Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum Card

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The American Express Platinum personal and business cards come with annual fees of $550 and $450 respectively. But they also come with a litany of valuable benefits that make up for the annual fee, at least for the first year.

Unfortunately many of those benefits are not automatic. In order to get the most out of the card, you need to spend a little time signing up for each one.

All American Express Platinum cards–including the “regular” Platinum, Enhanced Business Platinum, Mercedes-Benz Platinum, and Ameriprise Platinum–receive the following benefits in the first year that you have to activate yourself:

  • NEW: $200 in Uber credits annually
  • $500 in airline fee statement credits
  • Free lounge access
  • Hotel status
  • Boingo Wifi Access

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

$200 in Uber Credits Annually

You’ll get $200 in Uber credits every year ($15 a month and $35 in December). What’s nice is that you don’t actually have to pay for Uber with your Platinum card*. BUT you do need to add your Platinum Card as a payment method within your Uber account, and choose to use the credit for payment before completing the ride. The rest of the reimbursement process will happen automatically.

Credits won’t roll over–that is to say if you don’t use Uber at all in May, for example, you won’t start off the month of June with $30 credit, only $15. Credits are only applied to rides within the United States.

*Note that if you want to earn 2x Membership Rewards per dollar spent on Ubers, you will need to use an eligible Amex card (an American Express Consumer, Small Business or Corporate Card that is issued by in the United States by American Express and enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Program).

$500 in Airline Fee Statement Credits

$200 ($400) Airline Fee Credits

Platinum cards come with a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year. That means in everyone’s first year of holding a Platinum card, you can get $400 worth of airline fees credited back to your card.

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For instance, I got a Mercedes-Benz Platinum (personal) card in February 2013, so I took advantage of this benefit in 2013 and January 2014 for $400 in statement credits.

The airline fee credit is supposed to be for fees likes change fees, cancellation fees, and bag fees. The fee credit is not supposed to apply to ticket purchases, miles purchases, or gift card purchases.

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But American Express’s computers decides whether a certain purchase qualifies for a fee credit, and in the experience of thousands of people, certain airline gift card purchases will result in a statement credit. That makes this benefit like getting $400 in free flights, which almost completely offsets the annual fee in one swoop. There is a FlyerTalk thread devoted to each airline that you can select for fee reimbursement for people to post their experiences trying to purchase gift cards.

In order to get the $200 airline fee credit, you have to choose a single airline on which you will receive credits for fees incurred. Designate that airline from the list of eligible airlines here.

It can take a few weeks for the offsetting statement credit to appear–though it usually takes just a few days. If yours doesn’t appear after a few weeks, you can call the number on the back of your card or initiate an online chat to get your statement credit.

$100 Global Entry Fee Credit

Platinum card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Platinum cards.

Having Global Entry allows you to skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the US. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years. I love Global Entry. And having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

There are two steps involved in obtaining Global entry: an application and an interview.

First, you need to fill out the online application.  To do this as efficiently as possible, make sure you have on hand: Proof of Citizenship documents (passport works); your driver’s license, if you have one; and both your address and work histories for the past five years. The online application process took me about 30 minutes to complete.

If you have never registered with GOES (the Global Online Entry System), you will be prompted to register when you click the online application link above.

Once you are registered with GOES, log in to the system. You will see that you are not a member of any programs. Click “Enroll in a New Program” to begin your Global Entry application.

Select the link that allows you to start the application for the trusted traveler program.

From here, you will have to fill out a variety of personal information. There are 16 categories of information.

Fill out all the sections and submit your application. You will be prompted to pay the $100 application fee–make sure you use your AMEX Platinum to pay this in order to have the fee credited back to you!

Unfortunately, the GOES system doesn’t email you when your application is approved or denied. I set a reminder in my calendar to check on the status of my application in a week. Once your application is approved, you can use the GOES system to schedule your in-person interview, which will take place at any airport that participates in the Global Entry program.

Free Lounge Access

You can get free lounge access at Delta Sky Clubs by showing your American Express Platinum Card and boarding pass–no set up required! You also get free access to American Express Centurion Lounges, which are the nicest domestic lounges, as well as International American Express lounges and Airspace lounges.

You can get even better lounge coverage–especially internationally–by signing up for a free Priority Pass Select membership to complement the automatic free lounge access.

