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The Amex Platinum card has long been an icon of American personal finance, catering to affluent individuals who can make do with a card that extends no credit and offers few if any rewards. (Where other Amex cards now allow you to carry a balance from month-to-month, the Platinum is still an old-school charge card, with payment due in full every month.) The Platinum Card offers prestige and such luxury perks as concierge services and access to airport lounges.
These benefits help make the card among the most expensive on the market. U.S. cardholders must pony up $550 every year to maintain their account, which further fuels Platinum's aura of exclusivity.
With the Platinum Card now a global iconic product, we decided to compare its cost in 47 countries around the world, from Belgium to Bolivia, and Oman to Estonia. We gathered their annual fees in local currency and then, to better provide context for their cost, adjusted them to reflect the prices of other goods and services in the country compared with the U.S. (The methodology below further explains how and why we did these calculations.)
This cost of being a member of the Platinum club, we've discovered, varies widely around the world. In Egypt, where it's priciest of all, the card is 12 times more expensive, relatively speaking, than in the U.S. Yet, placed in context, a Platinum Card is nearly half the cost of the U.S. in Estonia and Croatia.
The benefits you get with the card don't vary significantly from country-to-country. In a few locations, Amex does offer a few extra perks. But the high cost of the card in many countries surely has less to do with the cost of providing benefits than with creating prestige. In many of the countries where the Platinum Card was most expensive, it is marketed towards the country's top earners. Indeed, as a rule, only those high rollers may apply. In Singapore, for example, you must reportedly earn S$175,000 to be invited to receive the card, an income level that would make you wealthier than 93.6% of the population of that country.
Where Amex Platinum Is Priciest
This is the annual cost of an American Express Platinum Card in U.S. dollars, adjusted to reflect the relative cost of other goods there. As this shows, the card is far more exclusive in these countries than it is in the U.S.
Where Amex Platinum Is Least Extravagant
This is the annual cost of an American Express Platinum Card in U.S. dollars, adjusted to reflect the relative cost of other goods there. The U.S. version of the card actually ranks among the cheapest in the world, despite the $550 fee.
Where The Amex Platinum Card Is Most To Least Costly, Relatively Speaking
|Country||Annual Fee, American Express Platinum Card||Comparative Cost|
|Saudi Arabia*||750 USD||$1,532|
|Hong Kong||7800 HKD||$1,293|
|United Arab Emirates*||750 USD||$1,031|
|Czech Republic*||550 EUR||$979|
|New Zealand||1,250 NZD||$796|
|South Africa||3,750 ZAR||$726|
|United States||550 USD||$550|
*In these countries the Amex Platinum annual fee wasn't displayed in the local currency. In these cases, we converted the listed price to the local currency before arriving at the comparative cost.
Where available, we obtained annual fee data directly from American Express’ website. The company maintains web portals for each of the countries featured above. Where annual fee data was not present, such as China and Korea, we relied on secondary sources to obtain the annual fees. We only included prices for the American Express Platinum Card not the American Express Platinum Credit Card. The latter is a separate product. Even though it is similar in some regards, it would not be a true apples-to-apples comparison. We excluded data from countries where the Platinum Card wasn’t offered or where data was unavailable.
We didn’t rank the countries based on a simple conversion to U.S. currency, because that would not reflect the purchasing power of a certain amount of money in each country. Instead, we used a converter developed by a consultant, Nigel Babu, that uses data from the World Bank that reflects the respective cost of a basket of goods, including food, in countries around the world. The dollar cost shown above, therefore represents the cost of each card relative to other goods in that country.
The annual fees were mostly listed in the local currency of each country. In a few instances, however, the cost was listed in either Euros or U.S. dollars instead. Whenever this happened, we converted the listed price to the local currency, and arrived at the purchasing power using that converted number.