This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You might not have considered The Platinum Card® from American Express to be an ideal choice for family travelers, but perhaps it is time to think again. Many of the same features and benefits that make this card a great option for single travelers and couples can be even more useful to families who travel. Family travel comes with a set of unique obstacles, which means there can be more to gain when you have access to the numerous travel benefits offered by this card.

family with luggage airport
(Photo by Ariel Skelley / Getty Images)

American Express Platinum Basics

The current standard offer for this card includes 60,000 welcome Membership Rewards points after new applicants make $5,000 in purchases within three months of opening the account. According to TPG’s latest monthly valuations, these points are worth 2 cents each, making this bonus alone worth $1,200.

The Platinum Card also offers 5x points for all flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. You earn 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. Honestly, this is a card you get for the perks, not for the everyday spending power. The Platinum card comes with a variety of built-in allowances and credits for Uber, incidental airline fees and even at Saks Fifth Avenue.

There’s a $550 annual fee for this card (see rates & fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees). You can order Gold cards for additional authorized users for no added cost (see rates & fees). And for a single charge of $175 (see rates & fees), you can add up to three additional authorized Platinum Card users — which is actually a great deal in a variety of situations we will get to shortly.

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

How Families Get the Most from the Platinum Card’s Benefits

The Amex Platinum Card has an extensive list of benefits, and many of them can be leveraged for family travel — sometimes to an even greater extent than for solo travelers or couples.

$200 Annual Airline Fee Credit

While it’s not quite as useful as a general annual travel credit that you’ll find with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it is still incredibly easy for families to use this Amex credit well within the intended terms of airline fees. Here are recent data points for what counts and what doesn’t within that category. Family travelers may need to pay for additional luggage, inflight food and entertainment to keep everyone happy. Families are also more likely to have to incur seat selection fees to make sure everyone can sit together on the plane.

If you fly Frontier as a family, you will likely spend money on ancillary fees (Katie Genter / The Points Guy)
If you fly Frontier as a family, you will likely spend money on ancillary fees. (Katie Genter / The Points Guy)

Up to $100 Statement Credit Toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Platinum Card holders and authorized users receive this benefit every four years when they apply for Global Entry or every 4.5 years when they apply for TSA PreCheck. (Here’s why TSA PreCheck is fantastic for families.) While family members age 12 and younger get free access to PreCheck when traveling with an eligible adult, every single passenger needs to be a member of Global Entry to use that line at immigration and many travelers who signed up in the program’s early months and years are now due for renewals.

Global Entry members insert their passports, have their photograph taken and the fingerprints scanned as part of the entry process. (Photo by Katherine Frey / The Washington Post / Getty Images)
Global Entry members insert their passports, have their photograph taken and the fingerprints scanned as part of the entry process. (Photo by Katherine Frey / The Washington Post / Getty Images)

American Express Global Lounge Collection

The American Express Platinum Card now offers access to so many different lounge programs that all of these benefits are lumped underneath the umbrella of the Global Lounge Collection. The lounge memberships include:

  • Delta Sky Clubs
  • Priority Pass Select
  • American Express Centurion

With Delta Sky Clubs, family travelers are largely out of luck: You not only need a ticket for a Delta flight in addition to your Platinum Card, but your Sky Club membership is also restricted to just a single person with no free guest access. However, authorized users can get themselves in as well, so it isn’t entirely possible for a family to make use of this perk.

The Priority Pass Select membership includes the card holder and up to two guests, and, depending on the location, children may not be counted toward that limit. Keep in mind that a growing number of airport restaurants can be enjoyed and Priority Pass picks up the tab — up to a certain maximum. This option may work even better that traditional lounge visits for some families.

Free meals for Priority Pass members at Landry
Free meals for Priority Pass members at Landry’s at IAH Terminal C in Houston.

At American Express Centurion lounges, the limit is just two guests — the lounges no longer grant access to the card holder’s entire immediate family. Thankfully, infants under 2 years old don’t count toward those limits.

Centurion Lounge Family Room at SFO
Centurion Lounge Family Room at SFO.

If your family is larger than three people, you could still access a Centurion lounge if another member of the family is also an additional authorized Platinum Card user who can bring in their own two guests. Remember: For just a single payment of $175 each year, you can add up to three additional authorized Platinum Cards to your account, with each one of them receiving Priority Pass Select lounge access for themselves and two guests. You could also use your additional Platinum Cards to obtain access for larger families to Centurion lounges. For more information, read Mommy Points’ post on How to Get a Family of 4 or More Into an Amex Centurion Lounge.

Rental Car Privileges

The American Express Platinum Card offers special benefits with Avis, Hertz and National. National is an especially good option for family travelers, as American Express Platinum Card holders receive Executive status, which gives you the option to pick any car you want in the “Emerald Aisle” and only pay for a midsize car. In my experience, minivans are the bane of most singles, couples and business travelers and are readily available for families.

Hertz also can be an attractive option, as Platinum Card holders receive Five Star status, entitling them to a one-car class upgrade. Hertz now offers the Ultimate Choice option at many locations, which is much like National’s Emerald Aisle. Finally, Platinum Card holders receive a four-hour grace period, which often allows you to save an extra day’s rental car charges.

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Hotel Elite Status

Platinum card holders receive Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. Both of these mid-tier status levels can offer you perks such as room upgrades and late checkouts. In the case of Hilton, Gold status may even score you some free breakfast or lounge access.

Hilton Edinburgh Lounge
Hilton Edinburgh Lounge

Extend Purchasing Power to Your Teenagers

American Express allows you to order additional cards for authorized users ages 13 and up. If you want to give your teenager a way to make purchases while traveling, you could get them a Gold card at no cost or opt in to the offer of up to three Platinum Cards for a single fee of $175 annually.

Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

Of the 10 airlines that TPG ranked highest for families, three of them — JetBlue, Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines — are American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners, and you can book tickets on others — Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines — using those airlines’ partners. For example, you can book award flights on Alaska using British Airways Avios; United flights using miles from Air Canada Aeroplan and Singapore; and American flights with miles from British Airways, Iberia and Etihad.

JetBlue
JetBlue’s A320 seat-back entertainment. Photo by Zach Honig.

In other words, the points you earn on your Platinum card can provide very real flexibility when it comes time to book award travel. Here’s a guide for maximizing Amex points.

Bottom Line

Families may initially look past the Platinum Card because of its hefty $550 annual fee. But, as Mommy Points recently discussed, this annual fee can be worth its weight in gold — even (or perhaps more) for family travelers.

What are your favorite Platinum Card benefits for family travel?

Featured image by Bounce / Getty Images

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

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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

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.