Looking for some Guidance on PLAT

Old Aug 6, 18, 1:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: PHL
Programs: AA Plat, MR AMB + (LTT) , Hertz PC, UA Silver, HH Gold
Posts: 263
Looking for some Guidance on PLAT

Hey Guys,

Been doing a lot of research and reading threads and I am looking for some guidance from plat holders. I've been thinking for a while now about getting the platinum card. But obviously the $550 plus $175 (for mrs brady) has me hesitating from pulling the trigger.

Let me give you the background:

I currently travel 20-25 times a year domestically and 1-2 times internationally. 80% is on business with the remaining for fun. I stay pretty much exclusively in Marriott properties. I fly pretty much only on AA. There are a few outliers but those are what I look for when doing bookings. I currently have the Chase MR Plus CC and the AAviator Red Card. Since I can expense one lounge membership a year, I have a Admirals club membership. When traveling for work, my company pays for the flight, hence no chance for CC spend on the booking itself. However upgrades, bag fees, etc.. I can pay for and get reimbursed. I pay for hotel and rental car and get reimbursed typically using the Marriott Card. Obviously for non-work trips I pay for everything using the appropriate cards.

My dilemma is, I read some of these threads about how great the card is, and I feel like I'm buying into the hype without really understanding the value add and maybe blinded a bit by the prestige and status. The only benefit that I can tangibly see is the increased lounge options. For buying flights I would still use my AA card. At hotels I would use my Marriott CC. Are the amex points really that much more valuable. Do you guys feel the need for the concierge service in today's internet age? Sorry to babble, I read through a ton of posts and websites and I'm still somewhat torn. If it was less money I would just pull the trigger and figure it out. Just lookin' for a lil' advice.
TomBrady is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 2:33 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 49
Unless you fly Delta a bit on occasion or find yourself in airports with Centurion Lounges, you probably aren’t going to get a lot of value out of the benefits of this card.

I find the concierge helpful from time to time, particularly for dinner reservations, but not the annual fee’s value worth.
ToddSpam likes this.
tutkija80 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 2:40 pm
  #3  
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: IAH
Programs: DL PM, AS 75K, Hilton Diamond, Starriott Platinum, Hyatt Ist-iest
Posts: 9,650
It sounds like you could get a lot of value out of the Plat. Being PHL based, you have a Centurion lounge at your home airport which I'd prefer over any Admirals Club I've been to. If you can expense an airline club membership you can easily cash out the $200/yr airline fee reimbursement by charging your club membership to the card, expense it, and keep the $200 fee reimbursement. You can also get your SO a Gold card on your account at no cost, unless she would need the lounge access when she travels without you.
TomBrady and roundtree like this.
krazykanuck is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 2:58 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 59
IMO The value of platinum is limited in your case, unless you cant live with admirals club in PHL.
In additional, the airline/uber credit is a PITA. I would recommend other more complimentary cards
with easy to use credit, e.g., Sapphire reserve, Citi prestige,
snowmt is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 4:51 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 986
I'm not sure how much use you would get out of it...

To earn the 5x MR points for hotels you must book the hotels using Amex Travel, in which case you don't get hotel status perks (most the time). Maybe that's worth it for you, but if you stick to one hotel chain and earn decent status with them, then maybe it's more worth getting your elite nights and hotel points. The other big point earning area is airfare, which does earn 5x when booked directly OR with AmexTravel, but since you don't book the airfare you would be missing out on those MR points... You only get Sky Club access if you're holding a Delta ticket, so it sounds like you wouldn't make use of that unless you shifting your flying to Delta. Amex does usually have good bonus offers (Spend X amount at Hilton by such and such date and earn 10k bonus MR points) that are probably good for an extra 20 to 30k MR points a year if you can make use of them, but it requires you to be a bit flexible in which hotel chain you're staying at, and to be honest I feel like I've seen more Hilton offers then Marriott...

With all that said, I do value MR points more then hotel points. Redemptions with airlines usually seems to make the points worth more then hotel stays. I usually don't get huge redemption value out of them since I mostly use them on domestic F tickets, but still, getting $0.015/MR point isn't terrible and represents ~7.5% back as long as I can earn 5X on the transaction. That's better then my CSR. I don't know what your average yearly spend on hotels is, but if you gave up the elite night earning and hotel status and were able to book them all via the AmexTravel portal for 5X you might be able to score a lot of points every year.

