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Last week, Amex raised the sign-up bonus on the Platinum Card to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months, but many folks were still wondering whether that was worth it thanks to the recent diminishing of benefits of the card including the fact that it will no longer provide American and US Airways club access as of March 21, and will have more restricted Delta lounge access. Today, however, Amex announced that it would be adding a few new benefits to the personal, business and corporate Platinum cards that should bring some more value back to it.
The two perks Amex is adding are: complimentary, unlimited access to WiFi hotspots provided by Boingo Wireless, and an application fee statement credit option (worth $85) for the TSA PreCheck program. Here are the details on each.
Starting in June 2014, Platinum Card members will receive complimentary, unlimited access to more than 700,000 land-based WiFi hotspots worldwide in airports, retail and hotel locations through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. Once enrolled in the plan, Card Members can have simultaneous internet access for up to four devices without worrying about data caps or roaming fees.
The plan looks to be equivalent to the Boingo Global Plan, which costs $59 a month and includes the same access (though only up to 2,000 minutes per month).
So if you’re on the road a lot and use Boingo regularly, you could be saving a lot of money through this benefit. When I was a road warrior, I was on Boingo all the time in airports, so this would have come in handy – especially since there are going to be fewer lounges to which you’ll have access with your Platinum card.
Statement Credit Option for TSA PreCheck
Starting in June 2014, Platinum Cardmembers will have the option to receive a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck application fee. The $85 statement credit for TSA PreCheck is an alternative to the existing benefit that American Express launched in 2011―a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry application fee. Cardmembers can receive a statement credit for either the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry program application fee once every five years.
Here are the conditions:
o If the Card Member travels internationally, Global Entry can reduce wait time at US Customs when returning from international travel. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, the Card Member will receive access to TSA PreCheck
o If the Card Member does not travel internationally or does not think he/she meets the requirements of Global Entry, the Card Member can opt to apply for TSA PreCheck alone. TSA PreCheck allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening at participating U.S. airports.
So as the bulleted points mention, if you get Global Entry, which has a $100 that is also covered by the Platinum Card, you automatically get TSA PreCheck, but the option just to get TSA PreCheck only might be something to consider for folks who don’t do much international travel, or who just want to avoid the long application/enrollment backlog that Global Entry currently has. Personally, I’d just go for the Global Entry and get into both trusted traveler programs at once, though.
Overall, I think these are two decent new benefits – and that Boingo Wireless one should be a nice convenience factor for the road warriors out there who get stuck at airports a lot – but I’m hoping that Amex continues to roll out even more to make up for the loss of other perks like lounge access. What are your thoughts?
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Platinum Card and its benefits, check out these posts:
American Express Platinum Card Sign-Up Bonus Increased to 40,000 Points – Worth It?
My Experience Getting Refunded for the Global Entry Application Fee With My Amex Platinum Card
Is the Amex Platinum Worth the $450 Annual Fee?
Maximizing the Amex Platinum $200 Annual Airline Rebate
Understanding the Amex Platinum Lounge Access Benefit
The Amex Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
TSA PreCheck Open Application and Enrollment Begins
Getting Around the Global Entry Backlog
Seriously, Get Global Entry – FAQ’s and How To Get It For Free