Recently, many people were able to get the American Express Platinum card using this strategy. If you were able to get the card, this post will show you how to maximize the benefits. The Platinum Card is definitely a product targeted toward those who like luxury! Most variants of the card carry a hefty $450 annual fee that IS NOT waived. However, this fee is easily eclipsed by the actual CASH VALUE of the benefits and sign up bonus. Within just a few months, you can pocket the sign up bonus, maximize the benefits, and make out like a bandit!
Sign up Bonus
The first, and most obvious benefit from this card is the 100,000 MR point sign up bonus! I value these points around 2 cents per point due to their flexibility and options for transfer partners. You can book air travel through the Amex travel portal for 1 cent per point (30% bonus on your selected airline with the Business Platinum). MR Points can also also be cashed in directly for statement credits at 0.6 cents per point, but I do not recommend this as it leaves significant value on the table.
You may have to use some manufactured spending to meet the minimum spend, but even the cash value of the 100,000 points is more than the annual fee!
Personal and Business versions of this card have slightly different benefits. I will note whether each benefit below is for the Personal (P) or Business (B) version of the card. This list is not comprehensive, but these are the benefits I find most useful. See the American Express website for a full list of benefits.
- $100 Global Entry Fee Credit (P&B) – Global Entry allows you to bypass the lengthy lines at customs upon reentry to the USA. You simply scan your passport and fingerprints, answer a couple questions, and you’re done! There is an application process, and a $100 non-refundable fee (regardless of approval). When you charge the fee to your Platinum card, you will receive a $100 statement credit. You can also use this to purchase global entry for someone other than yourself – perhaps a spouse, parent, or child. Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck, and both are valid for five years!
- $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually (P&B) – This benefit will allow you to get statement credits for airline fees (not direct ticket purchases) up to $200 per calendar year. This means that you can utilize this benefit TWICE during your first full year of membership! You must designate one specific airline for these fee credits.
This benefit has an amazing loophole for those who shop on Amazon! First, select United Airlines as your airline of choice for the credit. Then, download the MileagePlusX app on your smartphone. Use the app to purchase a $200 Amazon gift card with your Platinum Card. The purchase will code as an airline purchase and trigger the statement credit!
Another way to use this perk is to buy airline gift cards I purchased $200 in Southwest gift cards to cover the security fees on the reward flights we take with our Companion Pass.
- Airport Lounge Access (P&B) – This benefit is where the luxury begins! You gain access to American Express Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Club lounges* simply for carrying the Platinum Card. You may also bring your immediate family (spouse and children) or two traveling companions into Centurion Lounges.
See our recent visit to the Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia. You will also be given free membership in Priority Pass with access to over 700 airport lounges worldwide. We also paid a visit to the Wingtips Lounge at JFK recently. Suffice it to say, top shelf booze, chef-prepared buffets, free wifi, and comfy chairs are a great way to pass the time!
- No Foreign Transaction Fees (P&B) – Eliminate the 3 percent foreign transaction fees that most cards charge, and guarantee the best currency exchange rate.
- Free Gogo In-Flight Internet (B) – Receive 10 free vouchers per calendar year to use Gogo in-flight internet. This service typically costs between $9-$12 per flight.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status (P&B) – Enhanced point earning, room upgrades, and late checkouts! This pairs nicely with the 30,000 SPG Amex Bonus!
- Free Boingo Internet Access (P&B) – Boingo internet hotspots are available at most airports. Yes, airports (not all) are still charging for public wifi, but you can bypass the charge with this benefit.
- 30 Percent Point Rebate on Airfare (B) – When you use your points to book travel through the American Express Travel portal, you will receive a 30 percent point rebate. This only applies to airfare booked with your selected airline.
- Amex Offers (P&B) – Amex offers allow you to get statement credits for specific purchases. These credits are often instant once the charge posts. Some of these offers can actually be leveraged to earn a profit.
*For Delta Sky Club access, you must have a Delta Boarding pass.
The list goes on and on, but these are definitely my favorite benefits! I estimate the value of the benefits I listed above at approximately $800-$900 if you use them all. The actual cash value of the statement credits and Gogo passes alone is $600 in the first full year of membership, plus value of the 100,000 MR points! Depending on your volume of travel, the lounge access value can really add up too!
These values will be highly dependent on your personal usage and could end up being much higher than the figures above. In my opinion, the Platinum Card has excellent value, and should be considered by anyone who is serious about traveling with points.
What is your favorite Platinum Card benefit?