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 $695 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*
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
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 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Some applicants may be able to snag a better welcome offer through the CardMatch Tool. In particular, Amex may target you for a 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 100,000-point bonus would be useful, as is 10x earning on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S.
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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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash 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 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees