Relaxing in the Delta lounge before a flight.
Relaxing in the Delta lounge before a flight.

Of course $450/year is an awful lot to pay for a credit card. Is it worth it for the casual traveler? The less-than-affluent? The mom of teens? Absolutely. Here’s why it works for me:

  • Delta (and other) Airline Perks: I typically fly Delta Airlines, so having access to the lounge is a great perk for me. Since I don’t pay for baggage (mostly because I don’t check a bag, but also because I get free baggage through my Amex Delta card), I use my annual $200 credit towards upgrading my seat to Comfort+. This gets me more leg room, dedicated overhead bin space, Sky zone boarding, and free booze in-flight. The lounge benefit has changed, so I can no longer bring my family unless I add them as authorized users on my card.(Guests are allowed to enter into the Centurion Lounges.) For some families it would be worthwhile to do so.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck: Amex reimburses for the application fee. If you live near or will be traveling to a place where you can go for the Global Entry interview, it is worth while to spend the extra $15 rather than get just the TSA precheck. Both last for five years. Authorized users get this benefit too. I love breezing through security, not having to take off my shoes or unpack my laptop and liquids.
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts: I just returned from a stay at one of the Intercontinental Hotels where for $139/night we received $150 worth of free food and drink, club lounge access, a bottle of water and fresh fruit upon arrival, and a gorgeous view of the skyline from our room on the 19th floor. This was my first time using the benefit, and now I am wondering why I didn’t do so sooner. I just assumed only $300/night hotels were part of this benefit.

Even without using any of the many other benefits of this card, I’ve gotten my annual fee’s worth in 6 months:

  • $200 Airline credit
  • $100 Global Entry
  • $150 free food and drinks during a single hotel visit
  • $100 for 2 Delta lounge visits

There are loads of other benefits with this card including upgraded status with car rentals, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, cruise privileges, and other things that we normal people could use. Of course, you can also use the card to get $600 in credits when booking a private jet through them. That’s a review I’d love to be able to do but don’t see happening. A word about authorized users: I haven’t added my family members yet, but it’s worth considering. For $175 up to three authorized users can be added. (The $175 is a flat rate, not per person.) Each authorized user is given the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement but not the $200 airline credit. Each user can enter the Delta lounge and has access to the many of other perks this card has. Parents of teens: this card has the benefit of backdating, giving your teens a longer credit history than waiting until they are old enough to apply for their own card. I’ve read that parents can set limits on the amount that the teen can charge each month, taking the worry out of the “no pre-set limit” feature. Bottom line: Check out the perks, crunch the numbers, and see if having the card is worth it to you. The more you travel, the more you will get out of it, but even the casual traveler can benefit from the Platinum Card.