Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…

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Thanks to the almost unbelievably good welcome bonuses available, I expect that a number of readers have recently picked up a new Platinum card.  If you’re one of the few and proud new Platinum holders, you obviously now need to meet the spend requirements in order to earn whatever welcome offer you applied for.  And if you got in on an offer that includes 10x rewards at US supermarkets and gas stations for the first 6 months, you’ll want to make sure to use your Platinum card for those purchases (see also my plan for maximizing the incredible Amex Platinum offer).  But, the card offers many, many more perks beyond the welcome bonus. Here’s what to do to take advantage of those perks…

Note 1: I expect that existing Platinum cardholders will find this informative as well…

Note 2: If you’re thinking of picking up an Amex Platinum card, please see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

#1 Become Elite

Platinum Amex cards offer a number of elite status upgrades, but you have to actively enroll in each one:

  • Hilton HHonors Gold Status: Hilton Gold members receive free breakfast, room upgrades when available, and other perks at Hilton hotels. Go to benefit page, find the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
  • Marriott Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive a points welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, 2pm late checkout, and other perks (details here). Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Bonvoy Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”.
  • National Car Rental Executive status: Book midsize cars and select any car from the Executive Aisle for no extra charge. This can be a really valuable perk. Don’t pass this one up.
  • Uber VIP: Add your consumer Platinum card to your Uber account to become an Uber VIP. Read more about this in the next section.
  • Neiman Marcus InCircle: Your Platinum card qualifies you to join the InCircle program. With this program, you can earn InCircle points for spend at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow or Cusp. More details can be found on the Platinum benefits page.

#2 Enhance your Travel Experiences

Platinum Card Travel Benefits
Platinum cards offer many perks that make traveling easier, cheaper, and better…

  • Global Entry: Sign up! Platinum cards offer full reimbursement of the Global Entry signup fee once every 5 years. Global Entry includes TSA Pre-Check, so you’ll speed through security on domestic flights, and speed through re-entry to the US thanks to Global Entry. Sign up for Global Entry here. Pay the $100 with your Platinum card. Reimbursement should happen automatically. If you already have Global Entry, you can use your card to pay for a friend or family member’s Global Entry instead.
  • Access Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta), Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Airspace Lounges: Simply bring your Platinum card with you when you travel. Delta SkyClub access is free only for the primary cardholder. You can bring two free guests with you to the other lounges: Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Airspace Lounges.
  • Airport Lounge Access via Priority Pass Select: This version of Priority Pass Select membership allows you and 2 guests free entrance to participating lounges, but does not include access to Priority Pass participating restaurants. You must sign up for Priority Pass Select to get this benefit. Go to the Amex benefit page and click “Enroll in Priority Pass”. You will receive a membership card by mail. Present your Priority Pass card and boarding pass at the lounge entrance.
  • Uber / Uber Eats Credits and VIP Status: Add your consumer Platinum card to your Uber account in order to get $15 in Uber / Uber Eats credits per month and $35 in December. Adding your card also gives you Uber VIP status which is supposed to automatically connect you with top rated drivers, where available. The Uber benefit is not available to Business Platinum cardholders.
  • Book hotels through Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection: Get elite-like perks and hotel credits by booking through these specialty sites.
  • Cruise Benefits: Pay for your cruise with your Platinum card and receive $100 to $300 per stateroom shipboard credit plus additional amenities unique to each cruise line. Participating cruise lines and other info can be found here. The website makes it look like you have to buy the cruise through Amex to get these benefits, but some readers have told me that you can get this benefit regardless of how you book the cruise (YMMV).

#3 Earn $200 in Airline Fee Credits Each Calendar Year

Platinum Card $200

Airline fee credits are supposed to be for incidental fees: checked bags, change fees, in-flight snacks, etc. However, in practice, many small purchases (under $200 or so) charged by your selected airline receive the credit. This often includes award booking fees, for example. You must select your preferred airline before these charges hit your account in order to get reimbursed.

  1. Go to your card’s benefits page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”.
  2. Make a plan for spending $200 on airline incidental fees with your chosen airline before December 31st, and then again next year.

