kong and Melbourne recently.

Surprisingly, I do not personally use this benefit as I have British Airways status and our long-haul travel is always in Business Class.  That said, we do occasionally find ourselves at airports where BA does not provide lounge access.  Obviously if you do not have airline status then this benefit has substantial value.

Hotel status

You will also receive permanent – for as long as you hold your Platinum card – status in various hotel schemes:

  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Gold in Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

You will also receive Gold status in Marriott Rewards, because – following the Starwood and Marriott merger – you can instantly match your Marriott status to your newly-Gold Starwood status.  Until August 2018, when the Marriott benefits change, Gold gets you lounge access, breakfast and a guaranteed 4pm check-out as most brands.

I value these cards highly and usually plan my stays around hotels which will give me additional status benefits.

Eurostar and Delta lounge access

Other benefits include Eurostar lounge access in London, Brussels and Paris whatever your class of travel.  You also receive lounge access when flying with Delta although any guests must pay $29.  I do value the Eurostar benefit because we tend to travel Standard Premier which gets the business class seat but without lounge access.

Exclusive events

American Express offers an exclusive events programme.  This is a mix of free events (they emailed me recently about a drinks party at Lords with Mike Gatting) and special paid events with top restaurants or shows.  Now that I have a couple of kids my ability to nip off to every free party I get invited to is much reduced, but I have attended a few good evenings over the years I have held my Platinum card.

Exclusive benefits at luxury hotels

There is an exclusive hotel booking scheme called ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ which offers valuable additional benefits on your stays.  If you are a regular visitor at five star hotels then you can recoup your entire membership fee via FHR bookings.  I wrote more about FHR here – for me, the guaranteed 4pm check-out on every stay is invaluable, especially for weekend breaks.  We use this benefit whenever I must have a 4pm check-out, which can make a real difference on a short break – being thrown out of your hotel at 11am on a Sunday morning does not make for a relaxing weekend break.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.  1 Membership Rewards point is equivalent to 1 Avios or other airline mile per £1 if you choose to transfer them.  Spending with American Express Travel, booked and paid for online, earns 2 points per £1.

To be honest, many people who have the card focus their spending elsewhere – in order, for example, to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher on the British Airways American Express card.

Can I apply if I have a British Airways American Express card?

Yes.  The rules is that you will not receive a sign-up bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green American Express charge card, or the new Amex Rewards credit card, in the six months before you apply.

You will not receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it.  If your Corporate or Business card does not provide Membership Rewards points then you are OK.

For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus even if you already have a BA Amex, SPG Amex, Platinum Cashback Amex or any American Express card issued by Lloyds, MBNA or any other bank.

You will also definitely receive the bonus if you are currently a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s Amex Gold or Platinum card.  As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primary cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

Conclusion

In terms of the absolute number of miles earned, 30,000 Membership Rewards points is the most generous sign-up deal on the market.  You would receive 30,000 Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles, for example, if you transferred them.

Whether or not the fee represents value for money long-term depends on how many of the card benefits you will use, although you can cancel for a pro-rata fee refund at any point.  I have had a Platinum card since 1999 and can justify the cost based on how we use the travel benefits, especially the travel insurance, car hire insurance and the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

The application form for Amex Platinum can be found here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (232)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Duke of Cummington says:

    I prefer the American Express Centurion Card.
    The benefits as so much better.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      There’s some really upscale stuff at Medallion level.

    • Boris says:

      Have you been on a Medalion event yet Duke… some great events

  • Craig says:

    With there being no upgrade path from Gold to Platinum now, what’s the maximum earning strategy for MR points assuming no account held in the last 6 months?

    • JamesB says:

      Referrals, more rewarding and less hassle than churning and upgrade. However, it is possible the upgrade option may return unless closing that door was a specific amex objective in changing PRG.

      • Genghis says:

        It’s possible to combine quite efficiently

        • JamesB says:

          Yes, agreed, but I’m assuming further change is coming from anex. I’m fine through December on the old strategy but will need to make a decision then unless amex forces our hand before that.

    • filipino_chino says:

      Upgrade from Gold link:

      https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-charge/upgrade/

      Only 20k points, but perfect when you do the gold card first.

      • S says:

        But can you actually upgrade the new PRG Credit(!) Card with that link? I’m yet to see a data point.

  • shd says:

    Thought experiment: if there were no referral or affiliate scheme of any kind for this card, would we still be as positive about it?

    • John says:

      The sign up bonus is worth something and you can still churn without referring

      • Rob says:

        Remember when Tottenham sold Gareth Bale and then bought six rubbish players with the money? Plat is a bit like that. You can dump it but then you are paying for travel insurance, annual car insurance policies, additional hotel costs for late check-out and breakfast which FHR covers, additional costs in hotels to get benefits not covered by your status, additional costs in airports because you no longer have lounge access etc ….

