Is the AMEX Platinum Charge really worth S$8,157?

American Express markets the AMEX Platinum Charge's benefits to be worth S$8,157, but just how exactly do they derive that figure?

If you’ve been exploring the AMEX Platinum Charge, you might have come across a rather eye-catching figure: S$8,157. That’s the value American Express assigns the card benefits, almost 5X the cost of its S$1,728 annual fee!

I think most people would instinctively take that figure with a pinch of salt. With an annual fee of that magnitude, the marketing materials understandably need to do all they can to convince would-be applicants it’s worth the plunge.

But how exactly does American Express end up with S$8,157 anyway? It’s a bit of a Frankenfigure, broken down as follows:

AMEX Platinum Charge
Apply Here
BenefitValue
Membership RewardsS$1,000
Travel BenefitsS$2,496
Lifestyle BenefitsS$2,414
Access BenefitsS$2,247
TotalS$8,157

Now, value is inherently subjective, and the same benefit can be valued very differently by two people. If I’m a regular Economy traveller with two screaming kids in tow, then an unlimited-visit lounge pass would be very valuable. If I hate the idea of getting on a plane, much less so. 

That said, we should at least expect the proxies and assumptions used to be logical. For example, if the value of the golf benefit is based on someone teeing off every weekend, then there might be something wrong with this picture.

So with that in mind, let’s deep dive into this S$8,157 figure, examine the assumptions, and see whether or not they pass the smell test. Remember, the question isn’t so much “will I use this benefit?”, but rather “if I use this benefit, is that the correct way to value it?”

Travel Benefits

BenefitValue
Airline CreditS$200
The American Express Global Lounge CollectionS$1,247
Fine Hotels + Resorts S$800
TotalS$2,247

Airline Credit: S$200

🗨️ AMEX Description
S$200 statement credits annually with minimum spending of S$600 in one or more transactions at Singapore Airlines or Scoot

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy a S$200 airline credit each calendar year, when they spend a minimum of S$600 in one or more transactions with Singapore Airlines or Scoot.

This credit is triggered regardless of whether you’re buying cash tickets, or paying for taxes and surcharges on an award ticket (both of which will activate the comprehensive complimentary travel insurance offered by the card).

The American Express Global Lounge Collection: S$1,247

Plaza Premium Lounge Singapore
🗨️ AMEX Description
The Platinum Membership offers Card Member and one Supplementary Card Member Priority Pass membership which is valued at US$469 each. At any visit to a Priority Pass lounge, each Card Member can bring in one guest for no charge, where available. Value has been converted on 11 Jan 2023 at a foreign exchange rate of US$1.33 = S$1.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy unlimited access to the following lounges:

  • Centurion Lounges (+2 guests)
  • Delta SkyClubs
  • International American Express Lounges (+2 guests)
  • Priority Pass (+1 guest)
  • Plaza Premium Lounges (+2 guests)

These benefits are equally applicable to all supplementary cardholders, although only the first supplementary cardholder will enjoy a Priority Pass membership. 

To obtain S$1,247, AMEX basically took the value of an Priority Pass Prestige membership (US$469 with unlimited visits), multiplied it by two (for the principal cardholder and one supplementary cardholder) and converted it into SGD.

Hardly anyone I know buys a Priority Pass membership though, since it’s available through so many credit cards. We could therefore use the annual fee as a proxy for value, and the cheapest card with an unlimited-visit (+1 guest) Priority Pass is the Citi Prestige (S$540 AF). Multiply that by two (since Citi Prestige supplementary cardholders don’t enjoy the same benefit), and you get a slightly lower figure of S$1,080.

I personally value lounge access differently, based on how many times I actually visited lounges multiplied by the rough cost saved on food and drinks plus some fudge factor for comfort and privacy.

My valuation last year was S$15 a visit, which come to think of it is probably much too low given how expensive airport F&B is (plus, I did polish off more than a few bottles of champagne at the Oman Air Lounge in Bangkok!).

