8 tips from a newbie on maximizing the Amex Platinum's benefits
Welcome to the second installment of a yearlong series where Tarah Chieffi, TPG’s family travel reporter, shares her experience using various points, benefits, credits and access from her first-ever premium rewards credit card, The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Is the Amex Platinum worth it for a points and miles newbie? I booked a trip to find out
When I made the decision to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express, one of my main goals was to maximize the value of the card. This is my first premium travel rewards card and it comes with a hefty $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). I wanted to feel like I was recouping that fee (and hopefully a lot more).
Of course, the value of the generous 80,000-point welcome offer I earned after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership (worth $1,600 according to TPG's current valuations) more than covered the annual fee, but I'll only receive that one time.
I don't want to feel like I am throwing $695 down the drain next year.
Related: High annual fee with big rewards: A full review of The Platinum Card from American Express
That's where the Amex Platinum's benefits come in. The Amex Platinum has more benefits than most cards and you can get reimbursed for everything from grocery delivery fees to satellite radio subscriptions.
Curious how much you can save by maxing out the Amex Platinum's many benefits? Here's how I've managed to save over $1,400 this year, just with the benefits I've signed up for so far.
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Digital entertainment credit
The Amex Platinum offers a $240 digital entertainment credit that can be applied toward various subscription services.
These include Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times. That $240 breaks down to $20 per month. At best, you can get two subscriptions pretty much covered, which is just what I did. Enrollment is required.
I already had a Peacock subscription (I didn't want to miss the "Saved by the Bell" reboot!) so that was an easy choice. I'm not into audiobooks (I prefer podcasts) and I didn't think I'd take the time to read The New York Times every day, so I signed up for a SiriusXM subscription. Finding out they had a dedicated Jimmy Buffett channel made the decision for me.
Related: Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?
My Peacock subscription is $4.99 per month, plus tax, and my SiriusXM subscription sets me back $17.99 per month, plus taxes and fees. I get $20 of that back in statement credits each month, bringing my total out-of-pocket cost to about $3 per month, or $36 per year.
With the recent addition of Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+ and Hulu to the list of available options, I might drop SiriusXM and use that portion of the credit toward my existing Disney Bundle subscription.
Airline fee credit
With the Amex Platinum's $200 annual airline fee credit, you can designate one airline per year and get reimbursed for incidental fees like checked bags, airport lounge access, inflight refreshments and seat assignments. The rules state that the credit cannot be used for airline tickets, upgrades, gifts cards or similar purchases. Enrollment is required.
I chose Southwest Airlines because it's the airline I fly most often. I don't typically pay the additional fee for EarlyBird priority boarding positions, but I will now. I may even order an onboard celebratory alcoholic beverage.
While Southwest doesn't charge seat assignment and checked bag fees, after a few round-trip flights, I have little doubt I'll be able to utilize the full $200 annual benefit given my travel patterns.
Priority Pass airport lounge access
Amex Platinum members also receive complimentary lounge access to more than 1,400 airport lounges all over the world. For most of these, all you need is your Amex card and a same-day boarding pass, but if you want to access lounges in the Priority Pass lounge network, you need to sign up for a membership.
I signed up on the Amex website for a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This membership type is not one you can sign up for through Priority Pass; it is only available if you have certain credit cards, including the Amex Platinum card.
A Standard Plus Priority Pass membership normally costs $299 per year and includes 10 free lounge visits (each visit after 10 is $32). Given my proclivity for arriving at the airport at the last possible minute, I estimate I won't visit more than 10 airport lounges this year, making the Standard Plus level well suited to the benefits I'll receive with my free membership when determining what it's worth.
When you consider the price of even a bottle of water and a bagel at the airport, this will definitely tack on some savings.
Walmart+ is essentially a cross between Amazon Prime and Shipt. You get benefits like free shipping (with no order minimum), free same-day delivery from your local store and fuel discounts at Walmart and Murphy gas stations.
Because the full $12.95 monthly fee is reimbursed through my Amex Platinum, it was a no-brainer to sign up for the service (Plus Ups are excluded). I'm in the middle of a free Shipt promotion, but when the promo period ends, I plan to cancel and order groceries exclusively through Walmart+.
I can't say the same for my precious Amazon Prime membership, but I could be swayed after I have some more time to test it out. I ordered a Lego set for one of my kids using Walmart+ and it showed up on my doorstep less than 24 hours later. That's even quicker than Amazon.
If I were to purchase a monthly Walmart+ membership outright, I'd pay $155.40 per year. Keep in mind this benefit only applies to a Walmart+ monthly membership, not the discounted Walmart+ annual membership.
With my Amex Platinum, I receive $15 in Uber Cash (for use in the U.S.) in my Uber account each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. The money doesn't roll over from month to month, but it can be used for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders, so I haven't had any trouble spending it each month on things I was already paying out of pocket for. Enrollment is required.
By the end of the year, I'll have saved $200 on rides with Uber (and the occasional iced Americano delivery from my favorite local coffee shop).
Saks shopping credit
Amex Platinum cardholders are also eligible for up to $100 in annual statement credits on purchases from Saks Fifth Avenue (online or in-store). The benefit is split into two $50 statement credits per year, one to be used between Jan. 1 and June 30 and one to be used between July 1 and the end of the year. Enrollment is required.
I had rented a pair of glittery Kate Spade oversize studs from Rent the Runway last year and found the same pair on the Saks website for $38, plus tax, which came out to $40.66 total. True, I left about $10 on the table, but I really loved the earrings and didn't spend any extra out of pocket to use the perk.
I may use the second biannual benefit to purchase a gift for my husband, splurge on a special holiday gift or, knowing me, purchase another pair of earrings.
When I first learned about the Clear Plus expedited airport security program, I didn't think I needed it.
I already had TSA PreCheck and was able to get through security relatively quickly. On a recent trip to Orlando International Airport (MCO), though, I noticed my TSA line was unusually long because so many Clear Plus members were being ushered to the front of the line.
That got me thinking that maybe a Clear Plus account wasn't such a bad idea and when I found out I could be reimbursed the $189 annual fee by paying with my Amex Platinum card, the decision was easy. Now, with Clear Plus and TSA PreCheck, I breeze through security even faster than I did before. Enrollment is required.
Global Entry credit
Global Entry is another service I never felt like I needed, especially during the pandemic when I wasn't traveling too far from home. Amex Platinum members can receive an up to $100 statement credit every four years for Global Entry or $85 every 4 1/2 years for TSA PreCheck (Global Entry includes access to TSA PreCheck so it isn't necessary to hold both).
I already mentioned I have TSA PreCheck and I am planning some international travel this year so I am in the process of applying for Global Entry. I'll be reimbursed the $100 application fee once it is approved and I'll enjoy speedier reentry into the U.S. when I return from my international trips.
In total, I stand to get $1,400 in value this year just from the Amex Platinum benefits I mentioned. There are other perks I haven't even taken advantage of yet, like the $300 annual Equinox gym membership and $300 SoulCycle at-home bike reimbursement. Fortunately, you don't need to make use of every single perk or benefit to still come out way ahead with this card.
If you are interested in learning more, you can learn how to sign up for all of the Amex Platinum benefits before starting on your own points and miles journey with the Amex Platinum.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.