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Why you should add authorized users on your Amex Platinum

July 26, 2021
15 min read
a hand pulls an Amex Platinum card out of a wallet
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information.

There are many reasons why you'd want to add authorized users to your travel credit cards. For example, your authorized users can help you hit a minimum spending requirement to earn a welcome offer, or you might want to build your child's credit history early on.

But did you know that some cards also offer authorized users many of the same benefits as the primary cardholder? Today, I will focus on the benefits available for authorized users of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Platinum Card comes with a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) and has so many benefits that it's often referred to as a "membership card" -- a card that you keep for its benefits rather than its earning potential. Before diving into the benefits for authorized users, let's consider the benefits available to primary cardholders (terms apply):

*Enrollment required for select benefits.

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Which benefits apply to additional cardholders?

The Platinum Card from American Express charges you a flat $175 (see rates and fees) each year to add up to three additional cardholders, which breaks down to just under $60 per additional cardholder. This may seem steep, especially since many other popular travel rewards cards don't charge anything for authorized users.

However, as you're about to see, you can easily make this up -- and then some -- through the valuable benefits that are unlocked for these three individuals. You can add additional cardholders, but each additional cardholder after the third will cost you $175 (see rates and fees) per year. Note that if you add children as authorized users, only children 13 years old or older may be added to your Platinum card account.

At the same time, you can add additional Gold Card cardholders for free to your Platinum Card. This Gold Card is not the same as the popular American Express® Gold Card that offers 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x). Instead, additional Gold cardholders get the same earning rates as your Platinum card. However, these additional Gold Card cardholders don't have access to many of the benefits given to additional Platinum cardholders -- which is the price you pay if you're forgoing the $175 annual fee (see rates and fees).

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(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

Here's a rundown of the key benefits that additional Platinum Card cardholders will enjoy.

Lounge access

The first key benefit that additional Platinum Card cardholders will enjoy is lounge access -- without the primary cardholder. As mentioned above, this covers American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights and various other types of lounge access.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

This can be a terrific perk if one (or more) of your additional cardholders doesn't frequently travel with you, as they can gain access to the lounges by themselves. Or, since many lounges limit guests to two companions -- if guests are included at all -- it can be a good perk if you travel with a family larger than three.

It's also a great option when you travel on Delta with a spouse or another regular travel companion on a same-day flight, since Delta Sky Clubs charge the primary cardholder $39 for each guest. By adding three additional cardholders for $175, you can avoid these charges altogether. In fact, you'd almost make up the $175 annual fee for three additional cardholders with just five visits to Delta SkyClubs across the year -- and this doesn't even factor in any usage that the authorized users would get when traveling alone.

Whether you’re road-tripping or globetrotting, the suite life is always better. Download the free TPG App to upgrade your travel!

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It's worth pointing out that you must enroll in Priority Pass to be eligible to access Priority Pass lounges (you can get into the other lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection by simply showing your Platinum card). Additional cardholders can't enroll online; they need to call the number on the back of their Platinum Card to enroll.

Related: Guide to lounge access with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee credit

Another great perk that also extends to additional Platinum Card cardholders is the credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fees. Just like the benefit provided to primary cardholders, each authorized user can use this benefit once every four years for Global Entry or once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. Also, you don't even need to use the credit for your own membership -- any qualifying charge for a friend or family member will trigger the credit.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Having TSA PreCheck can save you serious time at the airport. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

If you add three authorized users and have all of them apply for Global Entry in the first year, that's $300 worth of benefits, which easily covers the $175 additional annual fee. All additional members added to a Platinum Card -- both additional Platinum Card cardholders and additional Gold Card cardholders -- are eligible.

Related: Top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Marriott and Hilton elite status

Additional Platinum Card cardholders can also take advantage of complimentary Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Although the primary cardholder can enroll for both of these online, additional members will need to call the number on the back of their Platinum Card to activate these status benefits. If you frequent Marriott or Hilton properties, this can bring you room upgrades, bonus points and additional on-property perks.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Marriott Gold Elite status will bring you benefits at Marriott properties like the Westin Langkawi. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Keep in mind that there are other ways to get Marriott and Hilton status through credit cards:

Marriott Gold Elite is included automatically on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card allow you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

Hilton Honors Gold is included automatically on both the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

Still, having an authorized-user Platinum Card is much easier and/or less expensive than any of those options.

Related: Guide to hotel elite status with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection

As an additional Platinum Card cardholder, you can also use the Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection benefits on the card. When you book a prepaid stay through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you'll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar and get access to the program's elite-like benefits.

These benefits include a room upgrade upon arrival (when available), daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out, noon check-in (when available), complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique amenity valued at $100.

You'll earn 5x on prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts stays. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy on the Park Hyatt Beijing)
You'll earn 5x Membership Rewards points and get elite-like benefits on prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts stays at properties like the Park Hyatt Beijing. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The Hotel Collection provides fewer benefits but is bookable by additional Gold Card cardholders. You'll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid Hotel Collection stays, and on an eligible stay of two nights or longer, you'll also get an up to $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities and a room upgrade upon arrival (if available).

Related: Your ultimate guide to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program

Car rental elite status

Additional Platinum cardholders receive complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle, Avis Preferred Plus and National Emerald Club Executive Elite status. You can enroll in each of these memberships on Amex's website.

Platinum Card primary cardholders and additional Platinum Card cardholders get elite status and benefits with Hertz, Avis and National. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Related: Credit cards that offer elite status for car rentals

Other benefits

Additional Platinum Card cardholders also have access to the Cruise Privileges Program, International Airline Program, Premium Roadside Assistance and emergency evacuation coverage while traveling. Meanwhile, additional Platinum cardmembers and additional Gold Card members can access Amex Offers and the Auto Purchasing Program.

Related: 7 great nontravel benefits of the Amex Platinum

What's not included?

The perks that don't extend to additional cardholders are the welcome bonus, the annual airline-fee credit of up to $200, Uber VIP status, the monthly Uber credits, the prepaid hotel credit, the Clear membership credit, the digital entertainment credit, the Equinox credit and the credit of up to $100 at Saks. However, even some of these aren't totally black and white.

Once you (as the primary cardholder) select an airline of choice, purchases by you and your authorized users will count toward the $200 annual credit. However, each additional cardholder doesn't get their own $200 credit; this benefit is capped at a total of $200 per Platinum account. Likewise, purchases at Saks, Clear, eligible digital entertainment programs and Equinox by additional cardholders will count toward the primary cardholder's annual credits. Authorized users don't have access to the primary cardholder's monthly Uber credits.

Related: Best luxury cards based on annual fee and authorized user fees

Other considerations

Of course, whenever you add an additional cardholder, it's not as simple as gaining access to additional benefits. As the primary cardholder, you are responsible for all charges on your account, including those charged by others. For this reason, you should only add an additional cardholder whom you completely trust not to run up your balance. Remember, too, that you must pay your Amex Platinum balance in full each month (though you should really do this with all credit cards).

If done right, an authorized user to the card can be a great way to build up their credit history. This can go a long way toward helping a friend or family member with poor credit since American Express will report your on-time payment history and credit utilization rate to the respective credit bureaus for every cardholder on your account. Again, make sure the authorized user is someone you can trust.

Related: Everything you need to know about authorized users

How to add additional cardholders

If you've decided to add additional cardholders to your Platinum Card account, log into the dashboard for your Platinum Card account. Scroll down to Amex Offers & Benefits, and click "Add Someone" next to "Add an Additional Card Member."

(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)
(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

Click through the next page and select your Platinum Card if you have multiple Amex cards for which you could add authorized users. Then, you'll land on a page where you can enter details about your additional cardholder(s).

Note that you don't have to enter their Social Security number or date of birth, but Amex requires that you or the additional cardholder add this information within 60 days of when the card is issued or the card will be canceled.

Related: How to maximize benefits with the Amex Platinum Card

Bottom line

Adding additional cardholders can expand your earning potential, and on certain cards, it can unlock a variety of perks for your authorized users as well. On the Amex Platinum, it will cost you $175 to add three authorized users, but given the array of benefits they'll enjoy, this can be a bargain.

Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express with a 80,000-point bonus offer.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon, Katie Genter and Emily McNutt.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.