Fine Hotels + Resorts: S$800

🗨️ AMEX Description
Average value based on Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings in 2022 for stays of two nights. Actual value will vary based on property, room rate, upgrade availability, and use of benefits.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders can book Fine Hotels & Resorts rates, which include additional perks such as:

  • Complimentary breakfast
  • US$100 property credit
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • 12 p.m check-in (subject to availability)
  • 4 p.m check-out (guaranteed)
  • Free Wi-Fi

Bookings are priced the same as the hotel’s best available flexible rate, and are eligible to earn hotel points and elite qualifying nights where applicable.

It’s difficult to value these perks, especially since the value of an upgrade will differ wildly depending on property, as will the cost of breakfast. AMEX assumes a value of S$800 based on a single stay of two nights, and I suppose you could get S$800 if you stayed in a very expensive property and got a nice upgrade (though you also can’t take the upgrade at face value unless you’d have been willing to pay for it in cash otherwise).

I think the bigger issue here is that you don’t actually need an AMEX Platinum Charge to enjoy such benefits, since similar perks can also be obtained when booking through luxury privilege agents like HoteLux or Classic Travel (which doesn’t cost you anything).

Lifestyle Benefits

BenefitValue
Fashion CreditS$150
Global Dining CreditS$400
Love Dining by PlatinumS$400
Lifestyle CreditS$400
Entertainment CreditS$204
Platinum PerksS$860
TotalS$2,414

Fashion Credit: S$150

🗨️ AMEX Description
Walk the style. Enjoy a S$150 fashion credit with NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER – Platinum Style.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy a S$150 fashion credit each calendar year for use at NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER. This is dispensed as 2x S$75 credits, on 1 January and 1 July. 

“Fashion” may conjure images of shoes and clothes, but there’s much more than that- you can buy watches, books, luggage, stationery, tech accessories, skincare products and headphones via MR PORTER. I personally use the credit to restock on Aesop (refill it with NTUC hand soap and see if your houseguests can tell the difference!)

While there are some grumbles that free shipping is no longer offered, there are occasional promo codes that bring it back (MRP10PMX; free shipping) or offer further discounts (MRPGTDF; 10% off), which helps stretch your credit further. What’s more, you can shop via ShopBack for extra cashback.

Global Dining Credit: S$400

🗨️ AMEX Description
Take your loved ones on spectacular culinary journeys with S$400 dining credits at over 2,000 restaurants around the world.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders receive a S$200 local dining credit and S$200 overseas dining credit each calendar year, with no minimum spend required. 

The list of places you can redeem this credit is fairly extensive (this year I used my credits at the now-closed Basque Kitchen in Singapore and Sushi Yuden in Osaka). 

Love Dining by Platinum: S$400

🗨️ AMEX Description
The saving of S$400 is based on two to dine scenario with four visits a year as assumption with average spend of S$200 each visit at a Participating Loving dining Restaurant or Hotel. Actual saving potential vary based on usage of benefit. Example quoted is purely for illustration purposes

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy up to 50% off the food bill at Love Dining Restaurants and Love Dining Hotels

Number of DinersDiscount on Food Bill
Card member15%^
Card member + 1 guest50%
Card member + 2 guests35%^
Card member + 3 guests25%
Card member + 4-9 guests20%
^10% and 33% respectively at Fairmont Singapore, Swissotel The Stamford, Swissotel Merchant Court

However, you don’t need the AMEX Platinum Charge to enjoy this benefit, since it’s also available to those who hold an AMEX Platinum Credit Card (S$328 annual fee) or AMEX Platinum Reserve (S$540 annual fee). It doesn’t mean you don’t place any value on the benefit; just that you could have gotten it elsewhere for less.

If you dine out once per quarter as a couple per the assumption, you should easily save at least S$400.

