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Is the American Express Platinum card worth the £575 fee?

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Last week, American Express announced an exceptionally good new benefit on The Platinum Card£300 of dining credit. Our article on the new Amex Platinum £300 dining credit is here. Our article on the key benefits of American Express Platinum is here.

This is a new permanent (well, guaranteed for 2022-2024) benefit. You will receive:

  • £150 per year credit to spend in 150+ UK restaurants
  • £150 per year credit to spend in 1,200+ international restaurants

The credit is cumulative (inside the same calendar year) and does not need to spent exclusively in the same venue, so even solo diners should be able to use it.

The credit is per calendar year, so you have five months to spend your 2022 allocation.

I said when this benefit launched that we would take a look at how this changes the value proposition of The Platinum Card.

The card already came with some valuable benefits. It also comes with a chunky fee of £575 per year.

One upside is that you can get a pro-rata fee refund if you cancel so the cost of trying it out for a few months is low.  In fact, you’d make a decent profit if you took advantage of all the credits.

You can apply for The Platinum Card here.

What are the benefits of American Express Platinum?

This article looks at the key benefits of The Platinum Card as I see them. However, for clarity, there is no ‘right’ answer about whether The Platinum Card represents good value.

It is SOLELY down to how you travel and which of the card benefits you can use.  This varies from person to person.  Most people value the Priority Pass airport lounge access cards the most, for example, but I don’t because we usually fly Business Class and my wife and I both have British Airways status anyway.

On the other hand, as non car-owning Londoners, we do disproportionately value the car hire insurance and the Fine Hotels & Resorts luxury hotel benefits. The 4pm guaranteed late check-out is a real boon if you are only away for a long weekend.  Who wants to be kicked out of their hotel at 11am on a Sunday?

I run through this in more detail below.  It is why, 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.

What is the sign up bonus on The Platinum Card?

You receive 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you apply for the card and spend £4,000 in 90 days. This converts into:

  • 30,000 Avios
  • 30,000 Virgin Points
  • 30,000 Emirates, Etihad, Flying Blue, Asia Miles, Delta, Finnair, Qantas or SAS miles
  • 20,000 Singapore Airlines miles
  • 60,000 Hilton Honors points
  • 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy 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.

What is the annual fee on The Platinum Card?

The card has an annual fee of £575.

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.

Can I get the sign-up bonus if I have a British Airways American Express card?

Yes.  The rule 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 Amex Rewards credit card, in the 24 months before you apply.

You WILL receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express Green, Gold or Platinum card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it.  Only PERSONAL cards impact on whether you qualify.

For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card if you already have a BA Amex, Nectar Amex, Marriott Bonvoy Amex or Platinum Cashback Amex provided you have not had a Platinum, Gold, Green or Amex Rewards credit card in the last 24 months.

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’.

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.  Amex has recently increased the number of pre-existing conditions and sporting activities which are covered.

Value to me: ironically, despite what I wrote above, nil. This is because I have a HSBC Premier current account, dating back to when I used to work for HSBC, and I get free full travel insurance from this. For anyone else, the best buy for a family is £285 per year (from LV), with ‘best buy’ status being based on LV’s willingness to pay up, the strong level of cover offered and the low excess.

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.

Value to me: £125, which is what would charge for a stand-alone policy

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 1,300 airport lounges across the world for free, including the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 reviewed hereNo1 Lounges, present at Gatwick, Birmingham and Heathrow Terminal 3, has just rejoined Priority Pass which makes it even more useful.

As you get two Priority Pass cards, each of which allows a free guest, you can get a family of four into a lounge.

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 with Plaza Premium. This also covers the new Plaza Premium lounge in Gatwick’s North Terminal which is the old Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. A new Edinburgh lounge is about to open.

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.  The first UK Centurion lounge, at Heathrow Terminal 3, is now open and we like it.

Obviously if you do not have airline status then this benefit has substantial value.

Value to me: I rarely use the Priority Pass benefit as I have British Airways status for short haul flights 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 and BA doesn’t always cover the short haul destinations we want. I’d value this to us at £100 which is the cost of two light meals for a family of four over a 12 month period.

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 Marriott Bonvoy
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in MeliaRewards

Value to me: I usually value these cards highly and plan my stays around hotels which will give me additional status benefits. This article explains what each of the hotel status cards offers. However, at present due to covid deals which made earning status easier, I have earned top tier status with Marriott and Hilton under my own steam. I won’t get any specific value from my Amex status cards this year unless a Radisson or Melia stay crops up.

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 I tend to travel Standard Premier which gets the business class seat but without lounge access.  No guests are allowed although your partner can come in if they have a supplementary Platinum card on your account.  At quiet times they will unofficially allow children in.

