American Express is an advertising partner of JohnnyJet.com, but the opinions and beliefs in this post are those of the author alone, who makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information.
Edit: You can now earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel!
Edit: there’s a new premium credit card that has a 100,000 point sign-up bonus!
Most credit cards that I recommend (and sign up for) come with hefty bonus mile opportunities. The Platinum Card® from American Express is no exception, with an offer that can earn you 40,000 Membership Reward® points in the first three months after $3,000 on purchases, but as a traveler, that’s only the beginning. In fact, if you don’t travel often, stop reading now because this card is probably not for you. If you’re a frequent traveler, however, then I seriously don’t know what you’re waiting for. Give this card a look (and find more info via card links). Here’s why:
One of my favorite perks of The Platinum Card is being able to get into Delta Air Lines club lounges and 800 Priority Pass lounges. Airline lounges before your flight or on a layover keep most frequent travelers sane—especially when there are delays. If you think the $450 annual fee is too high, then keep in mind that a membership alone to Delta’s Sky Club is $450! And a membership for the Priority Pass’ unlimited lounge access is $399.
Unfortunately, American Airlines and US Airways ended their relationship with American Express back on March 22, 2014 (cardholders used to be able to access those lunges too). But to fill that void AmEx has begun creating their own lounges in their key hubs. The Centurion Lounges can currently be found in Las Vegas (LAS), New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) and Dallas (DFW). And they’re building more, including at SFO and MIA. These lounges are exclusive to American Express cardholders and are complimentary for those with a Platinum Card or higher. If you just have a regular AmEx card, access to one of these lounges is $50 per person. Inside, the lounges are plush and have all kinds of complimentary food, drinks, Wi-Fi, a children’s play room, and comfortable seats.
$200 a year in statement credit
Once you enroll, you select a qualifying airline with whom you’d like to receive up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at the (one) airline. You can put it towards baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases, airport lounge day-passes, pet-kennel fees, and phone reservation fees. As AmEx notes, “American Express relies on accurate airline transaction data to identify incidental fee purchases,” but I haven’t heard of this being an issue.
Okay, so you do get 40,000 Membership Reward® points after you make $3,000 in purchases with your new card in the first three months. That coverts to roughly $400, and you can use these points to book flights on any airline. Even more, you can pay for all or part of your flight, hotel, vacation, or cruise with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
No foreign transaction fees
No matter what country you’re in, when you use your Platinum Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express. Gotta love that!
Global Entry rebate
If you’re a frequent international traveler and don’t have Global Entry, I have no idea what you’re waiting for because you literally get to bypass the standard arrival lines at most major US airports when returning back to the country (see my post here). Hopefully, getting this card will motivate you to sign up (trust me, you’ll thank me later; it’s the best thing to happen to travel since food being served onboard)—and if you use your card to apply, they’ll credit the $100 application fee back to you. Card members can receive one $100 credit every five years for an application fee charged to each eligible card, but that’s okay because that’s how long Global Entry status lasts.
Plus, Global Entry members can use TSA Pre✓™, which is an an expedited security screening program for select travelers who are flying in the U.S. and select international destinations on participating airlines from specific airports. Selection for expedited screening is made on a per flight basis and is not guaranteed.
Car rental privileges
With this card, you can bypass lines and enjoy available upgrades and savings with Avis, Hertz and National Car Rental. If you use your card to reserve and pay for an eligible car rental, you can be covered if the car is damaged or stolen. Note: Coverage is not available for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
Get Starwood Preferred Gold & Hilton Gold
You’ll also receive a Starwood Gold Preferred (SPG) and Hilton Gold Membership without meeting frequent-stay minimums. SPG benefits include room upgrades when available, late checkouts and the opportunity to earn complimentary nights and award flights. To enroll, call 1-800-525-3355. And use your SPG number when booking at Starwood properties.
International premium companion tickets
Anytime you purchase a qualifying Business or First Class ticket for international air travel with your card on any of over 25 participating airlines, you’re eligible to save on a companion ticket (if you book through American Express Travel). I don’t make use this feature because I don’t buy Business or First Class tickets, but if I did, this perk would be towards the top of the list.
There are a whole lot of other reasons to get The Platinum Card® from American Express—including concierge service for assistance with reservations, travel, gifts, and more. If you add it all up, you’ll see why this is my favorite deal out there for frequent travelers. No wonder all my savvy road warrior friends have one.
*Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities