In late 2023, the American Express Platinum Card was refreshed. Although new credits were added to the card, the annual fee also increased to $799. That’s the highest yearly fee for any personal credit card in Canada. Many people who currently hold the card started to question if the value was still there, while those considering the card had a tough time getting over the increased fee.
I personally think the American Express Platinum Card is still worth it since you can reduce the annual fee to $399, but it comes down to how you utilize this card. Here’s how to maximize the card’s value regardless of how long you hold it.
American Express Platinum Card Credits
Even though the American Express Platinum Card has an annual fee of $799, you get two $200 credits – for a total of $400 – as an annual benefit. That means you’re only paying $399 a year for the card. That’s much more reasonable than the full fee. Plus, there are additional credits that you might be able to take advantage of.
Annual $200 Dining Credit
The annual $200 dining credit was added when the card was updated. What’s great about this dining credit is that it’s available once per calendar year, so you don’t need to wait for your card anniversary to get it.
The downside of this credit is that it’s only available at select restaurants and must be used in a single charge. If you live in a major city, then using your credit likely won’t be a problem. However, those living in more rural areas or a city with limited restaurants on the list may not find any value in the credit. Being able to utilize this credit is essential if you’re considering the card.
Annual $200 Travel Credit
The other annual $200 credit you get is for travel. This credit is incredibly easy to use as it can be applied to any travel purchase made through the American Express travel portal. As in, you can book flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. and still use the credit.
To use thr credit, you just make any travel reservation through the American Express travel portal. When you get to the payment screen, there will be an option to use your $200 credit. If it’s not available, it means you’ve already used it for the year.
American Express Offers
Another benefit of the American Express Platinum Card is the American Express Offers you get. These offers are statement credits when making purchases at specific retailers. Some recent offers available include:
- Tap on the TTC and get a $1 statement credit (up to 10 times)
- Spend $500 at Marriott and get a $100 statement credit
- Spend at least $200 at Lululemon and get a $50 statement credit
- Spend at least $100 at Holt Renfrew and get a $100 statement credit
Even though you won’t be able to take advantage of every offer, there are usually quite a few good ones each year. It’s reasonable to expect you’ll get at least $100 back in statement credits each year via those offers. When you factor in the dining and travel credit, that’s about $500 in credits you can get each year, which essentially reduces your annual fee to $199.
Daily American Express Platinum Card Benefits
Now that we’ve established that the American Express Platinum Card could have a real annual fee as low as $199, you need to decide if the additional benefits you get are worth that amount. The answer is completely subjective, but to me, it’s clear that you’d easily come out ahead.
The American Express Platinum Card comes with the following insurance:
- Travel medical – $5,000,000
- Trip cancellation – $2,500 per person / $5,000 total
- Trip interruption – $2,500 per person / $6,000 total
- Flight delay – $1,000 / 4 hours
- Baggage delay – $1,000 / 6 hours
- Lost or Stolen Baggage – $1,000
- Car Rental Theft Damage – $85,000 / 48 days
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance – $1,000
- Travel accident – Up to $500,000
This is a very comprehensive travel insurance package. The only downside is that it only covers those under the age of 65 for 15 days. To give you some perspective, the annual value of this insurance package is likely $300+, so you’re already getting more value than the remaining $199 annual fee after factoring in the annual credits.
Unlimited Airport Lounge Access
Cardholders get access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection. This allows the primary cardholder and one guest to enter more than 1,3000+ lounges worldwide, including American Express Centurion lounges. Normally, a Priority Pass membership with unlimited access costs about CA $589 so it’s pretty obvious that you’re getting a lot of value here.
As an American Express Platinum cardholder, you get a NEXUS application rebate of up to $100 every four years. NEXUS memberships last five years, so you’ll never need to pay for your application or renewal as long as you charge it to your American Express Platinum Card. NEXUS is great as it allows you to skip most airport lines in North America.
