Amex Platinum Benefits: Lounge Access & Much More | Thrifty Traveler
Amex Platinum Benefits

Amex Platinum Benefits in 2021: Unbeatable Lounge Access, Airline Credits & More

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There’s no question The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best cards in the world of miles and points.  And that’s much more than just a big welcome bonus. It really all comes down to benefits.

Between unrivaled lounge access, instant hotel status, and $400 in travel credits split between Uber and airlines, the Amex Platinum has one of the best sets of perks in the travel rewards world. Amex recently added even more perks to the fold while increasing the annual fee to a hefty $695 a year (see rates & fees).

All these Amex Platinum benefits are one reason why we urge readers not to rule out even high-fee credit cards like this one, though this card certainly won’t make sense for everyone – especially with its higher price tag. But if you’ve already got it, you can’t let these perks go to waste. And that requires some work on your end. 

Here’s a breakdown of all the benefits of this top travel card and how you can put them to use.

 

amex platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express

 

 

Getting Started with Your New Amex Platinum Benefits

First things first, you need to get the Platinum card to get all these benefits. And now could be a great time to apply, as you may be eligible for an unbeatable 150,000-point welcome bonus via CardMatch. The standard bonus is 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in six months, so this bonus of more than twice as many points is worth trying for.

 

 

Unboxing your American Express Platinum Card is … well, it’s a bit of an experience. The packaging reinforces the fact that this is a premium card. It’s laid out in a nice wooden display that doubles as a phone stand.

Once you’ve activated your card and set up your account online, it’s time to get those perks rolling. Most of what you need will be in the Benefits section, which you can find under the “Membership” tab.

 

Amex Platinum Benefits Section

 

Lounge Access: Get Into Lots of Airport Lounges

No credit card will get you into more airport lounges than the Platinum Card. American Express calls it the Global Lounge Collection.

For starters, you can get into American Express Centurion Lounges, some of the best lounges you’ll find in the country (and, increasingly, worldwide). From Seattle (SEA) to Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS) and New York City (JFK), these are excellent spaces to unwind before your flight. 

 

amex platinum benefits

 

So long as you’re flying Delta that day, you can also access the Delta Sky Club. Your Platinum card will get you into smaller lounge networks like Plaza Premium, Airspace, and Escape Lounges – including our go-to lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP). 

Last but not least, you get access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide. But while you only need to flash your Platinum card to get into many of these lounges, you’ll actually need to activate your complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership to get into Priority Pass lounges.

 

Amex Platinum Benefits Priority Pass
Get signed up for Priority Pass through your American Express Platinum account ASAP!

 

You should get your card within a week or so, and be sure to save the materials to register your account online. Once you’re logged into the Priority Pass app, you can simply pull up your digital card on the app at lounge entrances rather than carry it in your wallet.

For all but Delta SkyClubs, two guests can accompany you into any lounge for free. The Sky Club charges Platinum cardholders $39 per guest. And starting in February 2023, Centurion Lounges will start charging $50 per guest (or $30 for children).

Thrifty Tip: Add your Platinum card to your Delta account, and you can get into Sky Clubs just by scanning your mobile boarding pass.

Sadly, this Priority Pass membership has taken a hit. As of August 2019, Priority Pass members with American Express cards can no longer receive credits to eat at airport restaurants.

 

Uber Credit: Get Uber Rides (or Uber Eats) for Free

The American Express Platinum card gives you up to $200 in credits toward Uber rides split up across all 12 months of the year (enrollment is required).

You get up to $15 every month except for December, when you get $35 to round out the year. However, getting these credits isn’t automatic, either. You’ll have to punch in your card details into your Uber account as a form of payment through the app. Once your card is in the system, the app will track how many credits you have available.

 

Amex Platinum Benefits Uber Credit

 

These credits reset every month, and any unused portion will not roll over to the next month. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it benefit, so make sure to use them up each month. Luckily, Uber has made it much easier to automatically use these credits on each ride.

Need a way to use up your remaining credits? They work for UberEats, Uber’s food delivery service, too!

 

Security Checkpoint Fees: Get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

For any frequent traveler, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are a must. PreCheck is your ticket to skip the long lines and speed through airport security, while Global Entry can get you through immigration faster. And the American Express Platinum Card can get you both.

The card offers up to a $100 credit every four years to sign up for either one of these five-year memberships.

 

Free Global Entry Amex Platinum benefits

 

Weighing PreCheck versus Global Entry? Our recommendation is to opt for Global Entry, as your membership actually comes with PreCheck, too. Read our in-depth guide on how to get signed up for Global Entry. And learn everything you need to know about applying for and using TSA PreCheck.

All you have to do to get this benefit is pay your application fee with your new American Express Platinum card. The expense should get instantly reimbursed. Already signed up for one of these great trusted traveler programs? Use your card to pay for a friend or family member’s application!

 

Cover the Cost of CLEAR, Too

Among the new Amex Platinum benefits that were added in 2021, this one may take the cake.

The Platinum Card from American Express now offers a $179 credit annually to sign up for CLEAR, the privately run airport security program. That covers the entire cost of the $179 CLEAR membership.

But you can do even better. While CLEAR starts at $179 a year, you can drop the cost to just $119 with a free Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus account number. That frees up another $60 or more of CLEAR credit on your Platinum Card – and you could use that to add a spouse or other family member to your CLEAR account. CLEAR Family Plan additions cost another $50 a year, though minors can come with you free.

 

clear benefit

 

While they may seem duplicative, CLEAR and TSA PreCheck (or better yet, Global Entry) provide a fantastic one-two punch. You use CLEAR to cut to the front of the PreCheck, then PreCheck itself gets you through faster by saving you the trouble of removing shoes, a belt, a light jacket, liquids, or electronics.

Read more: Is CLEAR Worth It? A Review of the Security Fastpass Program

The Amex Platinum Card is the only travel card on the market that will cover the entire cost of CLEAR. Considering you can cover the cost of both CLEAR and Global Entry with your Platinum Card, no travel card will help get you through the airport faster.

Just charge your CLEAR enrollment to your Platinum Card and voila – you’re set. A statement credit for the full amount should kick in automatically within a few days.

 

Airline Credits: Maximize Those Amex Platinum Airline Credits

The American Express Platinum card offers another $200 in credits every year toward airline credits (enrollment is required). Unfortunately, these credits aren’t as expansive as the $300 annually offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Nor are they as simple to use. 

But it’s still an easy way to offset the card’s annual fee: It can cover the cost of checked luggage, seat assignments, change fees, in-flight meals, and more on U.S. airlines. Essentially, many fees aside from the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi, cabin upgrades, and the plane ticket itself will trigger the credit. 

Read our full guide on the best ways to maximize Amex airline credits. Pro tip: There are a few slick ways you can still cover airfare with these credits.

You’ll need to log in and manually select an airline each year, choosing from: Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United.  And while you’re generally locked into that airline for the year, you may be able to switch it up by calling American Express. 

You can also track how much of your credit you have used throughout the year in your Benefits portal.

 

amex platinum benefits airline credits

 

These credits reset every calendar year. That means you can get up to $400 in airline credits in your first year with the card, depending on when you opened your account.

Sadly, it has gotten a bit harder to maximize these credits. For years, you were able to buy airline gift cards and trigger the credit. But that has stopped working for both Southwest and Delta gift cards, the last two airlines for which this loophole functioned.

Still, it shouldn’t be a stretch to get $200 in value out of these credits..

 

$20 a Month in Entertainment Credits

Another new perk in the fold for the Platinum Card for 2021 is up to $20 in monthly entertainment credits. Unfortunately, you don’t have too many options to put it to use.

This new $20 monthly credit can currently be used in just four places: Audible, The New York Times, Peacock, and SiriusXM. 

That’s far more restrictive than the all-encompassing $30 monthly credit Amex launched in 2020 as a temporary perk to keep cardmembers happy during the downturn in travel, so this one has limited value. But if you’re already using one of these platforms or plan to, it adds up to another $240 over the course of the year.

Just charge your subscription for these services to the Platinum Card and it will kick in to cover up to $20 a month.

 

Equinox Gym Credit: Up to $25 a Month

The Platinum Card will also get you up to $300 a year towards Equinox, doled out in monthly credits of up to $25.

Equinox is a boutique chain of gyms with locations primarily in New York and a handful of other major metropolitan cities like in Chicago or across California. That $25 a month is a pittance compared to the membership fees if you happen to live near an Equinox location. Otherwise, the credit counts towards the digital subscription for Equinox+, an app that normally clocks in at $40 a month.

 

equinox amex platinum benefits

 

Pay for Equinox with your Platinum Card and that credit of up to $25 a month will kick in automatically.

 

Hotel Status: Instant Marriott and Hilton Gold Status

The American Express Platinum Card is a quick ticket to hotel status. You can instantly enroll for Gold-level status with Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what each is worth. Hilton Honors Gold Status gets you 25% bonus points on paid stays, free upgrades when space is available, a fifth night free when staying with points and free breakfast for you and a guest. That free breakfast benefit can be insanely lucrative – it’s one of our favorite hotel benefits, period. That alone makes Hilton Gold status valuable.

Unfortunately, Hilton has replaced this perk with a less-valuable (but more flexible) daily food and beverage credit through the end of 2021 at U.S. Hilton properties. We’re hopeful the free breakfast benefit makes a return in 2022. 

 

waldorf astoria las vegas

 

Thrifty Tip: Heading to Vegas? You can use Hilton Honors Gold status to work your way toward Caesar’s Diamond Status, which can unlock some amazing benefits for your time in Sin City.

Meanwhile, your Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status allows you to earn a 25% points bonus on paid stays, upgraded internet access, space-available room upgrades and priority late checkout.

You have to individually enroll for each status upgrade with your loyalty account number for the hotel brands. The registration generally takes a day or two to process. Just head to the Amex Platinum benefits tab to start the process with each hotel chain. Or fire up the online chat function and ask an Amex representative to do it for you.

 

A $200 Credit for Fine Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Collection

The value of the Platinum Cards at hotels goes beyond status.

It also opens the door to Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) Program, a collection of luxury properties across the world that also comes with a handful of special perks, along with the slightly-less-luxurious-but-still-excellent Hotel Collection. Think of FHR as elite hotel status on steroids.

Those FHR perks include free room upgrades when available, free daily breakfast for two, an experience credit of $100 or more for dining or spa services, noon check-in when available, and guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout.

During my recent stay at the Delano Las Vegas, booking through FHR was a godsend. We checked in early, checked out right at 4 p.m., had room service delivered each morning for breakfast, and got another $100 to spend on food and drinks almost anywhere in Delano or Mandalay Bay.

Oh, and we were upgraded from a standard room to this stunning Scenic Suite.

 

delano las vegas room

 

Fine Hotels and Resorts are available exclusively to Platinum Cardholders who book through Amextravel.com, Amex’s travel portal. Just log in with your Platinum Card and start searching to see what FHR properties you can find.

And now you’ve got more of a reason to. Each year, you’ll have a $200 credit to use at either Fine Hotels and Resorts or Hotel Collection properties. Just book via Amextravel.com, pay with your Platinum Card, and that $200 credit will kick in automatically.

One note: Hotel Collection properties require a two-night minimum stay to trigger the credit.

 

Shopping Credit: Get a $100 Annual Credit at Saks Fifth Ave

A few years back the American Express Platinum card rolled out $100 in credits on Saks Fifth Avenue purchases each calendar year. It’s divvied up into two, $50 credits.

The first credit is available through June, while the second becomes available July through the end of the year. Unused credits don’t roll over, so remember to use them or lose them. It appears that gift cards do not qualify to get reimbursed. After activating the credit through your Amex Platinum benefits tab, the credit should automatically apply.

Check out some of the best ways to use your $50 Saks Fifth Ave credits.

 

Car Rental Insurance: Rental Car Benefits with Hertz, Avis & National

Renting a car is easier and more comfortable when you carry the American Express Platinum card. Just as with hotel chains, the Amex Platinum gets you rental car benefits with instant status at several car rental companies. 

Our favorite among the bunch is Emerald Club Executive status with National. That’s because you get access to the special Executive Section, where you can choose any full-size car or higher when paying a midsize car rate. That means that you can make a reservation of any-full size car and skip the National check-in desk entirely. Instead, head straight for the Emerald Aisle and take your pick.

It also gets you free upgrades and extra points when you book. 

 

Amex Platinum Benefits Car Rental Insurance

 

Read more about why we love National Car status and the Emerald Aisle.

With Avis Preferred Status, you get to skip the line altogether and pick a car, or get 25% off your rental and a one-class car upgrade. Hertz Gold Plus Status means you can head straight for the Gold counter at check-in, where it’s available. And it gets you some lower rates and a one-class car upgrade as well.

You have to enroll through your Amex Platinum benefits page to get status with all three rental car companies. Those upgrades generally take a few days to process, so you may want to plan ahead. 

 

Authorized Users: They Get Amex Platinum Benefits Too

You’re not the only one who can benefit from Amex Platinum benefits.

American Express allows you to add authorized users to your account, and they’ll share many of these perks. At $175 per year, it’s not exactly cheap. But that’s the rate that you pay regardless of whether you add just one user or three.

So long as you add three or fewer additional users, you’ll still pay a total of $175 each year. It’s one of the reasons we encourage travelers to add authorized users to their Platinum cards. Your fourth, fifth, and sixth authorized users will cost an additional $175 each. That’s probably not worth it.

So what do these users get?

  • 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.
  • $179 in Annual CLEAR Credits: No.
  • $240 in Annual Entertainment Credits: No.
  • $300 in Annual Equinox credits: No.
  • $200 in Annual Uber Ride Credits: No.
  • $100 in Annual Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: No.
  • Instant Hotel Status with Marriott and Hilton: Yes.
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts: Yes.
  • Instant Rental Car Agency Status with Hertz, Avis, and National: Yes.

That’s a lot of perks that you can pass on to your friends and family members. Only the airline, Uber, and Saks Fifth Avenue credits don’t pass down.

The Amex Platinum lounge benefits alone can be worth a ton. For example, if you try to get a spouse into the Delta Sky Club, you’d have to pay $39 for each visit. Add them as an authorized user to your account, and they can get in for free.

Another bonus: American Express allows you to transfer Membership Rewards points directly to an authorized user’s frequent flyer account. Unfortunately, Amex has recently added some restrictions to these transfers. But it can still make it much easier to book that trip together.

 

Bottom Line

These Amex Platinum benefits add up. In fact, do it right, and they can outweigh the card’s annual fee.

From your trip to the airport to renting a car to clearing immigration on your way back, these Amex Platinum benefits are unbeatable. Make sure you do all of the above to make your travels more comfortable.

 

amex platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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