My American Express Platinum Card is up for Renewal - Should I Pay S$1,712 in Renewal Fees This Year?

I have never thought I would say this but The Platinum Card from American Express is my favourite card from 2018 - the annual fee may be a staggering S$1,712 each year, but if you meet the income requirement, it is extremely easy to justify the high cost as the perks are amazing - find out how I justified paying for The Platinum Card in the first year.

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Photo Credit: American Express

Photo Credit: American Express

When I wrote about justifying the annual fee of The Platinum Card last year, I have considered all the savings that I could potentially benefit from in the year ahead. Now that my card is up for renewal, I have looked through my spending to see which benefits for The Platinum Card I have actually utilised and which ones I have not - this is how I am justifying the the S$1,712 renewal fee this year.

1. Free Night in W Singapore - Sentosa Cove or The St. Regis Singapore - S$300 Value

I have recently just redeemed for the free night (using my room night voucher) at the W Singapore - Sentosa Cove and as a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member, I was accorded a double-upgrade into a Fabulous Room and I was also given a 4:00PM late check-out. I have monitored the room rates over at the W Singapore - Sentosa Cove throughout the year and the cheapest rate I have seen (always on a weekday) is S$361.17. However, since I hold a day job and will not actually 'waste' a day of annual leave for a staycation, I will only utilise this voucher on a weekend - this brings the total value of the free night up for me personally. While the cheapest breakfast-inclusive rate that I have seen for this property is at S$418.19, I have assigned a conservative S$300 value to this free night voucher.

Photo Credit: W Singapore - Sentosa Cove

Photo Credit: W Singapore - Sentosa Cove

2. S$800 Travel Credit - S$400 Value

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with S$800 worth of travel credit each year - S$400 Air Travel Credit and S$400 Lodging Credit. Primary cardholders are now able to book flights and hotels online so that takes away any administrative fees that the travel desk used to charge. However, Platinum members are no longer allowed to use their S$400 Lodging Credit towards any Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) or The Hotel Collection bookings - this used to be a great way to stretch the value on these credits. With the new limitations, I actually have very little reason to use the S$400 Lodging Credit - I could potentially book a non-chain hotel (since I prefer to book direct in order to enjoy status credits and points) but the chance of that is rather low. Thus, I have actually excluded the S$400 Lodging Credit from my consideration this year. The S$400 Air Travel Credit on the other hand is great and it is worth exactly S$400 to me (especially since I can use it on IAP rates too!).

3. American Express Offers - S$1,000 Value

It is not uncommon for banks and credit cards to offer certain discounts with participating merchants throughout the year. While American Express cards enable a cardholder to enjoy certain discounts across various merchants, American Express Offers on the other hand, offer immense value to a cardholder. While holding The Platinum Card in the past 12 months, I have benefited from over S$1,000 worth of savings through these American Express Offers - these are more 'Spend S$X, Get S$X Back' offers as opposed to 'Save X% Off' discounts.

Photo Credit: Hilton Auckland

Photo Credit: Hilton Auckland

Now I share these incredible American Express Offers all the time on my Telegram Group Chat so if this is something that you are interested in, you should definitely sign-up for that (especially since you will have to save them to your card in order to utilise them) Here are some of my favourite offers in the last 12 months:

  • Spend S$500, Get S$200 - Hilton Portfolio of Hotels and Resorts Platinum Members who managed to save the offer can get S$200 back for spending S$500, up to three times. This impressive 40% 'cash back' allows you to earn Membership Rewards Points on the full sum that was charged to the card and the total spend can be accumulated across a generous 5-month period. Spending S$1,500 will essentially get you S$600 back and I definitely utilised this benefit a lot faster than most people did.

  • Spend S$300, Get S$100 - Pan Pacific Hotels Group I used to stay at the Pan Pacific Orchard (before it was torn down) and the Pan Pacific Singapore a lot since I get a late check-out of up to 6:00PM as well as double upgrade as a DISCOVERY Loyalty Black member. This year, I have decided to focus my spend and weekends on the Marriott Rewards program instead. With that being said, I could not pass up the opportunity to get S$100 back for simply spending S$300 so I have actually booked a stay at the Pan Pacific Singapore (again!) for the future.

