Why I have an authorized user Amex Platinum instead of getting my own account
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I love using many of the perks provided by The Platinum Card® from American Express. So, you might be surprised to learn I don’t have my own Amex Platinum account. Instead, I am an authorized user on my husband’s Amex Platinum account. In particular, I have an additional Platinum card, which provides many of the same perks as having my own account.
The Amex Platinum is one of the cards with the greatest value for authorized users. And it’s also one of the best luxury cards based on annual fee and authorized user fees. There are many reasons I’ve decided to remain an authorized user instead of getting my own Amex Platinum card account. Let’s dig in.
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Amex Platinum perks
In case you’re not already well-versed in the Platinum card’s many perks and benefits, here’s a quick rundown.
The Amex Platinum is one of the best travel rewards cards due to its excellent travel perks. First off, you’ll earn:
- 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
- 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, then 1x)
- 1x points on other purchases
- Airline fee credit: Up to $200 in statement credits annually for incidental fees charged by one airline you select
- Uber benefits: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber credits annually, split into monthly $15 credits for U.S. rides or eats orders plus a $20 bonus in December
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Up-to-$100 statement credit for Global Entry every four years or up-to-$85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years (depending on which application fee you charge to your card first)
- Saks credit: Up to $100 in Saks credits annually, split into a $50 credit for purchases in January through June and a $50 credit for purchases in July through December
- Amex Offers: Enroll in specific offers to get statement credits or extra Membership Rewards points
If you use these credits, it becomes easy to justify the Amex Platinum’s $550 annual fee. Plus, Amex Platinum cardmembers also get the following perks that can provide additional value:
- Lounge access through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection: Includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when traveling on same-day Delta flights)
- Hotel elite status: Complimentary hotel elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
- Elite-like hotel perks: Extra perks when you book hotel stays through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program or The Hotel Collection program
- Flight discounts: Use Amex’s International Airline Program for premium cabin discounts on select international itineraries
- Travel protections: Including trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance and a baggage insurance plan
- Shopping protections: Including extended warranty, purchase protection and return protection
The Amex Platinum’s unique perks are why the card remains a staple in my wallet. After all, if you want to book hotels through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you’ll need a Platinum- or Centurion-branded card. Likewise, if you wish to access Amex Centurion lounges when flying any airline, you’ll need a Platinum- or Centurion-branded card. So, unless you have a small business and decide to add The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to your wallet, the Amex Platinum is likely your best option if you want these perks.
Perks for authorized users
Despite all those perks, as noted above, I haven’t gotten my own Amex Platinum card yet.
Instead, I have an additional Platinum Card on my husband’s Amex Platinum account. Here’s why … Amex Platinum cardmembers can add up to three additional Platinum Cards to their account for an additional $175 annual fee total for all three additional users (see rates and fees).
Amex Platinum cardmembers can also add additional Gold Cards to their account for no additional fee (see rates and fees). But, additional Gold Cards are different than the American Express® Gold Card. Instead, additional Gold Cards earn rewards at the same rate as the primary cardmember’s Amex Platinum, get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit and can book hotel stays through The Hotel Collection program.
But, additional Platinum Cards get many of the same perks as the primary Amex Platinum cardmember. Amex explicitly notes the following perks when you add an additional Platinum Card to your account:
- American Express Global Lounge Collection (including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on same-day Delta flights)
- Hilton Honors Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program
- The Hotel Collection program
In practice, additional Platinum Cards also get many other perks. For example, additional Platinum Cards get a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit independent of the primary cardmember. And additional Platinum Cards also get access to the Amex Platinum’s shopping and travel protections. The only significant Amex Platinum benefits that additional Platinum Cards don’t get are statement credits (excluding the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit).
Additional cards do get their own Amex Offers. But, additional cards often don’t get the same level of offers as primary cards. For example, my additional Platinum Card didn’t get its own set of Home Depot and Best Buy Amex Offers when Amex recently offered easy statement credits to most Amex Platinum cardmembers.
And, of course, additional Platinum Cards earn rewards for the primary cardmember. So, if you want to build your own Amex Membership Rewards balance, you may wish to apply for your own Amex Platinum card. Luckily, the Amex Platinum is currently offering an appealing welcome bonus.
Current welcome bonus
The current Amex Platinum welcome offer allows you to earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. Plus, you can earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases) during your first six months of card membership. Thanks to the 10x earning opportunity, you can earn up to 225,000 points with this Amex Platinum welcome offer.
Some applicants may be able to snag a better welcome offer through the CardMatch Tool. In particular, Amex may target you for a 100,000 or 125,000 point Amex Platinum offer through the CardMatch Tool. However, these offers are subject to change at any time.
However, not all applicants will be eligible for the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus. In particular, the Amex Platinum’s offer terms note:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.
After all, Amex one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions may prevent you from earning a welcome bonus. And Amex considers the other factors when determining whether you’re eligible to earn a welcome bonus. Luckily, you’ll see a pop-up message after applying (but before Amex does a hard pull on your credit) if you aren’t eligible to earn the welcome offer. If you see this pop-up message, you can opt to apply for the card without a bonus or withdraw your application.
Why I’m sticking with an authorized user card
Frankly, the welcome bonus I described in the previous section is compelling. The 75,000-point bonus would be useful, as is 10x earning on up to $15,000 spent at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets during your first six months as a cardmember. And, unlike when I’m typically globetrotting as a digital nomad, I could use the 10x earning at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets right now.
But, I’ve been ineligible for welcome offers the last few times I’ve applied for Amex cards. So, I expect I wouldn’t be eligible for the Amex Platinum’s welcome offer. After all, even though I’ve never had an Amex Platinum account before, Amex considers other factors when deciding whether to offer a potential applicant a welcome bonus.
Even if I was eligible for the welcome offer, I don’t see a compelling reason for my husband JT and I to have separate Amex Platinum accounts. After all, we often can’t use the Uber cash credit when we’re out of the U.S. for an entire month (once life returns to a bit more normal). And, we wouldn’t shop with Saks if we didn’t have the bi-annual credit to use. Plus, the airline fee credit can be annoying to use. So, beyond the welcome bonus, I wouldn’t get much additional value from having my own Amex Platinum account instead of an additional Platinum Card.
Sure, JT could close his account and I could open an Amex Platinum account and add him as an authorized user. But, the two other additional cardmembers on his Amex Platinum are his parents. And JT currently has all three cards in the Amex Trifecta. So, at least for now, it makes sense for him to keep his Amex Platinum and its additional cardmembers.
The Platinum Card from American Express earns valuable Amex Membership Rewards points and offers excellent travel perks. As such, frequent travelers often believe the Amex Platinum is the king of premium rewards cards. However, some travelers might not need their own Amex Platinum account if a friend or family member can add them as an additional Platinum cardmember.
After all, the Amex Platinum extends many of the same perks to primary cardmembers and authorized users, including lounge access. So, getting an additional Platinum card may be a better option for some travelers. In particular, an additional Platinum card may be better if you wouldn’t use the Amex Platinum’s statement credits at close to face value. An additional Platinum card may also be better if you don’t have a high enough credit score for the Amex Platinum or simply aren’t eligible for the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber savings annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees