- Green Member
- Posts: 3
- Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:25 am
- Location: Belgrade, Serbia
I just had the same debate with myself, and upgraded primarily because of the travel, particularly foreign travel.
Some of the perks -- the Fine Hotels program, for instance -- are for the wealthy and don't provide any value to real people like me who are never going to stay in a Ritz Carlton in the first place. But others are great and more than worth price.
$200 credit of your choosing. This pays for more than half of the difference between annual fee of the gold and platinum. You can use it for baggage fees, drinks, food and seat upgrades. Only catch is you have select a single airline in the beginning of the year. But if you fly a lot, you are going to spend $200 each year no matter how well you plan. This by itself is worth the price when you consider you are only adding $325 to your AF (with gold I was spending $125 already)
* Airport first class lounge access. Isn't as accepted as well as it should be overseas, which I should have checked better. But incredible for U.S. travel, and most lounges include free wi-fi and other perks, so long layovers pay.
* AMEX reimburses for $100 U.S. Entry application fee. The government program lets you bypass long border/customs lines when returning to U.S. Huge advantage for Washington D.C. and New York, where lines can be hours. Other airports aren't as bad, so depends on which airport you fly into the most.
* No foreign transaction fees. Most cards (except Capital One) charge 2.7 percent. Last year I spent about $10,000 on business travel overseas (mostly airfare and hotel) , and that means about $270 in transaction fees. Again, it pays for itself.
* Upgrades to premium rental car programs. Doesn't seem to work in Europe, so not sure it is a huge help. In U.S., it's a nice perk.
* Upgrade to Starwood Preferred program. Again, it seems to be better for U.S.
* Concierge service and Fine Hotels program. Both are great if you are spending a lot of money for those type of things. For others, Orbitz can probably save a lot of cash without the frills. Although I want to go to a British Open this year, and they claim they can secure tickets. We'll see.
* Companion First Class/Business ticket. This is great because the cost of one Business ticket is only slightly more than two coach on many longer routes. It's a nice treat once a year if you have a flight that is going to take 18 hours or so.
It's expensive. Stupid expensive. Other cards can match some of the perks. Capital One goes free foreign transaction fees (although the points system and other upgrades are garbage compared to AMEX).
Basically if you travel a lot, it pays for itself without any question. If you don't, it's nice and shiny way to be pretentious. But frankly it's a little embarrassing to pull out in some spots, so I don't always use it.
Hope it helps.