Can rewards justify the huge £575 fee on this top end Amex card?
I love a good reward or cashback card. Using one on my everyday spending is simply the easiest way to make money. And when these cards are free it’s even better.
But the American Express Platinum card isn’t free. It’s really, really expensive. So expensive you’d need to spend £10,150 in a year to earn enough points to cover the annual fee.
So is it one to avoid? Well boosted welcome bonuses and other perks might actually make it worth considering. In fact, I did (past tense) take advantage of these and got a chance to try it out. Here’s my review.
Watch my video review or keep reading
What is the Amex Platinum card
The American Express Platinum is the premium card on offer from Amex. It’s actually not a credit card and there’s no set credit limit or interest rate. Instead it’s what’s known as a charge card.
Effectively though it’s the same. You won’t have unlimited spending for a start, and you are required to pay off the full balance every single month (which is best practice anyway) otherwise you will be charged a fee.
As I’ve already mentioned, you’re looking at a huge £575 annual fee. That is paid upfront, so you need to factor in that cost at the start. However it is refunded pro-rata if you don’t keep it for the full year. So six months would cost half. We’ll come back to this later.
The card itself is metal. Though it’s not a reason to get one, I was surprised that I really liked it!
American Express Platinum
|Points||1 Amex Membership Reward point per £1 spent|
|Welcome bonus||60,000 points if you spend £6,000 in six months (until 31 May 2022)|
How much can you earn from spending?
The Amex Platinum earns Amex Membership Reward Points. You’ll get 1 point for every £1 you spend. These convert in a few ways:
- 1 point = 1 airline point (eg Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)
- 1 point = 0.8p in Nectar points if converted first to Avios (worth 0.5p if switched straight to Nectar)
- 1 point = 0.5p if swapped for a gift card (eg Amazon)
- 1 point = 0.45p if used as statement credit or spending direct with retailers (eg Argos)
As long as you’re likely to shop at a Nectar retailer (so Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos) then I think you’re looking at a 0.8% cashback rate on this card.
Points will hit your account pretty fast, so you won’t have to wait a year to use them like cashback earned on the Amex Platinum Cashback credit cards.
If you close your card down and don’t have an alternative Amex Membership card you’ll lose the points you’ve earned, so make sure you either open a new card or use your points.
How much is the welcome bonus?
The sign up bonus for the Amex Platinum is open to any new cardholders, or existing ones who haven’t had any Amex card that earns Membership Reward points in the last 24 months.
This means you might be able to get a second American Express bonus as long as you’ve not had the following in the last two years:
- Amex Preferred Rewards Gold
- Amex Rewards
- Amex Platinum
- Amex Green
But you’re good to go if you’ve had cards including:
- Amex Nectar
- Amex Platinum Cashback
- BA Amex
Boosted sign up offer
Until 31 May 2022 the welcome offer is doubled. There are 60,000 Amex Reward points available, worth £480 in Nectar points.
Factor in the extra 6,000 points you’ll earn from that £6k spend and that’s another £48, totalling £528 in Nectar points.
You’ll have six months to spend the £6,000 required to get this bonus. Make sure you can afford this and don’t buy extras you don’t need just to hit the threshold.
Once you trigger that bonus you are able to cancel the card and get a pro-rata refund. So if that is on the six-month mark, you’ll get £287.50 back. That leaves you with a profit of £240.50.
|OFFER||BONUS||ADDITIONAL POINTS EARNED ON QUALIFYING SPEND||TOTAL POINTS||VALUE AS NECTAR POINTS|
|Spend £6,000 in six months||60,000||6000||66,000||£528|
Standard sign up offer
The usual bonus is 30,000 points for a £4,000 spend over three months. This is worth £240 in Nectar points. You have to spend at least £4,000 to trigger the bonus. A penny less and won’t get it. Getting a supplementary card for your partner can make it easier to reach this figure.
Cancelling the card as soon as you hit this level will mean you get nine months of the fee back. That’s worth £431.25. So you’ll have effectively spent £143.75 to earn £240, giving you a profit of £96.25.
