The American Express Platinum Card is so much more than “just a shiny metal card” you clink on the table to maximize your points earning and try to impress friends. It’s made from stainless steel, for a start.
Though none of the cards rounded edges could actually inflict any damage, it’s actually more like a Swiss Army Knife for travel discounts, with perks at top travel and lifestyle brands and credit to spend at partners, so it’s far from “just a credit card”.
From up to $500 off a single plane ticket to elite hotel status which gets you $100’s in travel perks, it’s actually surprisingly easier than ever to justify the $550 Amex Platinum annual fee, particularly as Amex adds value not just in travel, but lifestyle too. In fact, if you’re truly maximizing the American Express Platinum Card correctly, you should be making your annual fee back, about 5x over.
Here are 18 American Express Platinum travel benefits which get you there, and make the $550 annual fee seem almost like a bargain, if you use them at all…
#1 Centurion Lounges In Airports
American Express offers an expanding portfolio of Centurion Lounges in airports around the world, with 13+ airports currently in place, and more due in the year.
Think: Vegas, Denver, NYC, Hong Kong, Dallas, Charlotte, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle and many more to come.
Other than the Centurion (Black Card), the Platinum Card from American Express is really the only ticket into these lounges, which feature celebrity chef driven food, James Beard award winning mixologists and booze worth drinking – not to mention free wifi and a nice space to relax.
#2 Up To $200 In Annual Uber Credits
Each month, holding American Express Platinum gets you $15 in Uber credits, so long as your card is a payment choice in your personal Uber account. That’s easy enough. In December, there’s typically a $20 Uber bonus, which brings this benefit to $200 annually in savings.
That’s handy, considering the annual fee on the Platinum Card is only effectively $350 if you use up those Uber credits up to $200 each year. In case you didn’t already know, you also get Uber VIP status, which means you may have a higher pickup order than other riders, amongst other snobby perks.
As of this year, you can’t even earn the status without Amex Platinum…
#3 Fine Hotels And Resorts Luxury Perks
If you like your hotel to be as stunning as the views in the most remote parts of the world, this is yet another area where Amex Platinum is worth a look. Fine Hotels & Resorts brings guaranteed benefits on bookings including up to a $100 property credit for things like food and beverage or spa, daily breakfast and late checkout.
Oh, and side note – you get 5X points on five star hotel bookings via Fine Hotels & Resorts.
When available, you can also get a room upgrade or early check. What can be the icing on top though, is when you get an offer for buy three get one free, or something like that, where you end up saving hundreds versus any other booking method. Basically, you get treated like a top guest, just for being a smart booker.”
#4 Elite Guest Status With Hilton Gold
People love upgrades, and one thing that will help you separate from the general pack of upgrade hungry travellers, is having elite status. Amex Platinum comes with complimentary Hilton Gold elite guest status, and that’s lovely because Gold also gets breakfast.
When you’re travelling, all expenses add up, and getting free breakfast included with all stays, and a priority on upgrade chances, is valuable. And for points and miles nerds, Hilton Gold also allows 5th night free on points bookings, so you’ll save some points in the process…
#5 Amex International Air Program
Perhaps the most lucrative benefit of all, is the Amex IAP program, which brings discounts on most international business class tickets departing the USA. With those tickets dipping under $1500 from time to time nowadays – not including the IAP discount – that can be super. Savings are most often substantial, and are generally around the $250-$500 mark, per ticket – even on good fares.
Obviously if you never buy business class, this is mostly useless, but if you do…
We’ve done a deep dive into this, which is worth reading, but it’s quite easy for a singular person or family to find $1000’s in savings using this benefit each year. Best of all, you don’t need two to travel to take advantage, and you can look yourself online to compare versus other providers.
#6 Global Dining Collection And Resy
If you’re a food snob, or just love eating food in its finest forms, Amex Platinum is quite handy. You get special access to tables at over 10,000 of the most sought after restaurants, and also in app booking via Resy.
Amex Platinum cardholders can use the Amex app to book tables others can’t at top restaurants all over the globe, and the Resy partnership is also bringing exclusive chef dinners across the USA from the most celebrated chefs of the moment. Read up more here. Reservations made easier = good.
#7 Marriott Gold Elite Guest Status
The thing about elite status is that you generally need to stay a bunch of nights to get it. If you do happen to stay enough, it’s usually with one chain, and one chain only. Amex Platinum gets you perks with both Hilton and Marriott, so that even if you’re not actually a loyal guest, you still kinda get the treatment anyway.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite brings a 25% bonus on the points you earn from stays, 2PM late check out and enhanced room upgrades at check in, subject to availability. There’s other perks too…
#8 Pop Up Lounges In Cities
For the last few years, Amex has done something fairly clever around the holidays. In New York, London and other popular cities amongst Platinum cardmembers, Amex has opened pop up Platinum Lounges, during the holidays, which bring free cocktails, gift wrapping and a nice place to escape the crowds.
These lounges in themselves aren’t necessarily worth all that much towards justifying your annual fee, but the gift wrapping, complimentary cocktails, snacks and other stuff can be a godsend during peak holiday shopping…
#9 Up To $500 For A Delayed Trip
When a trip gets delayed – as they tend to do these days – it’s never fun to be stuck overnight or with a lengthy delay. That’s extra true when you’re separated from your bag, toiletries or other necessities. Amex Platinum semi recently added up to $500 in trip delay coverage, when a flight is delayed by 6 hours or more.
This means you can get reimbursed for necessary items from clothes to toiletries and more when you’re delayed, and the process for getting reimbursed is actually pretty easy. This is one of those travel benefits you hope you won’t need, but probably will, and it’s worth up to $500 each time.
#10 Preferred Seats At Concerts, Plays And More
For most people, the day Amex Platinum made them raise their eyebrows in a positive way was when they secured sold out seats for Platinum Card holders to see Hamilton. Via Platinum concerts and events, cardmembers get preferred seats and access to top sporting events, gigs and other events.
In short, whether there’s a pre-sale or not, if Amex is involved, Platinum cardholders will get access to better seats or the opportunity for insider access. This covers events all over the world, including so many concerts in venues across the USA…
#11 Delta SkyClub Lounge Access
With the announcement of a “binge button” for in flight entertainment, Delta continues to climb the leaderboard of US airlines. Whenever you fly Delta as an American Express Platinum Card holder, you can access a Delta SkyClub and enjoy the food, drinks, space and wifi you *may* deserve.
SkyClub visits once cost $50 per visit and up, so to have them included with the card can be a real game changer, particularly for a Delta loyalist flying domestically, where they wouldn’t typically have access guaranteed.
#12 Up to $100 In Annual Statement Credits At Saks
It’s hard to “do it for the gram” without the clothes to match, and a $50 Saks credit every 6 months can be fairly useful for finding a new bathing suit, or super comfy sweats to travel in. This may not be a travel specific perk, but if you like travel, you probably like clothes and up to $100 a year off getting some never hurts.
This is probably a decent time to note that Platinum cardholders often are targeted for the best “Amex Offers” which bring discounts on certain consumer behaviour, like $300 off when you spend $1000 with select airlines, and so forth. You can find these offers when you login to your account…
#13 Elite Rental Car Status And Perks
People focus on air travel and hotels, but getting your car rental upgraded from a Toyota to a Mercedes never hurts. No one is guaranteeing that will ever happen to you personally, but the Platinum Card does come with elite status or preferred treatment at National Emerald Club, Avis and Hertz.
Having elite status with a rental car company makes getting around destinations all over the world easier, and with the car upgrades, fee waivers and time saved waiting to pick up a car, it’s definitely worth something…
#14 Airline Fee Credit Of $200 Per Year
You want upgrades, but you don’t want to pay for checked bags. Pretty much whatever you end up paying for with the airline of your choosing, Amex will cover the first $200 annually via the airline fee credits.
This is one of those card benefits that legitimately helps justify the annual fee, because it’s basically $200 towards upgrades, bag fees, drinks or any other ancillary purchases with your chosen airline. If you use it (which you’d be nuts not to), you’ll get nearly half way to your annual fee. Add that with the $200 in Uber credits, you’ve already covered $400 of your $500 annual fee, without any of the other 16 perks listed here.
And Wait, There’s More
If you’ve read this entire article, you’re undoubtedly as bored as I am from writing it. With that in mind, we’ll spare you a few more reasons, like: PriorityPass Select membership, a fee credit to cover your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, car rental damage coverage, return protection on shopping items and quite a few more. You get the gist…
What are your thoughts on the UK Amex Platinum?
Harder to justify at the moment. I find the 2x,3x,4x,5x, categories to be crucial to justify the value of points earned against annual fee. I also think that not having a full fledged IAP program to provide business class discounts for UK customers somewhat diminishes that (though there is some program with Emirates, Etihad, Qatar) . The Fine Hotels & Resorts benefit can be extremely valuable, as can the Amex Offers targeted to Platinum members, but it’s far less open and shut case in my opinion.
Good question @Brendan. 🙂
I find the AX trifecta of the Platinum, Gold and new Green card to be an excellent combination. Yes that raises the AF $550, $250, $150 = $950 total but the benefits are great.
I use my Platinum for Uber or Uber Eats and of course airline tickets 5X. I use my Gold for Restaurants and Super Markets for 4X and GrubHub. The Green gives me 3X on other travel and it covered my annual Clear fee. Of course the $200 airline credit on Platinum and $100 airline credit on Gold will be harded to use this year but I will maximize my benefit with several of the published creative options out there.
Is Centurion lounge access for the card holder only or can you bring a guest in with you? If not, can you purchase a guest pass? What is the fee? Thanks
Here’s the latest info on Amex lounge policies for Centurion.
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