American Express Platinum – All You Need to Know

A lot of people are interested in sashe American Express (AMEX) Platinum personal (the card I am talking specifically about is for personal use and not for business) card because it sounds prestigious. Most users will opt to get either the standard version of the card or the Mercedes-Benz version. Before getting too deep into the benefits, here are two things you need to know up front:

  1. AMEX only approves individuals who have good credit.
  2. The card costs $425 per year for the standard version and $475 for the Mercedes-Benz version

If you have bad credit or don’t want to pay the initial fee of $425/475 per year, then read no further.

The initial signup bonus for this card is 40,000 Membership Rewards for the standard version and 50,000 Membership Rewards for the Mercedes-Benz. Both cards require $3,000 of spending within the first 3 months.

Here is a brief overview of how AMEX Membership Rewards can be used (I’ll post a more detailed review soon):

  • Transfer to the following programs: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alitalia Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Airlines, EL AL Israel Airlines Air France/KLM, Emirates, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Plus Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Hilton HHonors, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
  • Pay for travel
  • Buy gift cards
  • Shop on Amazon

The benefits for both cards are explained here:

Airport Lounge Access and Priority Pass Select

The Platinum Card comes with complimentary airport lounge access to The CenturionSM Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs®, and Airspace Lounges and you can enroll in Priority PassTM Select at no additional cost. These programs provide you access to over 600 domestic and international airport lounges.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

You will not be charged foreign transaction fees on your Platinum Card® from American Express.

Membership Rewards® Program

Get one Membership Rewards® point for every eligible dollar you spend.

$200 Airline Fee Credit

Select a qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as checked bags and airport lounge day-passes, are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card Account.* *American Express relies on accurate airline transaction data to identify incidental fee purchases. If you do not see a credit for a qualifying incidental purchase on your eligible Card after 4 weeks, simply call the number on the back of your Card. See terms & conditions for more details.

FINE HOTELS & RESORTS

Enjoy complimentary benefits and competitive rates with each FINE HOTELS & RESORTS booking at over 750 extraordinary properties worldwide.

Platinum Card Concierge

Our Concierge staff is available to you day or night as a personal resource for many different aspects of your life. Whether you need to select a restaurant and arrange the details of an upcoming special event or if you want expert advice selecting just the right gift, you can rely on Concierge to coordinate and take care of your requests, big and small.

International Airline Program

Anytime you purchase a qualifying Business or First Class ticket for international air travel with your eligible American Express Card on over 25 participating airlines*, you can enjoy savings on a ticket for a companion**.*Subject to availability. See terms and conditions for details.**Airline-imposed fuel and security surcharges and fees and government taxes and fees on international air transportation, as well as applicable service ticketing fees, are the responsibility of the Card Member. Non-refundable American Express service fee of $39 (per ticket) applies to each purchase and itinerary change for Platinum Card Members.

Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

Getting into your rental car can be the start of a great vacation. When you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver at the rental car counter, you can be covered if the car is damaged or stolen. Please read important exclusions and restrictions. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Coverage is not available for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage.

Baggage Insurance Plan

Travel more comfortably knowing you can be covered by the Baggage Insurance Plan for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage when you purchase the entire fare for a Common Carrier ticket (e.g. plane, train, ship, helicopter, or bus) on an eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on baggage. For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold

As a Platinum Card Member, you can upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status without meeting any stay requirements. Receive all the benefits of a Preferred Guest® with the following enhancements:

  • More Starpoints: Earn 3 Starpoints(SM) for every eligible U.S. dollar spent — a 50% bonus over base-level membership.
  • An enhanced room: As an elite member, you’ll automatically be given an enhanced room at check-in when available.

*Subject to availability at check-in for the length of the stay, provided the room was not booked through a pre-paid third-party channel. Preferred Rooms do not include suites. This benefit is not offered at Aloft and Element properties.

  • 4p.m. late checkout** so you can sleep in, relax by the pool or see more of the local area you’re visiting.

** Subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels.

  • Little Extras: Your choice of a welcome gift with each stay. Choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary in-room Internet access and a complimentary beverage, and access to the special elite customer service telephone line for reservations and information.

www.spg.comTo enroll, call 800-525-3355.
Use your SPG number when booking at Starwood properties.

Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓TM

Receive one Global Entry ($100) statement credit or one TSA Pre✓TM ($85) statement credit every 5 years for an application fee charged to an eligible Platinum Card®. If approved for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓TM, spend less time waiting at select airports.Choose the option that best suits your travel needs:

  • For travel from select domestic airports, TSA Pre✓TM can expedite security screening
  • For international travel, Global Entry can reduce wait time at US Customs when you return to the US at select airports. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA Pre✓TM

Each Additional Card on eligible Card accounts is also eligible for one statement credit every 5 years for an application fee. To receive the statement credit, the application fee must be charged on the eligible Additional Card. To learn more about the benefit and read the full terms and conditions, click here.

Premium Global Assist® Hotline

When you travel more than 100 miles from home, you have 24/7 medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services, including medical and legal referrals, passport replacement, cash wires and more. Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.

The Boingo American Express Preferred Plan

Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access when you enroll in the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. Receive Wi-Fi access on up to four devices to more than 1,000,000 hotspots worldwide and pay no Wi-Fi roaming fees. Confirm eligibility, and then access Boingo’s Wi-Fi services by creating a Boingo American Express Preferred Plan account.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance can provide accidental death and dismemberment coverage while traveling on a Common Carrier (plane, train, ship, helicopter, or bus) when the entire fare** has been charged to the eligible Card. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.

Platinum Dining® Program

Platinum Dining® Program holds a reservation at more than 1,000 of the most acclaimed restaurants in the US and abroad. Our consultants can also review menus and wine lists, offer advice on house specialties, and make special arrangements such as accommodating a group or making sure flowers are waiting at your table.

By Invitation Only® Program

By Invitation Only® is a program that gives Platinum Card Members exclusive access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences—from sports, fashion, and fine dining to the visual and performing arts. These unique experiences are customized for Platinum Card and Centurion Card Members and are simply not available to the general public at any price.

Purchase Protection

Shop with added confidence and Purchase Protection, which can help protect eligible purchases made with the Platinum Card® in the event they are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.

Return Protection

If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price (excluding shipping and handling), up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Please read important exclusions and restrictions. 

Extended Warranty

Why is it that as soon as a manufacturer’s warranty runs out, something always seems to happen? When you use your American Express® Card for eligible purchases, you can get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty. Applies to warranties of 5 years or less. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.

Additional Authorized User

Adding an authorized user is an additional $175. However, that additional user will get all of the same benefits including their own PriorityPass and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit. They will not receive an additional $200 airline credit for their own use.

Additional Benefits for the Mercedes-Benz Card

  • A $1000 certificate each year you charge $5,000 in purchases, good toward the future purchase or lease of a new Mercedes-Benz
  • Up to 2,000 excess miles waived at lease-end on leases through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services
  • $100 certificate at renewal of your Card account, good toward Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories

My Take

The Price is Worth It If You Travel Frequently

The main benefits of this card will only be useful for people who travel regularly.  Frequent travelers will easily get their money’s worth with the $200 travel credit, reimbursement of Global Entry fees ($100), and access to the Centurion/Priority Pass/Airspace lounge network (I will detail all of these benefits in subsequent posts because they are all lengthy subjects on their own).

AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts Are An Incredible Benefit

The rate for these hotels is usually equivalent to the Best Available Rate if you booked directly with the hotel. In addition to the room, you get:

  • Noon check-in upon arrival, when available
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • 4pm late checkout
  • Additional special amenity unique to each property, such as a $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two people

I stayed one night at the Trump Ocean Club in Panama for $165 including taxes and I got an upgrade to junior suite plus all of the other benefits I just listed. The breakfast ($35 value per person) was incredible and I used the $100 credit for a fantastic dinner that included designing my own ceviche.

The Card Is Not Worth It For Everyday Users

A lot of the benefits like no Foreign Exchange fees, Auto Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection, and Extended Warranty can be had for less money with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. There are other cards that utilize the AMEX Membership Rewards as well but for a lower cost.

How I’ve Used My Card

I got the Mercedes-Benz version of the card solely for the extra 10,000 Membership Rewards that was offerred over the standard version. I won’t use the extra Mercedes benefits because I don’t own one. When I can find the $100 certificate, I plan to buy an over-priced Mercedes-branded pen set that costs around $100  😛 I also added Joy as an authorized user.

Between the 2 Fine Hotels and Resorts stays, the reimbursement of Global Entry fees for her and my son (I already had Global Entry so I got reimbursed when I applied for his because AMEX’s doesn’t care what name is on the application), the $200 airline credit (which I used to buy $200 gift registry credit on United Airlines and applied toward the purchase of a ticket later), 5 visits to the Centurion Lounge at DFW ($50 value per person and the best airport lounge in the U.S. in my opinion), and 6 visits to PriorityPass lounges, I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth.

If you’re interested in this card, take a few minutes to analyze your travel habits and see if it is worth the cost.