What other benefits are there?
There are a few extras that come with the Platinum worth factoring into your sums. Here are the core benefits.
Annual travel insurance
You get worldwide travel insurance for you, any supplementary cardholder and dependent children. Trips can last 90 days, or a full year for children under 25.
This is a decent benefit if you do travel a lot – except for one major flaw. You have to book your holiday and travel with the Platinum card for anything other than the basic medical cover.
Great if you can do this, but as anyone who has already had an Amex knows, not all retailers do. So our trip to New York earlier this year was covered, but a weekend in Rome wasn’t.
Other travel benefits
Airport lounge access
You’ll get a Priority Pass for access to a number of worldwide lounges, and access to more on top with the Platinum card itself. There’s also entry to the Eurostar lounge in London and Paris.
This was a nice little bonus for some peace and quiet, but the food was pretty poor in both London and New York so not something I’d want to pay for.
Book via Amex for a Fine Hotels & Resorts stay and you’ll get a room upgrade (if available), early check-in, late checkout and free breakfast. However you do need to book direct, and since we got a package of flight and hotel from BA, we missed out.
Or if you stay at Hilton, Marriot Bonvoy and some other chains you’ll get “gold” status, giving you things like upgrades.
There’s $200 cashback on each One Fine Stay bookings, but these are all quite high end and expensive, so not likely to be an offer you’ll use if you don’t already book there.
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Alongside the usual Amex offers, there are some specific to the Platinum card.
£100 Harvey Nicholls credit
Every six months (January to June and July to December) you’ll get £50 credit when you shop at Harvey Nicholls (including its restaurants). If you spend less than £50 you’ll only get what you spent back. If you spend more, the most you’ll get is £50. But twice a year and that’s £100 free. You only get this once per account on the main cardholder’s account.
£120 Addison Lee credit
There’s £10 credit every month for purchases made with taxi firm Addison Lee. Again this is just for the main cardholder, not supplementary ones. I think this is mainly in and around London
Possible other lifestyle credits
When we had our card in Autumn 2021 there was a £200 restaurant credit that could be used on one go or more. There’s no guarantee it’ll come back in 2022, but it’s one to look out for.
How does it compare?
If you’re looking for a card for the bulk of your spending (outside of the welcome bonus) then you can match the 0.8% without paying a fee. In fact you can beat it. Here are the best free cards (read more here).
|Chase Bank debit card (Mastercard)||1% cash (12 months only)|
|Nectar American Express credit card||1% (2 Nectar per £1)|
|Barclaycard Avios (Mastercard)||0.8% (1 Avios per £1)|
|American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card||0.8% (1 Amex Membership per £1)|
The 30,000 points usually on offer are decent, but largely wiped out by the fee. Even partially refunded after three months you’re betting less than £100. That means it’s easily beaten by other cards.
However if it’s boosted, ideally to the 60,000 on offer in late 2021 and spring 2022 then it could be a huge haul of around £240.
Here are the highest paying alternative cards:
|American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card||20,000 Amex Membership points (worth £184 in Nectar)||£0 (£140 in year two)|
|American Express Platinum Cashback credit card||5% on first £2,500 spent (worth up to £125)||£25|
|Nectar American Express credit card||20,000 Nectar points (worth £110 in Nectar points)||£0 (£25 in year two)|
Should you get the Amex Platinum?
When the welcome bonus on this card is boosted to 60,000 points it generates a huge windfall, especially if you only keep the card for as long as you need to.
In that time you can also take advantage of the extras such as £100 from Harvey Nicholls to boost your savings. And the metal card is nice to have.
But beyond this? It’s going to be hard to justify the outlay when you can earn cashback for free on other cards.
Yes you get travel insurance, but as we experienced you might need to buy extra on top. Yes there are airport lounge access passes and hotel benefits, but you might not be able to use them at your destinations, or you might get a better deal elsewhere.
I think most people are only going to benefit from a short burst of this card when there’s a boosted sign-up offer. But once you have that, transfer your points and cancel.