The Benefits, Features, Membership Rewards, And More.
I remember when I was just learning how to toilet train, my uncle had an American Express card. I don’t know what the requirements were back then, because it was a uncommon card to see, most people carried the Visa or Mastercard.
It wasn’t called the American Express Platinum Card back then. It was called the American Express Card, a symbol of a luxury card for corporate people. Back then I didn’t really know anything about it.
Fast forward 20+ years later. American Express has created numerous credit cards and charge cards. I’ve also learned how to use the toilet on my own. I will go over my toilet training on a future post. Maybe. Comment down below if you would like me to write about it. Just kidding.
How I Got The American Express Platinum Card
A friend of mine told me about the card. He and his wife each had the card. I was a noob to “travel cards” back then. Membership points, hotel elite status, rewards meant nothing to me at that time. I had no cares about earning points, rewards, and elite status. He wanted me to check out the American Express Platinum Card. My friends opinion of the card got me curious so I went to Google and started researching about the card.
I sat in front of the monitor with a cup of coffee, reading the American Express website. I compared and contrasted between several cards from other credit card review websites. I even created a chart of all the cards I found and wrote them all on an 11 by 17 sheet of printing paper.
Eventually, I applied for and was approved for the American Express Platinum Card. It was my first travel card application. This began my training to become the supreme travel card collector that I am today.
So why did I decide to get travel cards? I was interested on taking a trip using nothing but points. Eventually, I booked a flight on the Singapore Airlines Suites Class and a one month vacation to Vietnam. Singapore Airlines and Korean Airlines are one of the best airlines in my humble opinion. Korean Airlines Kosmos Suites Class and Singapore Airlines Suites Class both come in first.
I began to get the urge to travel, thanks to all the traveling blogs I have read and seen. I have to say, this card is an excellent investment towards maximizing and getting a return for traveling. If you already have the card, good for you. If not, then you made the right decision to reading about it here on this website.
American Express Platinum Annual Fee
The annual fee was steep, $450 back in 2017. It has been raised to $550 since 2018 and has remained the same. The annual fee renews each card member year, so you pay another $550 on each new card member year you joined. The annual fee is high, so how do they justify charging you such a high annual fee? That’s what I wanted to find out.
Amex Platinum Membership Bonus Points Offer
American Express offers generous bonus points after you charge $5,000 within 3 months of the account opening. However, the most important thing is that these points can be used to book flights, hotels at amextravel.com or you can transfer the points to their partners.
So, I transferred all my American Express points to my Kris Flyer account, the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer program. To meet the requirement, I charged everything I could to the Platinum Card. I charged my grocery, coffee at Starbucks, haircuts, gas, cellphone bill, internet bill, movies, etc. When I bought myself a new digital camera, I charged it to the Platinum Card. Within two months, I completed the spending requirement.
Amex Membership Rewards Points Program
You earn 5X membership points for all flights booked an American Express Travel (amextravel.com) and prepaid hotels booked on American Express Travel. If the ticket cost $1,000, you will earn 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points. To get those 5X points, you have to pay for the ticket on amextravel.com using the Platinum Card.
If you decide to use the points on amextravel.com, there is no blackout dates or seat restrictions. You can reserve a flight or hotel on any airline or hotel by using points for all or part of the bookings. Cruise bookings also.
Or you can use the points on amextravel.com and reward yourself with items from over 500 brands in the travel, dining, entertainment, and shopping category. Additionally, the points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. I transferred mine to the Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer miles program.
The 14 Best Benefits and Features of the American Express Platinum Travel Card That Really Matter
These have a monetary benefit, both immediate and later in the years each card member year. In my opinion, these benefits cover and justify the $550 annual fee. The rest of the other benefits of the Platinum Card is extra that makes me feel good about myself. So what are the 14 best benefits of the Platinum Car by American Express?
• Uber Rides. You get $15 a month and $35 in December for a total of $200 of Uber credits from January to December of each calendar year. The benefit is only available to the Basic Card Member only and not additional people you put into the cards account. If you want additional people to get the Uber credit, they each have to apply for the card and be approved. The Uber credits can be used only in the United States. Currently, it doesn’t work in South Korea and other South East Asian countries. The credits are usually instantly applied to your bill if you apply the credit first on the Uber android app or iphone app. You also have to add a secondary method of payment. I added the American Express Platinum Card.
