Free nights start at 7,500 points.
Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
No annual fee Hilton HHonors Visa Signature
The Platinum Card from American Express is packed with benefits, and is the most comprehensive card available for airport lounge access, giving you privileges with these lounge networks:
Delta typically charges $450 a year for SkyClub membership alone, so for The Platinum Card’s $450 fee you’re getting a lot more for your money.
Here is a list of Delta and Centurion lounge locations you can access with your Platinum Card and here is a list of Priority Pass locations you can access. Check both to see if you can access a lounge in the airport you are traveling, but if you fly Delta frequently or use an airport with a Centurion Lounge the value of the card can add up quickly.
Simply present your Amex Platinum Card® at the lounge check-in desk, along with your boarding pass for travel that day. You will be granted complimentary access for yourself. Guests cost $29 each per visit at Delta Sky Clubs. At Centurion Lounges, 2 guests or your spouse and children under 21 are complimentary.
Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass network lounges don’t require a specific airline for entry – so you can fly any airline and use their clubs, though Priority Pass lounges charge $27 for guest entry.
If you want your spouse or other family member to have access to the lounges when you’re not traveling, you can add an additional cardholder for $175. That fee gets you up to 3 additional cards for one price with full lounge benefits for each card.
1. A place to work or relax
The primary benefit of airline lounges is a relatively quiet place to wait for your flight and recharge your laptop or mobile device. While The Centurion Lounges offer spa like luxury, most other lounges are simply practical and offer both comfortable social seating areas along with more private workstations and free wifi access.
2. Extra help and peace of mind with reservations
Agents, or ‘angels’ as some members call them, will help you if your travel plans change or delays force you to alter flights. You can rest assured you will be able to get help without the exceptionally long lines you see in terminal counters.
3. Complimentary beverages
Lounges usually offer free soft drinks, complimentary beer, wine, and well drinks, along with paid premium drink options, but at Centurion Lounges all food and premium drinks are free. Delta SkyClubs also offer soup, salad, and other light food options for free.
If you’re a United flyer, the United MileagePlus® Club Card from Chase is the only credit card that will give you access to their lounges, so The Platinum Card won’t help you get into those lounges.
For American Airlines Admirals Clubs, access via The Platinum Card ended in April 2014. Instead, there are now two cards from Citibank that give you access to Admirals Clubs.
The $450 per year Citi® Executive AAdvantage® MasterCard gives you full club membership, letting you visit Admirals Club lounges even when you’re not flying American that day. A really generous benefit is that any authorized users you add to your account get access to the lounges when you’re not flying, and there’s no fee to add an authorized user.
The Citi Prestige Card, with a $450 annual fee, offers access to Admirals Clubs, but you must be flying on an American Airlines flight to qualify. It also includes a Priority Pass membership with a twist: you can bring 2 guests in each time you visit for free, while the Priority Pass included with The Platinum Card charges $27 for every guest you bring.
While lounge access is the biggest attraction of The Platinum Card, there are dozens of smaller benefits that make traveling easier, included in your $450 annual fee.
Some of our favorites include:
A $200 annual airline fee credit. Each year, you can designate an airline where you want up to $200 of fees reimbursed. You just charge the fees to your card, and they are automatically removed from your bill. Things like change fees, baggage fees, in-flight food, lounge passes, and seat fees.
Unfortunately airline tickets, upgrades, mileage purchases, gift cards, and duty free purchases aren’t reimbursable, though some people have had luck with some gift cards. And note that only Airlines available include American, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United are available for reimbursement, so if you fly Virgin America a lot you’re out of luck.
But it’s not hard to get $200 in value out of the benefit if you fly often on one of the other airlines, and that brings your real cost of the card down to $200 a year.
Hilton and Starwood Gold status. As a Platinum Card holder you’re eligible for status with both Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest without having to meet any stay requirements. Hilton HHonors Gold status gets you free lounge access or breakfast at most of its hotels, which is a great money saving perk, and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status gets you late checkout, free wifi, and room upgrades.
Normally Hilton HHonors Gold status requires 20 stays or 40 nights in its hotels each year, while Starwood Gold status requires 10 stays or 25 nights a year, so you’re getting two solid perks without being a road warrior.
National Executive status and a Hertz grace period. You can enroll in the free National Emerald Club, and as a Platinum Card holder you’ll be elevated to Executive level status, which guarantees you an upgraded car every time you rent. Just reserve the type of car you want to ride, and National will reduce the price to match the rate of the car level below the one you reserve.
For example if you book a Full Size SUV you’ll pay the Compact SUV price. An alternative benefit is the Executive Selection available at most major National locations. To use that, just pay the Midsize rate all the time, and take any car from National’s Executive Selection on the lot, which often includes Full Size and Compact SUVs.
Beyond National, if you rent with Hertz, and use your special Platinum Card discount code, you’ll get a 4 hour grace period on all your rentals, so you can return your car up to 4 hours after the due time, and not pay any extra charges.
Room upgrades and free breakfast at upscale hotels. The Platinum Card unlocks the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, which earns you free breakfast, room upgrades, and a special welcome amenity like a $100 food and beverage credit at many upscale hotels like the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, and more. The catch is you need to book your stay via American Express’ website or travel center, and the rates there aren’t always the lowest available. But the benefits are often worth $100 or more per stay, so you can come out well ahead using the Fine Hotels and Resorts Rate.
The biggest weakness of The Platinum Card is in the point earning side. You earn 2 points per dollar spent on purchases you make on the American Express travel website, but you earn just one point per dollar spent on everything else, so there are no major category spending bonuses to take advantage of.
The points you do earn are very valuable, because they’re Amex Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer into several top airline programs, most at one to one with no dilution, and with instant or next business day point transfers in many cases.
This is invaluable in helping you get the best deal for your points by topping off accounts you might already have, especially if you’re looking for an international Business or First Class award.
For United flyers while you can’t transfer miles into your United MileagePlus account, there are many ways to use Membership Rewards points on United flights.
If you have a small business, there’s a different card with the same lounge benefits. Instead, consider The Business Platinum Card.
It’s actually even more generous than the regular Platinum Card, because in addition to all the Platinum Card benefits you get 12 free Gogo wifi passes a year, which can save you hundreds of dollars on inflight wifi fees. And points are worth 30% more when you use them to book travel on an airline of your choice each year, all for the same $450 annual fee.
There’s a lot to take in with The Platinum Card, but to recap, here are some of the biggest benefits that come with card membership:
In summary, if you fly Delta frequently, use an airport that has a Centurion Lounge, or spend a lot of time in airports outside the U.S., you can get a lot of use out of the lounge access benefit of The Platinum Card for a price that’s less than typical standalone airline club membership.
That makes the other benefits icing on the cake.
Getting approved when you apply isn’t as hard as you think. You don’t need to be rich to hold the card, so with a solid income and credit score you should be in the hunt to start enjoying the benefits.
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