American Express Platinum and Starwood Cards Will Get You HIGH SPEED Internet at Several Major US Airports

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is one of the strongest points-earning cards, and has been for years. It’s got new new benefits this year and the small business version of the card even comes with club lounge access when you stay at Sheraton hotels.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card’s Strong Points-Earning

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with 2 stays and 5 nights towards elite status, and $30,000 spend gets you Gold status from Starwood. There’s a very similar business version of the card as well. (Offer expired)

I’ve had the personal version for nearly 14 years. The reason it’s great is because Starwood has the most number of airline points transfer partners where transfers are 1:1 into miles (or better).

You’re earning Starwood Starpoints and those are the most valuable currency.

And there’s a built-in 25% transfer bonus: for every 20,000 airline miles you transfer points into Starwood gives you 5000 additional miles. So you effectively earn 1.25 miles per dollar on all of your spend (a built-in 25% bonus), and you get to pick what airline program you want your miles in later.

American Express Platinum Card’s Strong Benefits

You get access to American Express Centurion lounges. (Here’s the Las Vegas lounge, the New York LaGuardia lounge and Dallas. There are lounges in Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle. Houston is next, and it looks like we’ll see Los Angeles.)


Complimentary Exhale Spa – Miami Centurion Lounge

You get access to Delta lounges when flying that airline same day (though guests will cost $29). You get a Priority Pass Select card that includes access to Alaska Airlines lounges, and many international lounges.


Alaska Airlines Boardroom Pancake Machine

You can designate one airline on which you’ll receive a $200 fee credit for the year (and in my experience, and while terms and conditions apply on all of their offers, small denomination airline gift cards have worked for reimbursement.

The Platinum American Express also reimburses the $100 application fee for Global Entry or the fee for TSA PreCheck, comes with Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors Gold, and National Car Rental Executive status.

All 4 of These Cards Come With Unlimited Boingo Wireless Internet

Last year American Express announced that Platinum (and Centurion) cardholders would get unlimited Boingo internet hot spot access. This year the benefit was expanded to Starwood co-brand credit card holders.

The closest approximate of cost from Boingo for such a plan is $60 per month and Boingo offers over 700,000 land-based hotspots worldwide.

Sign up at amex.boingo.com.

You’ll be asked to enter your American Express card number to verify eligibility.

If you already have a Boingo wireless internet account, it won’t automatically be cancelled just because you have this new free unlimited service, so you’ll need to handle that separately.

Once you’ve registered they’ll try to get you to download their app (which apparently will automatically search out their hotspots) but I see no reason to do that, I’d rather control the internet I’m connected to myself.

This Means True High Speed Internet at Several Major Airports

I didn’t find Boingo access to be all that useful, now I will. Because Boingo will be providing true high speed internet to members at 7 major US airports.

  • New York’s JFK
  • New York LaGuardia
  • Newark
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago O’Hare
  • Chicago Midway
  • Boston


Boingo Will Be Fast … but Not as Fast as My Home Wireless Network

Free airport wifi provided by Boingo at the 60 airports they service tops out at 5 Mbps. Boingo subscribers, including those whose accounts are provided via American Express cards, will get speeds that “vary from a minimum of 20 mbps to up to 50 mbps.” That’s substantially faster than the average US home internet speed.

I didn’t expect to love this benefit. Now I do, and I hope it spreads to more airports.

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 »

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Comments

  1. I can confirm LGA. This is an airport that you can’t access the internet unless you have your own hotspot.

  2. @Gary continues to claim, with increasingly fading credibility since soon starpoints may not even be in existence: “You’re earning Starwood Starpoints and those are the most valuable currency.”

    Those of us who know better found that claim to be utterly silly. But to continue making it after SPG went belly up is quite a display of “rigidity” in thinking by the self -proclaimed “thought leader in travel.” Starpoints are so valuable they’ll soon cease to exist. Hmmm…. Do you believe is reverse Darwinism, i.e., “survival of the weakest”, Gary? Well, you should because Marriott points are about to swallow the “most valuable currency”! 😉

  3. wow… worst article ever, just a silly excuse to get people to sign up for two completely overrated (perhaps the most overrated of all) credit cards. You probably should not sign up for these cards unless you get a much higher promotional offer (as sometimes happens)

  4. What are your views about canceling the card early and getting the prorated annual fee refunded. Does that poison the water with Amex?

  5. What a bunch of snarky commentators with nothing better to do! I know you never want to censor commentators, but have you ever thought about adding a filter so that I can autoblock DCS? He’s never written anything useful or intelligent.

    Back to the original topic, LAX is another airport where free subscribers get 5MB access and subscribers get high speed 20MB+. But I had the same problem loading webpages and getting streaming to work, regardless of if I was on public access or my Starwood boingo account. So I think the limiting factor is the number of total user and the overall pipe to the airport, rendering the faster speed of the boingo account moot.

  6. I have found the boingo Internet access through Amex at airports very useful. However I find it works better when you download the app and access the Internet that way.

  7. I will likely close my Amex personal card when the AF comes due. $95 for a hotel card that doesn’t include any kind of free night is worthless to me. Hyatt, Reserve, Carlson, and IHG cards all have similar or lower AFs and all include an annual free night.

  8. Clearly these SPG cards will be discontinued by the end of 2016. How can Marriott keep such a product. Also AMEX knows the SPG product was a good one. Marriott is another story

  9. Sadly, boingo has so much potential but all tooo often the app is useless, it fails to connect and gets stuck in retry mode. Trying to sign in to the acct like in MAD, is all but impossible with boingo in many airports as the local websites fail to recognize boingo. It could have been great but alas it is not even functional all too often outside of the USA.

  10. Arguably, for those who travel internationally, Boingo is even more useful at airports and wifi hotspots outside the U.S., of which there is a decent amount. That has been my experience. And while not perfect, the wifinder Boingo app does a good job automatically logging you in or prompting you to log in by pressing “connect” in the app and is worthwhile using.

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