Lifestyle Credit: S$400

🗨️ AMEX Description
S$400 statement credits annually with minimum spending of S$600 for various local experiences and purchases at participating retail and lifestyle partners.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders receive a S$400 lifestyle credit each calendar year that can be used at the following merchants with a minimum spend of S$600 in a single transaction.

  • Adeva Spa
  • Follicle at Adeva
  • Spa Rael
  • The Ultimate
  • The Spa by The Ultimate
  • Grand Cru Wine Concierge 

My main gripe here is that the prices on the special Grand Cru website which Platinum Charge cardholders must use can sometimes (but not always) be higher than Grand Cru’s public website.

Entertainment Credit: S$204

🗨️ AMEX Description
Up to S$204 statement credits annually.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders receive a S$17 entertainment credit every calendar month that can be used at:

  • Audible
  • Eventbrite
  • Disney+
  • Netflix Singapore
  • SPH Media (Straits Times, Business Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Shin Min Daily News, Berita Harian, Tamil Murasu, Tabla!)
  • Ticketmaster

S$17 should just about cover a standard Netflix plan, and I reckon most people will use at least one of the above platforms.

Platinum Perks: S$860

🗨️ AMEX Description
The calculation of S$860 is based on 2022 voucher pack with S$400 dining and S$460 SPA voucher, hotel stay voucher is excluded from calculation as actual value will vary based on property, room rate, upgrade availability, and use of benefits.

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders receive an annual renewal voucher pack which includes, among other things:

  • S$100 Adeva Spa
  • S$100 Spa Rael 
  • S$130 The Spa By The Ultimate 
  • S$130 The Ultimate
  • 2x S$50 JAAN vouchers
  • 2x S$50 Basque Kitchen vouchers

American Express takes all these vouchers at face value to derive S$860, but funnily enough these were all in my “throw” pile!

The spa vouchers have a minimum spend of S$180, and the JAAN and Basque Kitchen (which closed in May 2023) vouchers are even worse, limiting you to one voucher per visit with a minimum of two diners. That won’t even begin to put a dent in the cost of a two-person meal. It’s at this point that I have to remind myself that we’re not talking subjective value; if you were going to spend S$180 at Adeva Spa anyway, then fine, a S$100 saving is S$100. 

What’s more strange is that AMEX didn’t give any value to the 1 night hotel stay voucher, which is arguably a lot more valuable. I’ll get to that at the end of this article when I go over the things they missed.

Access Benefits

BenefitValue
Tower Club SingaporeS$2,100
Regional Golf ProgrammeS$396
TotalS$2,496

Tower Club Singapore: S$2,100

🗨️ AMEX Description
The savings is based on 12 months of monthly subscription at Tower Club Singapore. The monthly membership fee cost S$175, an annual membership is value at S$2,100 (S$175 x 12 months).

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders can access the F&B and fitness facilities at Tower Club Singapore, with prior booking via the Platinum Concierge. 

While it’s nice to have access to a gym in the heart of the CBD, I can’t say I’m a fan of the Tower Club in general. It’s a bit too stuffy for my tastes, and the quality of F&B at Atlantic and Straits Bar is frightfully mediocre. Ba Xian is alright, though the 50% off dim sum on Saturdays has been replaced with “discounted rates” (don’t forget that as a reciprocal member accessing through AMEX, you need to pay a 10% surcharge on everything, on top of the usual service charge and GST). 

AMEX values this benefit at S$2,100 a year, which is the subscription cost of a Tower Club membership.

Regional Golf Programme: S$396

🗨️ AMEX Description

The savings calculation is based on a scenario Card Member invites two paying guests for golf session at Orchid Country Club four visits a year. Actual saving potential vary based on usage of benefit. Example quoted is purely for illustration purposes. See following breakdown for detailed calculation:

Green Fees without Program

  • Per pax per visit = S$297

Green Fees with Regional Golf Program (Card member + 2 guests)

  • Total Cost = S$297 x 2 = S$594
  • Per pax per visit (assumption of split costs between 3 pax) = S$594 / 3 = S$198

Total Card Member savings per visit

  • S$297- S$198= S$99

Total Card Member savings per year

  • S$99 x 4 = $396

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy complimentary green fees at over 40 regional golf partners in Singapore and overseas, with one/two paying companions on weekdays/weekends.

