Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Forbes has partnered with The Points Guy and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Forbes, The Points Guy, and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact the presentation of offers or affiliate links on this site. Forbes does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Some of the offers below may no longer be available.
The Platinum Card® from American Express may have a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it doesn’t take much to get much more than that in value from its perks. This card ranks consistently as number one for perks for travelers, and with a strong welcome offer of 75,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 spent in the first six months — which TPG values at $1,500), it’s one of the cards I never leave home without.
To ensure you’re getting full value from all the benefits, familiarize yourself with these key features. Here are 15 of the top perks to focus on to make sure you’re getting maximum value from this premium card.
Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!
The Amex Platinum offers access to various airport lounges, but the access policies aren’t the same across all of them. For example, you can access Centurion Lounges for free along with two guests no matter what airline you’re flying, but you can only access Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights. No guests are included, but you may purchase access for up to two traveling companions at the discounted price of $39 per person.
A Delta Sky Club lounge membership costs $545 for an individual membership, so this is a huge perk! You can use either lounge on departure or arrival, but you must have a ticket (you can’t go to Centurion at LaGuardia for lunch if you aren’t flying!). And keep in mind that you can’t even access a Centurion Lounge unless you have an Amex Platinum (personal or business) or Centurion card.
$200 Annual Airline Credit
One of the best perks of the Amex Platinum card is its annual up to $200 airline fee credit for one airline. The credit can be used toward airline lounge passes, checked bag fees and much more. Choose an airline that you fly the most on the Amex website, or choose a carrier that you can get a gift card with.
This program allows eligible cardholders to purchase up to eight tickets at discounted fares from more than two dozen participating airlines as long as the cardholder is traveling on the same reservation. You can save on international first, business and Premium Economy seats.
Trip Delay/cancellation coverage
When traveling, stuff happens that is out of our control, including delays and cancellations — but Amex is ready to help. If you pay for a trip with your Amex Platinum Card and a covered reason delays your trip by more than six hours, trip delay Insurance can reimburse certain expenses purchased with your same card, up to $500 per trip.
If your trip is canceled or interrupted, your non-refundable expenses bought with the card will be covered, up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.
Up to $200 in Annual Uber Credits, Plus an Uber Eats pass
Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $200 in Uber credits each year, split into $15 credits each month except in December, when you get $35. The credits don’t roll over from month to month, but it’s very easy to get the full $200 even if you only use the ride-sharing app occasionally. Also, U.S. consumers with an Amex Platinum card have 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass, valued at $10 per month, when they enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
Marriott and Hilton Gold Status
The Amex Platinum gets you complimentary Gold elite status in two hotel loyalty programs — Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. With Hilton, gold status comes with 80% bonus points on stays, space-available room upgrades, free continental breakfast, no resort fees on reward stays and free WiFi.
Bonvoy Gold includes 25% bonus points, room upgrades, 2:00 p.m. late check-out, welcome gift or points, free enhanced Wi-Fi, and mobile check-in and mobile key.
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Application Fee
These days, it’s pretty much a given that there will be long wait times at the airport, making TSA PreCheck for expedited security and Global Entry for fast-track immigration upon reentering the U.S. absolute no-brainers. With the Amex Platinum, you’ll get a credit to your account to cover the application fee for these programs once every four years (up to $100). You should choose Global Entry, since it includes PreCheck enrollment. If you already have a membership, you can use your Platinum card to gift Global Entry to a friend.
Amex FHR and The Hotel Collection for elite-like Perks
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR), available to holders of the Amex Platinum, the Business Platinum and Centurion cards, is a great option for booking paid hotel stays since you’ll get some stellar benefits, such as room upgrades, free breakfast, guaranteed late checkout and a unique amenity with each property.
Another huge plus is that if you have elite status with a hotel you’re staying at, you’ll enjoy any perks connected to your status level on stays booked through FHR, unlike with Amex Travel and most online travel agencies. You’ll also earn points and elite credit for your stay. Search for hotels on the FHR site here.
There’s also The Hotel Collection, where you get a $100 onsite credit for qualifying activities like dining or spa treatments. There a minimum 2-night stay required to be eligible for the benefit (qualifying activities vary by property).
Car Rental Program Elite Status
In addition to Gold Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you’ll also get status with Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. You’ll need to enroll for these benefits, and you can do so on the Amex website. Plus, when you use your card to pay for your rental, you have secondary covered for damage to or theft of a rental car. Note that coverage is not available for vehicles rented in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand.
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you have access to the Platinum Concierge, a special phone service that can assist you in booking high-demand restaurants and events, as well as finding a perfect dinner spot or even delivering items on demand. You’ll need to call to activate this benefit — the number is 800-525-33-55. Make sure you sign up for texting when you do so to make things more convenient. Note that the Concierge isn’t where you should turn for most travel and vacation bookings, as they’ll likely refer you to Platinum Travel instead.
Premium Global Assist Hotline
You’re out of town and the worst happens — a travel catastrophe. The hotline is here to help. When you travel more than 100 miles from home, get 24/7 medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services. Emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost if authorized and arranged by Premium Global Assist Hotline. Please note that you may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
Get up to 3 authorized Cards for a Total of $175
You can add three authorized users to your Amex Platinum for $175 per year (see rates and fees). That works out to just $58.33 per user, and they’re getting almost all of the benefits listed in this post. You can also get an Gold card (not to be confused with the American Express® Gold Card) at no charge (see rates and fees).
Saks Fifth Avenue Credit
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually ($50 between January and June and another $50 between July and December) to spend at Saks Fifth Avenue, saks.com or Barney’s when you use your Amex Platinum card.
Control your payments
Cardholders have the option to either pay your bill in full, carry a balance with interest or use Amex’s Plan It® feature to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, up to your Pay Over Time limit.
Purchase/return Protection and extended warranty
These final perks make the Amex Platinum stand out. With purchase protection, you’re covered up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per year against accidental damage, loss or theft of items up to 90 days from the purchase date. With return protection, if you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, you’ll get a refund, excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per card account. When you use your card to buy eligible items, your manufacturer’s warranty is extended for up to a year.
The American Express Platinum card is far more than a hunk of silver metal. While some might be put off by the card’s $550 annual fee, if you look at all the perks — and credits — this card more than pays for itself every year. So make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything the Amex Platinum has to offer.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.