I expect that a number of readers have recently picked up a new Platinum card. Some have done so because they found a 100K offer through the CardMatch Tool. Others may have been inspired by my recent post about Rebuilding my Membership Rewards fortune or even my silly Platinum unboxing video:
If you’re one of the few and proud new Platinum holders, you obviously now need to meet the spend requirements in order to earn whatever signup bonus you applied for. But, the card offers many, many more perks beyond the bonus. Here’s what to do to take advantage of those perks…
Note: I expect that existing Platinum cardholders will find this informative as well…
#1 Become Elite
Platinum Amex cards offer a number of elite status upgrades, but you have to actively enroll in each one:
- Hilton HHonors Gold Status: Hilton Gold members receive free breakfast, room upgrades when available, and other perks at Hilton hotels. Go to benefit page, find the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status: SPG Gold members receive a welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, and other perks at SPG properties. Go to benefit page, find the Starwood Preferred Guest Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
- Marriott Rewards Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive lounge access or free breakfast at most non-resort properties, and other perks at Marriott properties. Get Marriott Gold status from your new SPG Gold status by logging into your SPG or Marriott account and linking your SPG and Marriott accounts together. If your accounts are already linked, then simply enrolling in the SPG Gold status benefit (above) should be enough to upgrade your Marriott account.
- National Car Rental Executive status: Book midsize cars and select any car from the Executive Aisle for no extra charge. This can be a really valuable perk. Don’t pass this one up. Click here to enroll.
- Uber VIP: Add your personal Platinum card to your Uber account to become an Uber VIP. Read more about this in the next section.
- Neiman Marcus InCircle: Your Platinum card qualifies you to join the InCircle program. With this program, you can earn InCircle points for spend at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow or Cusp. More details can be found on the Platinum benefits page.
#2 Enhance your Travel Experiences
Platinum cards offer many perks that make traveling easier, cheaper, and better…
- Global Entry: Sign up! Platinum cards offer full reimbursement of the Global Entry signup fee once every 5 years. Global Entry includes TSA Pre-Check, so you’ll speed through security on domestic flights, and speed through re-entry to the US thanks to Global Entry. Sign up for Global Entry here. Pay the $100 with your Platinum card. Reimbursement should happen automatically. If you already have Global Entry, you can use your card to pay for a friend or family member’s Global Entry instead.
- Access Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta), Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Airspace Lounges: Simply bring your Platinum card with you when you travel. Delta SkyClub access is free only for the primary cardholder. You can bring two free guests with you to the other lounges: Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Airspace Lounges.
- Airport Lounge Access and Restaurant Credits via Priority Pass Select: This version of Priority Pass Select membership allows you and 2 guests free entrance to participating lounges, and credits at participating restaurants. You must sign up for Priority Pass Select to get this benefit. Go to the Amex benefit page and click “Enroll in Priority Pass”. You will receive a membership card by mail. Present your Priority Pass card and boarding pass at the lounge entrance.
- Uber Credits and VIP Status: Add your personal Platinum card to your Uber account in order to get $15 in Uber credits per month and a bonus $20 in December. Adding your card also gives you Uber VIP status which is supposed to automatically connect you with top rated drivers, where available. The Uber benefit is not available to Business Platinum cardholders.
- Boingo Wifi: Free unlimited wifi access at Boingo hotspots worldwide. Signup here.
- Gogo inflight internet passes: Get 10 passes per calendar year good for either domestic or international flights. Available only to Business Platinum cardholders. Click here to enroll.
- Book hotels through Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection: Get elite-like perks and hotel credits by booking through these specialty sites.
- Cruise Benefits: Pay for your cruise with your Platinum card and receive $100 to $300 per stateroom shipboard credit plus additional amenities unique to each cruise line. Participating cruise lines and other info can be found here. The website makes it look like you have to buy the cruise through Amex to get these benefits, but some readers have told me that you can get this benefit regardless of how you book the cruise (YMMV).
#3 Earn $200 in Airline Fee Credits Each Calendar Year
Airline fee credits are supposed to be for incidental fees: checked bags, change fees, in-flight snacks, etc. However, in practice, many small purchases (under $200 or so) charged by your selected airline receive the credit. This includes gift cards and award booking fees, for example. You must select your preferred airline before these charges hit your account in order to get reimbursed.
- Go to benefit page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”.
- Make a plan for spending $200 on airline incidental fees with your chosen airline before December 31st, and then again next year.
For details about which charges are likely to be reimbursed, please see: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?
#4 Use $200 in Uber Credits Each Calendar Year
This benefit is available via all personal Platinum cards, but not Business Platinum cards. Add your personal Platinum card as a Payment Method to your Uber account in order to get $15 in Uber credits per month and a bonus $20 in December.
Those who ride Uber often will likely have no problem in getting full value from this perk. Others can try ordering food delivery via Uber Eats in order to use their credits that way. Note that the Platinum credits don’t necessarily show up within the Uber Eats app, but many reports indicate that the credits are applied anyway.
Alternatively, if someone in the household other than the primary cardholder is a frequent Uber rider, consider adding your card to their Uber account instead of yours.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Uber, my referral code (uberFrequentMiler) will give you $5 off your first four rides.
While you’re mucking about in your Uber account, you might as well also do the following in order to get additional free rewards:
- Uber Visa Local Offers: Add a Visa card as a payment type in your Uber account in order to automatically earn Uber credits when using that Visa card at participating merchants. For example, Whole Foods (at the time of this writing) is offering 8% back.
- Shop Your Way Rewards CASHBACK: Connect your Uber account to your Shop Your Way Rewards program to earn free Shop Your Way Rewards CASHBACK with every Uber ride. Points (now called “CASHBACK”) can be redeemed for free stuff at Sears, Kmart, shopyourway.com, or Lands End.
#5 Use your Platinum card to pay for flights for 5X rewards
Personal Platinum cards earn 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. The Business Platinum card earns 5X only for flights booked with American Express Travel. 5 points per dollar is an excellent rate of return for flight purchases! Keep in mind that this is in addition to any miles earned from the airline flown.
One caveat: Amex Platinum cards offer weaker automatic travel insurance when compared to other ultra premium cards. If you have a Citi Prestige card or Sapphire Reserve, it may make sense to use one of those cards when purchasing flights even though you’ll earn only 3 points per dollar rather than 5. See: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.
#6 Use your personal Platinum card with the United MileagePlus X App
Setup your personal Platinum card as the default payment type within the United MileagePlus X App. The United MileagePlus X App lets you earn United miles when buying merchant e-gift cards. And, since the charge comes from United, personal Platinum cards have been known to earn 5X rewards for these purchases (note that this can change at any time). For example, at the time of this writing, the app is offering .5 United miles per dollar for Amazon gift cards, 2X for Airbnb, 3X for Macy’s, 1X for Uber, etc. If you pay with your personal Platinum card, you should also earn 5X Membership Rewards. More about the MileagePlus X App can be found here.
#7 Redeem points for flights (Business Platinum only)
The Business Platinum card offers 35% points back when paying with points through American Express Travel for a flight with your selected airline. Cardholders will also receive this benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline. This perk makes your Membership Rewards points worth just over 1.5 cents per point towards paid flights.
#8 Use points primarily with transfer partners
The best use of Membership Rewards points, in my opinion, is to hold on to them until you see an opportunity to get great value by transferring to an airline transfer partner such as Aeroplan, ANA, or Singapore for Star Alliance flights (e.g. fly United, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, etc.). Delta, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, and other partners also have some sweet spot award opportunities. See Amex Transfer Partners for complete details and an always updated list of current transfer bonuses.