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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.
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.
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.)
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.
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