• Saks Fifth Avenue (saks.com) $100 annual credit. This benefit was just added late 2017. You get $50 in statement credits from January to June and another $50 in statement credits from July through December. No minimum purchase is required and you have to enroll for a Saks account. They do have products that cost $50 or less. So now, you can get Saks Fifth Avenue products for free.
• Global Lounge Collection and Priority Pass Select. You get complimentary lounge access to over 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries and it keeps growing. You also get access to the American Express Centurion Lounges, The International American Express Lounges, partner network lounges, Delta Sky Club (you have to have a same day Delta flight ticket), and a complimentary Priority Pass Select Lounge (prioritypass.com/select) visits for you and another. I’ve stayed at the Centurion Lounge in San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA), Priority Pass Select Lounges in Japan, Korea, NY, Singapore, and even Vietnam. The price for the annual membership starts at $299 and the next membership level costs $429 a year.
• Fine Hotels and Resorts Program. You get complimentary benefits when you book a stay for at least two nights at any Fine Hotels & Resorts. These benefits include complimentary daily breakfast for two people, room upgrades, amenities at the property valued at $100, privileged late 4PM check-out, noon check-in if available, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Room upgrades is subject to the hotels room availability, rate and use of benefits. (americanexpressfhr.com)
• The Hotel Collection. You have to stay at least two nights, then you get a room upgrade and a $75 hotel credit on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities if you booked your stay with American Express Travel (amextravel.com).
• TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry Fee Credit. If you apply for this, you will get reimbursed the full amount of the $85 for the TSA Pre Check or $100 for the Global Entry Fee. You get one such statement credit every 4 years. You have to charge the fee to the American Express Platinum Card to get reimbursed. This service gives you expedited screening at select airports.
• No Foreign Transaction Fees. This means you can purchase anything on the Platinum Card and there will be no foreign transaction fees. I work in South Korea, so this saves me a lot of money on my purchases in the country. I love those Hot Toys, Mega Box Cinema and Lotteria burger meals!
• Car Rental Privileges. You get complimentary membership to car rental programs like National. I received a complimentarty Emerald Club Executive Membership which gives me guaranteed car upgrades or a choice from the special selection area. I have used this benefit to rent a car with National in the U.S.. You will have to register for a National account.
• Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance. How many else thinks getting collision damage waiver is a waste of money? I do, and thanks to American Express Platinum Card, I can refuse paying for it. The Card covers the car with its built in CDW. You have to pay for the rental using the American Express Platinum to get the coverage. Not all vehicles are covered, so I can’t rent a Lamborghini and expect to get free CDW. Exotic cars like that are not covered. Coverage is not available in Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. The coverage does not include liability coverage. I have used this feature to get 3 weeks worth of coverage in South Korea for a savings of $300.
• SPG Gold Status. You get the SPG Gold Elite Status without having to meet any hotel stay requirements and you get all the benefits of that Membership level. If you wanted to do this yourself, it will take you 24-49 eligible nights a year. As of 2017, Marriott has merged its rewards program with SPG and Ritz Carlton. This means you will have to book a stay at an SPG hotel through Marriott website. Starting 2019, elite status is earned by night stays and not by per stay. In the old legacy program, one stay of 25 nights was considered one stay and you didn’t get the gold status. With the new program, a one stay of 25 nights gives you credit of 25 nights and you earn gold elite status.
• Hilton Honors Gold Status. Get Gold Status without having to meet any hotel stay requirements and you get all the benefits for that membership level. As a Hilton Honors Gold Member you get Complimentary breakfast (Conrad, Curio, Double Tree, Hilton, Hilton Garden), and room upgrades (Conrad, Curio, Double Tree, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Tapestry Collections, Astoria). Complimentary Executive Lounge access gives you all the tea, coffee, food you can eat and drink. (Conrad, Curio, Double Tree, Hilton, Hilton Garden, Tapestry Collection). Also, the 5th night is free if using points on a 5th night stay. I used this benefit to book 6 nights at the Grand Hilton Seoul and got the fifth night free. Free Breakfast included!