I don’t golf, so I’m not the best person to comment on how reasonable AMEX’s valuation of this perk is. That said, I can see on the Orchid Country Club website that the rate for a visitor on the weekend is $356.40 (I don’t know where AMEX gets S$297 from, maybe there was a price hike), so assuming a three-way split (one cardholder + 2 guests), the cost per person is S$237.60. 

You therefore save S$118.80 per visit, or S$475.20 over the course of a year (do people really pay so much for golf?).

Membership Rewards

BenefitValue
Membership Rewards ProgrammeS$1,000
TotalS$1,000

Membership Rewards Programme: S$1,000

🗨️ AMEX Description

For every full S$1.60 eligible spend made at Platinum 10Xcelerator Partner in Singapore. The breakdown of the Membership Rewards points are as follows:

I. For cumulative spend of ≤S$16,000 in a calendar year, earn up to a total of 20 Membership Rewards points, which comprises:

  • 2 Membership Rewards points:
  • 8 Bonus Membership Rewards points; and
  • 10 Bonus Membership Rewards points whereby 25 Membership Rewards points will be awarded for every eligible spending made in blocks of full S$4.

II. For spending in excess of S$16,000 in a calendar year, earn a total of 10 Membership Rewards points, which comprises:

  • 2 Membership Rewards points; and
  • 8 Bonus Membership Rewards points.

The example of S$1,000 statement credit is based on a scenario (I) with an assumption that Card Member spends first S$16,000 on the Platinum Card and earns 200,000 Membership Rewards points. Actual statement credit potential vary based on usage of benefit. Example quoted is purely for illustration purpose.

American Express has a curious way of valuing the Membership Rewards programme. You would think that they’d base it on the sign-up bonus points, but no- their calculation focuses on spending at Platinum 10Xcelerator merchants. 

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders earn 20 MR points per S$1.60 (7.8 mpd) on such transactions, capped at S$16,000 per calendar year. The assumption is you max out the benefit, yielding 200,000 MR points which AMEX values at S$1,000.

Now, I’m not convinced 200,000 MR points is the right figure to take, but I can’t argue with the valuation. AMEX is assuming you convert those MR points into statement credit at a rate of 1,000 MR points= S$4.80 (so you technically have S$960, not S$1,000), and that’s really the floor value.

In reality, you should be converting MR points into airline miles. Assuming you choose KrisFlyer, those 200,000 MR points are worth 125,000 miles, which I value at S$1,875 (1.5 cents per mile).

What’s missing?

Here’s a few things I’m surprised American Express didn’t take into account when coming up with their valuation.

Sign-up bonus: S$456

New AMEX Platinum Charge Cardholders can enjoy a sign-up bonus that has historically ranged from 95,000-115,000 MR points (it used to be as high as 175,000 MR points, but that was before the S$1,354 annual statement credits were introduced).

Taking the lower end of that range, 95,000 MR points is worth S$456 of statement credit, or potentially more if you redeem airline miles (59,375 KrisFlyer miles worth S$890 @ 1.5 cents each)

Como Club membership: S$780

COMO Club C5 status comes with dining, shopping and grocery vouchers

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy a 12-month Comoclub C5 membership, which includes special benefits across the entire COMO Group including COMO Hotels and Resorts, COMO Shambhala, COMO Lifestyle and Club 21. 