Priority Pass Select

Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Platinum Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them and up to two guests to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

Sign up for your free Priority Pass Select account here. I received my shiny black and gold Priority Pass card in the mail only 5 days after I called.

This card has to be shown and swiped at participating Priority Pass Select lounges. I downloaded the app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel.

There’s more information about this benefit here.

Hotel Status

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status

Platinum Card holders are entitled to free Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which entitles you to all of the following benefits at SPG participating hotels:

Call the number on the back of your card to get free SPG Gold Status. You will be transferred to an SPG agent who can even create a new SPG account for you and give it Gold Status.

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According to a commenter on this post, if you already have SPG status you can gift this benefit to someone so it doesn’t go to waste. If anyone has experience with this let us know in the comments.

Hilton Gold Status

To get Hilton Gold Status, click this link.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.03.28 PMEnter your Hilton number, and you will get a pop up saying the status should appear in 72 hours.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.04.36 PMIf you have additional cardholders, they can get Hilton Gold Status too, just not online.
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Hilton Gold Status entitles you to better rooms, late checkout, more points, and other freebies. Click here for all the benefits of Hilton Gold.

Boingo Wifi Access

Amex Platinum cardholders get a free access to Boingo Wifi (with more than a million hotspots around the world). First you must authenticate your card to activate your Boingo American Express Preferred Plan.

Next follow the prompts to create an account.

Recap

The American Express Platinum cards come with big annual fees, but even bigger benefits. The benefits require a little bit of work to set up: a phone call, some gift card purchases, and a Global Entry application. But setting up and enjoying your benefits is easy.

Call American Express at the number on the back of your AMEX card:

  1. Designate an airline to receive your $200 annual (calendar year) airline fee credit (or enroll online).
  2. Ask to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select (or enroll online).
  3. Ask to be given Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest. You will be transferred to SPG.

Add your Platinum Card as a payment method within your Uber account.

Get Hilton Gold Status and authenticate your card and create a Boingo account online.

Buy gift cards with your AMEX Platinum on the airline you designated that will be reimbursed by the airline fee credit. Then use those gift cards for free flights.

Apply for Global Entry, paying the fee with your AMEX Platinum. Then enjoy plane-to-curb times under ten minutes on international flights.

There are even more benefits of holding a Platinum Card–many more than would fit here, and most of little use for the majority of people. For a complete list including benefits at Neiman Marcus, Equinox Fitness Clubs, car rental agencies, and more, see here.

For me, a ten minute phone call was the easier way to enroll in these benefits. If you prefer not to speak to an agent, you can enroll for most benefits online here.

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96 COMMENTS

  1. Nice post Scott, however, find that will all bloggers who write about AMX-P card for us miss (besides the 50K MR bonus) most important benefit for cruisers. If you book a cruise on 15 different cruiselines, pay with an AMX card (not a cobranded one like delta/costco) and are an AMX-P or Centurion card member you get cruise benefits for each cruise booked. For example, Cruise Privileges benefits aboard Silversea

    $300 per stateroom shipboard credit
    Complimentary bottle of premium champagne
    Exclusive tour of vessel’s galley hosted by a chef

    We book 2-3 cruises per year, have at least two (AMX-P cards each–rotate when annual fee is due) primarily for cruise benneis. Pls see this link:

    https://travel.americanexpress.com/travel/cpp

    • Wes, do you also need to book the cruise through Amex travel? Or can you book through anywhere that has the lowest price and pay with Platinum in order to get the credit?

      • Flying Boat, No, u do not need to book via AMX Travel, tho sometimes their reps mistakingly tell clients they do. We have booked with our Travel AGent (TA) for nine years following this procedure to ensure we get our AMX-P cruise bennies. A few weeks prior to cruising, have your TA (or if you made a direct booking with the cruiseline hae the cruiseline rep contact AMX-P) contact their counterpart at AMX-P and get your AMX-P cruise benefit tracking number. A good back up once u board so if your $300 SBC and premium bottle of wine/Champagne (Dom) is not in your suite–you can have your TA (or the cruise reception desk) backtrack with this tracking # to ensure y0u get your cruise benefits. We have had to use this procedure just once in 12 cruises to get our benefits–11/12 times the SBC and Dom were waiting for us in our suite.

