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Update: The Hilton American Express Ascend Card is now the Hilton Surpass® Card from American Express and is offering a limited-time bonus of 130,000 bonus points + a free weekend night through August 28, 2019.
There are many reasons why you’d want to add authorized users to your travel credit cards. For example, they can help you hit a minimum spending requirement to earn a welcome bonus or you might want to build your child’s credit history. But one often overlooked aspect is that some cards offer authorized users many of the same benefits as the primary card holder. Today, I’m going to focus on benefits available for authorized users of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Platinum Card has so many benefits that it’s often referred to as a membership card — a card that you keep for its benefits more than its earning potential. Before diving into the benefits for authorized users, let’s consider the benefits available to primary card holders:
- The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 60,000 bonus points after $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership (you may be eligible for an Amex Patinum 100k points bonus offer using the CardMatch tool) — this bonus is worth $1,200 based on TPG’s most recent valuations
- Up to $200 annual airline fee credits, provided as statement credits for incidental fees charged by the airline you select
- 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
- 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 Uber credit split into monthly $15 credits for US rides plus a bonus $20 in December
- $100 fee credit for Global Entry or an $85 fee credit for TSA PreCheck every 4 years
- $100 Saks credit split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year
- Points transfer to 21 airline and hotel partners
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta
- Complimentary Gold status at Hilton and Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)
- $550 annual fee (see rates & fees)
Which benefits apply to additional card holders?
The Platinum Card from American Express charges you $175 (see rates & fees) each year to add up to three additional cardholders, which breaks down to less than $60 per additional card holder. This may seem quite steep, especially since many other popular travel rewards cards don’t charge anything for authorized users. However, as you’re about to see, you can easily make this up (and then some) through the valuable benefits that are unlocked for these lucky three individuals. You can add additional card holders past the third, but each additional card holder after the third will cost you $175 per year. Note that if you are adding children as authorized users, only children 13 years old or older may be added to your Platinum Card account.
This being said, you can add additional Gold Card card holders for free to your Platinum Card. Note that this Gold Card is not the same as the American Express® Gold Card that offers 4 Membership Rewards points on dining. Instead, additional Gold Card members get the same earnings rates as your Platinum card. However, additional Gold Card members don’t have access to many of the benefits that are given to additional Platinum Card holders.
Here’s a rundown of the key benefits that additional Platinum Card holders will enjoy:
1. Lounge Access
The first key benefit that additional Platinum Card holders will enjoy is lounge access. As mentioned above, this covers American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (though the latter of which only applies when you are traveling on Delta).
This can be a terrific perk if one (or more) of your additional card holders doesn’t frequently travel with you, since they can gain access to the lounges by themselves. Or, since many lounges limit guests to two companions — if guests are included at all — it can be a good perk if you travel with a family larger than three. It’s also a great option when you travel on Delta with a spouse or other regular travel companion, since Delta Sky Clubs charge the primary cardholder $29 for each guest. By adding three additional card holders for $175, you can avoid these charges. In fact, you’d almost make up the $175 annual fee for three additional cardholders with just six single visits to Delta SkyClubs across the year — and this doesn’t even factor in any usage that the authorized users would get when traveling alone.
It’s worth pointing out that you must enroll in Priority Pass to be eligible to access Priority Pass lounges (you can get into the other lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection by simply showing your Platinum card). Additional card holders can’t enroll online, and will instead need to call the number on the back of their Platinum Card to enroll.
2. Global Entry/PreCheck Application Credit
Another great perk that also extends to additional card holders is the credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fees. Just like the benefit provided to primary cardholders, each authorized user can use this benefit once every 4 years for Global Entry or once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. In addition, you don’t even need to use the credit for your own membership; any qualifying charge for a friend or family member will trigger the credit.
If you add three authorized users and have all of them apply for Global Entry in the first year, that’s $300 worth of benefits, which easily covers the $175 additional annual fee. All additional members added to a Platinum Card — both additional Platinum Card members and additional Gold Card members — are eligible.
