Upgrade Your Travel Status to Platinum With American Express

The American Express Platinum is
the original premium travel credit card. Not to be outdone by
increasingly stiff competition, recent additions and upgrades
to Platinum membership offer amazing value to the right
travelers.

While the Amex Platinum comes with an
annual fee of $550, the list of cardmember benefits included in
the cost is so long and broad that it’ll take you some time to
discover them all… unless you just keep reading for our handy
breakdown:

$200 airline fee credit

This credit is a bit weird, as you have to select the airline
you want it applied to, and can only change that choice once a
year, but anyone interested in a card like this should easily
be able to cross the $200 mark annually on things like checked
bag fees, change fees, pet fees, and in-flight food and
beverage purchases.

$200 Uber credit + VIP Status

This credit(s) is doled out in up to $15 monthly increments
(and up to $35 in December). There’s no rollover if you don’t
max it out in a month, but you don’t even need to pay with your
Platinum to get the credit- just connect your card to Uber and
you’re set.

I actually didn’t know Uber VIP existed until I got the
Platinum card. It’s basically UberX, but ensures you only get
drivers with high ratings and quality cars. However, since
using it, I’ve started getting small (~$2) discounts on Uber
VIP rides.

Those credits are clearly defined, easy to use, and effectively
bring the annual fee down to $150. It gets more nuanced from
here…


The Best Lounge Access of any Credit Card

The American Express Centurion lounges are the
best in the country, so if you regularly fly out of or in to an
airport that has one, this perk can be a game-changer for your
travel, and your first two guests are free.

The Platinum also includes an enhanced Priority Pass
membership
, which lets you bring in two guests at no
extra cost. As with TSA Pre, if you don’t already have a
Priority Pass membership, this is a huge bonus.

Finally, the Platinum includes entry to Delta Sky
Clubs
, though you have to be flying Delta that day to
get in, and guests are $29/piece.

I had never heard of Airspace Lounges until I
got the Platinum, but since I do most of my flying out of JFK’s
Terminal 5, access to those is a huge win for me.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100 every
five years)

If you don’t already have TSA PreCheck, you’re subjecting
yourself to a lot of unnecessary pain. The Platinum certainly
isn’t the only card to offer this credit, but if you don’t
already have PreCheck, this is a great pot sweetener.

Note: Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck.

Gold Status with Starwood, Marriot, and Hilton

This is an overgeneralization, but if you don’t regularly
travel for business, you’re not likely to ever achieve valuable
status with a hotel chain, and the Amex Platinum is a fantastic
way to get around that. We’ll talk more specifically about
hotel statuses (and cobranded cards) in the future, but
very briefly:

Starwood Gold – Normally earned after 10 stays
or 25 nights

  • 50% bonus points
  • Room upgrades
  • Welcome gift, or points (take the points)
  • Late checkout
  • Free faster Wifi

Marriot Gold – Normally earned after 50 nights

  • 25% bonus points
  • Room upgrades
  • Lounge acess
  • Late checkout
  • Free faster Wifi

Note: Marriot Gold status is actually earned via status
matching your Starwood Gold status, not a defined benefit of
the Amex Platinum.

Hilton Gold – normally earned after 20 stays
or 40 nights

  • 25% bonus points
  • Room upgrades
  • Get the fifth night free on stays paid for with points
  • Welcome gift, or points (take the points)
  • Free breakfast

We could, and will, write whole articles on these hotel
statuses, but in the meantime feel free to ask further
questions in the comments. I’m two for two on room upgrades
since getting the card.

Gold Status/Upgrades with Avis, Hertz, and National

We’ll be digging in to these more as we cover the rental car
game, but if you regularly rent cars these perks can really add
up.

Cruise Credits and Perks

I have a lot of feelings about cruises we’ll be discussing
soon, but one good thing to know about them is that you can
find insane deals and stack more insane deals on top of already
insane deals. There are regularly cruise deals available where
the net cost of being on the cruise each day is cheaper than
feeding yourself in New York City.

The Platinum gets you a $100-$300 onboard cruise credit,
depending on your room type, plus some other bonuses depending
on which cruise line you sail with.

Boingo Wifi

Free access to Boingo Wifi hotspots.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are targeted, so you really have to pay attention
to make use of them, and manually add them to the card when you
see one you might want take advantage of.

It’s worth it though. I immediately got an offer for a $60
statement credit after spending $300+ at Starwood properties,
which I was going to do anyway. That on top of the room
upgrades, welcome gifts, etc.


Authorized Users

For an extra $175/year, you can add up to three authorized
users to your Platinum, but since those users get the same
lounge access, hotel status, and Global Entry credits you do,
this can be a huge benefit.


Oh right, the Points…

You won’t often find an article recommending a credit card that
doesn’t open by discussing its bonus categories and sign-up
bonus, but we wanted to illustrate the potentially massive
value the Platinum offers in perks alone, depending on your
travel habits. In my opinion, once you reduce the annual fee to
$150 with the airline and Uber credits, the lounge access OR
hotel statuses easily cover the remaining cost on their own,
but of course this is all subjective.

The Amex Platinum is currently
offering a 60,000 point bonus after spending
$5000 on the card in your first three months, which is worth
around $1100 according to The Points Guy’s valuations.

With the Platinum, you’ll get 5X points on air
travel
booked directly through the airline or through
Amex, and 5X points on eligible hotels booked through
amextravel.com
. There’s no getting around the fact
that that hotel booking requirement throws some cold water on
things, and we hope to see that changed in the future.

The points you earn with your Platinum, known as Membership
Reward points, can be transferred to 20 different hotel and airline
partners
, so playing your cards right can increase your
returns even more.


The Amex Platinum is the travel
card that keeps on giving. We didn’t even manage to cover all
of its perks here, and if you get one, you’re likely to
continue to discover more benefits as you go, from ShopRunner
memberships to reserved seating at events to discounts on
international flights.

We talk a lot about sign-up bonuses and point redemption values
when it comes to credit cards, and the Platinum certainly has those
in spades as well, but what we really love about this card is
that, even if you spend $0/year on it, you’re getting a
mountain of enhancements to your travel experience for an
effective $150/year. Worth it.


Gizmodo Media Commerce has partnered with The Points Guy Affiliate
Network for our coverage of American Express Credit Products.
Gizmodo Media Group may receive a commission from The Points
Guy Affiliate Network.

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