    • Wow,we cruise a lot.This is very helpful. My question is do you have to put the total amount of your booking on the Platinum? I split up mine to take care of multiple spending requirements for whatever cards I just signed up. Will this still work?

  2. Another goldmine (well platinum mine) of information. Got the card a few months back with the 100,000 offer, signed up for all of the above, except the lounge pass. Thank you for your post and reminder.

  3. One other really really good benefit is that Amex actually lets you BORROW Membership Rewards points before you earn them. As a Platinum card holder, you can borrow 60,000 points a year and you have a year to pay them back. This basically makes your signup bonus usable on Day 1 or any future spending you plan to do. I have already used this benefit twice this year, including when I completely rebooked my friend’s award flights to Cancun 2 days before the trip due to a canceled flight: Four Girls to Cancun Mishap: Completely Rebooking Tatyana at T minus 58 hours

  4. Oh, and the SPG Gold status doesn’t even have to be to your account. You can gift it to someone else. This way the benefit doesn’t go to waste if you either 1. already have Gold like from spending $30,000 on your SPG Amex or 2. don’t use Starwood hotels.

  5. There is another benefit that American Express Platinum doesn’t always let people know about regarding the $200 airline annual credit. Starting back in November 2012, they also credit back fees on partner airlines. Example, I chose Delta based on some European travel I have coming up in May. I will be flying Delta on the way over and back, but will utilizing Air France, Alitalia, and KLM for inter-European flights. AmEx Plat will now credit back the same fees on those flights as well. I was told that you probably would have to call and ask for partner credit. I took advantage of this with some booking fees for an award ticket on Alitalia. Called AmEx after about a month of not seeing a credit, and they immediately credited me back for the fees.

  6. thanks for the great info. Do you think it would work to cancel my amex one with the $450 yr fee and ask for this one instead? and have the fee apply? or cancel ask for fee refund (partial) and then apply for this one. I have a good credit score but really don’t travel all that much. also what is your success with using this new card credits ect with delta as when I do fly I pretty much always go delta? I live in small town. vps…. thank you

    • Yes, I would call AMEX and see what they can do for you. The AMEX One doesn’t appear to have any valuable benefits from the quick look I took–certainly nothing in the league of the AMEX Platinum.

      The AMEX Platinum points earned transfer 1:1 and instantly to Delta miles if that’s how you want to use them, so in that sense they work perfectly to fly Delta.

  7. I got an email from GOES that said “my application status had changed.” So it didn’t tell me what the decision was, but it did tell me that there was a decision and I could log in to see it. Maybe you set your contact preferences differently?

  8. I love your blog content, but I’m not a fan of the new logo. Sorry. I’ve pretty much taken advantage of the basic Plat benefits, and now I’m also looking into using the cruise benefits. Could come in very handy for it with the onboard credit.

  9. Can you elaborate on the $500 in statement credits (listed in red under the MBZ Plat Amex info)? I don’t see anything about this on the landing page or anywhere else – what do you need to do to get the $500 in statement credits? Am I missing something?

    • $400 in airline fee statement credits and $100 in Global Entry fee credit–the next two black bold headers in the post.

    • Nor is the $200 airline credit listed. But people get all the same benefits from both cards from everything I’ve read.

  10. Just had a long talk with the Platinum Travel folks regarding the Business/First Class companion ticket. It’s a full-fare ticket.

    For us that meant a Business-class ticket from LAX to NCE was $15,000.

    We could buy the same ticket (same airline) ourselves for $7,300.

    Or fly Virgin for $5944.

    So, we’re better off buying our tickets outside of the Platinum program. It’s not all it seems.

  11. Don’t forget upgraded car rental status with Hertz, National and Avis. That alone is worth a couple bucks considering the Executive status with National requires 12 rental periods.

  12. The Mercedes platinum card also comes with $100 gift certificate from MB for promotional merchandise- nice stuff, but not cheap if it were not free – insulated driving cup, umbrella, cooler bags, jacket.

