How to maximize the benefits of the Platinum Card® from American Express

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In a Nutshell

Even with a sky-high annual fee, the benefits of the Platinum Card® from American Express can more than make up for the card's costs. Learn how best to use them to make your travel experience more luxurious.

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Before we dig into the details of how to maximize the Platinum Card® from American Express, let’s discuss who should consider a premium credit card.

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Premium credit cards aren’t for everyone, but they also aren’t as exclusive as you may think. A card like the Platinum Card® from American Express might be a good choice if you’re:

Someone who does a lot of business travel

If you often travel for work, you’ll want to do so as comfortably as possible. Premium credit cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express often offer special perks like airport lounge access, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and elite hotel status.

Plus, if you book your own travel, you can often earn bonus rewards on airline and hotel bookings — even if your employer reimburses you for these costs.

Someone who’s an optimizer

Premium credit cards often charge high annual fees, so they’re usually not worth it unless you know how to maximize the value.

“We use several Amex Platinum Card® benefits so often it makes sense for us to keep the card despite its high annual fee,” says Holly Johnson, travel journalist and co-founder at Club Thrifty.

The more you know about your credit card benefits, the more value you can get out of them.


Maximizing your Platinum Card® from American Express benefits

So how do you maximize your Platinum Card® from American Express benefits? Here’s a quick guide to help you get the most value out of the card’s $550 annual fee.

1. Use up your credits

The card offers a $200 airline fee credit for baggage and other incidental travel fees at one qualifying airline of your choice, and $200 in Uber credits for Basic Card Members per calendar year. There are a few things to keep in mind when using them, though.

Johnson says that you can use the airline credit for flight expenses such as checked bags and in-flight meals.

The main drawback, she adds, is that you can only change your airline of choice once per year, and only in January. If you don’t change your airline, it will remain your current selection for the rest of the year.

You’ll also receive $15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides each month, plus an extra $20 in December. Credits don’t roll over month to month, so use them before they expire.

2. Always check for lounges

One of the best Platinum Card® from American Express benefits is its airline lounge network, which includes more than 1,200 lounges in 130 countries.

“I absolutely love the Centurion® Lounge access,” Johnson says. “But few people realize you can gain access to other airport lounges with this card, too.”

Other options include the International American Express Lounges, Delta Sky Club® lounges when flying Delta, and Priority Pass™ Select lounges. Lounges often have meals or hors d’oeuvres and drinks, so you can avoid costly airport food.

Before you fly, check the airports you’ll be using to see if they have eligible lounges you can enjoy while you’re waiting for your flight.

3. Skip TSA PreCheck and go for Global Entry

The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you a $100 statement credit toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years. But you’re selling yourself short if you opt for TSA PreCheck.

That’s because Global Entry, which costs $100 per application and gives you expedited clearance at customs when you arrive in the U.S. after traveling overseas, also gives you access to TSA PreCheck.

With both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, you can skip the regular security line in the U.S. for both domestic and international travel.

4. Pay for travel out of pocket

With the Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll earn five points per $1 spent on flights and eligible hotels booked through the American Express travel site.

This perk is especially beneficial if you travel for work and can pay for your own flights and hotels and get reimbursed.

To earn the bonus rewards, make sure you book correctly. For flights, you must purchase them directly from a passenger airline or through American Express Travel (either online or by calling Amex on 1-800-525-3355). And for hotels, you must pay for the booking through amextravel.com.

Depending on how often you travel, you could earn hundreds of dollars in rewards every year.

5. Sign up for elite status

Arguably, one of the best Platinum Card® from American Express benefits is its elite status perks. These elite status perks don’t come automatically, though. Make sure to enroll for all of them with your online Platinum Card® account to get the benefits for your next trip.

There are no extra hoops to jump through to enroll and you can sign up for some or all of them, depending on your preference.

With Hilton Honors™ Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold™ status, you could get perks like room upgrades, late checkout and complimentary services.

You’ll also get complimentary membership in premium car rental programs, including Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred® and National® Emerald Club® Executive. Once you join, you’ll enjoy discounts and special upgrades.


Bottom line

Frequent travelers will find plenty of value with the Platinum Card® from American Express benefits. In fact, you don’t even need to take advantage of all of them to make up for the card’s annual fee.

Be sure to review your card benefits in your online account before each trip. You’ll likely find that there are several you can use, making your vacations more enjoyable and maybe even less expensive.

The more you learn about what your Platinum Card® from American Express benefits offer, the more you’ll learn how to maximize them.