3. Marriott and Hilton Gold Elite Status
Additional Platinum Card cardholders can also take advantage of complimentary Gold status with both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. While the primary card holder can enroll for both of these online, additional members need to call the number on the back of their Platinum Card. If you frequent either Marriott or Hilton properties, this can bring you a decent amount of value, including room upgrades, bonus points and additional on-property perks.
Keep in mind that there are other ways to get these statuses through credit cards:
- Marriott Gold Elite is included automatically on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card while the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card both allow you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
- Hilton Honors Gold is included automatically on both Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.
Still, this is much easier and/or less expensive than any of those options.
4. Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection
As an additional Platinum Card member, you can also utilize the Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection benefits on the card. When you book a prepaid stay through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent and get access to the program’s elite-like benefits. These benefits include a room upgrade upon arrival (when available), daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4pm late check-out, noon check-in (when available), complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique amenity valued at $100.
The Hotel Collection provides less benefits, but is bookable by additional Gold Card members. You’ll earn 5x points on prepaid Hotel Collection stays, and on eligible stay of two nights or longer you’ll also get a $100 Hotel Credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities and a room upgrade upon arrival (if available).
5. Car Rental Elite Status
Additional Platinum Card members receive complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive. You can enroll in each of these memberships on Amex’s website.
6. Other Benefits
Additional Platinum Card members also have access to the Cruise Privileges Program, International Airline Program, Premium Roadside Assistance and emergency evacuation coverage while traveling. Meanwhile, additional Platinum Card members and additional Gold Card members have access to Amex Offers and the Auto Purchasing Program.
What’s NOT included?
This section is much simpler, as really the only perks that don’t extend to additional cardholders are the welcome bonus, the up to $200 annual airline fee credit, Uber VIP status, the monthly Uber credits and the up to $100 Saks credit. However, even some of these aren’t totally black and white.
Once you (as the primary card holder) select an airline of choice, purchases by you and your authorized users will count toward the $200 annual credit. However, each additional card holder doesn’t get his/her own $200 credit; this benefit is capped at a total of $200 per Platinum account. Likewise, purchases at Saks by additional card holders count toward the primary cardholder’s $100 annual Saks credit. But, authorized users don’t have access to the primary cardholder’s monthly Uber credits — so the primary card holder will need to use these credits without the help of additional card holders.
Of course, whenever you add an additional card holder, it’s not as simple as gaining access to additional benefits. It’s essential to remember that as the primary card holder, you are responsible for all charges on your account, including those charged by others. For this reason, you should only add an additional card holder who you completely trust to not go crazy and run up your balance. Remember too that the Amex Platinum is a charge card, so you must pay your balance in full each month (though you should really do this with all credit cards).
That being said, adding an authorized user to the card can be a great way to build up their credit history. This can go a long way toward helping a friend or family member with poor credit, since American Express will report your on-time payment history and credit utilization rate to the respective credit bureaus for every cardholder on your account. Again, though, make sure the authorized user is someone you can trust.
How to Add Additional Cardholders
If you’ve decided you want to add additional card holders to your Platinum Card account, log in to the dashboard for your Platinum Card account. Scroll down to Amex Offers & Benefits, and click “Add Someone” next to “Add an Additional Card Member.”
Click through the next page and select your Platinum Card if you have multiple Amex cards for which you could add authorized users. Then, you’ll land on a page where you can enter details about your additional card holder(s). Note that you don’t have to enter their social security number or date of birth, but this information must be added by you or the additional card holder within 60 days of when the card is issued or the card will be canceled.
Adding additional card holders can expand your earning potential, but on certain cards, it can unlock a variety of perks for them as well. On the Platinum Card from American Express, it will cost you $175 to add three authorized users, but given the array of benefits they’ll enjoy, this can be quite a bargain. Hopefully this post has demonstrated just how much value your additional cardholders can get!
Official Application Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express (60,000-point bonus offer)
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
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