Rhys reviewed the Eurostar Business Premier lounge at London St Pancras recently.

Value to me: I’ve done six Eurostar lounge visits in the last 12 months, so lets value that at £100 given the savings on F&B spend in the terminal and the free newspapers and magazines on offer.

Exclusive events:

American Express offers an exclusive events programme.  This is a mix of free events 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.

The value here obviously varies massively.  Would you be interested, for example, in joining a private meal hosted personally by a high-profile chef in their flagship restaurant even if the cost was higher than a standard meal in the same venue?  Would you be interested in the best seats in the house for a high profile concert, with a private drinks reception beforehand for Platinum guests, if the cost was higher than a standard top-priced ticket (which sold out months ago)?  Some would be keen, some wouldn’t.

The Platinum events programme is now easier to book as a new app has just been launched.

Value to me: I value this at nil, but that is a little unfair because there are some interesting events in the app. It is the difficulty in co-ordinating diaries between me, my wife and our combined business and family commitments that means we don’t use it much.

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 Fine Hotels & Resorts 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.

Value to me: I think we’ve done two FHR bookings in the last year. Across a family of four, the benefits were easily worth £500. This ignore the substantial value of the 4pm check-out on those stays.

£100 per year of Harvey Nichols credit:

This is a new benefit added earlier in 2022. You receive £50 credit to spend at Harvey Nichols, either instore or online, between January and June and a further £50 for July to December.

There is no minimum spend. If you buy exactly £50 of items, or spend exactly £50 in the restaurants, it is genuinely free.

Value to me: £100 – I used by last credit for wine, which is hard to price compare, but in general my wife is most likely to use this for branded cosmetics. Add in the benefits of the Harvey Nichols loyalty scheme and the 6 Avios per £1 you get for shopping in-store – assuming you don’t order online – and you are getting decent value.

$200 cashback per onefinestay home or apartment rental:

I don’t see my family using this one.  We have never been villa people.  onefinestay is high end and you won’t find much in Europe or the US under £300 per night, with a 3-night minimum stay in most cases, so the deal is not as good as it first appears.

If you are a villa or home rental person, however, you will do exceptionally well here as you can earn the cashback as many times as you want.

Value to me: Nil

£150 of UK dining credit

Added in July 2022, this is a very strong new benefit. You will receive £150 cashback per year when eating at 160+ UK restaurants listed here.

There is no small print – you don’t need to book via any special link or quote any code. You simply register for the offer – one registration is good until December 2024 – and then pay on The Platinum Card when you dine.

Value to me: £150. We eat in some of the participating restaurants on a regular basis so it won’t be a problem to claim this money.

£150 of international dining credit

Added in July 2022, this is the second part of the new dining benefit. You will receive £150 cashback per year when eating in 1,200+ international restaurants. The list is here.

Value to me: I honestly don’t know. Whilst I probably spend 75 nights per year outside the UK, many of these are on my own – how keen will I be to visit a formal restaurant? The rest are family trips, and it isn’t always easy to get a couple of young children into a smart place. For 2022 I will value it at £0, purely because I have no travel booked to any city with a participating restaurant, although this is certain to change.


Looking at the maths above, I get £1,100 of ‘value’ per year from The Platinum Card, which is almost double the £575 annual fee.

This is despite putting zero value on elements which most people would value highly such as the travel insurance (which can cover up to six families if you share out the free supplementary cards) and the hotel status cards.

I’ve also not considered the American Express cashback offers and the ‘refer a friend’ bonuses, even though I do well out of both.

Short term, it is worth remembering that if you took out the card now and just kept it for six months, you’d qualify for a second £300 batch of dining credits on 1st January and the January to June 2023 Harvey Nichols credit.

Long term, whether or not the fee on The Platinum Card 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.

The application form for Amex Platinum can be found here.

Comments (238)

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

  • Ian says:

    Would be good to know (on insurance) exactly what you need to pay with an Amex card and if you need to pay in full with Amex or just in part?

    Paying for something in say USD on an Amex will add extra cost compared with a free fx card and if required needs to be taken into account.


    • John says:

      …. and some airline and ferry operators do not accept Amex to begin with.

  • R01 says:

    They are definitely getting closer to justifying the £575 fee for me but with HSBC premiere, BA/hotel status and little use for the Fine Hotels benefits (probably), I can’t quite get there. If they threw in the Times subscription that you get with the business version, I’d be in!

    • lumma says:

      But you can access the times for free with a local library card

      • John says:

        @lumma If you mean via PressReader, The Times (UK) is not included… for me, at least.

        • Mike says:

          Learning about PressReader and free access to reading world wide on line newspapers is the biggest real saving I have ever made from reading HFP but strangely the Times is not available

        • kitten says:

          Regular popups on The Times website now offering £1 per month for 12 months and The Sunday Times has its own popup deals too

    • Fazzy Bear says:

      You can get the Times for £26 per year if you know somebody with a Unidays account. 4 years and counting …

  • Ls says:

    I was considering how much I would genuinely pay for £150 credit/year in their list of restaurants.
    For the U.K. ones, given I don’t go to any on the list, I would value it at £75/year, given I’m trying somewhere new, but it doesn’t replace spend I’m making already.
    Looking at the abroad list, I value it at £0 as I will almost certainly never use it.
    So at most £75 value. Just £520 left to justify now then.

    • Ls says:

      Travel insurance: £0 (pre-existing conditions)
      Although I do ascribe value to statuses and Eurostar access, you retain these after cancelling the card.

      • Andrew J says:

        The card is £575 not £595

      • Mikeact says:

        +1 +the ridiculous age limit.

        • Lady London says:

          It’s about keeping Amex’s costs down. Plus the last time I looked they’d switched to Axa underwriting it which for me is a kickoff bell for benefits degradation often by conditioning tightening as well as other contenitory measures like ridiculously low caps for claims and it’s progressive. So the covee ends up beig hollowed out.

        • AJames says:

          Yes – The the 70 age limit on insurance is why, sadly, I no longer have Amex Plat. I would have happily paid an additional insurance premium for being over 70 but there was no option to do that.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      The dining credits are only contributing to the card fee if they genuinely save a cost that you were going to make. i.e. They pay for a meal(s) that you would have otherwise paid out of your own pocket for. Otherwise they are a perk that you are will take advantage of. and have essentially still paid for anyway, via the fee.

      I fall into the second category, I will use them since they are there, but they are not saving me money as I wouldn’t have been spending it if they weren’t.

      The only reason I keep my card is the generous retention offers they offer each time I try to cancel. There are definitely benefits to having the card but MR points aside, I am still a very long way off getting £575 of value. I’d like to see the insurance covering gadgets, possibly even roadside assistance. That’d really help me to justify the cost.

      • Rob says:

        So you never go to half-smart restaurants? Ever? Seems odd for someone who reads this site.

        • Tony says:

          It’s a very small number on the list that are outside of London. Quite easy to eat in decent restaurants and still not avail this offer. The overseas list is even more limited.

        • JDB says:

          @Rob for me, the thing about the restaurant credit is that it seems somewhat ridiculous to take the fee from you, then give it back to you as long as you go to a restaurant on their list and pay with a low points earning card. I don’t see how that can be classified as a ’benefit’.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          I guess I must be the outlier! But no, I really don’t. The only time I might do is if it is attached to the hotel I am staying at, and my last experience of that was a laughably poor one.

        • Dr Tom says:

          Personally. next to never. I’m sure there is market research backing up the high net worth of readers of this site, but I don’t necessarily see that. I do see lots of people who like to travel in business class, but are looking for ways to do so in a cost-effective manner. The very high net worth people are unlikely to have time to track every Nectar offer or the need to worry if they can get a “free” drink in a an airport lounge or just buy a bottle of champagne outright.

          • Rob says:

            We have the research – £70k average salary, 60% London & Home Counties based, main occupations IT / banking / consultancy. 68% fly in premium cabins when travelling long haul. 88% own an Amex card.

            Amex, Nutmeg and Capital On Tap have all told us that the customers they get via HfP are substantially wealthier (or at least spend substantially more) than their typical user, which is why these companies continue to spend lots of money with us.

            What IS true is that the demographics of those who produce the comments are different to the main readership (which, remember, is 50,000+ strong per day).

          • CarpalTravel says:

            Hello fellow poor(er) commenty type people!! 👋

          • VinZ says:

            They don’t. They fly private and they don’t care about these little things. The rest is HFP readership, very bougie very thrifty.

    • yorkieflyer says:

      Same here I would rather choose my restaurants away from my home town on their appeal, location, reviews, etc rather than trailing about wasting time to get a free meal. Though having said that did enjoy the same at the Shangri-La in Bangkok a few years ago so you never know!

      • vol says:

        “ What IS true is that the demographics of those who produce the comments are different to the main readership (which, remember, is 50,000+ strong per day).”

        @ Rob – what are the differences between the two?

  • LostInAsia says:

    Having recently used the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras, which was dirty, dingy, crowded, with a very poor offering of rubbish drinks, a few naff cakey things, and a cocktail bar that remained closed, I can’t value that benefit at anything more than minus one hundred pounds

    • yorkieflyer says:

      A little unfair I’d say a tenner

    • Chas says:

      The key benefit if the Eurostar lounge is that it beats having to sit on the floor in the main departures area which is always seriously over-crowded whenever I pass through there, and is generally a much calmer space to relax in. If I can get some free drinks and some snacks whilst there then so much the better. I too have never been when the cocktail bar is open, but this lounge is still a benefit to me.