What I’m most interested in, however, are the birthday vouchers, which include:

  • S$200 shopping vouchers at Club21 Singapore, Kids21 Singapore and Dover Street Market Singapore
  • S$40 dining voucher at COMO Dempsey
  • S$20 grocery voucher for SuperNature Singapore or Culina Market Singapore
  • COMO Shambhala signature Invigorate essential oil and mask diffuser
  • Corkage waiver at COMO Dempsey
  • DrHair deep cleansing scalp treatment
  • Full-day Maserati driving experience

That’s at least S$260 of extra value there, and since AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy two complimentary supplementary cards, it’s basically S$780. Granted, it’s only good for one year, but even if/when you drop to C4 status in the following year, you still get a S$100 shopping voucher, S$20 dining voucher and S$10 grocery voucher, so that’s S$390 over three cards in the second year. 

Hotel Loyalty Programmes: S$300

Enjoy complimentary breakfast at Conrad Koh Samui and other Hilton properties with Hilton Gold status

AMEX has not assigned any value to the hotel loyalty programme status that comes with the AMEX Platinum Charge:

  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold
  • Pan Pacific DISCOVERY Platinum
  • Radisson Rewards Premium

While I’m skeptical about the value of Marriott Bonvoy Gold, DISCOVERY Platinum and Radisson Rewards Premium status, I’d certainly give some value to Hilton Honors Gold, because it offers daily free breakfast for two adults. Imagine how much you could be saving in a high-cost destination like the Maldives with free breakfast covered every day!

Even better, the same elite status benefits apply to supplementary cardholders, which allows you to share the perks with family members.

Assuming one four-night trip per year with breakfast for two, that’s about S$300 of savings at least (more if your supplementary cardholders travel too).

Worldwide Travel Insurance: S$300

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy complimentary travel insurance when they pay for their outbound and inbound travel with their card. Coverage will also apply if you redeem airline miles and use the AMEX Platinum Charge to pay for taxes and surcharges.

Coverage includes, among other things: 

  • S$1 million for death or total permanent disability
  • S$1 million of medical expense coverage
  • S$4,000 of emergency dental treatment
  • S$150 hospital cash allowance
  • S$10,000 trip cancellation and postponement
  • S$400 for flight or baggage delays

In a pinch, this should cover most of your travel insurance needs; the main omission I can think of is rental car damage.

A similar annual travel insurance plan would cost you about S$300.

1-night hotel voucher: S$400

Enjoy a one-night stay at Fullerton Hotel or other properties across Asia Pacific

AMEX gave a value to all the vouchers I didn’t want, but they surprisingly excluded the 1-night hotel stay voucher because “actual value will vary based on property, room rate, upgrade availability, and use of benefits” (that didn’t stop them from valuing Fine Hotels + Resorts though!)

In any case, the voucher is valid at hotels like the St. Regis Singapore, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, Banyan Tree Bintan and Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto. Breakfast for two adults is included too. Pick one of the nicer hotels, and that’s easily S$400+ of value right there.

Chillax: S$100

Enjoy 1-for-1 drinks at Here Kitty Kitty and other Chillax partners

Like Love Dining, Chillax isn’t a unique perk of the AMEX Platinum Charge, but the ability to enjoy 1-for-1 drinks at various watering holes is nice to have. 

My favourite place to go is Anti:dote at Fairmont Singapore, where one glass of champagne costs S$17 and with the second glass for free, plus a further 20% off, you effectively pay ~S$18 for two (generous) pours.

I’m assigning a token S$100 value here, but obviously if you’re a degenerate you’ll get much more mileage out of this. 

What’s my valuation?

Here’s where things get subjective, but for what it’s worth, I value:

What I don’t value:

  • Tower Club membership
  • Spa vouchers
  • Dining vouchers for JAAN and Basque Kitchen 
  • Golf benefits
  • Hertz Gold Plus Five Star (since it’s just one step removed from entry)
  • Free parking at Great World (I don’t drive)
  • All the other hotel statuses

Because the list of perks and benefits changes year to year, I’ve written an annual review for the AMEX Platinum Charge every year since I was approved in 2018. From 2019/20 onwards, I attempted to assign a value to the perks I received:

Conclusion

I certainly believe the AMEX Platinum Charge’s S$1,728 annual fee is worth it- I wouldn’t have renewed three years in a row otherwise. But S$8,157? Well, that’s another magnitude altogether, and a figure you should scrutinise carefully before taking the plunge. After all, this is quite possibly the most expensive card you’ll ever own!

