Last week, I finally decided to pull the trigger and apply for the AMEX Platinum Charge Card. This card has always been on my radar, but the steep annual fee of $1,728 held me back. This time, however, the sign-up bonus was just too good to pass up. After crunching the numbers and weighing the benefits, I concluded that the intrinsic value I’d gain from the card would be worth more than the initial cost—especially in the first year.
Interested in applying? You can use my referral link here. While I do get referral benefits for this, if you have a friend who has sent you their referral link, feel free to use that instead. It’s all about sharing the perks!
Before diving into the benefits and calculations, there are important considerations to note:
- Personal Valuation: The benefits you see are based on my own preferences and lifestyle. Your experience may differ.
- Subjective Worth of Offers: The perceived value of certain offerings, like dining vouchers or complimentary hotel stays, may differ from person to person. For example, if I receive a $200 dining voucher, I may choose to fully utilize it. However, in reality, I might not value it at $200, as I wouldn’t normally spend that much on dining. The same logic applies to high-value items like business class flights, which I might not pay for but would happily accept if offered for free.
- Unused Benefits: There may be benefits that hold zero value to me because I have no intention of using them. For example, even if a spa package offers $300 worth of services for $50, it holds no value to me if I don’t intend to use it.
The point of this exercise is to provide a framework for how I approach the valuation of credit card benefits. Everyone has their own methods and metrics for valuation, and this is merely my way of navigating through it.
The Bottom Line
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to give you a definitive answer on whether the AMEX Platinum Charge Card is worth it. Instead, I encourage you to run your own calculations based on your lifestyle and spending habits to decide if it makes sense for you. The point of this exercise is to provide a framework for how I approach the valuation of credit card benefits. Everyone has their own methods and metrics for valuation, and this is merely my way of navigating through it.
1. The Lure of Bonus Points
One of the most enticing features of the AMEX Platinum Charge Card is the bonus points on offer. As a new member, I’m set to earn 132,500 bonus points plus an additional 7,500 base points when I spend the first $6,000. This totals 140,000 points.
Calculating the Value
The conversion rate from points to miles is 400 points to 250 miles. There’s a list of airline partners and hotel chains where these points can be converted. To determine what these points are worth, it’s essential to break down their conversion rate. These 140,000 points can be converted to 87,500 miles.
Utilizing the current CitiPayAll promotion as a baseline, I value miles at 1.2 cents per mile (even though the actual rate is 1.22 cents/mile, for simplicity, we’ll use 1.2 cents/mile). Therefore, the intrinsic value of these points comes to approximately $1,050.
City PayAll is a payment service that allows you to use your credit card to pay for expenses that traditionally don’t accept credit card payments. This includes payments like income tax, certain insurance policies, and rental costs. While this service does come with a fee, the advantage is that you can earn miles on these payments. Based on the recent promotion that started last week, I’ve calculated the value of a mile to be 1.22 cents. This rate essentially sets a benchmark for how much a mile is worth to me, offering a way to assess the value of miles earned through other methods or promotions.
2. Local Dining Perks: More Than Just a Meal
A unique advantage of the AMEX Platinum Charge Card is the dining benefits it offers. As a newly approved cardholder, I’ll get to enjoy two sets of $200 credits in my first membership year, summing up to a total of $400. Note that this is only for the first application.
Maximizing the Benefits
Although dining at a $200-per-meal restaurant isn’t a usual habit for me, the card’s Love Dining Discount and Chillex Benefit enhance the offer. With these discounts, I can offset up to $400 of my transaction at selected restaurants like Sichuan Douhua and Botanical or the River House. Given that I get two sets of $200 credits, I’m valuing this benefit at its full value of $400.
An Annual Dining Privilege
With the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, cardholders now get up to $400 annually to spend at some of the best restaurants around the world. This includes up to $200 statement credits in Singapore to be used at over 25 local restaurants each year.
A Note on Participating Restaurants
For the most current list of participating restaurants for the Local Dining Credit and Abroad Dining Credit, be sure to click on the this link to check before you dine. These restaurants are subject to change.
3. Savoring the Flavors Abroad: Overseas Dining Benefit
The AMEX Platinum Charge Card also offers Overseas Dining Benefits, accessible at a range of restaurants worldwide through the Platinum Global Dining Program. I intend to use this benefit on my upcoming trip to Tokyo and on a later company trip to Rome.
Valuation with a Haircut
While these benefits are great, I must note that these restaurants are not my go-to dining spots. Therefore, I’m applying a 25% “haircut” to the valuation. The benefit provides two statements of $200 each for dining, which totals $400. After applying the 25% haircut, the intrinsic value I assign to this benefit is $300.
