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Plenty of top-ranked consumer credit cards today come with no annual fee. And this includes rewards cards that you let earn free airline miles, hotel reservations, merchandise and cash back as you spend.
Why then would anyone want to apply for a credit card that comes with an annual fee? And why would anyone want a credit card with an annual fee as high as $550?
The Platinum Card(R) from American Express is recognized as one of the top consumer credit cards available. And this high-end card is the one that comes with that $550 annual fee. Are the consumers holding this card just foolish with their money?
Are they only interested in the card for its prestige value?
Actually, no. The Platinum Card(R) from American Express comes with a high annual fee for a reason: It's loaded with special features and perks.
And if you're the kind of consumer who takes advantage of all of these additional features, then that annual fee doesn't seem all that high.
The Platinum Card boasts a solid rewards program. That's, in fact, its chief benefit.
You earn one rewards point for every dollar that you spend with this card. You can nab four rewards points for every dollar you charge when you shop at American Express' online BonusPointsMall.com. And you earn two rewards points for every dollar that you charge on American Express Travel.
You can then turn your points into free airline miles, stays at hotels, car rentals, home electronics, gift certificates to high-end restaurants and tickets to concerts and sporting events.
You can even turn your points into world-class wines and high-end jewelry.
When you hold a Platinum Card(R) from American Express, you also receive up to $200 each year in airline fee credits.
You can use these credits to cover any incidental fees that airlines charge, such as bag-check fees and the costs of in-flight entertainment or meals. You also receive a 20 percent travel bonus when you pay for all or part of your flight with your rewards points.
Ever want your own concierge, on duty 24 hours a day?
With the Platinum Card, you get a version of this. Once you hold this credit card, you have automatic access to American Express' personal assistance service. You can call American Express to have the company make restaurant reservations, book airline flights and nab you that perfect anniversary gift for your spouse. And all you have to do is make a phone call.
You can use your Platinum Card(R) from American Express at more than 700 boutique resort and high-end hotels across the country to receive special amenities and luxuries that other guests don't have access to.
Airport Club Access
The Platinum Card comes with built-in airport club access with the country's biggest airlines. With the card, you receive free access to the American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta Sky Club and US Airways Clubs. The card's Priority Pass Select service gives you free access to more than 600 other participating airport lounges across the globe.
Shopping in Foreign Lands
If you're a frequent international traveler, the American Express Platinum Card offers yet another perk: You can use the card to pay for purchases overseas without having to pay the foreign transaction fees that many other credit cards levy.
The Point is Clear
Yes, this card does come with a hefty annual fee. But if you use your card properly and you're a frequent traveler, the annual savings you'll realize will easily outdistance that $550 yearly payment.
Is There Any Alternative?
The only card we have come across that offers a rewards program and travel perks comparable to the Platinum Card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you want to see the two cards compared, click here.