Regardless of the brand image that's been formed with the Platinum Card from American Express, a CreditCardForum advertising partner, many cardmembers might be unaware of (and missing out on) some of the perks of membership.
Our in-depth review will help you get the maximum value from your card.
Right now, the card is offering 40,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of cardmembership. Go here to apply for that offer while it's still available. This Platinum Card review will guide you through what it offers, but contact American Express directly for full terms and conditions on a given benefit.
Air Travel Benefits:
Unlimited First-Class Airport Lounge Access
We all know how stressful air travel is these days. However the first-class airport lounges are the exception. Unwind with plush chairs and sofas. Use the complimentary phones, fax and internet. The meticulously clean, upscale restrooms can be a lifesaver when you've been traveling all day long (some even have showers). A favorite benefit for those in the know is the complimentary food and drinks: sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, juices, beer, wine, etc.
The American Express Platinum Card offers you access at participating airport lounges. The card's lounge access terms recently changed, so read carefully:
Though the annual fee for the American Express Platinum card is $450, an individual Delta Sky Club membership alone would be the same price. And, with this card, you have access to several other lounges, too.
- Priority Pass Select. Enroll for access to 600+ lounges worldwide. Your access is complimentary, and guests may enter with you for a fee of $27 per person.
- Delta Sky Club: Access to Delta's Sky Club lounges changed May 1, 2014. Those who get access through the Platinum card are no longer able to extend their complimentary access to guests. Up to two guests can get in with you for a discounted price of $29 each. Beyond that, guests will have to purchase a day pass for $50. If your children are age 2 or under, however, you will not have to pay an entry fee for them.
- Airspace Lounges in New York (JFK), Cleveland (CLE), San Diego (SAN) and the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI). The American Express Platinum provides you and your immediate family (spouse and children under 21) or two other people complimentary access to some of these exclusive sanctuaries.
- Centurion Lounges, currently at Las Vegas (LAS), Dallas/Fort-Worth (DFW) and LaGuardia (LGA), these are the first of several American Express airport lounges that will open in major U.S. cities. Cardmembers may bring in immediate family (spouse or domestic partner and children under 18) or up to two guests for no extra cost.
Companion Tickets for International Flights
Receive a companion ticket when you buy a qualifying business or first-class ticket for an international flight. Book through American Express Travel Services to take advantage of this "International Airline Program" benefit. On the second ticket (the companion ticket) you will only have to pay out of pocket for any applicable taxes, fees and surcharges (as is customary with companion ticket offers).
There are numerous international carriers that currently participate in this program including Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Mexicana, AeroMexico, Lufthansa, South African, Etihad, Emirates, and others.
Even if you just use this benefit once, the potential savings could be significant. If you regularly travel overseas in first or business class, this perk is a must-have.
Statement Credit for Global Entry OR TSA PreCheck
This benefit gives you a choice. You can be reimbursed via a statement credit for the application fee for either the Global Entry Program or TSA PreCheck.
Global Entry is a program run by the U.S. government that lets preapproved, low-risk travelers get speedy entry when they return to the U.S. from abroad – no processing lines and no paperwork!
Instead you are granted access to self-serve kiosks where you can scan your fingerprint and passport to confirm ID and make a customs declaration (if applicable). If approved, your Global Entry membership is good for five years.
TSA PreCheck, meanwhile, is a program that allows travelers the TSA has deemed low-risk (and who have completed an application process) to go through an expedited screening process at any airport that's participating in the program (you get to keep your belt, shoes and jacket on and keep your laptop in its case). If you're approved, you'll get a Known Traveler Number, which gets you the above benefits and is good for five years.
The application for the Global Entry program costs $100, and the application for TSA PreCheck is $85. If you pay with your Platinum card, you can be reimbursed for either of those fees once every five years.
$200 Reimbursement for Airline Fees
Another favorite AmEx Platinum travel benefit is that you will get up to $200 in airline fees reimbursed every year! Simply select your favorite qualifying airline and you will be eligible to receive statement credits to cover up to $200 for any incidental fees from that airline (checked luggage fees, in-flight food/drinks, on-board entertainment, etc.).
You're covered for up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for carry-on and checked baggage (and for up to $2,000 for checked baggage). "High-risk" items like jewelry, sporting equipment, photography equipment, electronic equipment and computers have lower coverage maximums, however. Keep in mind this is on top of the airline's coverage, so your total coverage is even higher. To qualify for this no-cost benefit, just pay for your eligible ticket using your Platinum.
$100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
When you're traveling as an eligible common carrier conveyance passenger (on a plane, ship, bus, or train) you are insured for up to $100,000 in the event of dismemberment or accidental death (in which case your beneficiaries would be paid). Simply pay for eligible travel with your AmEx Platinum charge card to get that coverage. If you were to buy such protection on your own, it would cost you quite a bit of money, especially for international travel.
Only some American Express consumer and business cards like Platinum participate in the Membership Rewards First (MRF) program, which is AmEx's highest level of rewards. It has the same perks as the regular Membership Rewards program, but has some extras, including more exclusive redemption options (like luxury items) and travel perks. Redeem your points for travel or merchandise, along with other redemption options at favorable conversion rates (your points go far, depending on what you redeem for). You get 1 point per dollar on virtually every dollar spent and they never expire as long as you're a cardmember.
