Why I Just Paid $550 for a Credit Card
Since starting this blog, I’ve made plenty of proclamations. For one, I’ve stated that I didn’t need any more credit cards on several occasions, only to eventually open an Uber Visa and, more recently, an Apple Card. Similarly, I’ve also stated that I wasn’t sold on the idea of having a credit card with an annual fee. Well, this week, not only did I obtain a card that carries an annual fee but it’s a doozy as well. That’s right: I went and got myself an American Express Platinum.
If you’re not familiar, the AmEx Platinum is a charge card (not technically a credit card, as it turns out) that includes plenty of perks but comes at a price of $550 a year. Given that fact, I initially dismissed it since I am, in fact, not rich. However, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me. Let me explain.
Why the American Express Platinum Card Makes Sense
Prior to landing on the Platinum card, I had been eyeing one of AmEx’s Delta co-branded cards for some time. Seeing as Delta is my domestic airline of choice, it seemed logical to show my loyalty by getting one of their cards. However, each of those cards came with their own pros and cons. For example, in order to get free lounge access, I’d need to go with the Reserve card and its $450 annual fee — otherwise, I’d still need to pay $29 (times two since my wife would also be with me) to get into the Sky Club when I wanted. Another problem was that, while both cards offer bonus miles each year, there’s almost no way in hell I’d reach that minimum spend. Plus, while the initial bonus of 70,000 miles and 10,000 medallion qualifying miles were nice, the MQMs wouldn’t make the difference between Silver and Gold status for me this year.
That’s when I discovered the AmEx Platinum. The first thing that attracted me was that it too offered complimentary Sky Club access (a guest will still cost $29). But, doing me one better, it also includes access to the company’s Centurian Lounges as well as additional venues via Priority Pass. Funny enough, with McCarran Airport in Las Vegas sporting a Centurian Lounge, in theory, I could hang out there before catching an Allegiant flight home from CES next year. Pretty cool — but not worth $550 to me yet.
Then I learned about the Uber credits. Each month, the card entitles you to a $15 Uber credit, with an extra $20 coming in December for a total of $200. At first I was a tad concerned since we don’t take that many Uber rides but, apparently, these credits can also be used for Uber Eats. In that case, we can definitely use these credits to order in on some of our “Together Tuesdays” instead of going out or use them for free food during one of our workations.
On top of those perks, I was also intrigued by automatic gold status you get with both Hilton and Marriot (side note: now I wish I got the card before FinCon), a $200 statement credit for airline incidentals, a $50 bi-annual statement credit for Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Oh yeah, you also earn points that you can transfer to your frequent flyer account and book free trips. Sure, at this point, $550 still seemed steep, but then I changed my thinking slightly.
As luck would have it, this week my wife and I are visiting Disneyland Paris. While she already has an Annual Pass for the resort, we were determining whether it made sense for me to have one as well. This discussion made me think about the AmEx not as another credit card but as an Annual Pass of sorts — one that would allow us to have more enjoyable and comfortable travels but that also provides enough quantifiable perks to cover the annual cost. And that’s what led me to apply and, thankfully, get approved.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m still a bit intimidated about having the Platinum card. For one thing, the minimum spend I’ll need to reach in order to earn my sign-up bonus is a bit of a stretch for us. That said, with two more international trips already booked and the possibility of another, I think we’ll be able to swing it. But, more than that, I do feel like kind of an imposter walking around with a card clearly meant for those with at least six-figure salaries. Nevertheless, I’m excited to enjoy all of the perks of my new card and giving the experience a full review very soon.
Also published on Medium.