This is a friendly rebuttal to Sriram’s “Devil’s Advocate” post, in which he claimed the American Express Platinum Card is overrated. Clearly, some of his comments were meant to be one-sided, but I’ve decided to publish a response to argue why the Platinum Card is still a great value.
Yes, it is true that American Express has reaped enormous profits over the years by telling its customer base that they are part of the creme-de-la-creme when it comes to prestige and exclusivity (never mind the fact that competing cards, like Citibank’s Prestige, goes as far as to actually incorporate the name into its brand).
But, when it comes to the American Express Platinum Card, the strategy has always been tailored towards road-warriors, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been all about targeting millennials.
Point by point, here’s my counterargument to Sriram’s claims.
A Gimmicky Travel Credit: So What?
Sriram says that he doesn’t like to play games to take advantage of a perk. Well, that may be so in his case, but in all sincerity, I consider this to be a relatively minor, hassle-free travel hack to simply optimize the usage of the card’s travel reimbursement credit. I personally think it is a very sensible strategy since these gift cards never expire, and can be really handy in the event of a pinch. Say you need to book a last minute flight and fares are $300? Well, with the $200 in gift card vouchers, you can minimize the damage that this has on your wallet.
Yes, it is somewhat annoying that you can only choose one airline, once per year. But, don’t we all tend to select one single airline to fly, anyway? What would be the point of wanting to switch from American to Delta if you live in city like Phoenix, AZ, for example?
An Even More Gimmicky Uber Credit: You’re Not Powerless Here
I Uber more than others because I live in the downtown area of a major urban metropolis where parking is rough. Okay, fine, I like to enjoy a few adult sodas every now and then and so naturally, Uber is a safe, effective means of transport. For people like Sriram, who claims to use Uber for personal transport, “only once every few months,” we at least know that Sriram enjoys an adult soda every now and then, and even takes selfies with his bevies on planes. So, why not let your hair down and let the Uber driver take the wheel on your next night out on the town, Mr. Mean Meosh? We can have drinks together, in fact, and talk about airlines!
Mediocre Points on Everyday Spend and Travel Insurance: You Win There
The points category for AMEX platinum does suck, except if you want to take the airline benefit. However, there are some workarounds for this: you could purchase travel insurance for an extra ~$20 for a roundtrip flight. While the $20 will not go towards the 5x bonus points, you’ll still get the same protection as you would on other cards. Remember, even though programs like Chase and Citi have awesome travel delay protections, you still have to go through the claims process which is time-consuming and requires paperwork.
Serially Overcrowded Centurion Lounges: True, but…
I’ll agree: the crowding situation at Centurion lounges, especially at Dallas/Ft. Worth and San Francisco airports have gotten out of hand. The good news is, though, that Amex changed the policy to allow each cardmember two guests or two family members, rather than two guests or all immediate family members, as was previously the case. A lot of travelers have more than two family members, so the crowding situation was getting to be out of control.
Furthermore, my hope is the opening of new lounges, like the Polaris lounge in SFO or the American Airlines Flagship lounge will entice more customers to visit those lounges once they’re accessible.
Hotel and Rental Car Status: This Is Worth Jts Weight in Gold (Literally)
My Master’s program had us staying at the Le Meridien Stoneleigh every other weekend for an entire semester. We got complimentary drinks at the bar and the opportunity to draw from the Starwood, “Gold Bowl” every time we checked in. I accumulated a ton of points this way, not to mention, free nights to redeem at SPG Hotels and Marriott.
I’ve also been able to exercise upgrades to hotel rooms and rental car services thanks to having Gold Status from the Amex Platinum card.
Boingo Wifi: BINGO
There have been numerous occasions where I’ve been stuck at airports due to delays and the free airport WiFi only allows for 30 minute complimentary sessions, where I have to watch a stupid video, click on some checkbox or download some app that will likely cause a virus or engineer some sort of hack, but thanks to the Amex Platinum card, I can log-in to Boingo WiFi and surf the web or watch Netflix for as long as I please, without interruption.
Summary: The Amex Platinum Card Is Still Worth It
I’ve outlined all my beliefs in this blog post. While Sriram does raise some good points, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is overrated. After all, if it was the same card as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, what would even be the point of having competing products for the same target market?