As you compare credit cards, it can be hard to go past all those enticing extras offered on platinum cards. Whether you’re swayed by a more comfortable journey thanks to airport lounge passes, travel credit to spend on your next trip, or access to exclusive experiences, platinum perks can provide plenty of reason for you to apply.
But of course, there are tradeoffs to be made. You will usually find platinum cards come with a higher account fee and higher interest, and you will typically have to meet stricter eligibility requirements in order to get approved. So, are those perks actually worth it?
Obviously, each platinum card has something different to offer. Alongside basic platinum cards with fewer perks, there are feature-packed monsters such as the American Express Platinum Charge Card. With that in mind, look out for the following extras as you compare options side by side.
One of the most appealing aspect of any platinum credit card has to be its perks. You could enjoy a few hundred dollars travel credit each year, membership to hotel loyalty programmes providing extra benefits during your stay, exclusive access to events and experiences, as well as more run-of-the-mills extras such as complimentary insurance covers.
Aside from their more tangible perks, platinum cards also typically provide higher earn rates, allowing cardholders to enjoy significantly more rewards value on their spending. If there is a points cap in place, this will also usually be higher on platinum cards, meaning cardholders can continue to earn points on their larger spend.
Introductory bonus point offers are designed to entice new cardholders to sign up. Platinum cards generally have more bonus points on offer, as this helps cardholders look past the larger account fees that go hand-in-hand with platinum plastic. With that being said, the right offer can provide a great boost to your points balance, cancelling out that account fee – in the first year, at least.
While your credit limit will be determined by factors such as your income and credit history, you may find platinum cards provide greater scope for higher credit limits should you want one – and you are eligible. This can make your card more useful, allowing you to spend more each month, with the caveat that you should always be able to pay it off.
Well then, what do you need to know about the potential downsides of going platinum?
You will usually find platinum cards have a higher account fee than classic cards. Why? Because they have more to offer. On the more basic end of the scale, platinum cards can be pretty affordable, but of course, that will mean fewer features are in play. On the other hand, if you want all the extras, you should be prepared to pay for them. That Platinum AMEX we mentioned? It has an annual fee of $1,250.
Premium cards and rewards cards typically come with a higher interest rate. So, if you tend to carry a balance, you will likely pay through the nose for it. Paying interest will also reduce the value of the extras on offer, making platinum a less appealing option.
With higher credit limits come stricter eligibility criteria. To get approved for a platinum card, you may need to have a higher income and an excellent credit history, making it more difficult for lower income applicants to get approved. If you can’t find any info regarding eligibility criteria, be sure to check with the provider before you apply to avoid having your application rejected.
Whether a platinum card would fit well in your wallet will depend on what you want from the card – and how you plan to use it. When weighing up your options, first calculate the value of the card to you. That means working out the dollar value of the extras you will actually use, and the value of any rewards you will earn.
From there, look at the card’s account fees – and make sure you are getting more from the card than you are paying out. Quick tip? If you carry a balance, a platinum card is not for you unless you plan on changing your ways and paying your balance down to zero each month. Last of all, make sure you meet the card’s eligibility requirements before you apply.