        If you are self-employed, like wot I am, you can be clever and use it only for business expenses and so offset the fee against tax. That is a 50% discount factoring in the NI saving too.

        • shd says:

          I’ve no idea what gold-plated (platinum-plated?) insurance policies others are buying, but there’s simply no way I’d get anywhere near £450pa of value from Amex Plat on an on-going basis. The big sign-up bonus makes it worthwhile in year one, but after that, no thanks.

          For example, I renewed my iCarhireinsurance a couple of weeks ago, £40 for the year (minus the £8.80 I earned back from the site we’re not allowed to mention).

        • Alan says:

          £450 for a years insurance would be a good deal for us, unfortuantely it won’t cover us! Its only a good deal if you are in perfect health – in which case, you can get alternatives very cheaply.

        • Artem says:

          Rob, that’s a great tip! Worth putting self-employed tips in an article?

        • Mark says:

          If you’re self employed and travel a lot then I imagine it’s a no-brainer… not necessarily the case for everyone though.

          There have been occasions where we’ve not been able to use the inclusive Lounge Pass visits on the Gold card, though with no Oneworld status these days that’s less of an issue!

          Having said that we did get some good benefits out of the hotel status when I was briefly a card holder before. Get to keep those though for a year if you cancel the card!

    • David says:

      I’ve head it for years for the benefits. Including many years where I didn’t refer anyone, or only the odd person as I was too busy at the time.

      So, there will not be a single answer to this, for some it will for some it won’t.

  • JamesB says:

    In my view 5×18000 MR points cross-card referral bonuses should now be listed as a benefit of this card. This has finally tipped this card into the keeper category for me.

    The ability to get a free supp is also a key benefit given the perks to the holder, who may be wider family. There is even a case for the additional paid supps being good value given the perks.

    • Craig says:

      Four down, one to go. The potential to earn 90000MR points a year is a huge benefit, even if conversion to Avios isn’t always the best use, this is more than half of most CW redemptions.

    • shd says:

      Isn’t this a bug, rather than a feature, though?

      • JamesB says:

        If it was they would likely have fixed it by now.

        • shd says:

          It’s completely unsustainable though!

          If/when the bloggers go to town on it there will be a brief goldrush, then Amex will pull it.

        • Craig says:

          18000MR for any accepted referral.

        • JamesB says:

          @shd, sustainability is provided by persuading people to keep the platinum card as opposed to churning it. Amex have other tools at their disposal to limit or prevent churning ehich they can use if they wish: deploying these would make the referral bonus more sustainable if requured. The incentive to refer may aldo be more cost-effective than say expensive TV advertsing in driving new business. Amex also reserve the right to close the accounts of anybody thry brlieve to be abusing the referrals process.

        • shd says:

          Neither Amex nor any of us can seriously claim it’s sustainable to pay out 18k MRs for a Nectar c/card referral.

          This is a glitch. Enjoy while you can 🙂

      • Anna says:

        How can it be a bug? It clearly says on the account that you can earn up to 90,000 points per year from referrals.

        • Andrew says:

          I doubt the potential 90,000 points per year will change. What probably wasn’t intended is giving out 18,000 points for a referral to each and every card. Even under the best of circumstances Amex won’t be making any money from the free BA card. Add on giving the referrer well over £150’s worth of rewards and it’s disastrous from a business point of view.

  • Neil Donoghue says:

    If the gold card is no longer a charge card, does this mean we can hold both the gold and platinum card? In theory, this should also change the churn process, correct?

    • mark2 says:

      You can hold them both, subject to credit check, but would not get the sign up bonus as they are both MR cards.

  • Js says:

    Are we sure we can’t upgrade to plat from the new gold credit card? Has anyone tried it yet using the link?

    • Anna says:

      I’m sure a few people have posted saying this is possible. If the Platinum card is also going to become a credit card in the near future, this would make sense.

      • Genghis says:

        I don’t think this has yet been confirmed

        • S says:

          Yeah, all the comments with confirmation were from people that upgraded their gold charge, not credit card.

    • Polly says:

      Not poss, diff card types

  • JP says:

    Do you keep the priority passes for a year of you cancel after a few months?

    • Anna says:

      No, they are cancelled with the card afaik, unlike the hotel statuses.

  • MJR says:

    Would you get the sign up bonus if you upgraded from the Gold American Express charge card ?

    • Lewis King says:

      No. It’s 20,000 for £1k spend on the upgrade path.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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