I’d recommend carefully analysing the card benefits, considering your own travel and lifestyle patterns (how often do you fly/shop/eat out?), and evaluating possible alternatives. A good benchmark will be to get at least 50% more value than you put in.

What’s your personal valuation of the AMEX Platinum Charge perks?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Etan

If I cancel a AMEX sub card, do I qualify for new to Amex benefits when I apply as main card holder?

Nate

MRT (Subway as I assume you might be from the US), in Singapore doesn’t accept Amex yet.

cashon9

Huh? What has your reply got to do with his question? I’m confused.

Kel

Nate thinks that sub card refers to subway card ,hahaha

Stajin

I think hotel status has value. Not everyone can reach the tiers that amex gives you so it is a nice perk to have.

Also parking at great world is key for drivers ! Probably save 100$ a year

hey

on a similar note, how would you price the value of a visit to a Centurion lounge… surely can’t be $15/ visit? haha

Anon

Marriott Gold might be better for families with kids as breakfast is free for kids with paying adults (ie if the room has breakfast for two, then the kids get free breakfast) I suppose hilton gold gets you free breakfast for 2 adults only per room.

L T

In practice, I’ve yet to be charged for a (younger than 6yo) child’s breakfast, so I still value the Hilton Gold more. But I’m guessing this will be property-dependent.

Additionally… wouldn’t paying for 2-3 kid’s meals with Hilton still be preferable to paying for 2 adult meals with Marriott? Again, I imagine this depends on property (and rate), but Hilton still sounds superior to me, as far as breakfast benefits go…

Dave

Free parking at Great World is a really niche benefit even if you do drive. It’s odd that Amex doesn’t do free parking at Capitaland malls instead seeing that they already have an existing partnership.

Anon

SQ $200 only kicks in if flight originates from SG. It in tnc, but probably good to note in the article.

hey

yes, that’s because SQ charges flight tickets in the local currency of the country which the flight is originating from, e.g. LHR-SIN (one-way/ return) is in GBP whereas the opposite is in SGD. Each of these transaction types are tracked by way of a unique merchant ID assigned to SQ’s payment gateway, and Amex only tracks payments on the ID given to SG outbound flights purchased via singaporeair.com to award the bonus points.

Cynic

No, not worth it unless you are making a run for Centurion and need the usage history to get invited. Amex understands Asian status obsession well so it charges ~3X of what they do in the US as annual fee and people happily pay for bragging rights and a middling earn rate.

jordan

can you really compare cards across countries like that? the context is completely different, as are the perks. and anyway the plat charge was never about earn rates, it’s about benefits.

John

One thing we should also consider is the opportunity cost of charging all these things on the Amex Platinum to get the perks.

Yes, you may get travel and fashion credit, but by putting it on the charge card you are also missing out on 4-6mpd you could have gotten with another card. So, I would probably lower the value of all these credits by 5-10%.

hey

Well to many out there, there is no opportunity cost when it comes to having a “status symbol” (i say with “ “ because it’s subjective)… welcome to brand marketing 101

DPJ

Hi Aaron Wong, which card as of Sep 23 would you recommend for big purchases for Air Tix and Hotels (via Booking.com / Airbnb). Would really appreciate your advice. I’m just looking for the best returns and can be in the form of miles or cash back or benefits. Nett value return I guess. Thanks in advance!

Tang

For the hotel loyalty programme, if I just register as a Marriott member and get the AMEX card, I will receive Marriott Gold Elite status (25 nights per year). Then If I want to upgrade to Platinum Elite status (50 nights per year), do I need to stay an additional 25 nights or 50 nights within a year? How about other hotels?

MC12

My platinum charge is up for renewal this month. Not sure if it is worth renewing, anyone just did and had justification to yourself to do so?

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