The American Express Platinum Card has been a favorite credit card of experienced travelers for many years. It offers up to 5x points on travel, provides lounge access, and has valuable points that transfer to 22 hotel and airline partners. But there are many more reasons why people love this card so much.
Today, we’re going to share 14 American Express Platinum Card benefits that make this card so great for travel enthusiasts.
Earning a welcome bonus is one of the quickest methods for earning a lot of points in a hurry. The 60,000-point welcome bonus from the American Express Platinum Card is one of the biggest you’ll see. With these points, you can book $600 in airfare, convert them into airline miles or hotel points, redeem them for gift cards, and more.
To earn this bonus, you’ll need to spend at least $5,000 on your card within the first three months. If this amount seems daunting, there are many ways to meet minimum spend requirements, including paying bills, annual insurance premiums, home improvements, or even your mortgage.
2. Receive $200 in Airline Fee Credits
Everyone hates paying additional fees to airlines. One of the Amex Platinum travel benefits is $200 in annual airline fee credits. Each year, you’ll select one airline from a list to be your designated airline. When you incur a fee from that airline, use your American Express Platinum Card to pay and you’ll be reimbursed up to the annual limit. Examples of eligible airline fees include checked bags and in-flight refreshments.
Keep in mind that this credit is different than other premium credit card travel credits. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve, whose credit can be used to book flights and hotel reservations, the Amex Platinum airline fee credit cannot be used to book travel.
3. Credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck
Skipping lines at security can drastically improve the airport experience while traveling. When you sign up for Global Entry and TSA Precheck, you’ll use special lanes that have a less-intrusive screening process. You can keep your belt and shoes on, 3-1-1 liquids in your carry-on, and your laptop in its bag.
The Amex Platinum Card reimburses up to $100 every four years for Global Entry and every 4.5 years for TSA Precheck. Primary cardholders and all authorized user Gold and Platinum cards can use this benefit.
4. Free Access to 1,200 Airport Lounges
Travelers have access to more than 1,200 airport lounges with the American Express Platinum Card. This benefit starts with exclusive access to American Express’ Centurion Lounge. You’ll receive complimentary entrance for you and two guests to enjoy gourmet food, top-shelf drinks, massages, manicures, showers, WiFi, and more.
The card also includes a Priority Pass Select membership, providing free entrance to airport lounges in over 600 cities across 148 countries. Unfortunately, American Express eliminated restaurants from its Priority Pass benefits list effective August 1, 2019. Even with that change, there are still many great airport lounges to enjoy comfortable seating, complimentary drinks and snacks, and free Wi-Fi.
You may also enter Delta Sky Club locations when flying Delta or one of its partner airlines. American Express also partners with airport lounges that you may not be familiar with, including Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium, and Air Space.
5. Automatic Gold Status With Marriott and Hilton
Hotel elite status can offer great perks like late checkout, room upgrades, and complimentary breakfast. Instead of spending countless nights at hotels to earn elite status, Amex Platinum benefits include automatic Gold elite status with two popular hotel loyalty programs.
Marriott Bonvoy normally requires guests to stay 25 nights per year to earn Gold status. Hilton Honors members have to stay 40 nights for Gold status. With your American Express Platinum benefits, you’ll get Gold status starting with your first stay each year. To activate this benefit, contact American Express customer service and provide your loyalty number for each hotel loyalty program.
6. Flexible Rewards You Can Use
The points you earn with the American Express Platinum Card are very flexible. You can redeem them to book flights, transfer to airline and hotel partners, request statement credits, buy gift cards, or shop online. Although the value of Membership Rewards points is two cents each, the value you receive will vary depending upon how you use them.
Book Flights With Your Points
When booking flights through Amex Travel, you can pay with cash, points, or a combination of the two. Membership Rewards points are worth one cent each when booking airplane tickets. If you don’t have enough points or want to save some for later, you can pay the remainder of your ticket with cash. You’ll earn 5x points per dollar when you use the American Express Platinum Card to pay the cash portion.
Through Amex Travel, you can also book other portions of your vacation, such as hotels and cruises. However, when you redeem Membership Rewards points for these expenses, you’ll only receive 0.7 cents per point. This is a 30% reduction compared to using your points for flights, so carefully consider your options before using your points this way. Consider applying for a hotel credit card or transferring your Membership Rewards points to a hotel transfer partner instead.
Transfer to 22 Airline and Hotel Loyalty Programs
American Express has the most available transfer partners of any credit card with flexible points. Chase Ultimate Rewards gives cardholders 13 hotel and airline options and both Capital One Venture Miles and Citi ThankYou have over 10 airline transfer partners each.
You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to three hotel and 19 airline transfer partners with American Express. In most cases, points transfer on a 1:1 basis. Examples of participating airlines and hotels include:
- Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
Pay attention to special promotions that pop up periodically. These transfer promotions can offer a huge incentive for transferring your Membership Rewards points to the targeted airline or hotel loyalty program. In December 2019, Hilton was offering a 50% bonus when transferring points to Hilton Honors. Instead of receiving 2,000 Hilton points for every 1,000 American Express points transferred, you’d receive 3,000 points.
Statement Credits, Gift Cards, and Shopping
American Express offers a lot of flexibility while redeeming its Membership Rewards points. However, these options are generally not as lucrative as booking flights or transferring to an airline or hotel partner. You’ll often receive substantially less value when using these options, so think twice before finalizing any of these redemptions.
