If you’ve got the Platinum Card from American Express, you’ve tasted the sweet life of a frequent traveler. It’s time to share the wealth.
American Express allows you to add authorized users to your account. These additional users get the same access to airport lounges, a fast pass through airport security and customs, and other perks that primary Platinum account holders already have.
At $175 per year, it’s not cheap – and that’s in addition to the card’s standard, $550 annual fee. But there are some alluring reasons why you should consider adding an authorized user – or several additional users. Here’s how it works and why you should think about it.
How to Add an Amex Platinum Authorized User
Let’s go over the nuts and bolts of this first.
If you’ve decided to add an authorized user to your Amex Platinum card, simply log in to your account and head to the “Account Services” tab. That’s where you’ll find the link to “Add Someone to Your Account.”
You’ll need to enter some information for your new user, including their social security number – either when you add the user or within 60 days. Yet all signs suggest that your authorized user will not be subjected to a hard credit inquiry – which could temporarily ding their credit score. It’s simply a bookkeeping measure for American Express.
Once you’ve added the user, he or she will get their own, heavy metal Amex Platinum card in the mail within the next week or so. They’ll have their own, distinct account number and online account.
But it’s important to note that everything is tied back to your primary account. Any charges an authorized user puts on their card will be on your balance. So it should go without saying that you should only add an authorized user that you trust. You can also decide whether to let your new user use American Express Membership Rewards points.
And there’s an overlooked aspect of adding authorized users to your Amex Platinum card. You can add 1-3 total users for the same, $175 annual fee. So if you have several family members who could benefit, it won’t cost you any more to add up to two additional users.
And there are plenty of benefits and reasons to consider adding an authorized user to your card.
Benefits for the Amex Platinum Authorized User
From unrivaled lounge access to a free membership in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the American Express Platinum card has the richest set of travel perks on the market. And by adding an authorized user, your travel companion can share some of them.
Your new authorized user won’t get every single benefit that you do. Namely, some of the big-dollar credits don’t pass over to your guest. But there’s more than enough value here to offset the additional fee for many travelers. Here’s a brief rundown.
- American Express Centurion Lounge Access: Yes.
- Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership: Yes.
- Delta SkyClub Access (When Flying Delta): Yes.
- $100 Credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Yes.
- Earn 5x Points on Airfare Booked Directly with Airlines and Hotels Booked Through Amextravel.com: Yes.
- $200 in Annual Airline Fee Credits: No.
- $200 in Annual Uber Ride Credits: No.
- $100 in Annual Saks 5th Ave. Credits: No.
- Instant Hotel Status with Marriott and Hilton: Yes.
- Instant Rental Car Agency Status with Hertz, Avis, and National: Yes.
- Boingo Preferred WiFi Access Plan: Yes.
As you can see, your authorized user won’t get his/her own credits for airlines, Uber, or Saks 5th Ave. In pure dollar value, those are some of the biggest perks the card offers. They immediately take the sting out of the $550 annual fee for primary users.
But each of your authorized users will get their own, $100 credit to cover a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. These are some of the best services to improve your time at the airport, so don’t be afraid to spread the love. Just have your authorized users use their new American Express Platinum card to pay for the application and voila – it’s free.
You can get into Delta SkyClubs by flashing your Delta boarding pass and Amex Platinum card, but a guest normally costs $29. That problem is solved by adding an authorized user, as that person has their own card to get in.
Your authorized user can also enroll in Priority Pass, the massive network of 1,000-plus lounges across the world. And authorized users can also get into the growing collection of top-notch American Express Centurion Lounges on their own.
That makes adding an authorized user the perfect solution for families who want to spend some time in the lounge before their departure. While Priority Pass and Centurion Lounges cap a cardholder at two guests, you and your authorized user can bring in two guests each.
If your authorized user buys a plane ticket directly with the airline, that purchase will earn 5x points. Of course, those points will go into your account. Add in the rental car and hotel status and Boingo WiFi hotspot access, and the benefits of being an authorized user are undeniable.
Transfer Points to an Authorized User’s Airline Account
This could just be my favorite perk in the whole bunch.
Airlines often make it difficult – and pricey – to send miles from your frequent flyer account to a spouse or family member. And while some banks allow you to share or pool points with a spouse or family member, American Express isn’t one of them.
Instead, you can transfer Amex points directly to your authorized users’ frequent flyer accounts. That’s an extra layer of flexibility that can come in handy in a pinch.
A while back, my wife was about 1,000 Iberia Avios short of booking a trip from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Phoenix (PHX). Iberia is one of our favorite programs for booking domestic flights in the U.S. So rather than paying the rest in cash or buying some miles to complete the redemption, I just transferred her 1,000 Avios. And that’s only an option for authorized users.
It works just like transfers to any of American Express’s 19 airline partners and four hotel options. There’s just one catch. Starting Sept. 1, 2019, you can only transfer points to authorized users that were added at least 90 days ago.
Be sure to select your authorized user’s account rather than your own. And keep in mind that some American Express transfers aren’t instantaneous.
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Airline||1:1||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||1:1||1-7 days|
Help Hit a Minimum Spend
It might seem straightforward, but it can pay off big time.
Because your authorized users get their own cards, they can help you quickly spend the money necessary to unlock that big points bonus. American Express Platinum cardholders have to spend $5,000 within three months to get the 60,000-point welcome bonus – and that bonus could be 100,000 points if you qualify via the CardMatch tool.
Of course, you’d need that person to pay off the charges they’re making, too. Otherwise, they’re simply saddling you with a bigger monthly payment.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
Depending on your situation and how much you’ll get out of the perks, the benefits of adding an authorized user to your Platinum card can easily outweigh the additional $175 fee.