4. Pampering or Gifting: The $400 Lifestyle Credit
The AMEX Platinum Charge Card grants a $400 Lifestyle Credit, which kicks in once I spend $600 in certain establishments. These range from wine concierge services like Grand Cru Wine Concierge to various spa options.
A Deeper Cut: Valuing the Lifestyle Credit
I’ll be honest: Spas are not my scene. While the Grand Cru Wine Concierge is an interesting option, it’s not a place where I would typically shop for wine. Because of these limitations, I am applying a 50% “haircut” to the value of this credit. Given that I need to spend an additional $200 out of pocket to unlock the full $600 benefit, I’m valuing this credit at $200.
5. Streaming and Events: The $204 Entertainment Credit
This card comes with a unique perk: a $204 Entertainment Credit, which is doled out as $17 monthly credits. This credit can be applied to a variety of platforms, including Audible, Eventbrite, Disney+, Netflix Singapore, SPH Media, and Ticketmaster.
Value Calculation: Making the Most of Monthly Credits
I’m not a consistent Netflix subscriber but shows like “Squid Game” sometimes tempt me to sign up for a month or two. Disney+, however, has caught my attention with its line-up. The $17 monthly entertainment credit perfectly aligns with this. So, for Disney+, which costs $11.98 per month, I would apply the credit and effectively get it for free. The credit is issued monthly, meaning I cannot use it for an annual subscription. Valuing this benefit, it comes out to $11.98 x 12, amounting to a benefit of around $143.76 for the year.
6. The Airline Dilemma: $200 Airline Credit
Another benefit this card offers is a $200 airline credit, but there’s a catch. This credit only applies to flights with Singapore Airlines or Scoot and has a minimum spend requirement of $600 in a single transaction. The purchase must also be made in SGD and flights have to originate from Singapore.
My Valuation: Not Every Benefit Suits Everyone
For my situation, this credit doesn’t hold much value. I usually redeem flights using miles, and when I do pay for flights, they are typically shorter trips like to Kuala Lumpur, not surpassing the $600 requirement. Therefore, I can’t realistically use this benefit, leading me to assign it a value of zero. However, for those who frequently travel with family or prefer to purchase flights outright, this $200 credit could be fully utilized and hold significant value.
7. The Fashionista’s Perk: $150 Fashion Credit at Net-A-Porter or Mr. Porter
This benefit is a bit more niche but can be quite valuable for those interested in fashion. The credit is split into two allotments of $75 each, distributed every six months. While the selections at Net-A-Porter and Mr. Porter are generally on the higher end, there are items under $75, making it possible to fully utilize this credit without spending extra.
My Valuation: A Useful Credit with Limitations
Given that there are products I’m interested in that cost below $75, I can leverage this credit effectively. However, due to the limited nature of the items I would actually buy, I’m applying a 30% “haircut” to the credit’s value. Therefore, I value this benefit at 70% of $150, which is $105.
8. Welcome Kit Vouchers: A Mixed Bag of Offers
The AMEX Platinum Charge Card Welcome Kit comes with an array of hard-copy vouchers. While some might not be particularly useful for everyone, there are a few standout options that hold value.
Complimentary One-Night Hotel Stay
The card includes a voucher for a complimentary one-night stay at selected properties. While I’m not a fan of staycations in Singapore, I do find value in using this voucher for an overseas stay. A possible option for me is the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur. Typically, I would stay in more budget-friendly hotels like Traders Hotel or Shangri-La, which cost around $120-200 per night. Given that the voucher could potentially offer a more luxurious stay and likely includes breakfast, I’m assigning it a value of $250.
Tower Club, Winehouse, and Hotel Goodies
The kit also includes a $100 Tower Club voucher, a $50 Winehouse voucher, and two complimentary cakes or wines at Fairmont Hotel or Swiss Hotel, the Stamford. These vouchers offer some flexibility but aren’t things I would typically purchase on my own. Aggregating their value, I’ll assign a modest value of $100 for all these combined.
9. Lounge Benefits and Hotel Status: Not a Priority for Me
The AMEX Platinum Charge Card comes with a range of lounge benefits, including access to Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Lounge, International American Express Lounge, Plaza Premium, and Priority Pass. It also offers Hilton Gold and Marriott Bonvoy status.
While these statuses might be enticing for frequent travelers, I rarely stay at Hilton or Marriott properties. Given their generally higher price points and my preference for convenience over luxury, I can’t assign any value to these statuses.
