American Express Platinum: Why pay $450 when you can pay $0?

American express platinum card

American Express Platinum: Why pay $450 when you can pay $0?

The American Express Platinum card is a very high end charge card (can’t carry a balance) that is chock full of great travel benefits.  Because of these great benefits the annual fee for this card is $450 a year.

American express platinum card

The benefits:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit (per calendar year)
  • Priority Pass Select (for over 600 airport lounges around the world)
  • Access to Delta SkyClub when flying on Delta Airlines
  • Access to Centurion Lounges (at LAS, DFW, SFO, LGA and soon MIA, SEA)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
  • Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status (Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, etc.)
  • Other extra warranties, travel insurances, etc
  • Feel overly important

Currently along with these benefits you will get 40,000 Membership rewards points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.  These are some of the flexible points I do collect and they have some useful transfer partners that I have listed below (my most used transfer is Singapore Airlines):

Membership rewards transfer partners

Airline Transfer Partners

Membership rewards transfer partners

Hotel Transfer Partners

While you are getting a lot of benefits, which are nice, unless you travel a lot you are really paying $450 for 40,000 MR points (plus the value you can get out of the airline credits which could take a bit of work). Now some people think that could be well worth it. Maybe you are 40K points from a dream redemption or you place a high value on these points. I have used these points for great redemptions on Singapore Airlines but I prefer other flexible points currencies (Ultimate rewards from Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card).  But if that is the real goal there are other ways to get those points that we will list later.

So how do I not pay $450 then?

If you are interested in getting all these benefits including a total of $400 in airline gifts cards (from airline fee credit) but don’t really want to pay for point then you should do what I did a year ago.  Apply for the Ameriprise American Express Platinum Card! This card is meant for Ameriprise Financial customers but in reality anyone can apply and be approved for it.  This card grants you all of the above benefits EXCEPT the points but cost ZERO dollars for the first year!

DFW centurion lounge american express

Dallas Airport Centurion Lounge

So what made you pull the trigger on this card?

There were a couple reason I decided to get this card last year.  First, I wanted Global Entry (a service that allows quick re-entry to the US when returning from international trips), I wanted some lounge benefits for some big trips I had planned and I wanted to cut the cost of a United flight I had to take in couple months that I couldn’t use points for.  I also wanted these benefit for Katie without having to pay for it.

This deal also allows up to 3 authorized users for FREE (usually $175).  This is important because each user gets all of the benefits listed above (except the airline credit).  And in my situation it allows both people to get into the Priority Pass Lounges for free since both of you have a card (usually a guest is $27).

So what did you get out of owning this card for a year for $0?

  • Katie and I both got Global Entry ($200)
  • Katie and I both had access to Priority Pass, Centurion and Delta Lounges when we traveled
  • We both got Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status
  • $200 in United Airlines credit (Through gift registry work around in first calendar year)
  • $200 in Southwest Airlines eGift Cards (Second calender year)
  • We also got $100 in American Airlines eGift Cards as a gift since they were losing access to AA lounges last year

So as you can see, I feel like I got a lot of benefit out of this card, although it takes a little work to get the airline fee credits to pay for flights as I did (they are meant for bag fees, seat fees, change fees, etc.).  Will I keep this card another year and pay the annual fee of $450 this year?  Absolutely not.  I will either wait 6-12 months and apply again or have Katie get the card to get us the credits and benefits.  Now would I pay the $450 if I got a target 100K bonus as some people have?  Yeah, I would probably have to consider doing that.

Why is this important?

If you search for this card or read many travel/points blogs you will see this card strewn about with whole posts justifying the $450 for this card.  And if the bonus is up to 40K as it is now then it will likely have AMAZING, AWESOME, INCREASED BONUS, etc attached to it.  Why is this?  Because these bloggers get paid BIG BUCKS if you are approved through their links so they will do what they can to justify it.  There are some awesome blogs that I would be happy to help out but always realize when you are being sold to and don’t encourage them by clicking their links.


So this card is certainly not for everyone but it does give you a lot of value if you get it for the right price.  If you are going to be doing a lot of traveling this upcoming year or would just like to have some VIP type benefits for a change this could be an option for you.  Do remember this is a CHARGE card so you can not carry a balance (not that you ever should anyway).   I actually only use it for the benefits, not as a way to generate points.

I’m not even putting the link to the 40K standard offer because it is the worst one.

♥ NO annual fee the 1st year: Ameriprise American Express Platinum Credit Card

♦ If you want points too, this is a better offer, more benefits and more points (50K points for $475 fee): Mercedes Benz AMEX Platinum

♠ If you want MR points for free get one of these cards: Gold Premier and AMEX Everyday.  Both of these cards are free the 1st year and the Everyday card has no annual fee.  These cards are also much better for generating points with their great bonus categories compared to the Platinum.

ATTENTION: The link to the Gold card is showing a 50K point offer with no fee the first year when I attached it, which is a good deal.  I would much rather have that then the 25K I got 3 months ago (I’m dumb).  If the 50K offer does not come up then right click and open in an “incognito” or “private” window, that’s what worked for me.

—-If there are questions on how to get these airlines credits to become gifts cards or buy flights, or if there are questions on the best way/how to use these points, don’t hesitate to ask!

2 Comments on “American Express Platinum: Why pay $450 when you can pay $0?

  1. Very interesting offer. I notice that it says that it is for Ameriprise Financial Clients. Do you know if people who are not clients can be approved for this card?

    • Yes, they can. I am not an Ameriprise client and I was instanly approved.

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