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The Platinum Card® from American Express is now offering a sign up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months of card membership.

 

Plus the Platinum Card® from American Express has the best perks of any rewards card like:

  • Up to $200 per calendar year in statement credits to offset airline fees.
  • Free Delta SkyClub lounge access and a free Priority Pass Select membership, which I use frequently when traveling economy class to get free lounge access.
  • A $100 statement credit to offset the cost of a Global Entry application. Global Entry has saved me at least four hours of my life, not waiting in immigration lines upon returning to the United States, and will save me even more in the next two years, so this is an incredible benefit.
  • Free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status. I’m earning more points on my SPG stays while getting free internet and late checkout, the two benefits of status that I most enjoy.

Furthermore the 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards now puts the card among the highest sign up bonuses. Membership Rewards are one of my favorite types of flexible points because the program has 21 airline and hotel partners.

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While I absolutely love the Platinum Card® from American Express, it has two weaknesses:

  • $450 annual fee
  • Earns one point per dollar on all purchases (no category bonuses)

Why did I get the American Express Platinum Card? How can you make the most out of the Platinum Card? What types of people will get the most value from the card? Who shouldn’t get the Platinum card?

Benefits of the Platinum Card

The Platinum card has the best benefits of any card on the market, but you have to know how to make the most out of them.

Up to $500 in Free Statement Credits in the First Year

In the first 12 months, you have a Platinum Card® from American Express, you can get up to $500 in statement credits.

$200 ($400) Airline Fee Credits

Platinum cards come with a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year. If you open the card in March 2014, you can get the $200 credit in 2014 and another $200 credit in early 2015 during your first year of cardmembership.

The airline fee credit is designed 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, though the key is how the purchase is coded with American Express.

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 recommend asking to designate your airline when you call American Express to activate your card.

$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 United States. 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. And having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

I love Global Entry. The last thing I want to do after hours and hours of travel is to wait in line to speak to a skeptical Border Patrol agent. With Global Entry, I’ve gotten from plane door to car door and on my way home in under 10 minutes.

For more information on the Global Entry online application and interview process, see here.

Free Lounge Access

You can get free lounge access at Delta Sky Clubs by showing your American Express Platinum Card and boarding pass–no set up required!

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 listed 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 American Airlines as my fee-credit airline, 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 a few days after I called.

I downloaded the Priority Pass app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I recently used Priority Pass affiliated lounges in Singapore and London on trips when I would not otherwise have had lounge access.

I enjoyed free food, free internet, and a comfortable and quiet place to work. In Singapore, the lounge even had a shower, all for free with my Priority Pass Select Membership.

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Check Out the Rainforest Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport for Free Food, Internet, and Showers with Priority Pass Select

I value each lounge visit on average about $20–the retail price is much higher–and I’ll probably use my lounge access about 10 times this year.

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 entitles me to late checkout, free internet, and other benefits on any stays at a Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points, and other hotel brands.

After enrolling in Priority Pass, I asked the agent about getting SPG Gold. I gave my SPG number, and the SPG Gold status showed up online quickly.

I recently got the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, so I have a trove of Starpoints. I just used 3,500 Starpoints for a Cash & Points Stay at a Le Meridien near Angkor Wat. Having Gold status for the stay got me a welcome fruit basket, free internet, late checkout, and about 300 extra SPG points. Not bad at all for something that you get for free as a cardholder of the Platinum Card® from American Express.

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There are even more benefits of holding a Platinum Card–many more than would fit here, and most of little use for me. For a complete list including benefits at Neiman Marcus, car rental agencies, and more, see here.

Using Membership Rewards

Membership Rewards transfer to 17 airlines, and I find real value in 10 of the transfer partners. Forty thousand Membership Rewards is enough for some fantastic awards or to top off several accounts that are just short of a high-value award.

I’m very excited for the sign up bonus’s jump to 40,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months because for all of 2014, the sign up bonus has been 25,000 Membership Rewards. (The version of the card that is co-branded with Mercedes-Benz has had a 50,000 point bonus, but I haven’t been able to load the application page since yesterday.)

Who Will Get the Most and Least Value Out of the Platinum Card

You will get more value out of the Platinum Card:

  • the more you value lounge visits
  • the more you use the lounge access
  • if you can recoup the full $200 per calendar year in airline fee credits
  • if you don’t already have Global Entry but you do travel internationally
  • if you can use the SPG Gold Status
  • if you can get maximum value from the Membership Rewards

If that list doesn’t describe you, then you are not a good fit for the Platinum Card.

The Platinum Card is also not ideally designed for big spenders. Big Spenders need a card that offers a more valuable currency like Starpoints (Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express) or big category bonuses in the areas where you spend money.

Full Offer

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

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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