That said, if you're willing to give up a little bit of the bonus earning you could get the Chase Sapphire Reserve, earn 3x by booking direct with the hotel AND get your hotel status and earn 3X for any dining you do while on your travels, which might be really nice if there is a per diem you get... CSR points are minimum 4.5% when earning 3X (points are worth at least $0.015 when spent for travel) and could be worth much more if transferring over to an airline for redemption.... though CSR has less transfer options compared to Amex. Also, as mentioned before, the $300 Chase travel credit is MUCH easier to use, basically charge any travel; hotel, airfare, change fee, upgrades, rental car, parking at the airport, etc and you get the statement credit.
TomBrady likes this.
acarney is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 6:02 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Global Entry
Posts: 739
Sounds like they may possible pay the AF for the Plat if it's your "lounge membership?" Centurion lounges are nice, but not always available. In this aspect, you may be able to pocket the money for the Uber and airline incidental credits, as well as use any other perks.

For some business people, the Plat is worthless for expenditures. My company makes me book all travel directly through their partner portal. That is quite common, especially with larger corporations who can secure volume discounts, and preferential cancellations/other terms.

It sounds like you have your hotel and flight situation already figured out to your liking, what do you feel you are missing? If anything, I'd recommend some more generalized spending cards. I love my CSR. Where there's travel, you probably have a lot of dining expense, as well as other "travel". I'd start racking up those points.
TomBrady likes this.
Super Mario is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 6:35 pm
  #7  
mia
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 42,384
Originally Posted by TomBrady View Post
.... Are the amex points really that much more valuable. ....If it was less money I would just pull the trigger and figure it out. ....
Platinum is primarily about benefits, rather than rewards. Lounge access is a big part of it, but there is more. You can try the card at no cost if you apply for the Ameriprise version:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-one-year.html
bigbuy and Beltway2A like this.
mia is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 7:43 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: San Francisco/Tel Aviv/YYZ
Programs: CO 1K-MM
Posts: 10,502
I suppose it could be worth it if you leverage the other benefits, but as others have mentioned, there are better ways to earn a point based return.

FHR has some reasonable "deals".. the amex offers aren't bad either, and if you can use the uber, airline credits and sax stuff.. maybe its good.

I do enjoy the centurion lounges when I can use them (Which isn't that often, unfortunately)
entropy is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 7:50 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: MSP
Programs: Free Agent
Posts: 141
FHR can pay back the cost quick if you angle for the free third or fourth night.

Usually about $100 is onsite credit at property when booking this way also.

I think itís underrated but tactical and have gotten lots of value this way.
MSPSKI is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 9:15 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: PHL
Programs: AA Plat, MR AMB + (LTT) , Hertz PC, UA Silver, HH Gold
Posts: 263
Hi Everyone,

Appreciate the responses. I am leaning towards not getting the card. You guys are making great points, similar to ones I kind of was coming up with on my own. PHL (my main airport) has a centurion lounge, which looks nice, but is it that much better than the AA lounge? (im really asking I dont know). Also PHL being a AA hub, pretty much all of my flights are on AA or very infrequently a budget carrier hence the AAviator red card. As I have stated, I would mainly use the PLAT for food and other miscellaneous expenses on the road, would probably shift my rental car expenses too it also. Maybe I would use this to book some personal travel outside of my preferred programs. I will investigate getting the AF reimbursed as an airline membership. That could make it worth it.

Another Question about the concierge and benefits, and the international airline program. Are the flights really that much cheaper by booking through them? I’m not going to lie, most of my international travel is booked in coach, or upgraded by miles. I don’t have $5000 a ticket lying around for paid F/J class. Is the concierge able to book really hard to get reservations?
TomBrady is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 9:28 pm
  #11  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 92,165
People here are forgetting a couple benefits:

Priority Pass lounge membership, plus use of a few additional lounges that aren't Centurion and aren't in PP.

Credit for Global Entry application/renewal fees; you might be able to get PreCheck application fees instead.

