Beginner's Guide to AMEX Platinum Benefits
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There is no point paying the $450 annual fee for the American Express Platinum Card UNLESS you know the benefits are worth it. Read this in-depth guide to help you decide.
Pros and Cons
- Lounge Access
- Companion Ticket
- $450 annual fee
At $450 per year, the Platinum Card from American Express comes with a big price tag, but savvy cardholders can help make up for it by taking advantage of its perks and rewards.
If you are debating whether to add a Platinum Card to your wallet or you are not sure you are getting the most out of it, keep reading.
Before we dive into the benefits, let's summarize how the rewards program works:
Cardholders are automatically enrolled in the American Express Membership Rewards program, which means you will earn 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases. 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
To sweeten the deal, American Express offers a 40,000-point bonus to new members when they use their card to make at least $3,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.
What can you do with the points? The points you earn with the Platinum Card can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages, shopping, gift cards, and more. Redemption starts at 5,000 points, and each point is worth 1 cent when you are using them for flights. Points can be transferred to select frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs.
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On top of the points you earn when you use the card, each member also receives up to a $200 credit per year for things like baggage fees, incidentals, and in-flight meals aboard qualifying airlines. To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
You can also get an additional $100 statement credit towards the Global Entry or TSA Pre program every 4 years. To receive the statement credit, you must charge the application fee to your Platinum card.
When you're in the middle of a hectic trip or your flight's been delayed, escaping to the airport lounge gives you a chance to recharge. The Platinum Card features complimentary access to 5 airport lounge networks. That includes access to Delta Sky Clubs, The Centurion Lounges, American Express International Lounges, and Airspace Lounges. At a participating airport lounge, you need to show your Platinum Card, photo ID, and same-day boarding pass to get in.
You also have the option of enrolling in Priority Pass Select (at no additional cost). This program offers access to more than 950 lounges at airports around the world. The annual membership fee typically ranges from $99 to $399, depending on which level you choose. That's a substantial savings you're getting just by having the Platinum Card.
Each lounge has specific policies about bringing guests, so you'll need to review the rules carefully before you pay a visit. For instance, there may be limits on the number of guests you can bring or a minimum age limit. You may also have to pay a separate guest fee for bringing someone along, which is automatically charged to your card.
Having a personal assistant to help you with all the things on your to-do list would be nice, but it's not exactly realistic. With Platinum Card Concierge Service, however, you can come pretty close.
Concierge staff is available to answer questions and assist with a number of different tasks, such as finding tickets for a popular event, arranging for shuttle transport between the airport and your hotel, or helping you track down a bouquet for someone special. There is typically no additional fee involved, unless you need extensive help with planning a large-scale event or meeting.
DINING AND TRAVEL
The Platinum Dining Program allows you to use Concierge service to reserve a table at more than 1,000 restaurants worldwide. Consultants can also help with reviewing menu selections, providing travel directions, or making any other special arrangements before you arrive at the restaurant.
Platinum Travel Service is a separate card feature that can help you get the most out of your trip. Travel Counselors are available 24/7 to provide recommendations, help you find special offers or other travel benefits, and guide you on how to use your Membership Rewards points.
COMPANION TICKETS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Traveling around the world is an adventure, and the Platinum Card helps you take someone along. Any time you book an eligible international flight aboard one of 25 participating airlines in either business or first class, you can get a companion ticket added to your itinerary at no extra charge.
HOTEL AND RESORT BENEFITS
When you're planning a trip, your Platinum Card can make your hotel stay more enjoyable. If you book through the FINE HOTELS & RESORTS program, depending on the hotel, some of the extras you can take advantage of include noon check-in times when available, room upgrades upon arrival, daily breakfast for two, and 4 p.m. late checkout. Each partner property also offers additional benefits to cardholders, such as a $100 food and beverage credit or complimentary spa treatments.
But that's not all. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest Program are upgraded to Gold Status if they have a Platinum Card account. At the Gold Status, you'll earn 3 Starpoints for every dollar you spend on eligible Starwood hotel stays and enjoy other bonuses like free room upgrades, late checkout (subject to availability), and your choice of a complimentary welcome gift.
Plus, you can enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold Status.
Booking your vacation through Platinum Destinations can score you some serious points that you can use to save on future trips. Depending on which package you choose, you could earn 5,000, 10,000 or 25,000 Membership Rewards points with your card. That's up to $250 you can get towards your next flight.
If you don't want to stay at a hotel during your getaway, you have the option of reserving a private villa through the Platinum Travel Service instead. Luxury private residences are available in Argentina, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Spain, and Thailand. If you're planning a trip to any of these spots, choosing a villa gives you that "home away from home" experience.
Any time you purchase a cruise of 5 nights or more with your card, you'll get a shipboard credit of $100 to $300 per room. By booking through American Express Travel, your Membership Rewards points you earn 2x points. You'll also get exclusive amenities offered directly through the cruise line for being a Platinum Card member.
Another benefit the Platinum Card offers members is access to special events. Subject to availability, you can purchase tickets to Broadway shows, score prime seats for Wimbledon, see your favorite artist live in concert, or sit in the front row at a New York fashion show. Discounts are available for selected events when you use your Platinum Card, and you're always eligible for Preferred Seating.
By Invitation Only is a separate entertainment program for card members who are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at an affordable price. Most event tickets are all-inclusive and trips are already planned out, so the only thing you need to do is show up. If you've ever wanted to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from a VIP yacht or enjoy wine tasting in Napa Valley, the Platinum Card can try to make it happen.
Renting a car can be a huge hassle, but the Platinum Card makes it a little easier. Members get complimentary memberships in Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental's premium programs. That means you'll qualify for discounts or upgrades as well as a streamlined check-in and check-out process. The card also comes with free loss and damage insurance coverage for eligible rental cars.
Card members who want to travel in style can book a private car service, limousine or even a private jet. You'll earn double Membership Rewards points on limousine reservations and a $300 credit towards limo transfer services if you're traveling by jet. Private jet bookings also include complimentary in-flight catering for everyone in your party.
ADDITIONAL PLATINUM CARD BENEFITS
The Platinum Card also offers lots of other perks beyond the various travel, dining and entertainment benefits that are available. Some of the other features cardholders have access to include:
- Special offers on shopping
- Complimentary Wi-Fi at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide
- Premium roadside assistance
- Return and purchase protection
- Extended warranty program
- Premium global assistance
- Baggage insurance
- Travel accident insurance
There are also no foreign transaction fees associated with the Platinum Card, so you won't have to pay extra for purchases made outside the U.S. You also never have to worry about paying interest on what you charge since your balance must be paid in full each month.
IS THE PLATINUM CARD WORTH THE ANNUAL FEE?
Do you travel? The Global Lounge Collection, Priority Pass Select membership, and Airline Fee Credit makes this a tempting offer.
In our opinion, whether it proves to be a good deal depends on how frequently you use the card, specifically for travel. If you're taking 5 or 6 trips a year to destinations outside the U.S. and using the card for everyday purchases as well, the annual fee may be worth it. On the other hand, if you tend to stay home, you're probably better off choosing a rewards card with a lower fee.
As always, terms and conditions apply.
Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
Disclaimer: This content was first published on June 3, 2015. This content may have been updated on October 20, 2015. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.