4 unique perks that keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet
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Among premium travel rewards cards, one consumer card stands out due to its excellent cardmember benefits. This card is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers a massive selection of luxury travel perks.
However, many travel rewards cards offer some of the same perks as the Amex Platinum, such as Priority Pass lounge access and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits. So, you may question whether you should keep the Amex Platinum if you’re traveling less and already have other cards with similar perks. Enrollment required for select benefits.
But, despite its new massive $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), the Amex Platinum remains a staple in my wallet. After all, the Amex Platinum provides a collection of unique perks that aren’t available on any other readily available consumer card. Today, I’ll discuss four of them that are keeping this card securely in my wallet.
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Amex Platinum overview
Many travelers regard the Amex Platinum as the king of premium travel rewards cards. But, the Amex Platinum also has several non-travel benefits. Even so, as most cardmembers halted or decreased travel during the coronavirus pandemic, Amex offered various limited-time benefits designed to provide value and keep customers from dropping the card.
Before diving into my favorite four unique Amex Platinum perks, let’s take a quick look at what you should know about the Amex Platinum.
Current welcome offer
There’s currently an elevated welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum for eligible new cardmembers. Specifically, you can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 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 restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S.(on up to $25,000 in combined purchases) during the first six months of card membership.
This means you can earn up to 350,000 points with this Amex Platinum welcome offer. That’s the highest number of potential bonus points we’ve ever seen — by far. However, you may also want to check the CardMatch tool for an Amex Platinum offer that better suits your situation (offer subject to change at any time). Spending the full $25,000 in the card’s 10x bonus categories in six months isn’t realistic for most of us.
Standout Amex Platinum perks
Whether you’re a new cardmember or an existing cardmember, the Amex Platinum offers many cardmember perks, including:
- 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year); 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel; 1x points on other purchases
- Up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum*
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash each calendar year to use in the U.S. on Uber rides or Eats orders, provided as up to $15 every month plus an up to $20 bonus in December*
- Up to $20 in statement credits each month (up to $240 annually) when you pay for eligible purchases with the Amex Platinum at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times*
- Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year to cover fees (and lots of other things) with one qualifying airline*
- Access to various airport lounges through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection
- Application fee credit every four years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck (up to $100)
- Annual up to $179 statement credit when you use your card to purchase a Clear membership (which retails for $179).*
- Get elite-like perks when booking hotel stays through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program
- Gold elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors*
- Secondary rental car damage and theft coverage when you rent an eligible car with your card
- Premium Global Assist hotline
- Travel protections including trip delay insurance and trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Shopping protections including extended warranty protection, return protection and purchase protection
- Terms Apply
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
When considered together, it’s no wonder the Amex Platinum is one of the best travel rewards cards. I’ll discuss my favorite four perks unique to the Amex Platinum in the remainder of this guide.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit
This is essentially free money for me. The Amex Platinum will give you up to $20 in statement credits every month when you use the card to pay for a membership with one or more of these providers:
- The New York Times
I know that’s not a huge selection (hopefully it’ll quickly grow over time), but I’ve got subscriptions to both Peacock and Audible Premium Plus, which costs almost exactly $20 per month. That’s $240 per year that I’ll save for absolutely zero effort.
This benefit effectively lowers the card’s annual fee to $455 per year single-handedly. It puts me in the position of deciding whether the remaining card benefits are worth that dollar amount — and they definitely, definitely are.
Unmatched airport lounge access
I keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet due to the unique lounge access it unlocks. Specifically, as an Amex Platinum or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardmember, you’ll get access to lounges in the following networks (enrollment required for some):
- American Express Centurion Lounges
- Delta Sky Club lounges when flying same-day on Delta or its partner airlines
- Priority Pass Select lounges
- Airspace lounges
- Plaza Premium lounges
- International American Express Lounges
Amex has announced a significant expansion to its network of Centurion Lounges and Centurion Studios, with more than 40 locations planned worldwide. As part of this expansion, U.S.-based Escape Lounges will be rebranded as Escape Lounges– The Centurion Studio Partner. And Amex is expanding access to Lufthansa lounges worldwide to include various European and U.S. airports.
Sure, I have Priority Pass lounge access through several other cards. And I could get Delta Sky Club lounge access with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.
But, you pretty much need to have an Amex Platinum, Amex Business Platinum or Amex Centurion card to get access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges. And there’s simplicity in not carrying a separate card for Delta Sky Club lounge access. Plus, I’ve enjoyed visiting U.S. Escape Lounges at several airports.
As such, even if it’s not a rational decision, the primary reason I’m keeping the Amex Platinum in my wallet is lounge access. Specifically, I want to have Centurion Lounge access and Delta Sky Club access when flying same-day Delta flights as the pandemic subsides and I restart my global digital nomad travels.
