Why you should add authorized users on your Amex Platinum
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.
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):
- The Platinum Card from American Express comes with a welcome bonus of 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. Still, you may be eligible for an Amex Platinum 125k-points offer using the CardMatch tool.
- Airline fee credit of up to $200, provided as statement credits for incidental fees charged by the airline you select.*
- 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel.
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 Uber Cash split into monthly $15 credits for U.S. rides, plus a bonus $20 in December.*
- Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry every four years or an $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years.
- Up to $100 Saks credit split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year.*
- Up to $200 annual hotel credit, valid on prepaid reservations at Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties (requires a minimum two-night stay) made through Amex Travel.*
- Up to $189 annual Clear credit, provided as statement credits for a Clear membership.*
- Up to $240 annual digital entertainment credit, split into $20 monthly statement credits for Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock.*
- Up to $300 annual Equinox credit, split into $25 monthly statement credits to eligible Equinox memberships or access to the Equinox+ app.*
- Points transfer to Amex's 20+ airline and hotel partners.
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights, Airspace and Escape.
- Complimentary Gold status at Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.*
- Complimentary car rental status: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle, Avis Preferred Plus and National Emerald Club Executive Elite status.*
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
- $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
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).
Here's a rundown of the key benefits that additional Platinum Card cardholders will enjoy.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still, having an authorized-user Platinum Card is much easier and/or less expensive than any of those options.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.