Getting an offer in the mail for a platinum credit card can be quite flattering. After all, a platinum card offers some major perks for cardholders, but they generally come with an annual fee.
While not all platinum credit cards charge an extra fee, you’ll need to figure out whether the card’s perks are worth the extra money, which ultimately depends on your spending habits. Here are some questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering applying for a platinum credit card.
Are You in Debt?
If you are currently climbing out of credit card debt, this kind of credit card is not an ideal fit for you. You should be looking for the lowest interest rate so you can pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible. You don’t need to be adding expenses into your budget, regardless of the perks.
Do You Travel Frequently?
Most of these platinum credit cards are geared for frequent travelers. Some of the best perks involve flying, staying in hotels and access to airport lounges. Bonus airline points for signing up combined with rapidly accumulating miles for every purchase and even sometimes airline rebates can make the fee worth it if you take to the skies regularly. To make that travel more comfortable, platinum credit cards can often give access to airport lounges that provide free drinks and snacks along with other perks like WiFi, TV, showers and sometimes even gyms.
Once you arrive at your destination, the platinum credit card can come in handy once again. Often cardholders are eligible for free room upgrades, meals, late checkout and resort credits for spa services, golf games, etc. So if you normally pay for these amenities, having the card can actually save you money in the long run.
Are You Making a Big Purchase?
Many credit cards offer extra purchase protections, and platinum credit cards can extend that. This means a longer coverage for purchases that are fraudulent, damaged or lost. If you know this is a year you will be making several big purchases (perhaps you are thinking of buying a house and then you will have to furnish it), paying the annual fee for a platinum credit card could be worth it.
It’s a Numbers Game
Ultimately, you have to do a little math. Even if you are a frequent traveler, the card may not be worth it. For example, if you usually travel modestly, paying the fee to get “free” perks is just paying the fee. It may not be much different than just paying for the upgrades yourself and if you weren’t OK with doing that previously, you have to really think about if you want to do it now. Don’t be seduced by “free” perks that you don’t really want. On the other hand, if you often find yourself at an airport wishing you had a comfortable place to wait out a layover during one of your many yearly travels, the credit card perks may be just what you’re looking for.
Before you apply for a credit card, it’s important to check your credit scores. If your credit scores are too low to qualify for a platinum credit card, you could be rejected for the card, which will ding your credit score slightly and leave you without a card. You can check your credit for free using the Credit Report Card, a free tool that updates two of your credit scores every month and even can match you with credit cards that you are most likely to qualify for.
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