The American Express Platinum card is an ideal travel card for those travelers interested in travel benefits and perks. These are people who typically fly at least a handful of times a year and value comfort and convenience when waiting around in airport lounges, going through security/customs, connecting to wifi, booking rental cars, hotels, etc. The Platinum is not really the card you want if you’re solely interested in racking up points with bonus category spending (although now it comes with 5X on airfare and hotels booked through the Amex travel portal). So with that in mind, here are my favorite benefits of the American Express Platinum card and why it might be worth it for you.
The Priority Pass benefit for the Amex Platinum card is the #1 benefit in my opinion. With the Platinum, you get “Prestige” level lounge access which would otherwise cost you $400 per year. This pass grants you access to over 900 airport lounges where you can often indulge in complimentary drinks, food, wifi, and magazines all while relaxing in a comfortable work or sitting area. See my write up on the Priority Pass here.
With the Platinum’s Priority Pass, you can also bring a guest each time for an additional $27.
Update: The Platinum Card now allows you to bring two guests for free.
Centurion Lounge and Delta Lounge Access
The Centurion Lounges are Amex’s new product that have been rolling out all across the country the past few years. They are often considered to be some of the best lounges in the U.S. and with a new lounge coming to IAH in the very near future, this puts this perk high on the list for me. One good thing about the Centurion Lounge is that you can bring up to two guests per visit for free, although this had led to some crowding issues in some of these lounges.
The Platinum Card also offers access to Delta’s SkyClub lounges when you’ve booked your flight with Delta.
$200 Airline Credit
Many travel cards are now offering $100-$300 in airline credits. The Amex airline credit is a bit more limited compared to some of these cards like the Citi Prestige in terms of what is covered by it, but it still offsets almost 50% of the annual fee for this card (per primary cardholder).
$200 Uber credit
The Platinum Card is now offering $15 a month in Uber credits ($35 offered for the month of December) which comes out to a total of $200 a year. This credit is offered in addition to the annual $200 travel credit, meaning that it effectively knocks down the annual fee to $150 for people like myself who regularly use Uber/Uber Eats.
Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit
You can choose to use this credit for either Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. TSA Pre-Check allows you to breeze through the security lines in US airports and Global Entry allows you to breeze though customs upon your arrival to the US (in addition to granting you TSA Pre-Check).
I think you should definitely go with Global Entry, since that program includes TSA Pre-Check. Global Entry is $100 compared to TSA Pre-Check at $85, but since Amex offers up to a $100 statement credit for this benefit then why not take advantage of the better more inclusive program (assuming you can pass the more “demanding” background check?)
Gold Status with HHonors
Gold status with Hilton Honors offers several benefits:
- With Gold elite status, you automatically receive a 25% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn
- Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.
- Digital Check-In: choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.
- Complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Canopy™ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™
- Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences
- Late check-out (another one of my favorite benefits)
- Express check-out
- 2nd Guest stays free
- Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay
Gold Status with SPG (and Marriott)
The benefits for Gold SPG status with the Amex Platinum aren’t too shabby, either.
- Earn three Starpoints® for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred.
- 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels.
- An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in — corner room, higher floor, or better view.
- Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival – choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on us.
- Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you book on SPG digital channels. This is in addition to your welcome gift.
What’s fantastic is that now you can link your SPG account to your Marriott account so that your status transfers, too. This means that the Platinum Card also provides you with Marriott Gold and Ritz-Carlton Gold!
Rental Car Benefits
Once you’ve enrolled, you’re eligible to receive benefits with car rental companies like Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental. These benefits usually include express lines, eligibility for free upgrades, and special discounts on rentals.
Here are some examples of those benefits.
- When arriving at Avis, you can skip the line and paperwork and go straight to your car at over 1,400 locations.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards®
- Provides fast and easy car rentals.
- Enjoy fee-waived enrollment and a one-car-class upgrade at Gold locations when you rent a Intermediate through Full-Size car, based on availability.
National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive
- Platinum Card® Members receive complimentary Emerald Club Executive membership and up to 20% off on rentals. Executive members are able to choose their own car from the Executive SelectionSM area, guaranteed upgrades a fullsize through luxury car is reserved, and an accelerated earning schedule toward a free rental day, or opt to receive airline miles or hotel points from one of National’s partners.
The Platinum offers you a free Boingo Wifi subscription ($120 value per year). There are over 1,000,000 hotspots around the country and you can search here to see if any of these destinations will be located near you anytime soon.
This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the Platinum card as well. You can add up to 3 authorized users for only $175 per year. Each of these cardholders will receive all of the above benefits, too! The only exception being that the primary cardholder and all authorized users are cumulatively allocated only one $200 airline statement credit. But still, getting Priority Pass, Global Entry, status at Hilton/SPG and the number of additional benefits are definitely worth $175 per year for three additional people!
That’s $1,200 worth of lounge of access each year for only $175! If you factor in the Global Entry credit x 3 that’s $300 worth of credit, which means that together you and/or your authorized users are getting a steal if they are interested in these benefits!
As mentioned, the American Express Platinum card is not really the card you want if you’re looking to earn points or miles with spending on bonus categories like restaurants, gas, etc. If that’s your goal, then look into the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Amex PRG.
However, if you’re interested in these benefits and perks that make life a lot easier and more comfortable when traveling, then I think the American Express Platinum is definitely a card that you want to consider.