For details about which charges are likely to be reimbursed, please see: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

#4 Use $200 in Uber Credits Each Calendar Year

Uber Eats gift card

This benefit is available via all consumer Platinum cards, but not Business Platinum cards. Add your consumer Platinum card as a Payment Method to your Uber account in order to get $15 in Uber credits per month and $35 in December.  You don’t have to pay with your Platinum card in order to use this benefit.

Uber Eats: Another great way to use these credits is to order food delivery through Uber eats. Enter your location in the Uber Eats website to find out if delivery is available in your area.

Those who ride Uber often, or order through Uber Eats often, will likely have no problem in getting full value from this perk. Alternatively, if someone in the household other than the primary cardholder is a frequent Uber rider or Uber Eats eater, consider adding your card to their Uber account instead of yours.

If you haven’t yet signed up for Uber Eats, my referral code (eats-uberfrequentmiler) will give you $20 off your first Uber Eats order of $25 or more.

While you’re mucking about in your Uber account, you might as well also do the following in order to get additional free rewards:

  • Uber Visa Local Offers: Add a Visa card as a payment type in your Uber account in order to automatically earn Uber credits when using that Visa card at participating merchants.

#5 Use $100 in Saks Credits Each Calendar Year

This benefit is available with all consumer Platinum cards, but not Business Platinum cards. Use your card to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, either in-store or online, and get $50 statement credit for purchases made from January through June, and another $50 statement credit from July through December.

  1. Go to your card’s benefits page and enroll in the “Shop Saks with Platinum” benefit.
  2. January – June:
    1. Use your consumer Platinum card to make a purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue in-store or online.
    2. Up to $50 should be credited to your account automatically.
  3. July – December:
    1. Use your consumer Platinum card to make a purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue in-store or online.
    2. Up to $50 should be credited to your account automatically.

Personally, I’ve had good luck getting nice $50-ish items twice a year from the saksfifthavenue.com sale section.

Free Shipping

ShopRunner is a service offered for free to all US Amex cardholders.  Once enrolled, you get free shipping from a number of stores, including Saks.com.

  1. Register for ShopRunner here
  2. Make sure to be logged into ShopRunner before shopping at Saks in order to get free shipping.

Portal Bonuses

One great use of the Saks credit is to earn shopping portal bonuses. Many portals offer signup bonuses when you first shop through the portal as well as miscellaneous spend bonuses throughout the year.

Here are two examples that are current at the time of this writing:

Hat Tip to YoniPDX for the above 2 suggestions (found here).

#6 Use your Platinum card to pay for flights for 5X rewards

Consumer Platinum cards earn 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. The Business Platinum card earns 5X only for flights booked with American Express Travel. 5 points per dollar is an excellent rate of return for flight purchases! Keep in mind that this is in addition to any miles earned from the airline flown.

One caveat: You may get better automatic travel insurance with other cards you own. See: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.

#7 Redeem points for flights (Business Platinum only)

The Business Platinum card offers 35% points back when paying with points through American Express Travel for a flight with your selected airline. Cardholders will also receive this benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline. This perk makes your Membership Rewards points worth just over 1.5 cents per point towards paid flights.

Consumer Platinum cards do not get this benefit, so using points to pay for flights results in poor value (1 cent per point).

#8 Use points primarily with transfer partners

The best use of Membership Rewards points, in my opinion, is to hold on to them until you see an opportunity to get great value by transferring to an airline transfer partner such as Aeroplan or ANA for Star Alliance flights (e.g. fly United, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, etc.). Delta, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, and other partners also have some sweet spot award opportunities.

See: Amex Membership Rewards sweet spots.

#9 Use your COVID-inspired benefits (2020 only)

In 2020, Amex added extra statement credits opportunities for Platinum cardholders…

Consumer Platinum Cards

Up to $160 rebate for cell phone service ($20/month May-Dec)

Up to $160 in statement credits when you use your Platinum Card on select wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month, from May through December 2020).

Up to $160 rebate for streaming services ($20/month May-Dec)

Up to $160 in statement credits when you use your Platinum Card on select streaming services (up to $20 per month, from May through December 2020).

Business Platinum Card

Up to $160 rebate for cell phone service ($20/month May-Dec)

Up to $160 in statement credits when you use your Platinum Card on select wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month, from May through December 2020).

Up to $160 rebate for shipping services ($20/month May-Dec)

Up to $160 in statement credits when you use your Platinum Card on U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month, from May through December 2020).

Up to $200 additional rebate for Dell purchases ($100 May-June + $100 July-Dec)

Business Platinum Card Members will receive up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies, for a total of up to $400 in statement credits in 2020

The Platinum Perk Checklist

Here’s a nearly complete list of Platinum perks.  Go through each one to make sure you’re getting the most from your Platinum card…

Perks for all Platinum cards

The following perks apply to all Platinum cards:
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized users?
5X points at amextravel.com: Earn 5X points for prepaid hotel and airline bookings at Amextravel.com This benefit is automatic. Yes. Points and bonus points are added to the primary card holder's account.
$200 airline fee credit: Amex will automatically reimburse up to $200 per calendar year for airline fees for your selected airline only. Eligible fees include: baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases, and airport lounge day passes. Log in and go to Benefit page and click “Select a Qualifying Airline”. For tips on using this benefit, please see: Amex airline fee reimbursements. What still works? No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in fee credits. Spend on authorized user cards does count, but only the primary account is credited. In other words, you cannot increase the $200 limit by adding additional cards.
Airport Lounge Access - Centurion Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges: Cardholder plus two guests are allowed free. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card when visiting a Centurion Lounge. Yes
Airport Lounge Access - Delta SkyClubs: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day. Extra charge for guests. No need to enroll. Simply show your Platinum card and same day boarding pass when visiting a Delta SkyClub. Yes
Airport Lounge Access - Priority Pass Select Lounges: Priority Pass Select member plus two guests are allowed free entrance. Unfortunately, this membership does not include Priority Pass restaurants. You must sign up for Priority Pass Select. Go to benefit page and click “Enroll in Priority Pass”. You will receive a membership card by mail. Present Priority Pass card and boarding pass at lounge entrance. Yes. Each authorized user must sign up for Priority Pass Select.
Global Entry or TSA Pre fee credit: Full reimbursement for signup fee once every 5 years, per card. Note: signup for Global Entry since that includes TSA Pre. Sign up for Global Entry here. Pay with your Platinum card. Reimbursement should happen automatically. Yes. Pay with the authorized user card in order to get reimbursed. Terms & conditions explicitly state “Additional Cards on eligible Consumer and Business accounts are also eligible for the $100 statement credit”. Note that this works with no fee Green and Gold Authorized user / employee cards too.
Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance Call the Premium Global Assist Hotline: 1-800-333-Amex (toll free), or 1-715-343-7977 (direct-dial collect) Yes
Hilton HHonors Gold Status: Hilton Gold members receive free breakfast, room upgrades when available, and other perks at Hilton hotels. Go to benefit page, find the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit, and click “Enroll Now”. Yes. Authorized users may have to call Amex to enroll.
Marriott Gold Status: Marriott Gold members receive a points welcome gift with each stay, room upgrades when available, 2pm late checkout, and other perks (details here). Go to benefit page, find the Marriott Gold benefit, and click “Enroll in Marriott Gold”. Yes. Authorized users may have to call Amex to enroll.
International Airline Program: Save money when booking premium cabin international flights originating in the US or Canada. Book your flight on amextravel.com. Make sure to log into your Amex account to see flight discounts. Yes
Fine Hotels & Resorts: Book high-end hotels through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and get: room upgrade, daily breakfast for 2, 4pm late checkout, noon check-in, free wifi, and unique property amenity. Also: Earn 5X Membership Rewards for prepaid bookings. Browse to www.americanexpressfhr.com and log into your Platinum account. Yes
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Elite Status: Lifetime elite status offers perks such as extra points, welcome amenity Click here to enroll Yes
Fiesta Rewards Platinum Status Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion and enter code: AMEXPLATINUM Yes. Use the Spanish language page: http://www.fiestarewards.com/inscripcion and enter code: AMEXPLATINUM
National Car Rental Executive status: Book midsize cars and select any car from the Executive Aisle for no extra charge. Enroll here. Yes
Hertz Rental Car Privileges: Special elite-like benefits for Platinum cardholders, plus discounts, plus four hour grace period for rental car returns. Details and enrollment form found here. Yes
Cruise Benefits: Pay for your cruise with your Platinum card and receive $100 to $300 per stateroom shipboard credit plus additional amenities unique to each cruise line Participating cruise lines and other info can be found here. Yes
ShopRunner: Free shipping at a number of merchants. Sign up here. Yes
Neiman Marcus In-Circle Call 1-800-525-3355 to enroll Yes

