With all the recent buzz surrounding (and questioning) the value of the American Express Centurion Card (“Black Card”), I’m appreciating my Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN card more than ever. I also got mine years ago with a targeted 100K offer.
I’ve been an Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN cardholder for almost 4 full years, and I’ve always found it to be beyond “worth it” to continue paying the $450 annual fee. Aside from the sign-up bonus and some of the widely-known card features and benefits such as the transferability of Membership Rewards points to hotel and airline partners, the $200 annual fee credit, the Global Entry fee credit, and Centurion Lounge access (LOVE this perk), there’s still quite a few perks that are not-so-talked about that keeps this card in my wallet year and after year.
Active Duty Military Pay No Annual Fees
While the $450 annual fee usually will not be waived just by asking, keep in mind that AmEx will often waive annual fees for active duty military personnel. If that applies to you, there’s a surefire way to save $450 a year while still enjoying the card’s benefits.
Meet the Minimum Spend, Pay Bills In Full Each Month, & Transfer Points To Travel Partners as Needed
With any card, in order to earn a generous sign-up bonus, you usually have to meet some sort of minimum spend requirement, depending on the offer, during a certain time period (usually 3 months). I am very mindful of minimum spend deadlines – there’s no way I want to miss out on a boatload of points!
You’ll also have to pay your bill in FULL every month. Not only does paying in full each month improve your credit score and worthiness, your good behavior also gets rewarded in the form of points and miles, creating some lucrative opportunities for free travel. This practice is especially important for the Platinum cards in particular because it is a charge card, not a credit card, which requires a full payment each month, period.
Once you get your points, that’s when the fun starts! A good rule of thumb is that you generally get a much better value from your points if you transfer them to transfer partners rather than redeem them for a statement credit. Familiarize yourself with the Membership Rewards travel transfer partners and some of the best redemptions for each program. My favorite transfer partner for Membership Rewards is British Airways Avios, Air Canada’s Aeroplan (Lufthansa First Class), & Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer (Singapore Suites).
Choose Your Airline for the Annual $200 Airline Credit
This is one of my favorite benefits of my American Express Platinum card! The Platinum Card allows you to receive $200 per calendar year (Jan 1-Dec 31) towards non-airfare airline incidentals/purchases. I personally have taken advantage of this benefit by purchasing $200 of United credit in my United Travel Bank.
When you call to activate your card, the agent will ask you what your airline choice is for that year (once you select, you can not modify until the following year). After you make your selection, you’ll get refunded for up to $200 on any charge incurred by the airline that is not actually a paid ticket. After my $200 United, I saw that a $200 statement credit posted to my account a few days later. This definitely helps off-set the annual fee while also funding my future travel plans.
Hotel Gold Elite Status: Starwood -AND- Hilton
Simply call the number on the back of your Platinum card and ask for gold status with Starwood. Benefits include bonus points, a welcome amenity, and late check-out.
To activate your Hilton HHonors Gold status, simply link your two accounts here. My favorite Hilton Gold status perks include the free breakfasts and room upgrades!
Three Types of Lounge Perks
Not only does being a Platinum card holder get you into the awesome Centurion lounges, but you’ll also receive access to Delta SkyClubs, as well as a PriorityClub membership (great for small overseas lounges when traveling solo).
When activating your card, be sure to tell the agent that you’d like to be enrolled in Priority Pass for additional lounge access for yourself (guests are $27), valid at over 700 lounges across 100 countries, regardless of what airline you are flying that day. If you are not already enrolled in Priority Pass Select, you may register here.
American Express Platinum holders can get free access for themselves and two traveling companions at the new American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS, LGA, SFO, MIA, SEA and DFW (soon to be IAH). Lounge access is normally $50 per person for non-AmEx Platinum cardholders. I personally have visited all of the Centurion Lounges, and WOW what an experience they were (full meals, premium drinks, children’s area, etc.).
Fine Hotels & Resorts
The AmEx FHR program is a very good deal, especially for short 1-night stays, or in Vegas. Aside from getting a preferred rate at some of the nicest luxury properties worldwide, you’ll also get a plethora of other benefits including late checkout, early checkin, a $100 resort credit, free breakfast, a room upgrade, and free wifi. I recently used the FHR program for our trip to Vegas earlier this month to save money on our stay at the Bellagio.
GoGo Inflight Internet/Boingo Wifi
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN comes with 10 GoGo inflight access passes annually. This is a huge and highly-appreciated perk that I definitely make use of when flying! You also get a Boingo membership to use at wifi hotspots worldwide. The Boingo internet membership is especially helpful when traveling to foreign airports that don’t have free wifi available.
Car Rental Insurance
I always use my Platinum card when renting a car because I’m able to save money by declining coverage with the rental company. The Platinum cards come with excellent car rental insurance coverage benefits.
Car Rental Elite Status
Platinum card holders can receive special car rental benefits such as free reward days with Avis, elite status with National, and Free Hertz Gold status (includes 4-hour rental return grace period).
I stopped renewing my AAA membership once I learned that the American Express Platinum cards come with a very great roadside assistance program. While several AmEx credit cards offer limited roadside assistance, the Platinum cards come with the full roadside assistance “package”. My husband and I knocked a wheel off our SUV after we slid into a curb during last winter’s ice storm. The dispatcher with AmEx roadside assistance got us a tow truck in under an hour when other roadside assistance programs had an 8-12 hour wait that day! What a relief!
Apply for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check
Forget long lines at security or at immigrations. Time is valuable and I LOVE breezing pass tremendous lines with Global Entry.
Getting approved for Global Entry was a painless (and free) experience for me. 90% of my motivation to actually sit down and complete the application process was due to the fact that American Express Platinum card holders get the $100 application fee reimbursed by AmEx when you use your AmEx Platinum to pay your application fee. If you already have Global Entry, you can use your Platinum card to pay for someone else’s application. You can get a Global Entry credit once every 5 years.
I was approved within a week, and my $100 statement credit posted in just a few days after the charge posted. Thanks for speeding up my customs and immigrations process, AmEx!
AmEx Offers & Social Media “Syncing”
American Express takes the throne for some of the best promotions that allow you to save money at merchants that you already love and shop at (under the “My Offers” tab in your account). With these offers, you can receive a statement credit by using your registered American Express credit card at participating merchants. Another one of my favorite things about AmEx is the ability to take advantage of special offers that earn discounts and statement credits through social media channels, such as Twitter. To sync your card to your twitter account, you may go here. Many times each year I often “make” money this way.
Platinum card members can enjoy concierge benefits with card membership whether it be dinner reservations, tickets, travel plans, and everything else. I’ve put the concierge team to the test to help plan my destination beach wedding in under 10 days, and it’s safe to say was very pleased with the outcome!
This benefit is not just exclusive to the Platinum cards, but it’s definitely a benefit that has your back. All 40+ AmEx cards come with the Return Protection benefit, allowing you to claim the money spent on items that are final sale or unable to be returned. I wrote about my experience in the past when I was unable to return merchandise from RueLaLa. After filing a claim, the full credit for the money I spent was issued rather quickly.
No Foreign Transaction Fee & Purchase Protection
The American Express Platinum Card is essential to International travel with the no-foreign-transaction fee benefit. Eligible purchases can be protected against accidental damage, loss or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
Have you put any of these benefits to work? How else have you used your Platinum cards in the past?