    • Bev, concur… Besides the 50K MR bonus, Global Entry fee, $200 airline fee reimbursement, lounge access. Pls see links below (DW go two purses with her/my $100 MB certificate good for any MB accessory) but you have a potpourri of items to select from (e.g. cooler below (2nd link below)):

      http://www.accessories.mbusa.com/MBUSA_2012/Lifestyle+Collection/Luggage+Handbags/?page_no=3

      http://www.accessories.mbusa.com/MBUSA_2012/Lifestyle+Collection/Outdoor/

      Two weeks ago DW ordered a couple of purses ($197) but paid for by MB $100 accessories cert u get from MBUSA about one month after your MB AMX card has been activated. Since we both got this card (netted over 100K MR points) in last 10 months (we had two $100 certs) to use. Tip, if u have a relationship with your local MB dealer, call the parts pro and then give he/she the accessory # of what you want (e.g., Large Maroon Satchel=Part Number: A9629990705) Let them know you are paying with your AMX MB cert and ask them to pls notify/call you when the part (purse) is in. If you exceed the cert’s value (e.g., for the item you select) you can expect to pay any State tax as well as the price difference.

  13. I have the Am Ex Business card (not platinum). It’s free. I also have Chase Platinum $95 yr.
    Will fly from LA to Melbourne Jan 25 2015 and back to LA from Wellington Feb 25 2015. Does anyone know if either (or both) would help with an upgrade to Business on Quantas? Due to 4 leg vein surgeries this year, moving around and lying flat are important as well as for sleep. RT JFK to LA not a big deal. Thanks! Anne

  14. After many calls, the last with an Amex-P supervisor, I was told that I would not receive the 40K sign-up bonus points because I applied for the platinum card myself, (wasn’t marketed) after reading your blog, and was told the sign-up bonus was not in effect at the time of sign-up.
    Not knowing of the bonus points not being valid, I easily spent over the 3-month financial threshold with the card.
    Another lesson in why you can’t always believe what you read on the Web.

    • If it said 40k on the page where you applied on AMEX’s site, you should make that point to them. I’d be shocked if they didn’t honor the offer you saw when applying.

      • I made the “mistake” of applying over the phone – not online.
        Because of this difference, the points were denied, and yes, I am “shocked”.

          • Yes, but as the saying goes, “We learn from our experiences”.
            That much said, (and learned!), at least now I know better.

  15. […] The third card you’d want is the Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz. The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status. For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card. […]

  16. Just wondering how much do you value each MR point? What is the best way to use MR point if you travel to hong kong mostly

    • 2 cents each, probably transferring to Delta miles or Aeroplan miles. Depends on the exact award space picture on the day you want to fly.

  17. Hi Scott: I recently received my Amex Platinum MB card and saw that my points could not be transferred to American Airlines. However, they can be transferred to the Starwoods Guest Program. In theory, I could then transfer them again, this time into American’s program. Have you had any experience making such a “double” transfer? Thanks, as always, for the great insights.

    • You technically could do that, yes, but I do not recommend it because every 1,000 Membership Rewards transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest becomes 333 SPG points (transfer rate of 1,000:333)…so you lose most of the value.

  18. Scott: Last week I designated Delta as my airline on my AMEX MB card, but I no longer see the $200 travel credit being offered under the Card’s benefits section. Has that offer expired? Thanks for all the great information.

  19. Amex Plat is offering Hilton Gold status as well now. Got this card because of Scott last year, and absolutely love it.

  20. Re the Cruise benefits –
    There are exceptions. You generally cannot get the benefits on a ‘flash’ sale or some such nonsense, probably made up by agencies and TAs. I’m a total last minute value cruiser and often get in on these deals. I have been denied every time.

  21. […] Those with an American Express Platinum or Business Platinum card can access the Amex lounge in São Paulo sponsored by Bradesco. The Amex Platinum cards also come with lounge access to the Centurion and Airspace lounges, as well as Priority Pass lounges (but you have to sign up for the Priority Pass first–learn more about how to make the most out of your Amex Platinum). […]

  22. So I’m pre-qualified for Amex Platinum ($550 year) but in 4 phone calls have not been able to get to the ‘person’ who will match that bonus to the Schwab platinum card of the same price.

  23. GOES
    Emailed me last Tuesday to set up a appointment . I could’ve @ ORD on Thursday was Wide open Every 15 mins picked another day .Lets C if I can get it before 9/20 then try for TSA pre check .

  24. […] The card has a $550 annual fee. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement (which you can also use to buy airline gift cards), airport lounge access, hotel status, $200 in Uber credit, and a 5x category bonus for purchases directly from airlines. For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card. […]

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