Ideally, you will receive at least one cent per point when redeeming your points. Here are some examples that offer much less than that:
- Best Buy — 0.7 cents
- Ticketmaster — 0.5 cents
- Delta Gift Card — 0.7 cents
- American Express Gift Card — 0.5 cents
- American Express Statement Credit — 0.6 cents
7. No Foreign Transaction Fees
Some banks charge a fee of up to 3% for processing transactions in another country. This convenience charge can really add up over the course of a vacation. The American Express Platinum Card does not charge any foreign transaction fees. This means that the prices you pay while traveling internationally will be the prices you pay on your statement.
To avoid any hidden fees when shopping internationally, always pay in the local currency. Not only will American Express waive the fees to convert your purchase into U.S. dollars, but you’ll also receive a much more favorable exchange rate.
8. Earn 5x Points on Flights
One of the downsides of the American Express Platinum Card is that it does not have many bonus categories like other rewards cards do. However, if you spend heavily on flights, you’ll earn a lot of American Express Membership Rewards points.
To earn 5x points on your airplane tickets, purchase them directly from the airlines or through Amex Travel. The 5x points through Amex Travel are earned through the Amex Travel website or by calling customer service at 800-525-3355. If you buy the tickets through an online ticket agency (OTA) or anywhere else, you’ll earn just 1x points per dollar.
9. Get 5x Points on Prepaid Hotels
When booking hotels, you can also earn 5x points on your reservations made through Amex Travel. However, these reservations must be prepaid and cannot be booked directly with the hotel. You may change or cancel your reservations through Amex Travel, but they are subject to the normal hotel cancellation policies.
Keep in mind that most hotels require you to book directly if you want to earn stay credits and hotel points. You also might not receive your elite status benefits, such as late checkout, room upgrades, and free breakfast when booking through a third-party agency like Amex Travel.
10. Ride Uber With $200 Credits Each Year
If you travel frequently, you might find yourself in a rideshare, such as Uber or Lyft, on a regular basis. One of the American Express Platinum Card benefits that experienced travelers use is the $200 in annual Uber credits. Sync your Amex Platinum Card in the Uber app and you can choose when to use the credits each month.
I wish that American Express would give you all $200 at once. However, the Uber credits are received in $15 per month increments, with an extra $20 in December. The credits do not accumulate from month to month, so if you do not use them one month, they are lost.
If you aren’t traveling and can’t find a use for the credits around town, you may also put the $15 Uber credits toward Uber Eats orders.
11. Shop at Saks Fifth Avenue with $100 Annual Credits
I like looking nice while traveling, and the Amex Platinum Card makes it easier to do so. Each year, cardholders receive $100 in credits at Saks Fifth Avenue. This credit is broken into two $50 credits. One credit is available from January to June, while the second is available from July to December.
The credits are good at Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the U.S. and online. Gift cards and purchases at outlet locations are not eligible for the credits. I learned this one the hard way because my nearest store is an outlet location, and I did not receive a credit for my purchase. If you’re like me and don’t have a nearby location, shop online.
12. Enjoy Elite Benefits With Fine Hotels & Resorts
Although the American Express Platinum Card gives automatic Marriott and Hilton Gold status, you might not want to stay at one of those hotels. Fine Hotels & Resorts is another Amex Platinum benefit that is exclusive to cardholders. When booking a prepaid room through Amex Travel, you’ll earn 5x points per dollar on your reservations.
Fine Hotels & Resorts (FH&R) is a collection of more than 1,000 properties offering elite-level benefits with every stay. You’ll enjoy these perks even if you don’t have elite status with a particular hotel brand. With each booking, you receive the following:
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
- Noon check-in, when available
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Unique property amenity valued at $100 minimum
Additionally, some FH&R properties have promotions offering one night free on longer stays.
13. Receive $100 Hotel Credit with The Hotel Collection
The Hotel Collection is another luxury travel benefit available to Platinum and Gold card members. With this program, you’ll receive the following benefits on stays of two nights or longer:
- Room upgrade at check-in, when available
- $100 hotel credit
You’ll earn 5x points on your prepaid reservation when using your Amex Platinum Card through Amex Travel. American Express Gold Card members earn 2x points through Amex Travel. While these benefits are not as expansive as what’s offered through Fine Hotels & Resorts, there are still good values available.
14. Complimentary Authorized-User Gold Cards
With so many amazing American Express Platinum benefits, you might want to share them with a family member or friend. You can add up to three authorized users with Platinum-level benefits for a total of $175 per year. Each additional Platinum Card authorized user is $175 each.
The cost of additional authorized users can add up quickly, though. So, American Express offers authorized user Gold cards for no charge. You can add up to 99 of these complimentary Gold cards to your account. Keep in mind that these authorized user Gold cards are not the same as the American Express Gold Card that you can apply for.
Instead, these cards have a very limited number of benefits:
- One Global Entry or TSA Precheck statement credit every four years
- Purchases count towards $200 annual airline fee credits
- Amex Offer promotions
These cards do not have airport lounge access, Uber credits, or hotel elite status like Amex Platinum Card members receive.
American Express Platinum Benefits: Final Thoughts
The American Express Platinum Card is a premium travel credit card with incredible benefits. Although the annual fee is $550, you receive $500 in annual credits for airline fees, Uber, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Plus, benefits like airport lounge access, automatic hotel elite status, and no foreign transaction fees really enhance your travel experience.
New cardmembers will find great value in the 60,000 welcome bonus. Those points are very flexible and can be used to book travel, transfer to airline and hotel partners, go shopping, and so much more.
I’ve been carrying the Amex Platinum Card with me on all of my travels for years. Once you’ve experienced its perks, I think you’ll keep it for a long time, as well.
What is your favorite benefit of the American Express Platinum Card? Share with us below!