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Sunday Reader Email Question: Amex Platinum Additional Card Vs. Primary Cardholder Benefits

by on September 11, 2011 · 21 comments

in American Express, Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Fernando writes:

“My brother recently got approved for an AMEX PLT card, I was wondering if he should add me as an authorized user or if I should just apply for my own? And if he does, will I get the same benefits as him? Also, I currently hold an AMEX PRG card.”

The American Express Platinum card has a ton of benefits, so if you know someone with one – you should consider becoming an additional cardholder or even getting one yourself. There are some key differences though, so let’s take a look:

Primary Cardholder:

Update: Beginning March 22, 2014, American Express Card Members will no longer have access to American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club airport lounges through Airport Club Access / Airport Lounge Program. This means that Card Members will no longer be able to gain complimentary access to the American Airlines airport lounges (known as Admirals Club lounges) or the US Airways Club airport lounges as a benefit of their Platinum Card Membership. Cardmembers will continue to receive access to participating Delta Sky Club lounges, Priority Pass Select (enrollment is required), and Airspace lounges in JFK, CLE and BWI airports.

If you get the card yourself, the annual fee is $450 a year. Pretty steep, but the main benefits are: $200 a year in credits to the airline of your choice, lounge access when flying American, Delta, Alaska, Continental (until 9/30/11) and at any US Airways club, Priority Pass Select membership which gives lounge access to a host of international lounges, free Global Entry ($100 value), access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program (upgrades, discounts and other perks when staying at certain hotels), instant Starwood Gold status, no foreign transaction fees and a bunch more which I’ve highlighted here.
Additionally, as a new Platinum cardholder Amex will give you 25,000 Membership Rewards points once you spend $1,000 within the first three months. I personally value Amex points at 2 cents a piece conservatively, so that sign up bonus more than covers the first year annual fee ($500 in value). All together, the first year of your membership should pay for it many times over and possibly each every other year depending on the benefits you personally value.
Credit impact: You will get a hard inquiry on your credit for the application, which may temporarily take a couple points off your score, though you should get them back once your account is added to your credit report and you keep your balances low.

Additional cardholder:
If you know someone with the card, they can pay $175 and get up to three additional cardholders ($175 per additional card thereafter). As an additional cardholder you get all benefits of the Platinum card including lounge access and Priority Pass Select membership, except:
1) The $200 airline credit is shared with the main cardholder, so additional cardholder fees with that airline will get rebated until the $200 is met.
2) Your points will belong to the Primary cardholder. Granted, the primary cardholder can transfer any points you earn to your account, but that decision is theirs and you’d have no recourse if they kept all of the points you generated.
Credit impact: No hard inquiry – Amex will ask for your social security number and run a soft inquiry to verify your identity, but neither your credit or the primary cardholders credit will be negatively affected. In fact, you will inherit the account history of the main account holder, which can increase your score.

Amex Platinum additional cardholder benefits – you can add them on americanexpress.com -> Account summary -> Additional cards

So basically, my advice would be to get the card yourself – at least for the first year so you get the sign-up bonus and $200 airline credit for yourself and then assess whether the card benefits align with your needs. If you ever decide to cancel the card, Amex will prorate your annual fee and you can just switch to your Premier Rewards Gold which as you know gives 3x points on airfare, 2x on gas and groceries and 1x on everything else (though it doesn’t have valuable perks and does have foreign transaction fees).

More details on the Platinum Card:

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • John

    Here’s a related question: does being an additional holder of a card on someone else’s account preclude from bonuses available only to “new” cardholders if you later decide to become a primary cardholder?

  • Anonymous

    It has not precluded me. I was a plat addtl cardholder and when I got my own I got the full signup bonus

  • Guest

    I believe that only the primary card holder gets the Priority Pass Select.

  • Anonymous

    Nope- My additional cardholders get their own priority club select memberships

  • Michael Acevedo

    Quick question to either TPG or anyone else who can answer… and sorry if this has been answered.

    As with citi, if I were to apply for two Amex cards today (say this plat plus gold rewards), will it be semi-treated as one inquiry by the credit agencies? Or is this a citi only type thing?

  • Voh2ox2

    The second card is 175.00 and you can get two more for free.

  • Jcf2002

    Do the additional card holders also get Global Entry?

  • NYBanker

    Yes. Even cards 3 and 4 (which are free).

  • http://www.sitinfirst.com NYBanker

    The only difference is you have to call Amex to order these additional memberships (versus the primary cardholder can sign up online). It took me three tries to get the additional cards – but they did come. It seems Amex and PP don’t have a smooth system in place yet.

  • Lark

    So, essentially, I could add my wife and two kids as additional cardholders, and get Global Entry for all three of them for $175? Sounds like a good deal… Any problem adding two children well under 18? (and, can minors apply for Global Entry?)

    Also – is it $175 per year for the additional users, or just a one time $175 fee?

  • Rob

    Anyone have any luck getting Global Entry reimbursed multiple times? Such as get mine this year and apply for my wife in 2012?

  • Anonymous

    Ive heard it is possible. My understanding is that Amex just refunds all charges by that vendor. People have reported getting Nexus refunded as well

  • PJ

    i thought the 100K sign on bonus on Platinum card was still on ; I got that with my signon

  • Sean Buchanan

    Is “additional card holders getting same benefits” true of all AMEX cards? My mom is a Delta Gold Amex holder and I’m an additional user on hers, would I get the same upgrade benefits that she is offered?

    I’d like to get a first class bump next time I’m flying Delta simply for having the gold card even though I purchase the tix on my personal SPG.

  • Eugene Chin

    I have a 3-year-old so I did ask the officer at my global entry interview, he told me this (confirmed with his supervisor)
    1. children need their own global entry application, cannot be combined with parenst.
    2. children can apply for global entry
    3. children will need their own interview and have their fingerprints taken (it’s pretty out for my 3-year-old though, don’t think we can hold her to do the fingerprints :P)

  • misterj

    *off topic question pointsguy – sorry – I have the Amex Plat, and I have a couple of flights coming up – booked with British Airways but are codesharing with American Airlines (essentially i’ll be flying on a American Airlines plane – but paid for the tix to British) , can i use the $200 airline fee credit towards American Airlines?

  • Lark

    I just spoke with AMEX Plat CS. The representative told me that additional cardholders have to be at least 15 years old…

  • CM

    I don’t see the $200 airline credit on the sign-up page. Is it still being offered to new members?

  • Anonymous

    Yes

  • Anonymous

    Youll get a rebate when you sign up for an airline and that airline processes the charge

  • sam

    I if add an authorized user – but get him a gold card ($45 instead of $175) will he still get credit for global entry?

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