Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Cards

The American Express Platinum personal and business cards come with annual fees of $450. But they also come with a litany of valuable benefits worth more than $450.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With the Platinum Card, you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to enroll and select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

Application Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Unfortunately none of those benefits are 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 receive the following benefits:

$500 in Free Statement Credits

$200 ($400) Airline Fee Credits

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

For instance, I got my Mercedes-Benz Platinum (personal) card in February 2013, so I will take 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.

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.

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. I decided to designate American Airlines as my airline to receive fee credits in hopes of purchasing gift cards that I can then use to book flights on AA. Designating your airline is as simple as picking up the phone and calling the 800-number on the back of your Platinum card.

I called the number and had to listen to a menu of options. Rather than doing this, simply press “0″ in order to speak to an operator. I told the woman who answered the phone that I was calling in order to designate an airline for my fee credits, and she put me down for American. She did say that it can take time for the fees to be credited back to your account, and to feel free to call back if I had a fee that I wanted to dispute.

I plan on buying two $100 American Airlines gift certificates soon and two more in January 2014. The latest reports on FlyerTalk are that these purchases are generating a corresponding credit within two weeks. Where should I go with me $400 in free AA flights?

$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. Scott raves about it. 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 (I just used my passport); 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 new Platinum AMEX 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 US Airways Clubs, American Airlines Admirals Clubs, and Delta Sky Clubs by showing your American Express Platinum Card and boarding pass–no set up required! (Admirals Club and US Airways Club access ends March 22, 2014.) I took advantage of Admirals Club access on a recent trip from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, enjoying drinks, a comfortable place to sit, and free wifi at the American Airlines lounges along the way.

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 to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

Signing up for Priority Pass Select is easy. I did it on the same call as setting up my airline fee credits. After designating AA as my airline to receive fee credits on, I asked the agent if she could enroll me in the Priority Pass Select program. It literally took her 10 seconds to enroll me. 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. Gold status will entitle me to late checkout, free internet, and other benefits on any stays at a Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points, and other hotel brands.

Not only did I not have Starwood Preferred Guest Status, but I wasn’t even enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest program when I called AMEX to set up my Platinum benefits. After enrolling in Priority Pass, I asked the agent about getting SPG Gold, expecting that I would have to go online and dig around in order to do this. I was pleased when she simply transferred me to a Starwood agent. Since I did not already have an account with Starwood, the agent took down my information and promptly enrolled me.

I got an email from SPG with my account number, and when I set up my account online, I had Gold status.

I expect to get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with my next applications, so having Gold status for the stays I take with those points will be a real plus.

Hilton Gold Status

Until December 31, 2013, Platinum card holders can call American Express and request Hilton Gold Status. Hilton Gold Status means free internet and free breakfast during Hilton stays, which are the big two benefits of hotel status.

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–even for a Rookie.

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.
  2. Ask to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select.
  3. Ask to be given Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest (and enrolled in SPG if necessary). You will be transferred to SPG.
  4. Ask to be given Gold status with Hilton.

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.

Bonus

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With the Platinum Card, you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to enroll and select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

Application Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express

42 Responses to Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Cards

  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.

  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. Christine Pincince

    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. The new logo is a no go. If you want to build your brand, you need to be consistent.

  9. 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.

  10. Ironically got mine in the mail today… and fee free thanks to Ameriprise. (I know, min. spend is better, but I have my reasons.)

  11. 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.

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  13. Are you sure that the Mercedes Benz card offers Global Entry benefits? I don’t see it mentioned anywhere on their website . . .

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

  14. 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.

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  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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  29. 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

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