The American Express Platinum card has a high annual fee, but the travel rewards it brings can pay for itself in 1 trip. I shied away from applying until about a year ago and have seen how the card pays for itself.
I used the American Express Platinum card on an international trip for a river cruise vacation over Thanksgiving week in 2016. Here’s how using the card paid off for itself in benefits with this one trip:
United Airlines is listed as my preferred airline with my AmEx, which will reimburse me for $200 in United Airline charges annually. I usually save my AmEx spend on United for something like seat upgrades or lounge access. I upgraded our international coach seats (already purchased with a different card) to economy plus, which cost over $200 for 2 seats, but I got $200 back from American Express. The bonus to this was that economy plus on the flight was nearly empty and we each scored a row of seats to ourselves to stretch out and sleep on the trip.
Uber happened to be running a promotion over the holidays with American Express giving card holders 2 free rides valued at a total of $65. This covered our transport to and from the Chicago airport, which is normally about $30 each way with Uber.
American Express offers onboard credits with several cruise lines if you pay with the card. I scored $300 stateroom credit on our cruise.
If you add this all up, this one trip got me $560 in value, $110 more than the annual card fee. Add in the other benefits of the card I used on the trip, like free lounge access, Boingo internet, plus the usage I’ll get the rest of the year and this makes the card a no-brainer!