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Update: Many details for The Platinum Card® from American Express have changed as of 3/30/17. The links below are expired, but you can learn more about the new offer and card benefits here!
Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.
For many years I’ve had either The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. I don’t actually spend much money on them. Instead, my spend is directed towards the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which basically allows me to earn 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (thanks to the 50% points bonus when you have 30 purchases per billing cycle).
Why the American Express Platinum Card is worth it
While the Platinum Card has a $450 annual fee, it comes with many benefits which help offset it:
- A sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months on the personal card, and a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months on the business card
- $200 annual airline fee credit ($400 the first year, since your annual fee is based on cardmember year, while your airline fee credit is based on calendar year)
- Access to Boingo hotspots
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Access to Delta SkyClubs
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Access to the American Express Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.
- A Global Entry fee credit
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status
- Hilton HHonors Gold status
- 10 Gogo inflight internet passes per year (business version of the card only)
Assuming you value the $200 airline fee credit at anywhere close to face value, that has the potential to be worth $200. I value it more-or-less at face value, so I mentally calculate my “out of pocket” on the card as being $250 per year. Frankly I’d probably pay that for access to Centurion Lounges alone, given that I fly through Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami and New York LaGuardia quite frequently. I’ve used Centurion Lounges ~25 times so far this year.
If you’re a less frequent traveler, there’s a lot of value to be had with SPG Gold, Hilton Gold, the Gogo inflight internet passes (I have an unlimited membership, but it’s great to be able to gift them to friends), Priority Pass access, SkyClub access, etc.
Access the Delta SkyClub San Francisco with your Amex Plat Card
Taking action on the $200 airline fee credit
The one thing to take action on now are the airline fee credits of $200 per calendar year. This could also impact when you should apply for the card, as now is one of the best times to do so:
- If you don’t yet have the Amex Personal Platinum Card or Amex Business Platinum Card, you can apply for them now and should still have time to get the airline fee credit for 2015, and then it’ll be reset on January 1, 2016, meaning you can get $400 in airline fee credits in a matter of weeks
- If you do have the Amex Plat Card, make sure you request your airline fee credit in the coming weeks
How to request your airline fee credit
Before you make a purchase using your airline fee credit you’ll need to designate an airline, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. Once you log in it will give you the option to select your preferred airline. If you’re an existing cardmember and chose an airline last year, it will default to the same airline as before, though you can change that.
So what can airline fee credits be used for? The terms and conditions state that airline fee credits exclude the following:
Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.
In practice, however, it seems like these reimbursements work on a wide variety of things. The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. For example, in the American thread, people consistently report being reimbursed for American gift cards purchased in small increments. Which isn’t to say it will definitely continue to be possible, but up until now it has been.
For the past several years (including this year) that’s how I’ve been using my airline fee credit.
If you don’t yet have either card, now is a great time to apply. You’ll have a $200 airline fee credit to use in the coming weeks, then another $200 to use starting January 1, meaning you’ll potentially have $400 of airline fee credits back in your pocket in less than a month (before the annual fee is even due).
The Amex Platinum is a fantastic card for the perks it offers. Even though I don’t spend much on the card, I get a lot of value out of the Centurion Lounges, SkyClubs, Boingo hotspot, Gogo passes, and more.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.