The welcome bonus plays a significant part in determining if the American Express Platinum Card is worth it. Previously, you could get 70,000 – 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when signing up with a referral link and spending $5,000 – $7,500 in the first three months. However, recent offers have required you to spend up to $10,000, and part of the welcome bonus came in the second year after you paid the annual fee again.
Regardless of the offer, if you can meet the minimum spending requirement, then getting the extra points is obviously worth it. That said, as I’ve noted above, if you look strictly at the value of the benefits, they may be worth more than the annual fee you’re paying. That means the welcome bonus is less of a concern if your goal is to get lots of travel benefits.
However, let’s say your goal is indeed to get a lot of points because you want to transfer them to Aeroplan for a dream flight. In this case, you should look for a card that has a good welcome bonus, a minimum spending requirement you can reach, and a reasonable annual fee. One card that comes to mind is the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card.
American Express Platinum Card Strategies
Determining whether the American Express Platinum Card is worth it comes down to your goals. That said, there are a few strategies that you can implement to maximize your value.
One year and run
Ignoring the welcome bonus, it’s actually possible to bring the annual fee down to $199. As mentioned, the $200 travel credit is given once per year, but the dining credit of $ 200 is given once every calendar year. If you signed up for the card in June of 2024, you could immediately use the dining credit. You will get the credit again on January 1, 2025. That’s two dining credits for a total of $400. When you factor in the $200 travel credit, that’s $600 in credits you’re getting in the first year.
This strategy is ideal for people that will be doing a lot of travelling in the next year. They could take advantage of the travel insurance, lounge access, and additional benefits that are provided. Once your annual fee is about to post again, you could cancel the card. .
Two Year Points Trial
As of late, the welcome bonus for the American Express Platinum Card has been broken into two parts. You get the first bonus when you meet the minimum spending requirement. The second part of the bonus is awarded after you make any purchase in months 14 – 17 of card membership. That means you need to pay the annual fee twice to get the full bonus.
At first glance, paying the annual fee of $799 twice, for a total of $1,598, seems steep, but remember, you need to factor in all the credits you’re getting each year. Since you’re getting $400 in credits each year, you only pay $399 per year or $798 for the two years. Keeping the card this long is worth it if the total welcome bonus is worth at least 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points. That’s because those points have a minimum value of $1,000. Alternatively, if you transferred your points to Aeroplan, you could likely get a value of $1,500 – $2,000 for your points. In addition, you still get to take advantage of all the regular benefits.
Keep the Card Forever
We’ve already established that when you use all yearly dining and travel credits, the true annual fee is $399. While that number may seem high, you must remember that you’ll likely also be able to get $100 in American Express Offers, so you’ll really only pay an annual fee of $299. Are you getting more value from the yearly benefits than what you’re paying? The answer is likely yes.
The comprehensive travel insurance package alone costs more than $300 a year. While many employers offer travel medical insurance, it’s unlikely any offer extended travel insurance such as trip cancellation or lost luggage. Then you’ve got the airport lounge access for you and a guest. Even if you do just one trip a year, you’ll potentially use four visits for the return flight. That’s a great value.
Admittedly, the earning rate for the American Express Platinum Card is a bit low, so you may not want it to be your everyday card. Instead, you might want to consider a card like the American Express Cobalt Card, which has a high earning rate.
American Express Cobalt Card
- $12.99 Monthly fee ($155.88 yearly)
- 1,250 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $750 in purchases each month for a year (15,000 points total)
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
The Bottom Line
When considering the American Express Platinum Card, most people will rightfully focus on the welcome bonus. However, when you look strictly at the value of the benefits, you’ll quickly realize that they’re worth more than the annual fee you’re paying. This makes it an ideal card for anyone with a lot of travel coming up or a digital nomad who plans to bounce around various countries.
American Express Platinum Card
- $799 annual fee
- Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points when spending $10,000 in the first 3 months
- 30,000 additional points when making any purchase in months 14 – 17
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, and 1 point on all other purchases
- $200 annual travel credit
- $200 annual dining credit (per calendar year)
- Unlimited airport lounge access
- Hotel status upgrades