21 of the Amex Platinum Card’s most valuable benefits
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The Platinum Card® from American Express may have a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it doesn’t take a lot to get much more than that in value from its existing and new perks. This card ranks consistently as No. 1 in benefits for travelers, and with a strong welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership — which TPG values at $2,000 — it’s one of the cards I never leave home without.
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But you may not know just how valuable the Amex Platinum is. To ensure you’re getting full value from all the benefits, you need to familiarize yourself with these key features. Below I outline 21 of the top perks to focus on to ensure you’re getting maximum value from this premium card.
1. $200 travel credit
During the peak of the pandemic in August 2020, American Express offered cardmembers a temporary up to $200 travel credit (separate from the existing airline fee credit) to keep them from ditching the travel perks-heavy card. The travel credit targeted those who renewed their card between April 2020 and March 2021. The credit, which expires on Dec. 31, can be used for airfare, hotels, rental cars and cruises.
2. Annual hotel credit
The card already comes with access to both the Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection programs with Amex Travel when you prepay with your Amex Platinum. Both of these programs offer you elite-like perks when you book a room. Now you can use this new up to $200 hotel credit in the form of a statement credit on prepaid bookings for both hotel programs. Enrollment required.
3. Clear membership credit
The Amex Platinum Card now comes with an up-to-$179 annual Clear statement credit to cover your annual membership. This is valuable as travel rebounds in record numbers, causing long lines at airport security checkpoints. Clear users have a separate lane where their identity is verified using a fingerprint or an iris scan. After your identity is verified, a Clear representative will escort you to the top of the Transportation Security Administration screening line. If you’re also enrolled in TSA PreCheck, then you’ll be taken directly to the PreCheck line. Children under 18 may use the Clear line for free when traveling with a paid member. Enrollment is required.
4. Digital entertainment credit
Cardholders now receive a new up-to-$240 annual digital entertainment credit, in the form of $20 in monthly statement credits, when you pay for eligible purchases with the Amex Platinum at Audible, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock. The partners are limited, but this credit could either pay for an existing membership or encourage you to try new ones. Enrollment is required.
5. Equinox credit
This premium fitness center has more than 100 locations, mainly in major cities. While membership isn’t cheap, the $25 statement credit each month on your Platinum card is better than nothing. A less expensive option is using the credit to cover Equinox+, a more affordable virtual workout platform that costs $39.99 a month. Enrollment is required.
6. The Global Dining Access program by Resy
This revamped dining program gives Platinum cardholders exclusive reservations at some of the world’s top restaurants. That access includes prime time tables at many of the most in-demand restaurants in the U.S. and overseas, including Carbone New York, Don Angie, Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park, Cosme, Lilia and many more. The program also will allow cardholders to book high-profile chef dinners, curated culinary experiences, virtual cooking classes and presales of Resy events.
The Amex Platinum offers access to various airport lounges, but the access policies aren’t the same across all of them. For example, you can access Centurion Lounges for free along with two guests no matter what airline you’re flying, but you can only access Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights. No guests are included, but you may purchase access for up to two traveling companions at the discounted price of $39 per person.
A Delta Sky Club lounge membership costs $545 for an individual membership, so this is a huge perk. You can use either lounge on departure or arrival, but you must have a ticket (you can’t go to Centurion at LaGuardia for lunch if you aren’t flying!). And keep in mind that you can’t even access a Centurion Lounge unless you have an Amex Platinum (personal or business) or Centurion card.
American Express has also announced an expansion of its Centurion Lounge program. Escape Lounges are already part of the Amex Global Lounge Collection, a network of 1,300 airport lounges in 500 airports and 140 countries.
Now, Amex is fully incorporating Escape Lounges into the Centurion network. All U.S. lounges will now be called “Escape Lounge – The Centurion Studio Partner.” Guests will have a better selection of complimentary cocktails, spirits, wines and premium snacks (in addition to the full menu and bar available).
8. $200 annual airline credit
One of the best perks of the Amex Platinum Card is its annual up-to-$200 airline incidental fee statement credit for one airline. The credit can be used toward airline lounge passes, checked bag fees and much more. Choose the airline that you fly the most on the Amex website. Enrollment is required.
This program allows eligible cardholders to purchase up to eight tickets at discounted fares from more than two dozen participating airlines as long as the cardholder is traveling on the same reservation. You can save on international first-class, business-class and premium economy seats.
10. Trip delay/cancellation coverage
When traveling, stuff happens that is out of our control, including delays and cancellations — but Amex is ready to help. If you pay for a trip with your Amex Platinum Card and a covered reason delays your trip by more than six hours, trip delay insurance can reimburse certain expenses purchased with your same card, up to $500 per trip.
