American Express Platinum as a Great Business Travel Tool

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

I’ve had the Platinum American Express card for years. I don’t put much spending at all on the card. This is a play for the benefits that come with the card, and I find those well worth it.

The fee credits significantly reduce the effective cost of the card, and American Express Platinum benefits remain strong. I have and use this card myself.

Airport Lounge Access

While American Express Platinum access to American Airlines and US Airways lounges ended in March, I am keeping my Platinum card for lounge access.

As an American Airlines flyer I connect in Dallas frequently, and I’m a huge fan of the American Express Centurion lounge there.

I use it frequently, and the Platinum card gets complimentary access for the cardmember and two guests. There’s a Las Vegas lounge, the New York LaGuardia lounge just opened and more airports including San Francisco and Miami are coming soon.

The card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership that allows complimentary access to participating lounges for the cardmember – this includes Alaska Airlines lounges and many international ones.

This card got me my shower in the domestic terminal in Sao Paulo. And in Alaska lounges it means a pancake machine.

The card provides Delta lounge access for the cardmember when flying Delta same-day. (Guest access is $29.)

This is a better deal than buying a Delta club membership since the annual fee on the American Express Platinum card is the same as a Skyclub membership without guests. And with American Express Platinum you also get Centurion lounge access, and Priority Pass Select membership,

Hotel and Car Rental Elite Status

The card offers Starwood Gold status and National Car Rental Executive status.

Starwood Gold’s key benefit is 4pm late checkout. National lets you pick your car from the “Executive Aisle” instead of the standard “Emerald Aisle” that club members choose their vehicles from.

Free Internet on the Go

The Platinum card now comes with unlimited Boingo wireless internet access.

The benefit is unlimited internet access for up to 4 devices, worldwide. The closest approximation of a plan from Boingo appears to be their $59.95 monthly plan that’s capped at 2000 minutes. So in some sense this benefit is worth ‘at least’ $720 a year. That said, I do carry my own internet wherever I go so I wouldn’t pay that price out of pocket for the plan.

There are many airports where internet access isn’t free, and international data even with my unlocked hotspot device isn’t cheap so I signed up for this as soon as it went live.

Fee credits

The card provides up to $200 each year in airline fee reimbursements. You designate one airline from a list of participating carriers for the year and then small incidental charges get reimbursed. (My experience, and not provided for in the card’s terms: they reimbursed my (4) $50 American Airlines gift cards I purchased this year.)

The benefit is on a calendar year basis, so if you apply for the card now you have $200 to use in 2014 and another $200 to use at the beginning of 2015 all in your first cardmember year.

In addition the card reimburses the $100 application fee for Global Entry. Or if you prefer it will cover the $85 fee for TSA PreCheck.

Membership Rewards Points

40,000 points is a 60% increase over the previous bonus offer for this card, and these are points in one of my 3 favorite currencies.

The smart use of Membership Rewards points is transferring them to airline frequent flyer programs.

Among the transfer partners are Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA Mileage Club, and Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance), British Airways and Cathay Pacific (oneworld), and Delta, Air France, Aeromexico, and Alitalia (Skyteam).

The transfer partners I personally use the most are British Airways (for short, non-stop flights on American AIrlines — those start at 4500 points each way), Singapore Airlines (because they offer really good premium cabin award space to their own members), and Aeroplan (for 45,000 mile business class awards each way to nearer-Europe).

Beyond the bonus, though, this isn’t the strongest card for earning Membership Rewards points on an ongoing basis. (That’s the Amex Everyday Preferred which earns a 50% bonus on all spend when you use the card 30 times in a month, and the 50% bonus even applies to the card’s supermarket and gas station category bonuses.)

Mercedes-Benz Alternative

The Mercedes-Benz co-brand version of the card is still advertised to offer 50,000 points after $3000 in purchases within 3 months at a $475 annual fee. As of this writing the application for it is down. (That’s happened in the past and it returned.)

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. Re: Boingo. I won’t say it has never worked, but service outside the US is unreliable at best. Better in France than in China, but still spotty.

  2. Can to tell me how you were able to get your American Airlines gift cards reimbursed – for the $200 each year in airline fee reimbursements, you have to chose your airline each January, and American Airlines is not an American Airlines partner so its not an airline you can chose.

  3. If I am an additional card holder and I am traveling without the primary card holder-would I get free lounge access?

  4. Gary, Amex fee for this card in Australia is $1200.00 AUD
    up from $950.00….so you guys are doing OK!! But I still pay it.

  5. I guess with the India version, one is entitled to Taj Gold status (or whatever is the equivalent)and access to the Platinum lounge in DEL and BOM. I’ve ask about it for the US card (as I will be in India)but they have no idea what I’m talking about!

  6. I didn’t think the Boingo credit would be all that useful, but it turns out that I got a lot of use out of it while traveling in Japan since they’re a roaming partner of Wi2, which is pretty common in Japanese airports and on all of the Limousine Buses. I had a pocket wifi while I was there, but I had to pick it up and drop it off at the hotel, so having coverage while I was en route to and at the airports was very handy, although coverage at Narita seemed spotty in comparison to coverage at Haneda.

  7. A little known Platinum Card benefit I’ve received several times: If you pay for all of a cruise using your Platinum Card, Amex will give you an additional shipboard credit of up to $300, depending on cruise line. And, they will also give you a shipboard amenity that also varies by cruise line. I’ve received this credit at least 3 times on Oceania, where the added amenity was a complementary wine tasting and bottle of fairly nice wine.

  8. We have received from Silversea $300 + a bottle of Dom, on all our cruises with them. takes the pain of the fee
    down-under.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *