The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the top premium travel rewards cards available. Thanks to its generous selection of benefits and the ability to earn valuable, transferable American Express Membership Rewards points, this card can be your go to for all thing travel. Below, I’ll take a look at some of the card’s best perks to use this year, including a valuable airfare credit that resets when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.
5x on Airfare and Hotels
What it is: The American Express Platinum has long been a solid premium card, but the addition of 5x bonus categories has made it even more compelling. You’ll now earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare, plus 5x points on hotels.
Tips for maximizing: You’ll earn 5x points on airfare when you book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, so you have some flexibility. When it comes to hotels, however, you’ll only earn 5x points when you book prepaid rates through amextravel.com, so you’ll need to weigh whether earning those extra rewards is worth giving up the perks you could enjoy for booking directly with the hotel.
$200 Airline Fee Credit
What it is: With Amex Platinum, you get $200 in credit toward airline expenses each calendar year. Compared to the Citi Prestige Card, which comes with a $250 annual airfare credit, the Platinum Card’s terms are a bit limited. For one, you have to specify an eligible airline with which to use the benefit ahead of time, and the credit doesn’t cover actual airfare. Still, you can sometimes buy gift cards from airlines to cover tickets. In addition to covering incidental charges like checked bag fees and in-flight purchases, the $200 airline fee credit can be put toward gift cards, airline lounge passes and more.
Tips for maximizing: While you’re technically limited to the airline you select for the entire calendar year, reports indicate that you might be able to change your selection by contacting customer service.
$200 in Uber Credits
What it is: One of the most recently added Amex Platinum perks is $200 in Uber credits each year, allotted in $15 increments each month except for December, when you’ll get a $35 credit. This is one of the ways that Amex compensated for the increase in this card’s annual fee (from $450 to $550), and for anyone who frequently uses the ride-sharing service, it shouldn’t be hard to get the full $200 in value from this benefit.
Tips for maximizing: Note that you can only use these credits on Uber rides in the US, and you don’t have to pay your balance with an Amex card to get the discount. The credits expire at the end of each month, so you won’t be able to roll any unused credits over. If you don’t utilize the ride-sharing service frequently, keep in mind the credits also work for Uber Eats purchases.
Centurion Lounge Access and More
What it is: Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to American Express Centurion lounge locations. If you’ve ever visited one, you’ll know why this is great; these spaces offer gourmet food options, craft cocktails and comfortable places to rest. Though the locations are relatively limited, this lounge access is a great benefit to have if your home airport or an airport where you frequently connect has a Centurion Lounge location. The American Express Platinum also entitles you to access to Delta Sky Clubs (when you’re traveling with the airline) and Airspace Lounges, which are currently open at Cleveland (CLE), New York-JFK and San Diego (SAN).
Tips for maximizing: Cardholders can enjoy access for themselves, plus up to two guests. This benefit is also available with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and the Centurion Card. As of last fall, day passes are no longer available to cardholders of other Amex branded cards, so having either a Platinum or a Centurion card is now a “must have” for Centurion lounge access.
Elite Status with Hilton and Starwood
What it is: The Platinum Card has offered complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status for some time, but more recently it added automatic Hilton Honors Gold status as a benefit. Both of these hotel elite statuses entitle you to some solid on-property benefits, such as late checkout and bonus earnings on stays.
Tips for maximizing: Hilton Honors Gold status — which usually requires 20 stays, 40 nights or earning 75,000 Honors base points — includes a 25% point bonus on stays and entitles you to space-available upgrades and a free fifth night on standard-room award stays. Meanwhile, standout benefits for SPG Gold include a 50% points bonus on stays, complimentary room upgrades and free premium internet. Plus, now that you can match your Starwood status with the Marriott program, the Amex Platinum effectively gets you Marriott Gold as well.
American Express Concierge
What it is: If you’re still finalizing your travel resolutions for the year, consider making a vow to outsource more trip research to the Amex Platinum Concierge. With the Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card and Centurion (Black Card), you get access to this special phone service, which can assist you in booking in-demand restaurants and events as well as in finding a perfect dinner spot or even delivering items on demand.
Tips for maximizing: The Concierge service can be especially helpful in nabbing a table at a “fully booked” restaurant, as a selection of fine-dining establishments around the world reserve a table for Platinum Card holders.
While some of the benefits above reset with the new calendar year and some of them simply roll over if you continue to hold the card, they’re all worth considering as you build out trips and itineraries for the year. From the $200 airline credit to the valuable Concierge service and Amex FHR benefits, The Platinum Card from American Express can help you upgrade your travel experiences in a variety of ways.
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