• Airline Fee Credit. You get $200 each calendar year. You have to select one airline that American Express has partnered with between January 1 – 31. You can select the airline of your choice by going to rewards.americanexpress.com/olet/splash?campaignId=airline1&offerType=airlinechoice. You can only choose once per calendar year. The airlines available are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, United Airlines. They may add more in the future. If you don’t spend the $200, it doesn’t carry over to the new calendar year. So you won’t have $400 on the second calendar year, because the airline fee credit resets back to $200. The approved items that apply to the airline fee credit is:
1. Checked baggage fees
2. Overweight/oversize baggage fees
3. Change fees
4. Phone reservation fees
5. Pet flight fees
6. Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships
7. Seat assignment fees
8. In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones, etc)
9. In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet)
The non approved/non applicable items are:
1. Airline tickets
2. Charges processed by merchants other than the airline the card member is enrolled in (for example: inflight internet services like GoGo)
3. Charges made by airline partners (for example: you purchased a Delta ticket that was flown by Korean Airline, but bought food on a Korean Airline flight)
4. Trip insurance/baggage insurance
5. Ticket upgrades (including American Airlines upgrade stickers)
6. Travel agent fees
7. Point transfer fees
8. Duty free purchases
9. Award ticket fees
10. Gift cards issued by Airlines (This does not see to be the case in a few cases. I have purchased Delta ticket voucher cards in $50 increments and it counted as airline travel credit! It was reimbursed by American Express! Delta only allows up to 3 of these ticket voucher cards to be used on one airline ticket. As of 2020, this is no longer allowed.
If the charge is seen as “Travel – Airline,” then American Express will not reimburse that.
• Complimentary BOINGO American Express Preferred Plan. Technically, I haven’t had a need for it. Almost all of my complimentary Wi-Fi is provided by the airport, airport lounges, and hotels.
• Departures Magazine. It’s a magazine published seven times a year containing articles about travel, style, culture, shopping, and dining.
The Rest of American Express Platinum Card’s Benefits and Services
• Platinum Travel Concierge Service. Call the Platinum American Express Concierge phone line (1-800-525-3355) and they may be able to get custom flights for you and other services. I don’t know much about this, because I haven’t used it.
• Add Other People. Add your daughter, wife, or significant other to get a complimentary Gold Card and it is attached to your Platinum Card Account. Whenever they spend, you get points. Never will use this feature.
• Year End Summary. See all of your spending for the calendar year at americanexpress.com/yes.
• American Express Android App. Download it and see offers, rewards, fraud alerts on my cellphone.
• RSVP Invitation Tailored Events for You. Customized for Platinum Card Members to events like sporting, fashion, fine dining, art and performances. I haven’t used this benefit.
• Global Dining Collection. You get special access to reservations to restaurants. I haven’t felt the need to get special access to restaurants since I like Lotteria and Pizza.
• Preferred Seating to Events. I haven’t used this benefit.
• Phone Purchase Protection Plan. Pay for a new phone using the American Express Platinum Card. For 120 days and $10,000 per occurrence, your phone gets replaced if it is accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost. Up to $50,000 a card member year. I have purchased a new cellphone and data plan with the American Express Platinum, but haven’t needed to claim the protection plan.
• Return and Item Protection. Let’s say you bought something from a merchant and 90 days later you want to return it back. The merchant says no. What do you do? Call American Express. American Express may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year, if you purchased the items using the American Express Platinum Card. American Express will not reimburse shipping and handling. All the purchases must have been made in the U.S. or U.S. territories. I haven’t used this benefit.
• Extended Warranty. U.S. manufacturers warranty of 5 years or less is matched for up to two additional years. Coverage is limited for items charged to the American Express Platinum Card up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year. I’m gonna go out and buy some Iron Man Hot Toys and DJI Phantom 4! For residents in Guam, Indiana, Puerto Rico and Northern Mariana Islands, its one (1) additional year.
• INCIRCLE. $100 INCIRCLE points card is given to you whenever you earn 10,000 InCircle points. You can use the credit for purchases at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf, Goodman, Last Call, Horchow and CUSP.
All of these benefits, features and services are great for frequent travelers. But what about people that don’t travel a lot or don’t travel at all? Do the perks make the American Express Platinum Card worth keeping? Is it worth it? We go over that in “Is the American Express Platinum Card Worth It?”
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DISCLAIMER: The paragraphs above is my attempt at Korean English humor. I am a Korean-American, so I believe it is ok. If you don’t like it, then don’t read the paragraphs above. Too late, you already done it.