As for the lounge benefits, I already have access to Priority Pass and Plaza Premium lounges through my Citi Prestige Card. Though Centurion and Delta Sky Lounges are considered valuable, I don’t foresee traveling to Western countries where these lounges are predominantly located. Furthermore, when I do fly business class, I tend to use the SQ Lounge provided by the airline. Consequently, I also can’t assign any value to these lounge benefits.
10. KOMO Club C5 Voucher Membership: Selective Value for Me
The AMEX Platinum Charge Card includes a KOMO Club C5 Voucher Membership. This membership grants me an array of exclusive experiences, limited edition items, and invites to special events. Here are the benefits in detail:
– $200 Shopping Voucher at Club 21 Singapore or Kids 21 Singapore
– $40 Dining Voucher at KOMO Dempsey
– $20 Grocery Voucher for Super Nature Singapore or Culinary Market Singapore
– KOMO Shambhala Singapore Invigorate Essential Oil and Mask Diffuser
– Cockage Waiver at KOMO Dempsey
– Dr. Hair Deep Cleansing Scalp Treatment
As the card allows for two supplementary cards, the total voucher value I would get is $780 ($260 x 3). However, considering that I’m not a frequent shopper at Club 21 Singapore or Kids 21 Singapore, I won’t assign the full value to these vouchers. Instead, I’ll give a 30% haircut to the overall value, which brings it to 70% x $780 = $546.
Total Valuation: The Sum of the Benefits
Before diving into the total valuation, it’s worth noting that the true worth of any credit card will always depend on your individual lifestyle and spending habits. In my case, I’ve taken a conservative approach in valuing the benefits. Now, let’s add up the various credits and vouchers I’m set to receive:
- Krisflyer Miles: $1,050
- Local dining: $400
- Overseas Dining: $300
- Lifestyle Credit: $200
- Entertainment Credit: $143.76
- Airline Credit: $0
- Fashion Credit: $105
- Hotel and Other Vouchers: $350
- Lounge and Hotel Status: $0
- KOMO Club C5 Vouchers: $546
Total = $3,094.76
The True Cost: Annual Fee and Spending Requirement
In terms of cost, the AMEX Platinum Charge Card comes with an annual fee of $1,728. Additionally, there is a spending requirement of $6,000 to unlock all the card’s benefits. However, it’s important to note that I won’t be using this card to cover that $6,000 in expenditures directly. Instead, I’ll be utilizing other cards in my arsenal that offer better rewards rates for various categories. For example, UOB Lady’s Card (Yes, the men do get it now) gives me $6,000 per dollar for travel and dining, and my Preferred Platinum Card and AMAZE Card offer 4 miles per dollar for most of my general spending.
Given this strategy, my plan is to meet the $6,000 requirement through IPayMy, which is not under exclusion for this card.
IPayMy is another service similar to City PayAll. It enables you to make payments for things like rent, insurance, and even school fees, which traditionally don’t accept credit cards. The unique feature of IPayMy is that it allows you the flexibility to use different credit cards to make these payments, enabling you to earn miles and cashback depending on the card you use. Given that IPayMy charges a fee of 2.25%, I factor this into my initial cost calculations when considering the overall value of welcome gifts or points earned through the service, which will translate to an additional cost of $135. Therefore, the total fee I’ll be incurring for the card is $1,728 (annual fee) + $135 (CardUp fee) = $1,863.
The Final Verdict: Is It Worth It?
In assessing the value proposition of the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, it’s essential to calculate the extra value you’re obtaining. In my case, the total benefits I expect to gain amount to $3,094.76, while my total outlay comes to $1,863. By subtracting the cost from the benefits and then dividing by the cost, I arrive at a 66.11% additional value. In monetary terms, that’s an extra $1,231.76 in my pocket, which is a very attractive proposition.
It’s also crucial to point out that these numbers are based on conservative estimates. On top of this, there are other perks I haven’t quantified—like Hilton or Marriott status upgrades, which could bring additional luxuries such as complimentary breakfast and room upgrades.
In conclusion, the AMEX Platinum Charge Card presents a strong value proposition based on individual circumstances and spending habits. Your mileage may vary, so it’s essential to crunch your own numbers and consider how the card’s myriad benefits align with your lifestyle and financial goals.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This is not a collaboration between myself and American Express. I am simply sharing my personal experiences and calculations regarding the AMEX Platinum Charge Card. Before making any financial decisions, especially involving significant amounts of money, I highly recommend doing your own due diligence and consulting a certified financial planner. I am not responsible for any actions you take based on the information presented here.