Unfortunately, entrance requirements and guest allotment vary from lounge to lounge. So it’s best to check Amex’s Global Lounge Collection page before visiting. And, although you can access most of the lounge types listed above by showing your Amex Platinum card, picture identification and a valid boarding pass, you’ll need to enroll in Priority Pass before you can visit lounges in the Priority Pass network.
Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts’ $200 credit
One of the most undervalued benefits available to American Express cardmembers with a Platinum or Centurion-branded card such as the Amex Platinum is the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. In short, you get elite-like perks when you book rooms through the program. And Amex has recently increased the incentive to book through this program in a big way (I’ll explain shortly).
I’ve used this program to book several stays, including at the Park Hyatt Beijing, Loews Chicago Hotel and Cordis Auckland. When you book through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you’ll get the following onsite perks:
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available at check-in
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
- Noon check-in, when available at check-in
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Experience credit that varies by property but is worth at least $100
I’ve had great experiences on each of my Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts stays, so maintaining access to the program certainly plays into my decision to keep the Amex Platinum card. After all, I’ve gotten great value from booking short stays through the program. For example, I once got $160 of food and drink included on a $153 stay in Chicago.
Best of all, you may get elite perks and earnings when you book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. For example, I got elite perks and earnings when I booked the Park Hyatt Beijing through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. And several other TPG staffers have reported getting elite perks and earnings on their bookings more recent than my stay. However, since you aren’t booking directly with the hotel, elite perks and earnings aren’t guaranteed.
And get this — the Amex Platinum now comes with up to $200 back in statement credits annually when you book prepaid Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (or a two-night stay at The Hotel Collection) with American Express Travel when you pay with the Amex Platinum. That’s huge! (Enrollment required)
Elite status with two hotel loyalty programs
The final perk that encourages me to keep the Amex Platinum in my wallet is hotel elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Specifically, as an Amex Platinum cardmember, I can enroll in complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status. And, I’ll keep these statuses without needing to meet the standard elite qualification requirements as long as I’m an Amex Platinum cardmember and Amex continues to offer this benefit.
Hilton Honors Gold status
I rely on the Hilton Honors Gold status provided by the Amex Platinum card for the following perks:
- 80% elite status bonus: Receive an 80% bonus on all the Hilton Honors base points you earn
- Space-available room upgrades: Up to executive floor room types
- Complimentary breakfast: Available either as a My Way member benefit or as a brand amenity at most Hilton brands (this benefit has changed for 2021 — you’ll now receive a daily food/beverage credit worth a dollar amount specific to the hotel brand at which you’re staying. Read here for more details)
- Fifth night free: Hilton Honors elite members get every fifth night free when booking a stay of five nights or more using points
- Late check-out: Must be requested and subject to availability
- Complimentary internet: Complimentary in-room and lobby standard internet access during stays at most Hilton brands
To earn Hilton Honors Gold status, you typically need to stay 40 nights, stay 20 times or earn 75,000 Hilton Honors base points within a calendar year. However, Hilton Honors halved its elite-qualification requirements in 2021. You can also get Hilton Honors status as a benefit on several other cards. But, I prefer the simplicity of getting Hilton Gold status from the Amex Platinum.
Marriott Bonvoy status
Until I decided to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status last year, I relied on the Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status provided by my Amex Platinum card. While it isn’t the best elite status out there, it’s much better than nothing. Marriott Gold Elite status provides the following perks:
- 25% more bonus points on stays: Earn 25% more points than base-level members on eligible purchases with Marriott
- Enhanced room upgrade: Based on availability at check-in, but may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities and rooms on executive floors (excluding suite upgrades)
- 2 p.m. late check-out: Based on availability
- Enhanced in-room internet: Get the fastest internet offered by the hotel
- Welcome points: 250 points or 500 points depending on the brand (worth $2-4 based on TPG’s valuations)
Unfortunately, unlike cobranded Marriott Bonvoy cards, the Amex Platinum doesn’t provide 15 elite night credits each year. So, if you’re looking to earn a higher tier of Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you may want to get a Marriott Bonvoy card instead of (or in addition to) the Amex Platinum.
The Platinum Card from American Express provides several unique perks that I don’t want to let go of.
Sure, some of these perks are available through other methods. But for many travelers, the Amex Platinum Card is by far the best way to get all of these perks in one simple bundle.
It’s worth noting that additional Platinum cardholders are eligible for three of the four unique perks I highlighted in this guide. In fact, I actually use these perks as an additional Platinum cardholder on my husband’s Amex Platinum card. Amex Platinum cardmembers can pay $175 (see rates and fees) each year to add up to three additional Platinum cardholders. So, you can share most of the Amex Platinum’s perks with up to three other people for a relatively modest annual cost.
Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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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.
- 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.
- New! 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 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 available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
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- Terms Apply.
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