The undisputed kings of credit card benefits are the American Express Platinum Cards, which come with airport lounge access, airline fee reimbursement, Global Entry reimbursement, hotel status, and a Platinum concierge.
All Platinum cards have access to these benefits, whether they are personal or business Platinum cards.
I recently got The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN. The card has a $450 annual fee. I got it because the card member benefits far exceed $450.
After getting the card, I did something I do embarrassingly often, I consulted a MileValue post to refresh my memory. Specifically I read Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum Card to remind myself of all of the card’s benefits and how to activate them.
How did I activate my airport lounge access, airline fee credits, hotel elite status, and how long did activation take? This information is useful whether you have or plan to get a personal or business Platinum card.
When my Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN arrived in the mail, I called American Express to activate the card.
While activating the card, I took five more minutes to activate all of the card’s benefits, most of which are not automatic. On the call, I made four requests:
- I designated an airline to receive my $200 annual (calendar year) airline fee credit.
- I asked to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select.
- I asked to be given Gold status with Hilton.
- I asked to be given Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest (and enrolled in SPG if necessary).
1. I designated American Airlines as my airline for $200 in fee credits.
The airline fee credit benefit is awesome. For me, it does the bulk of the justification for the $450 annual fee. You can designate any airline and when you pay fees like checked baggage fees, change fees, close in ticketing fees, phone ticketing fees, etc with your Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN, you will receive a credit in your account very quickly to off set the fee.
You may also receive reimbursement for airline gift card purchases, though that is not an intended benefit and is clearly excluded from the fee credit’s terms.
The $200 in credits is based on the calendar year, so I plan to get $200 in credits in 2013 and $200 more in 2014 for $400 worth of free money.
2. I asked to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select
Priority Pass Select is a lounge access program. With Priority Pass Select, I get free entry into hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).
My physical Priority Pass Select card arrived a few days later in the mail.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN also automatically gives me free entry into Delta and Centurion lounges. For those, I just flash the Platinum card and a boarding pass.
3. I asked to be given Gold Status with Hilton through 2014
I have Hilton Gold Status for as long as I hold my Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. But I figured I would ask for Gold Status this way too in case I decide to cancel the Hilton Reserve.
Hilton Gold Status is normally achieved with 20 stays or 40 nights and entitles one to free breakfast and internet among other benefits.
This is a limited-time benefit of Platinum cards. Make sure to request Hilton Gold Status by December 31, 2013.
4. I asked to be given Gold Status in Starwood Preferred Guest
Platinum Card holders are entitled to free Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Gold status entitles me to late checkout, free internet, and other benefits on any stays at a Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points, and other hotel brands.
I recently got the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, so having Gold Status with SPG will help me get the most out of my upcoming stays.
Still To Do
I still need to spend $200 with American Airlines this month to actually earn that $200 airline fee credit for 2013. Then I need to spend $200 more with American Airlines in 2014.
Update 3/24/14: I’ve already received my $200 statement credits for 2013 and 2014!
I might also look into the other benefits of holding a Platinum Card–many more than would fit here. For a complete list including benefits at Neiman Marcus, Equinox Fitness Clubs, car rental agencies, and more, see here.
Things I Skipped
The other benefit I love of a Platinum card is the $100 credit for paying the $100 Global Entry application fee with a Platinum card. Luckily I already have Global Entry–it has already been worth so much more than $100–so I skipped applying for Global Entry with this card.
Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum Card is a far more thorough article about activating the benefits of a Platinum card. Read it if you have your own Platinum card.
All Platinum cards are eligible for all the benefits mentioned. So if you don’t have your own business, you can still get The Platinum Card® from American Express.
I haven’t even mentioned the 25,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN. To me, the sign up bonus is the icing on the benefits cake.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
- Welcome Offer: Get 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
- 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
- A Premium Card with access to over 40 benefits to help power your business
- Complimentary access to 600+ participating airport lounges through Priority PassTM Sele
- Business Platinum Concierge is like your own assistant, ready to help you with just about anything personal or professional, 24 hours a day
- Purchasing power that can adjust as your business evolves
- Terms & Restrictions Apply*
Application Link: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
and the personal Platinum card
The Platinum Card® from American Express, your card for lounge access and other benefits
- 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