  • Spend S$500, Get S$150 - Marriott International Now I remember this very vividly as this was one of the first few American Express Offers that really jumped out at me when I signed-up for The Platinum Card last year. Back in November last year, American Express offered cardmembers the opportunity to get S$150 back for spending S$500 across 480 different participating properties - each cardmember can use this benefit up to 10 times on each card that they save on.

  • Spend S$300, Get S$90 - The Luxury Collection (Marriott International) Finally, The Luxury Collection offer for Platinum Members gave eligible members S$90 back for spending S$300 (essentially a 30% cash back!) - there are some great properties but it goes without saying that people members ended up with the The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok.

Photo Credit: The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok

Photo Credit: The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok

There are a whole lot of other interesting offers in the last 12 months and obviously, it is impossible to cover them all but here are a few that I have managed to take advantage of (and left an impression):

  • Spend S$10, Get S$40 - Open Electricity Market

  • Get S$10 Back, Twice - Telco Offer

  • Spend S$10, Get S$10 - Little Farms

  • Get S$8 Back, Twice - Lazada

  • Get S$1 Back, up to 10 Times - Mobile Wallet

  • Get S$3 Back - Mobile Wallet, Grab, Starbucks and McDonald's

It goes without saying that the aforementioned offers are not an exhaustive list of American Express Offers that I have managed to take advantage of in the last 12 months but they were the ones that stood out the most to me. Additionally, it is worth noting that I have managed to duplicate some of these offers across my various American Express cards (e.g. The Platinum Reserve Card and the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card) so the savings across all three cards that I hold are quite substantial.

4. International Airline Programme (IAP) Benefit - S$1,000 Value

Photo Credit: Singapore Airlines

Photo Credit: Singapore Airlines

While it is not impossible to save over 25% off Business Class flights on Singapore Airlines with the American Express International Airline Programme (IAP) benefit, I have found the average fare saving to be approximately 10%. Over the past year or so, I have utilised this IAP benefit four times and have saved approximately S$2,400 from revenue flights in Business Class. At the time of writing, the following airlines participate in the IAP and therefore, Centurion as well as Platinum members will have access to special rates in Premium Economy, Business as well as First Class:

  • Singapore Airlines

  • Qatar Airlines

  • American Airlines

  • British Airways

  • Emirates

  • Etihad

  • Japan Airlines

Unfortunately, having access to IAP Rates have also made me travel in Business Class more than I should - I now compare the rates against the public rates and sometimes feel compelled to simply book a revenue ticket over redeeming one (especially when it is not available). I have assigned a conservative S$1,000 value to this benefit.

5. Unlimited Airport Lounge Access with Priority Pass (+1) - S$480 Value

I am fortunate enough to travel in Business Class most of the time (since I am crazy about miles and typically use them to redeem for free flights all the time) so I usually have access to an airline lounge before each flight. There are times however, where a contract lounge is actually significantly better than the airline lounge - it is times like these where the unlimited Priority Pass membership comes in handy. Just for instance, I would pick the Plaza Premium Lounge over the Qantas International Business Loungeat MEL. While I used to also rely on my OCBC VOYAGE Card to gain access (+1 guest) to Plaza Premium Lounge around the world, OCBC has actually reduced the benefit on 15 August 2019 to only cover the cardholder (with no guesting privileges).

Over the course of the last 12 months, I have utilised my Priority Pass issued with The Platinum Card on 13 different occasions so I estimate the value of this benefit to be at approximately S$480 (the Standard Plus tier of the Priority Pass membership is at US$249 per year and that comes with 10 free visits with subsequent visits at US$39).

Photo Credit: Plaza Premium Lounge

Photo Credit: Plaza Premium Lounge

6. Love Dining Benefit - S$200 Value

The Love Dining benefit which is extended to Platinum Members allows a cardholder to save up to 50% off the dining bill when dining at one of the many participating restaurants as well as select restaurants within hotels. While this is a great benefit, I have only managed to utilise this benefit less than 10 times in the last year. Now you might say that if an average bill is estimated to be at S$100, 50% of that over 10 dinners is approximately S$500 but the truth is this - I would probably not dine at those restaurants if I did not have the 50% off benefit. As such, I have assigned an estimated value of just S$200 to this.