Additional Consumer Platinum Perks

The following perks apply only to consumer Platinum cards (including the regular Amex Platinum, Morgan Stanley Platinum, and Schwab Platinum):
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized Users?
$200 in Uber / Uber Eats Credits: Amex will reimburse $15 per month ($35 in December) for Uber charges. You will also get Uber VIP status. Add your Platinum card number to your Uber account as a payment method. You do not have to pay with the Platinum card in order to get this benefit. Important: when requesting a ride, select Uber Cash for payment in order to use your credits. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own $200 in Uber credits or VIP status.
$100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December. Enroll here. Pay with your consumer Platinum card at Saks Fifth Avenue online or at locations in the US and US Territories. No. Authorized user cards do not receive their own Saks Fifth Avenue credits.
5X points on flights booked directly with airlines. With business cards you must book through Amex Travel to get 5X. Automatic benefit Yes. Points and bonus points are added to the primary card holder's account.
Active Military Fee Waiver: Amex will waive consumer card fees (including annual fees) for US active military personnel. Call the number of the back of your card and tell them you are serving on active duty military and had heard that AMEX offers to handle your account in accordance with the Military Lending Act (MLA) Yes (primary user must call and can get fees waived for additional cardholders)

Additional Morgan Stanley Perks

In addition to standard consumer Platinum perks, Morgan Stanley Platinum cards add the following perks:
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized Users?
First authorized user free: Add one Platinum authorized user for free. Add up to 3 more for $175. Simply add an authorized user to your account N/A
Invest with rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1 cent each when deposited to your Morgan Stanley brokerage account. Log into your account to redeem points to your brokerage account. No.
$500 anniversary spend award: Spend $100K in a cardmember year to get $500. If you spend exactly $100K per year, that amounts to a bonus of half of 1 cent per dollar spent. This benefit is automatic Not really. Authorized user card spend does contribute towards the required $100K spend, but authorized users do not get their own $500.
$550 Annual Engagement Bonus for Reserved Clients To qualify for Reserved status, a client’s household must have and maintain a minimum of $1,000,000 in eligible assets and liabilities or have paid at least $10,000 in managed fees/commissions. It appears that you must also be an active member of their Premier Cash Management program to qualify for this engagement bonus. Details here (on page 2). No

Additional Schwab Perks

In addition to standard consumer Platinum perks, Schwab Platinum cards add the following perks:
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to Platinum Authorized Users?
Invest with Rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1.25 cents each when deposited to your eligible Schwab account. Log into your account to redeem points to your Schwab account. No.
$100 to $200 statement credit Receive a $100 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000, when measured following Card account approval and annually thereafter. No.

Additional Business Platinum Perks

The following perks apply only to Business Platinum cards:
Benefit How to access or enroll Available to  Platinum Employee Cards?
1.5X points per dollar: Earn 1.5X on individual purchases of $5000 or more Automatic Yes. Points and bonus points are added to the primary card holder's account.
$200 in Dell Credits: Up to $100 in credits each year from January through June; and another $100 July through December. Go to benefit page to enroll. See: Maximize value: $200 Business Platinum Dell Benefit No. Employee cards do not receive their own Dell credits.
35% points rebate on airfare: Pay with points for airfare on your selected airline or for business or first class with any airline and get 35% of your points back. Book flights through AmexTravel.com and select to pay with points. No.
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