Why you should add authorized users on your Amex Platinum

Apr 8, 2020

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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 some cards also offer authorized users many of the same benefits as the primary cardholder. Today, I’m going to focus on the benefits available for authorized users of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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 cardholders (terms apply):

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Which benefits apply to additional cardholders?

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 just under $60 per additional cardholder. This may seem 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 three individuals. You can add additional cardholders, but each additional cardholder 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.

At the same time, you can add additional Gold Card cardholders for free to your Platinum Card. Note that this Gold Card is not the same as the American Express® Gold Card that offers 4x Membership Rewards points on dining worldwide. Instead, additional Gold Card cardholders get the same earning rates as your Platinum card. However, these additional Gold Card cardholders don’t have access to many of the benefits that are given to additional Platinum Card cardholders.

Here’s a rundown of the key benefits that additional Platinum Card cardholders will enjoy.

Lounge access

The first key benefit that additional Platinum Card cardholders will enjoy is lounge access. As mentioned above, this covers American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on Delta and various other types of lounge access.

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia (PHL). (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)
The Amex Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia (PHL) can provide a nice haven before your flight. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

This can be a terrific perk if one (or more) of your additional cardholders doesn’t frequently travel with you — 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 another regular travel companion, since Delta Sky Clubs charge the primary cardholder $39 for each guest. By adding three additional cardholders for $175, you can avoid these charges. In fact, you’d almost make up the $175 annual fee for three additional cardholders with just five 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.

(Photo by Nicholas Ellis / The Points Guy)
Primary and additional Platinum Card cardholders have access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta, but will need to pay for any guests. (Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)

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 cardholders can’t enroll online; they need to call the number on the back of their Platinum Card to enroll.

Related reading: Guide to lounge access with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Global Entry/PreCheck application-fee credit

Another great perk that also extends to additional Platinum Card cardholders 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 four years for Global Entry or once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. Also, 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.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Having TSA PreCheck can save you serious time at the airport. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

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 cardholders and additional Gold Card cardholders — are eligible.

Related reading: Top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Marriott and Hilton elite status

Additional Platinum Card cardholders can also take advantage of complimentary Gold status with both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Although the primary cardholder 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 room upgrades, bonus points and additional on-property perks.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Marriott Gold Elite status will bring you benefits at Marriott properties like the Westin Langkawi. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Keep in mind that there are other ways to get Marriott and Hilton status through credit cards:

Still, having an authorized-user Platinum Card is much easier and/or less expensive than any of those options.

Related reading: Guide to hotel elite status with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection

As an additional Platinum Card cardholder, you can also use 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 5x Membership Rewards points 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 4 p.m. late check-out, noon check-in (when available), complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique amenity valued at $100.

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You’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points and get elite-like benefits on prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts stays at properties like the Park Hyatt Beijing. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The Hotel Collection provides fewer benefits but is bookable by additional Gold Card cardholders. You’ll earn 5x points on prepaid Hotel Collection stays, and on an eligible stay of two nights or longer you’ll also get an up to $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities and a room upgrade upon arrival (if available).

Related reading: Your ultimate guide to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program

Car rental elite status

Additional Platinum cardholders 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.

(Photo by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Platinum Card primary cardholders and additional Platinum Card cardholders get elite status and benefits with Hertz, Avis and National. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Related reading: Credit cards that offer elite status for car rentals

Other benefits

Additional Platinum Card cardholders 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.

Related reading: 4 great nontravel benefits of the Amex Platinum

What’s not included?

The only perks that don’t extend to additional cardholders are the welcome bonus, the annual airline-fee credit of up to $200, Uber VIP status, the monthly Uber credits and the up to credit of up to $100 at Saks. However, even some of these aren’t totally black and white.

Once you (as the primary cardholder) select an airline of choice, purchases by you and your authorized users will count toward the $200 annual credit. However, each additional cardholder 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 cardholders count toward the primary cardholder’s $100 annual Saks credit. Authorized users don’t have access to the primary cardholder’s monthly Uber credits.

Related reading: Best luxury cards based on annual fee and authorized user fees

Other considerations

Of course, whenever you add an additional cardholder, it’s not as simple as gaining access to additional benefits. As the primary cardholder, you are responsible for all charges on your account, including those charged by others. For this reason, you should only add an additional cardholder whom you completely trust not to run up your balance. Remember, too, that you must pay your Amex Platinum balance in full each month (though you should really do this with all credit cards).

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, make sure the authorized user is someone you can trust.

Related reading: Everything you need to know about authorized users

How to add additional cardholders

If you’ve decided to add additional cardholders to your Platinum Card account, log into 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 cardholder(s).

Note that you don’t have to enter their Social Security number or date of birth, but Amex requires that this information be added by you or the additional cardholder within 60 days of when the card is issued or the card will be canceled.

Related reading: How to maximize benefits with the Amex Platinum Card

Bottom line

Adding additional cardholders can expand your earning potential, and on certain cards, it can unlock a variety of perks for your authorized users 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 a bargain.

Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express (60,000-point bonus offer)

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

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

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

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.

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