The American Express Platinum Card offers hotel status upgrades, complimentary Priority Pass and unlimited worldwide lounge access, a CAD $200 travel credit, various types of travel insurance, and a generous Welcome Bonus Membership Rewards points.
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Reason 1. Hotel Status Upgrades
As a cardmember of the American Express Platinum Card, you would be eligible for status upgrades at the following hotel chains:
- Hilton Honors Gold Status, conventionally achievable with 28 nights of hotel stays within a calendar year
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, conventionally achievable with 25 nights of hotel stays within a calendar year
- Radisson Rewards Americas Gold Status, conventionally achievable with 30 nights of hotel stays within a calendar year
By simply owning the AMEX Platinum Card, you would not need to complete 25–30 nights of hotel stays to achieve these hotel loyalty program statuses, which are worth a sum of money on its own, as they allow you to be rewarded with amenities such as free breakfast, dining vouchers, late check-out, depending on the property you are staying in.
In my case, to receive these status upgrades, I had to call AMEX upon receiving my card and tell them I would like to have my hotel status upgraded. I only opted to upgrade Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy as I do not want to spread myself too thin across three different hotel loyalty programs.
Reason 2. Complimentary Priority Pass and Lounge Access
If you love airport lounges, then the AMEX Platinum Card has got your back.
The card has one of the most extensive complimentary lounge access for its cardholders. Aside from having access to lounges in the AMEX Global Lounge Collection website, you will also be eligible for a Priority Pass membership at the Prestige tier. This membership level conventionally requires an annual fee of USD $429, where possessing it will allow you free access to all airport lounges within the Priority Pass network. As of 2023, Priority Pass members have access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide.
You would also have access to the following lounge collections:
- The Centurion Lounge
- Plaza Premium Lounge (used to be accessible under the Priority Pass network until July 2021)
- Delta Sky Club
- Escape Lounges
- Executive Lounges by Swissport
A photo showing the thickness of the American Express Platinum Card. The card is made of metal, weighing around 18.5 grams. Other non-metal credit cards typically weigh only around 5 grams.
Reason 3. Statement Credits and Promotions
Aside from the travel benefits above, there are also dining and lifestyle benefits that you can partake in every now and then.
One of the most notable offers I was able to get some time ago as a holder of the American Express Platinum Card was receiving up to CAD $175 in statement credits for spending up to CAD $175 in selected dining establishments (essentially a free dining credit).
In my time of owning the card, there have been many other statement credit offers from TransLink, Subway, and Amazon, as well as from brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, 1Password, Dropbox, Parachute, Indeed, and more.
Reason 4. $200 Annual Travel Credit
The Amex Platinum Card offers a CAD $200 annual travel credit that can be used for flight bookings, hotel reservations, and car rentals. This credit is only usable for bookings made in the American Express Travel Online website, where eligible reservations will show an option that you can opt to pay using the travel credit.
Keep in mind that although making a flight booking or airline reservation through AMEX Travel may not entitle you to collecting airline miles or hotel nights, you may still be able to enjoy your typical airline or hotel status benefits for the booking (such as complimentary check-in baggages, hotel breakfast, etc.)
Of course, whether you can do so or not depends on the airline or hotel property, since typically you would only be able to automatically enjoy your status benefits when you book with them directly. You can always ask upon check-in whether you are able to link your existing membership status with the airline / hotel to the booking you made through the American Express Travel Online website.
Reason 5. Automatic Travel Insurance
When you book flights, hotels, or car rentals that are fully charged to your AMEX Platinum Card, you are automatically covered by the following travel insurance. The bookings do not necessarily have to be made through the American Express Travel Online website for the insurance to be active.
- Out of Province / Country Emergency Medical Insurance
- Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Trip Interruption Insurance
- Flight Delay Insurance
- Baggage Delay Insurance
- Hotel Burglary Insurance
- Lost of Stolen Baggage Insurance
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
To read more about the insurance listed above, head to the American Express: The Platinum Card webpage.
Reason 6. Membership Rewards Points
If you have not previously owned an American Express Platinum Card, applying and getting approved for the card will make you eligible for a Welcome Bonus Membership Rewards (MR) points. This Welcome Bonus changes from time to time (for the latest offer, check here).
Within the American Express website itself, there is an option to convert your Amex MR points into statement credits, where every 1,000 AMEX MR points are worth around CAD $10. This means that 100,000 AMEX MR points can be converted into $1,000 worth of statement credits.
However, the value of an AMEX MR points can be higher than that, depending on how you use them. For example:
- Amex MR points can be transferred to Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio, so if you have 100,000 Amex MR points, they can be converted into 100,000 Aeroplan points.
- Sites like Ratehub and NerdWallet calculate the worth of 1 Aeroplan point as around CAD $0.019 to CAD $0.02. This means 100,000 Aeroplan points on average can be worth around CAD $1,900 to CAD $2,000.
- If you were to make flight bookings using your Aeroplan points during certain promotions, the value of your points can stretch even further.
AMEX MR points can also be transferred to other airline or hotel loyalty programs, such as Delta Skymiles at a 4:3 ratio or Marriott Bonvoy at a 5:6 ratio.
Reason 7. Other Benefits
There are other benefits that come with the Amex Platinum Card, such as:
- Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan, which extends the manufacturer’s warranty of purchased items for one additional year.
- Purchase Protection Plan, which insures purchased items against accidental damage and theft for 120 days from the date of purchase for up to CAD $1,000 per occurrence.
- Access to Priority Security Lane, complimentary valet services, and discounted parking rates at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
You can read more about all these other benefits in the American Express: The Platinum Card webpage.
So is it all worth it for a $699 annual fee?
If you travel a few times a year, whether domestically, between provinces, or internationally, I personally think that the American Express Platinum Card offers premium benefits that are indeed worth the annual fee.
For a start, the Annual Travel Credit itself already offsets the annual card fee by CAD $200, let alone the value received from the travel insurance, Priority Pass membership (worth USD $429) as well as complimentary lounge access, and hotel status upgrades (think of the number of meals you would have to pay out of pocket otherwise in airports and hotels).
Are you a cardmember or are you thinking of applying for the card? Do you think it's worth it for the annual fee?
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