Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…

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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 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 welcome offer you applied for. But, the card offers many, many more perks beyond the welcome 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…

Note 2: If you’re thinking of picking up an Amex Platinum card, please see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card? You can find application links to each of the variations of Platinum cards here.

#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”.
  • Marriott Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive a points welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, 2pm late checkout, and other perks (details here). Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Bonvoy Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
  • 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.
  • Uber VIP: Add your consumer 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 Card Travel Benefits
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 via Priority Pass Select: This version of Priority Pass Select membership allows you and 2 guests free entrance to participating lounges, but does not include access to Priority Pass 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 consumer 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.
  • 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

Platinum Card $200

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.

  1. Go to the Platinum benefits page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”.
  2. 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 consumer Platinum cards, but not Business Platinum cards. Add your consumer 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.

Uber Eats: Another great way to use these credits is to order food delivery through Uber eats. Enter your location in the Uber Eats website to find out if delivery is available in your area.

Those who ride Uber often, or order through Uber Eats often, will likely have no problem in getting full value from this perk. Alternatively, if someone in the household other than the primary cardholder is a frequent Uber rider or Uber Eats eater, 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 $100 in Saks Credits Each Calendar Year

This benefit is available via all consumer Platinum cards, but not Business Platinum cards. Use your card to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, either in-store or online, and get $50 statement credit for purchases made from January through June, and another $50 statement credit from July through December.

  1. Go to the Platinum benefits page and enroll in the “Shop Saks with Platinum” benefit.
  2. January – June:
    1. Use your consumer Platinum card to make a purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue in-store or online.
    2. Up to $50 should be credited to your account automatically.
  3. July – December:
    1. Use your consumer Platinum card to make a purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue in-store or online.
    2. Up to $50 should be credited to your account automatically.

Even though the terms state that the credit is not offered for purchases of gift cards, we have found that buying $50 gift cards in-store does trigger the $50 credit. Personally, I don’t have a Saks store nearby, so I see this as a good way to get something nice twice a year from the saksfifthavenue.com sale section.

#6 Use your Platinum card to pay for flights for 5X rewards

Consumer 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, but that improves beginning on January 1, 2020. See: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.

#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.

Consumer Platinum cards do not get this benefit, so using points to pay for flights results in poor value (1 cent per point).

#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.

The Platinum Checklist

All of the above suggestions and more can be found in the checklist below…

Benefit How to access or enroll Available to additional cardholders (authorized users, employees)?
$200 airline fee credit: Amex will automatically reimburse up to $200 per calendar year for airline fees for your selected airline only. Eligible fees include: baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases, and airport lounge day passes.

Go to benefit page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”.

For tips on using this benefit, please see: Amex airline fee reimbursements. What still works?

No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in fee credits. Spend on authorized user cards does count, but only the primary account is credited. In other words, you cannot increase the $200 limit by adding additional cards.

$200 in Uber Credits: Amex will reimburse $15 per month ($35 in December) for Uber charges. You will also get Uber VIP status.

This benefit is known to work with Uber Eats as well.

This benefit is available for consumer Platinum cards only (i.e. all but the Business Platinum). Simply add your Platinum card number to your Uber account as a payment method. You do not have to pay with the Platinum card in order to get this benefit. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in Uber credits or VIP status.
$100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December. This benefit is available for consumer Platinum cards only (i.e. all but the Business Platinum). Enroll here. Pay with your consumer Platinum card at Saks Fifth Avenue online or at locations in the US and US Territories. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own Saks Fifth Avenue credits.
$200 in Dell Credits: Up to $100 in credits each year from January through June; and another $100 July through December.
This benefit is available for business Platinum cards only.  You must enroll first.  See: Maximize value: $200 Business Platinum Dell Benefit No.  Employee cards do not receive their own Dell credits.
Airport Lounge Access – Centurion Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges: Cardholder plus two guests are allowed free. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card when visiting a Centurion Lounge. Yes. No need to enroll.
Airport Lounge Access – Delta SkyClubs: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day. Extra charge for guests. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card and same day boarding pass when visiting a Delta SkyClub. Yes. No need to enroll.
Airport Lounge Access – Priority Pass Select Lounges: Priority Pass Select member plus two guests are allowed free entrance. You must sign up for Priority Pass Select. Go to benefit page and click “Enroll in Priority Pass”. You will receive a membership card by mail. Present Priority Pass card and boarding pass at lounge entrance. Yes. Each authorized user must sign up for Priority Pass Select.
Global Entry or TSA Pre fee credit: Full reimbursement for signup fee once every 5 years, per card. Note: signup for Global Entry since that includes TSA Pre. Sign up for Global Entry here. Pay with your Platinum card. Reimbursement should happen automatically. Yes. Pay with the authorized user card in order to get reimbursed. Terms & conditions explicitly state “Additional Cards on eligible Consumer and Business accounts are also eligible for the $100 statement credit”.  Note that this works with no fee Green and Gold Authorized user / employee cards too.
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”. Yes. Go to benefit page, find the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
Marrriott Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive a points welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, 2pm late checkout, and other perks (details here). Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Bonvoy Gold benefit, and click “Enroll in Marriott Gold”. Yes. Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Gold benefit, and click “Enroll in Marriott Gold”.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Elite Status: Lifetime elite status offers perks such as extra points, welcome amenity Click here to enroll Yes. Click here to enroll
Fiesta Rewards Platinum Status

Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion

And enter code: AMEXPLATINUM

Yes. Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion

And enter code: AMEXPLATINUM

National Car Rental Executive status: Book midsize cars and select any car from the Executive Aisle for no extra charge. NOTE: You can actually get a higher level status “Executive Elite” for free if you sign up for this special promotion by January 31 2019. Yes. NOTE: You can actually get a higher level status “Executive Elite” for free if you sign up for this special promotion by January 31 2019.
Hertz Rental Car Privileges: Special elite-like benefits for Platinum cardholders, plus discounts, plus four hour grace period for rental car returns. Details and enrollment form found here. Yes. Details and enrollment form found here.
ShopRunner: Free shipping at a number of merchants. Sign up here. Yes. Sign up here.
Active Military Fee Waiver: Amex will waive fees (including annual fees) for US active military personnel. Call the number of the back of your card and tell them you are serving on active duty military and had heard that AMEX offers to handle your account in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Yes (primary user must call and can get fees waived for additional cardholders)

 

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