Generally good customer service.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 9:39 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 12,806
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Priority Pass lounge membership, plus use of a few additional lounges that aren't Centurion and aren't in PP.
Priority Pass benefit rapidly deteriorating

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Credit for Global Entry application/renewal fees; you might be able to get PreCheck application fees instead.
1 credit for every 5 years. This isn't really a recurring benefit.
garykung is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 9:51 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: LAX, BUR
Programs: AS,AA,JB, HH Gold, Starriott Titanium Elite, Hyatt Explorist, Global Entry
Posts: 1,824
mia had the best idea in post #7 , get the Ameriprise fee free for the first year and see how you like it.
mhdena is offline  
Old Aug 6, 18, 11:21 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: PHX, SEA
Programs: DL Silver, Avis President's Club, Hertz President's Circle, Global Entry (Former AA Plt/Gold)
Posts: 4,122
Originally Posted by TomBrady View Post
Hi Everyone,

Appreciate the responses. I am leaning towards not getting the card. You guys are making great points, similar to ones I kind of was coming up with on my own. PHL (my main airport) has a centurion lounge, which looks nice, but is it that much better than the AA lounge? (im really asking I dont know). Also PHL being a AA hub, pretty much all of my flights are on AA or very infrequently a budget carrier hence the AAviator red card. As I have stated, I would mainly use the PLAT for food and other miscellaneous expenses on the road, would probably shift my rental car expenses too it also. Maybe I would use this to book some personal travel outside of my preferred programs. I will investigate getting the AF reimbursed as an airline membership. That could make it worth it.

Another Question about the concierge and benefits, and the international airline program. Are the flights really that much cheaper by booking through them? I’m not going to lie, most of my international travel is booked in coach, or upgraded by miles. I don’t have $5000 a ticket lying around for paid F/J class. Is the concierge able to book really hard to get reservations?
I have not been to Philly's lounge yet but my overall experience is that Cent >>> Admirals' Clubs which are pretty basic. Also you have to consider the convenience though; if you're flying out of B or C not even a Cent lounge is worth the hike from A-West, and an Admirals' Club will be at most of your AA destinations. Do you travel to consistent airports for work (maybe you have a market, or regional HQs, etc.) that might have Priority Pass accesses that make it more worthwhile?

The $200 airline "incidentals" credit on AA works for gift cards under the radar. I'd probably get GCs and also I'd probably keep the Aviator card because it's worth more than $200 worth of bag fees to you and Amex doesn't come with the Zone 5 boarding.

After that and the $200 Uber (also works on Uber Eats) credits, you're paying $150 for the lounge network, Starwood Gold (which is probably going to be Marriott Silver soon, TBD), and Hilton Gold, and the rental car program memberships. There's a new $100 Saks Fifth Ave credit which, if useful brings your annual fee down to $50/year.

Both the FHR and IAP are pretty great programs and I'm glad to have access to them, but they are only benefits if you fly business class and stay in premium hotels.

In my first year of membership, I used the IAP and it saved me more than the AF. A few sample prices that I was quoted were 9% to 15% off of premium economy / business class tickets, and sometimes favorable fares (i.e. reduced or no change fees). AA doesn't participate in IAP but a bunch of Oneworld partners do (BA, Cathay, Iberia, JAL, LATAM, QANTAS). But on the flip side, I've used Delta/AA Vacation packages rather than IAP except for one time for business class flights, so there are reasonable alternatives for the premium cabin airfare.

The FHR program saved us $220 between daily breakfast and the $100 restaurant credit at the Four Seasons Sydney. FHR is pretty awesome in Vegas, too if you travel there. But just like IAP, there have been others times where booking separately was cheaper or more advantageous. For example, in Shanghai we got a room at the PuLi for $300 (two nights) from an OTA instead of $600 with FHR (yes, half price). If you figure what breakfast would have cost ($35/pp/day) and the $100 spa credit, we still came out $60 ahead.

The other thing is, you don't need to spend the $175 for your wife either. Except for Delta SkyClubs ($29 guest fee), all the other lounge options come with $0 guest privileges.
Gig103 is offline  
Old Aug 7, 18, 9:56 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: SLC
Posts: 65
I guess I just see things differently. I don't try to add up the exact dollar amount of all the benefits, and make the decision based on if it's plus or minus ten dollars or whatever. I expect American Express to make some money off me, frankly. In exchange, I want a very solidly reliable card, with excellent customer service, some respectable prestige, and some nice perks, like occasional lounge access. I think the card is worth having just as a great charge card, and that's why I have it. The extras are nice, but not how I decide whether to have the card or not. But maybe I'm an outlier.
captaindomon is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: