How AMEX Got Me Back As A Platinum Card Member

by joeheg

I’ve known for a while the game that AMEX is playing when it comes to their charge cards. They keep increasing the annual fee while adding benefits that may or may not be helpful to you. They also offer credits on purchases which may seem like cash but aren’t the same.

I got fed up with playing the game in 2018 and canceled my Platinum Card.

I never regretted my decision and I learned it was easy to live without a Platinum Card as other banks have cards with similar benefits and bonus categories.

However, the Platinum Card benefits, like access to Delta SkyClubs when flying with Delta, will come in handy for four planned trips this year. Eventually, I decided it wasn’t worth wasting a sign-up for SkyClub access.

That’s when AMEX gave me 75,000 extra reasons to get a Platinum Card.

a screenshot of a card

This was an upgrade offer I received on my AMEX Gold card. While I didn’t want to let go of my Rose Gold card, these benefits were too good to pass up. Besides all of the Platinum Card benefits, I’d get 5X points at restaurants and U.S. Supermarkets (the same categories I was earning 4X points with the Gold AMEX,)

When I clicked through to the upgrade offer, I got some extra details.

a screenshot of a card

To earn the 75,000 Membership Rewards bonus, I’d have to spend $6,000 on the card in 6 months. Besides restaurants and supermarkets, my new Platinum Card would earn 5X at gas stations for the first 6 months.

It didn’t take me long to jump at the offer. And despite the rather messy upgrade process for a $700 card, I was approved, despite never receiving a welcome email from AMEX.

While 75,000 Membership Rewards is a great sign-up bonus, It wouldn’t always be enough for me to spend $695. There had to be other reasons to get the card. I’m going into this knowing that I’ll have to do some work to get my money from the annual fee back from AMEX and I sorted the benefits into categories.

  • Things I’ll definitely use whether I have credits or not
  • Things I’ll use but otherwise wouldn’t have if I didn’t have credits
  • Things I might use but probably won’t
  • Things I definitely won’t use.

Platinum benefits I’ll definitely use

Streaming Media Credit – $20/month – $240 yearly.

We already pay for a New York Times subscription and I immediately changed it to my payment method after upgrading to the Platinum Card.

I’ve already received my first $20 monthly credit.

a screenshot of a phone

Clear Membership Credit – Up to $179/year

Since I’m a Delta SkyMiles co-brand credit card member, I pay $109 for a Clear membership and pay an additional $60 to add a family member. That means we’ll get a $169 credit every year.

However, we already get a $100 Clear credit from Sharon’s Green AMEX.

Centurion Lounge Access

I’ll throw this into the will use category but I’m not sure if I’ll actually use it. Back when we had the Platinum Card, we visited the clubs at LGA, MIA and SEA.

In 2017, the bartender provided a complimentary champagne toast for our anniversary (even though real champagne is usually reserved for Centurion Card members.)

a man and woman drinking wine I’m not sure we’ll be able to take advantage of this perk in the next year, but we will if it’s available.

Benefits I’ll Use Only Because I Have AMEX Credits

$200 Airline Fee Credit

I know I’ll use this credit, but I hate the hoops I need to jump through to get the money.

Monthly Walmart+ Credit – $12.95/month – $155 yearly

We don’t currently have Walmart+ and only will be signing up for the service for the year because it’s free. We might be able to save some money over the year but until I find out how much we’ll use the service, I can’t put a value on it.

Uber Cash –  $200 per year

I already used my $10 monthly Uber credit from the AMEX Gold card. No meal from Uber Eats or Uber ride costs less than $10 so I was already paying extra every time I used it. I’ll get an extra $80 in value over what I was getting before.

Saks Fifth Avenue Credit – $100 per year

I’ve used this benefit before and I had to search the website for something I would use that cost around $50 (which isn’t easy at Saks.)

Things I Might Use But Probably Not

Fine Hotels & Resorts Hotel Credit – $200 yearly

If you prepay for a Fine Hotels & Resorts or Hotel Collection property through the AMEX Travel website, you’ll get a $200 credit. I’ve only used the FH&R website once because most of the places we stay aren’t fancy and when we stay at a nice hotel, I’m paying for it with points. I’ll check if anywhere we’re going is on the list and if saving $200 makes using the credit worth it.

Rental Car Discounts and Upgrades

I’ll add the AMEX Platinum to the list of eligible discounts when I search for a rate on Autoslash. The status bumps with the Platinum Card are the same or worse than I already have through other means.

Platinum Concierge

While I usually don’t think much of credit card concierge services, the AMEX concierge can occasionally come in handy. I don’t plan to use them, but it’s nice to know it’s there if I need them.

Things I Won’t Use

  • SoulCycle credit
  • Private jet service
  • Shoprunner
  • Cellphone protection

Why It Made Sense To Get The Platinum AMEX Card

Doing some quick math, it made sense to get the card. The annual fee is $695 so I’ve dug quite a hole to get back to even, not to mention this being a great deal.

The two credits I’ll use with no effort are the $240 in digital credits and $169 Clear reimbursement.

$695 – $240 – $169 = I still need another $283 in credits to break even.

I am stopping here to think if I would get the AMEX Platinum Card if there were a 75,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus for a $299 annual fee. I probably would, so I’m confident this is a good deal, at least for the first year.

With some effort and recklessly spending money I otherwise wouldn’t, I can unlock another $650 – $850 in value.

  • $200 Airline Fee Credit
  • $200 Uber Credit
  • $155 Walmart+ Subscription
  • $100 Saks Credit
  • $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts Credit

Whether I keep the card past the first year is up in the air. It depends on how difficult it is to use the credits listed above. If I’m struggling to break even, I’ll downgrade to one of the other AMEX charge cards.

Regardless of how it happened, AMEX managed to get me to rejoin the Platinum club. Let’s see how long I stay this time.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Alex S. February 22, 2022 - 6:22 pm

I decided to keep the Plat card as well. I have my family as AU on them, in addition to having the Rose and the Delta plat card, I will definitely use almost 80% of the benefits with each card. Thankfully I have 3 companion vouchers to use with my Delta Plat, that alone is worth the annual fee. I use the xm radio subscription and peacock so that takes care of the $20 media credit. Im sure I will definitely get use out of these this year.

John Wysocki February 23, 2022 - 6:46 pm

I think I am a bit confused …. so you DOWNgraded to Gold some time ago, then UPgraded back to Platinum? I thought that AMX only allowed a single lifetime bonus for these cards, or is that only on the affiliated ones? If I misread, I apologize.

joeheg February 23, 2022 - 9:56 pm

I had a Platinum Card and canceled it. Applied for a Gold Card, which I’ve never had before and got the signup bonus approx 1 year ago. Was targeted for an upgrade offer (which is different from a signup bonus.)
AMEX cards are usually once per lifetime but occasionally they’ll send an offer without the once in a lifetime language.


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