7. Chillax Benefit - S$100 Value

The Chillax Programme allows Platinum Members to enjoy a complimentary drink (most of the time) across a selection of bars in Singapore. If you are interested to see all of these Chillax bar locations on a map, I have actually plotted them back in October (and have updated them) for my own reference. Now there are a few bars on the list that I actually go to but honestly the novelty has worn off quite a bit and I have actually stopped using the Chillax benefit altogether since March 2019 or so.

8. Dining Vouchers - S$300 Value

The Platinum Card comes with an entire stack of vouchers but the only ones that you will probably care about (apart from the free stay voucher, of course) are the S$200 vouchers for The St. Regis Singapore as well as the S$100 voucher for The Tower Club. What I do like about The St. Regis Singapore is the ability to stack with the Love Dining discount. As an example, if you are dining with just one other guest and your total food bill comes up to S$100 before tax, the 50% discount will apply and the remaining S$50 can be deducted using the aforementioned voucher. There is also a S$50 voucher for Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel but you will not be able to stack your Love Dining benefit there (even though the restaurants do participate in the programme) so I have not included it into the calculation.

9. The Platinum Concierge Desk - No Value

Now here's a major disappointment - The Platinum Concierge Desk used to be the best in the market but the standards have gone down quite significantly in recent months. Do not get me wrong though, the concierge is still the best when you call them but the way they respond to requests via email has been less than desirable. In fact, there were a number of occasions where my email was just left unanswered so if you need them, be sure to call them. I personally hate making phone calls and have therefore assigned a zero value to this benefit.

Photo Credit: American Express

Photo Credit: American Express

10. Platinum VIBES - No Value

Platinum VIBES was great while it lasted - it used to be an exclusive space for Centurion and Platinum members to hang out. The interiors are beautiful and it looks out to the water (which is nice); wines are also reasonably priced (small markup from retail price) and being in Marina at Keppel Bay made it slightly inaccessible for most which in turn made it quiet most of the time (which is great if you would like a conducive place to catch-up). Unfortunately, this members-only space has now been closed and there are rumours that it will be relocated. 67 Pall Mall is slated to open in Singapore in Q3 2020 but it seems highly unlikely that American Express will leave their members hanging until then (assuming that the rumours are true). It is also unclear whether American Express will strike a deal with 67 Pall Mall here in Singapore but I do believe it would make sense to do so. I have not assigned a value to this at the moment since nothing is set in stone.

11. Renewal Bonus - No Value

Some Platinum Members have reported getting 25,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points as a renewal bonus (on top of all the vouchers that are offered). I have just been charged the annual fee but have not called in to negotiate (or ask for a better deal). I have thus assigned no value to renewal bonus as of now.

Should You Renew The Platinum Card for S$1,712?

The Platinum Card Benefit Value (Personal)
Free Night Voucher $300
S$800 Travel Credit $400
American Express Offers $1,000
IAP $1,000
Airport Lounge Access $480
Love Dining Benefit $200
Chillax Benefit $100
Dining Vouchers $300
The Platinum Conceirge Desk $0
Platinum VIBES $0
Renewal Bonus $0
Total Value $3,780

While the obvious answer is 'it depends', since this decision should only be made once you have considered the benefits that you have managed to utilise over the last year, I am fairly confident about the product moving forward in Singapore. There was a massive desire from American Express to boost Platinum Member numbers last year but my personal opinion is that they will try to keep it comparatively exclusive moving forward. I am also quite interested to see whether they bring back that claw machine in ION Orchard since that was good fun - it gave me plenty of reason to shop for Christmas presents there since I could potentially walk away with MR Points or a bottle of Champagne.

According to my rough calculations above, I have gotten approximately S$3,780 worth of 'value' from The Platinum Card) in the last 12 months. Sure, I will definitely miss having two complimentary nights at participating Mandarin Oriental properties (I actually utilised mine this year at the Mandarin Oriental, Taipei) but the other benefits have convinced me to stay with the card, for another year, to see where things go. Thus, I will most definitely be renewing The Platinum Card for S$1,712 this year and I am excited to see what else American Express has up her sleeves.

If you are thinking about getting the card and would like to pick up some additional miles along the way, using my unique referral link for The Platinum Card will give you 40,000 more Membership Rewards (MR) points (equivalent to at least 25,000 miles) on top of the welcome offer of 75,000 MR points (equivalent to at least 46,875 miles).