If your trip is canceled or interrupted, your nonrefundable expenses bought with the card will be covered, up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per eligible card per 12-consecutive-month period.
11. Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash, plus an Uber Eats Pass
Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $200 in Uber Cash each calendar year (for U.S. services), split into $15 credits each month except in December, when you get $35 (enrollment required). The credits don’t roll over from month to month, but it’s very easy to get the full $200 even if you only use the ride-hailing app occasionally. Also, U.S. consumers with an Amex Platinum Card have 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass*, valued at $10 per month, when they enroll by Dec. 31. Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly rate.
12. Marriott and Hilton Gold status
The Amex Platinum gets you complimentary Gold elite status in two hotel loyalty programs — Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. With Hilton, Gold status comes with 80% bonus points on stays, space-available room upgrades, free continental breakfast, no resort fees on reward stays and free Wi-Fi.
Bonvoy Gold includes 25% bonus points, room upgrades, 2 p.m. late checkout, welcome gift or points, free enhanced Wi-Fi and mobile check-in and mobile key. Enrollment is required.
13. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee
These days, it’s pretty much a given that there will be long wait times at the airport, making TSA PreCheck for expedited security and Global Entry for fast-track immigration upon reentering the U.S. absolute no-brainers. With the Amex Platinum, you’ll get a credit to your account to cover the application fee (up to $100) for these programs once every four years. You should choose Global Entry, since it includes PreCheck enrollment. If you already have a membership, you can use your Platinum card to gift Global Entry to a friend.
14. Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection
Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, available to holders of the Amex Platinum, the Business Platinum and Centurion cards, is a great option for booking paid hotel stays since you’ll get some stellar benefits, such as room upgrades, free breakfast, guaranteed late checkout and a unique amenity with each property.
Another huge plus is that if you have elite status with a hotel you’re staying at, you’ll enjoy any perks connected to your status level on stays booked through FHR, unlike with Amex Travel and most online travel agencies. You’ll also earn points and elite credit for your stay. Search for hotels on the FHR site here.
There’s also The Hotel Collection, where you get a $100 on-site credit for qualifying activities like dining or spa treatments. There’s a minimum two-night stay required to be eligible for the benefit (qualifying activities vary by property).
15. Car rental program elite status
In addition to Gold Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you’ll also get Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. You’ll need to enroll for these benefits, and you can do so on the Amex website. Plus, when you use your card to pay for your rental, you have secondary coverage for damage to or theft of a rental car. Note that coverage is not available for vehicles rented in Australia, Italy and New Zealand.
16. Platinum Concierge
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you have access to the Platinum Concierge, a special phone service that can assist you in booking high-demand restaurants and events, as well as finding a perfect dinner spot or even delivering items on demand. You’ll need to call to activate this benefit — the number is 800-525-33-55. Make sure you sign up for texting when you do so to make things more convenient. Note that the concierge isn’t where you should turn for most travel and vacation bookings, as they’ll likely refer you to Platinum Travel instead.
17. Premium Global Assist Hotline
You’re out of town and the worst happens — a travel catastrophe. The hotline is here to help. When you travel more than 100 miles from home, get 24/7 medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services. Emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost if authorized and arranged by Premium Global Assist Hotline. Please note that you may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
18. Up to 3 authorized cards
A table on Amex’s website compares the benefits offered to additional cardholders. You can add three authorized users to your Amex Platinum for $175 per year (see rates and fees). That works out to just $58.33 per user, and they’re getting almost all of the benefits listed in this post. You can also get a Gold card (not to be confused with the American Express® Gold Card) at no charge (see rates and fees).
19. Saks Fifth Avenue credit
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually ($50 between January and June and another $50 between July and December) to spend at Saks Fifth Avenue, saks.com or Barneys when you use your Amex Platinum Card. Enrollment is required.
20. Control your payments
Cardholders have the option to pay their bill in full, carry a balance with interest or use Amex’s Plan It® feature to split up large qualifying purchases into monthly payments with a fixed monthly fee, up to your Pay Over Time limit. There is no sign up, application or enrollment required for this feature.
21. Purchase/return protection and extended warranty
These final perks make the Amex Platinum stand out. With purchase protection, you’re covered up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per year against accidental damage, loss or theft of items up to 90 days from the purchase date. With return protection, if you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, you’ll get a refund, excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year per card account. When you use your card to buy eligible items, your manufacturer’s warranty is extended for up to a year.
The American Express Platinum Card is far more than a hunk of silver metal. At the same time, some might be put off by the card’s higher $695 annual fee. If you look at all the perks — and credits — this card more than pays for itself every year. So make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything the Amex Platinum has to offer.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
Featured photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy.
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