Transfer Points to Frequent Flier Programs
Membership Rewards lets you transfer points directly to numerous mileage programs and loyalty programs. As of November 2014, these include:
- Air Canada
- Asia Miles
- British Airways
- Delta SkyMiles
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Flying Blue
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic
This ability to transfer is significant because the conversion to miles is on a 1-for-1 basis with many of these programs.
- Best Western
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton HHonors
- Starwood Preferred Guest
So instead of spending 25,000 points on a $250 retail gift card, you could convert the points to 25,000 frequent flier miles with a participating airline of your choice. As you know, frequent flier miles can be worth more than a penny per point, since you can redeem flights at set increments (like 25,000 miles for domestic round-trip with some carriers).
That means your actual realized value may be up to 2 to 3 cents or more per point, compared to the cost of buying the same ticket on your own. For example, you might be able to use 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket that would normally cost you $600). You can get even more value out of your points by booking international premium-class tickets.
Warning: There are many credit cards on the market that advertise "miles" that can be used on "any airline, any flight, anytime." Those are NOT airline frequent flier miles. They basically operate like cash-back cards, because each "mile" is worth $0.01 that can be applied toward the purchase of a flight. The AmEx Membership Rewards program allows you to convert points into real miles on more than a dozen frequent flier programs. (see the list above)
Hotel & Other Travel Perks:
Free Hotel Upgrades & Benefits
AmEx has partnered with more than 750 hotels and resorts to offer an array of perks and upgrades. This program is called Fine Hotels & Resorts and it is exclusive to Platinum and Centurion "black card" members. Depending on the availability at the participating hotel, you could get:
If you stay at participating properties, you could potentially recoup some of the annual fee, even if you only take advantage of it once or twice a year.
- Free room upgrade when you check-in, if available
- 4 p.m. late checkout
- Complimentary breakfast for two each morning
- Additional perks like $100 food/drink/spa credits, complimentary third night stays, etc. may be offered. The exact perk(s) vary by property.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Other cards tack on a 2 percent to 3 percent surcharge for purchases made outside the U.S. (and even purchases made inside the U.S. get slapped with the fee if the company is based elsewhere). However, the American Express Platinum does not levy foreign transaction fees.
Personal Concierge Service
If work and other responsibilities leave you too busy to make dinner reservations, book travel or call around to locate a hard-to-find item, the Platinum card's personal concierge can help you with those tasks – and many others.
Simply call your personal concierge directly, tell them what you want, and they will do all the legwork. This is especially useful if you're trying to get last-minute dinner reservations or sold-out tickets.
Boingo Wireless Access
This benefit debuted in June 2014. Your platinum card gets you complimentary and unlimited access to Boingo hotspots worldwide. This means free Wi-Fi at many airports. You can have access with up to four devices at the same time.
Roadside Assistance Coverage
Why spend money on an AAA membership? As part of your Platinum Card membership, you're covered up to four service calls per year in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico at no additional cost. Covered services include towing (up to 10 miles), jump starts, winching, flat tire change (if you have a spare), lockout service and fuel delivery (up to 2 gallons).
Premium Car Rental Program
Enjoy the privilege of skipping lines and paperwork, going straight to your car. Get vehicle upgrades and savings when available. These perks and others are made possible through your complimentary enrollment in Hertz #1 Club Gold, National Car Rental's Emerald Club, and Avis Preferred.
Normally, to obtain these status levels, you would need to pay fees and/or be a frequent customer. However Platinum Cardmembers are granted access to these programs for no additional cost, regardless of how often (or not) they rent from these companies.
Car Rental Collision Coverage
Pay for your rental car using your American Express Platinum and you're covered in the event of an eligible collision.
Please note there are a few countries that aren't included (six excluded at the time of this review). Customer service can provide you the details.
Have you ever bought something new, only to have it accidentally damaged, lost or even stolen a few days or weeks later? Whether it is a pricey article of clothing, electronics, or something else... if you bought it with your Platinum Card, your eligible purchases are protected.
For the first 90 days on eligible purchases, you're covered up to $10,000 per occurrence (up to $50,000 per calendar year) to repair, replace, or reimburse you for the affected item(s).
Automatic Extended Warranty
You never know if you'll end up needing the extended warranty the sales person offers you. But if you pay with this card, you won't even have to worry. It automatically doubles the original manufacturer's U.S. warranty coverage, up to one full additional year. You're protected up to $10,000 per eligible item, with a max of up to $50,000 per year. So enjoy peace of mind next time you buy that eligible flat-screen or computer. Like the other Platinum Card benefits, there is no additional charge for this service.
Store won't let you return an item? Whether you lost the receipt or the store simply doesn't accept returns, if you made that purchase with your Platinum charge card, American Express may accept your return and reimburse you, up to $300 per item, $1,000 annually. The item must still be in like-new condition.
What are the requirements and qualifications? It's been incorrectly claimed that you need a minimum annual income to be approved – that is not true! Below is an excerpt from an actual chat log regarding what the income requirements for the Platinum Card are and here is what they said.
So there you have it. As is the case with all credit card companies, they do not disclose credit score and history requirements. So if you are looking for that info you won't find it. But what we do know is that they market it towards those who have great credit.
I heard from a long-time Centurion cardmember recently who switched back to the Platinum since many of the benefits are nearly identical. He felt the biggest difference was that the Centurion costs you $7,500 in fees for just the first year, while the Platinum Card has a $450 annual fee.
Offer as of November 2014
Using the link below, the spend requirement to earn the bonus is $3,000 within your first three months. Terms and restrictions apply.
Use this link to apply for the 40,000 bonus point offer
Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are authorís alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.