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The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top cards around when it comes to being treated like a VIP. The card allows members to travel in comfort with airport lounge access, hotel status, Uber statement credits and much more.
But these VIP benefits come at a cost as the card carries a jaw dropping $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). With this high fee, many travelers are wondering if paying almost $700 for a single card is worth it.
If the answer is “no” but you still want a luxury credit card in your pocket for your travel needs, fortunately, there are a number of other high-end credit cards that offer benefits similar to the Amex Platinum, but at a lower (though still not inexpensive) cost. So, if you’re in the market for a new luxury credit card, here are some alternative options that might serve you better from a cost/benefit standpoint.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is Chase’s version of a luxury credit card, but instead of earning Membership Rewards points — as you do with the Amex Platinum — you’re earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points. With both programs, you can redeem your points through the issuer’s travel portal or, if you have flexibility in your schedule, transfer points to many travel partners for potentially more value.
Like the Amex Platinum, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers an annual travel credit, but it’s significantly easier to use than the Platinum’s airline fee credit, which only applies to incidental airline purchases. Sapphire Reserve card holders get a $300 travel credit each year that can be used toward any travel purchase, including hotels, airfare, cruises, car rentals, taxis and more.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a Priority Pass™ Select airport membership, which provides access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. Not only is this the same Priority Pass membership that comes with the Amex Platinum, but it’s actually slightly better, as Amex Platinum card members don’t have access to Priority Pass restaurants, while Sapphire Reserve card holders do.
You’ll also get superb travel insurance when using the Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay for your trips, including trip interruption and cancellation insurance, trip delay reimbursement protection (if your trip is delayed by six hours or more or requires an overnight stay), primary auto rental collision damage insurance, baggage delay insurance, roadside assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, emergency evacuation and transportation and emergency medical and dental coverage.
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve costs $550 annually, it’s fairly easy to get $300 of that back with everyday travel purchases throughout the year. That effectively brings the fee down to $250 — a more reasonable amount to pay for a card that comes with VIP benefits — and you can drive that down even further if you can take advantage of the DoorDash credits.
Learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
2. United Club℠ Infinite Card
If you’re a committed United Airlines flyer, the United Club Infinite Card is a great option for a luxury travel experience. Although the card comes with a $525 annual fee, that’s $170 less than the cost of the Amex Platinum card.
With the United Club Infinite Card, you’ll receive a United Club lounge membership, which even allows you to bring two guests or one another adult and all dependent children under 21 into the clubs with you to eat, drink and relax before your flight. The one caveat is you must be flying on United or a partner airline in order to access the lounge that day.
The United Club Infinite Card also offers up to a $100 fee reimbursement when applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, up to two free checked bags per person for the card holder and one other person on the same reservation on United-operated flights and Premier Access travel services, which gives you access to designated airport check-in lines, exclusive security lines (where available), priority boarding and priority baggage handling after your flight lands.
United Club Infinite Card holders also earn 4 miles for every dollar spent on United purchases, including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. You’ll also earn 2 miles per dollar on dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services and all other travel, and 1 mile per dollar on all your other purchases with the card.
Learn more and apply for the United Club Infinite Card.
3. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Now, if you’re a Delta flyer, you might prefer the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. Similar to the United Club Infinite Card, you’ll also receive lounge access (in this case, to Delta Sky Clubs), a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement and waived baggage fees.
Even better, with the Delta Reserve Amex, you’ll receive access to the exclusive Amex Centurion Lounges when you’re flying on Delta. That’s a great perk to have on a card that costs less than the Amex Platinum, and depending on where you’re typically flying to and from, it could make for a major cost savings.
With the Delta Reserve Amex, you’ll also receive a free checked bag on all Delta-operated flights for you and up to eight companions booked on the same reservation, and access to complimentary upgrades on Delta flights — two benefits you don’t receive with the Amex Platinum card.
And while the Delta Reserve Amex charges a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), starting with the second year you have the card, you’ll receive an annual companion certificate that you can use for domestic First Class or Main Cabin 1 tickets. This benefit alone can easily help offset the card’s annual fee, all while making your travel experience that much better.
With the Delta Reserve Amex you’ll also receive cell phone protection as long as you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card. This benefit will allow you to be reimbursed up to $800 if your phone is lost or stolen, up to two claims per year. This is the same coverage you get with the Amex Platinum, but with a lower annual fee.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card.
4. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
If you’re looking for a hotel-specific credit card, then the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is one of the best out there when it comes to benefits. With a significantly lower $450 annual fee when compared to the Amex Platinum, the benefits can easily outweigh the cost.
One of the best perks of the Hilton Aspire card is automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status — Hilton’s top-tier elite status level. This gives you space-available upgrades, lounge access, daily food and beverage credit at US hotels (or continental breakfast at non-US hotels) as well as your fifth night free on award stays. While the Amex Platinum also grants you automatic Hilton elite status, it’s just mid-tier Gold status, not top-tier Diamond.
The Hilton Aspire card also comes with up to $250 in annual Hilton resort statement credits and up to $250 in airline fee credits each year. These credits alone can easily put you well ahead of the cost of the card’s annual fee. Plus, you’ll get a free weekend night certificate each year starting with the second year you have the card, further increasing the card’s value.
And even though this is a hotel-focused credit card, you’ll also receive a Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge membership with unlimited visits that matches the one on the Amex Platinum, and even the same cell phone protection coverage as the Platinum (enrollment is required before you can use the Priority Pass).
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by CNN. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is not currently available through CNN.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
5. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
For another option when it comes to luxury hotel credit cards, you can also consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, especially if you’re loyal to the Marriott brand.
With a $650 annual fee (see rates and fees), you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credits at restaurants worldwide (up to $25 per month) and, starting with your second year you have the card, a free night award that can be used at any Marriott property worth up to 85,000 points. These two yearly benefits alone can help completely offset the annual fee if you can take advantage of both of them.
With the Marriott Brilliant card, you’ll also receive complimentary Marriott Platinum elite status — which is a significantly more meaningful status than what you’ll receive with the Amex Platinum card. With this status you’ll receive 50% bonus points on stays, a late 4 p.m. checkout when available, breakfast and enhanced room upgrades (including suites). And if you’re trying to earn an even higher status of Titanium or Ambassador, card members get 25 elite night credits each calendar year to get you a little bit closer.
Finally, similar to the Amex Platinum card, you’ll receive a Priority Pass select airport lounge membership (enrollment required), up to $100 in credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and cell phone protection.
Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card.
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