    • G says:

      I agree with LostinAsia: the Eurostar lounge has really gone downhill. The F&B offering has become very bad quality and poor. Whist it is huge that they do not allow even to come with 1 guest is plain stingy. It is not right. Bad lounge.

      • Rob says:

        The F&B in that lounge has been the same for ever. Terrible, but it hasn’t got worse!

        When Rhys and I went to a Eurostar party recently I was berating the person who runs the lounges because of the shocking bad croissants – particularly bad because a) there is a Pret a few feet away with amazing ones and b) this is a French company we’re talking about ….

      • Chas says:

        In my opinion Rob is right, the food is definitely no worse than it’s always been (I’ve been through the St P lounge twice in the last 2 months). There really is no reason for them to offer any more than the snacks which they have always offered though, as I’d imagine that 80%+ of guests are travelling in either Standard Premier or Business Premier both of which give you a light meal 30 mins after train departure (with the exception of Plat cardholders, to access the lounge you either have to be travelling in Business Premier or have Carte Blanche, which you’re unlikely to be achieving by travelling on Standard fares.

        @Rob – the pains au chocolate are better than the croissants, albeit nowhere near as good as ones you’d get from a proper boulangerie / patisserie.

  • Andrew J says:

    I’ve got to: £150 free money for U.K. dinning, probably only £50 for abroad dining and £100 free money at HN. £100 for annual travel insurance. So only £175 remains – and I’m happy to pay that for the off chance of being allowed into or have the need for a PP lounge (even Eurostar I’ve started paying for business premier as I don’t want to queue for security), the off chance that I can ever use a AL taxi or stay at a Hilton without breakfast included. I’m also happy to allocate £50 to having the physical metal card in my wallet.

    • David says:

      On what planet can you consider this ‘free’ money? You have literally paid £595 a year for it!!

    • Mike says:

      Andrew – it’s not free money ! It’s some of your own money being given back to you under tightly controlled conditions. Wake up and smell the coffee

  • Will says:

    Have been unable to use Priority Pass lounges at all in three recent trips due to access restrictions

    • lumma says:

      What about on the way back? I’ve never been refused in a European lounge

      • Amit says:

        I was turned away from the lounge in Amsterdam as they wanted to give priority to passengers with airline staus

        • yorkieflyer says:

          Yes this will be an increasing problem I suspect with the outstation BA lounge closures

          • JDB says:

            I think a combination of so many lounge passes being sold to all and sundry or offered with cards, more airline status pax around because of covid rollovers and people arriving at airports so much earlier because of all the chaos has rather devalued most lounges that have in turn reduced the quality of their offerings. Not good.

          • Rob says:

            I’d say its primarily the latter.

            We arrived at T5 three hours early last Thursday, just to find that it took us 10 minutes from kerb to Galleries First. This left us hanging around for longer than necessary, and unfortunately gave my wife time to go to the shops 🙂

        • G says:

          Yup. Me too. PriorityPass is being seriously eroded… Not good to have it when they do not let you in…

          • Rob says:

            You’re unlikely to get into the AMS lounge now that it has become the BA lounge, effectively. You’re adding around 50 people at peak times.

  • KP says:

    Ive always wondered whether the Platinum car hire insurance works on Zipcar and Enterprise Car Club ?

    I assume it does and I currently reject Zipcar’s own protection, but any definitive answers ?

    • yorkieflyer says:

      You need to check the policy carefully and if necessary ask the insurer, please don’t accept the views of uninformed folk such as me. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t by the way! I recall it needing a a night away from home in the UK last time I checked

    • SammyJ says:

      I know it excludes Turo, didn’t ask about the clubs. It excludes quite a lot to be honest, as well as only being effective if you’ve paid the car hire on that card in the first place.

      • David says:

        Pretty sure it’s having paid with any Amex, not just Platinum?

      • yorkieflyer says:

        No you don’t need to have paid for the car hire with the card

      • Chas says:

        This is wrong – the hire car cost can be paid on any card, even if it’s not Amex.

        • KP says:

          Ok thanks but question still is whether zipcar is included or not ?

  • Ls says:

    I don’t like going to restaurants on my own, normally. But If I were in a city on my own with £150 Amex dining credit, I would definitely go, and have a slap up meal. But I wouldn’t value it at £150, more the £20 I would have spent on the Deliveroo…

    • lumma says:

      Dining solo in a fancy restaurant is a great experience if you ask me.

      Do it in Michelin inspection season and you get extra special treatment too

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