The Platinum Card from American Express is probably the most divisive credit card on the UK market.
Some people find it crazy that anyone would pay £650 per year for a credit card.
Others think that it offers excellent value for money, especially in the first year when you get a bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points. After all, the bonus converts to 40,000 Avios which we’d value at £400 if used smartly.
Let’s take a look at the value proposition. Our full review of The Platinum Card is here.
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.
(Pro rata refunds will be removed at some point during 2024 but, for now, they are still available.)
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 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you apply for the card and spend £6,000 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 £650.
The representative APR is 704.6% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 31.0% variable.
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.
£150 of UK dining credit
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 and then pay on The Platinum Card when you dine.
This offer is guaranteed to run until the end of 2024. We don’t know if it will be renewed beyond it, although it has run since 2022.
Value to me: £150. We eat in some of the participating restaurants on a regular basis so this is essentially free money for me.
£150 of international dining credit
You will receive £150 cashback per year when eating in 1,200+ international restaurants. The list is here.
Again, this benefit is guaranteed to run until the end of 2024. We don’t know if it will continue beyond that.
Value to me: Slightly less than £150, because I can’t be 100% certain that I will find myself in a participating city near a participating restaurant. I did use it in 2023 when my wife and I were in Paris, getting a free lunch from a smart brasserie.
£100 per year of Harvey Nichols credit:
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 m y 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.
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.
Value to me: £355, because the moneysavingexpert.com best buy for a family is £355 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 insurance4carhire.com would charge for a stand-alone worldwide 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 here. No1 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.
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.
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
- Premium 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, I have top tier status with Hilton and Marriott anyway so (personally) this is not a benefit I value.
It IS valuable to everyone else. Hilton Gold, for example, gets you free breakfast for two people (or a cash credit at US hotels) which could be worth £40+ per night.
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 and Lufthansa / SWISS / Austrian although no guests are allowed.
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.
Value to me: I’ve done three Eurostar lounge visits in the last 12 months, so I’m happy to value the at £100 given the savings on F&B spend in the terminal at both ends of the trip and the free newspapers and magazines on offer.
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.
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 with two rooms per booking, the benefits were easily worth £500. This ignore the substantial value of the 4pm check-out on those stays.
$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
Looking at the maths above, I get £1,500 of ‘value’ per year from The Platinum Card, which is almost double the £650 annual fee.
I’ve also not considered the American Express cashback offers and the ‘refer a friend’ bonuses, even though I do well out of both.
I’m also ignoring the SIGNIFICANT value you get in your first year from the 40,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus. Convert those to Avios and you should be able to get £400 of value.The application form for Amex Platinum can be found here.