American Express Platinum Card Review: How I Use It to Upgrade Rooms, Maintain Airline Status, and More

Condé Nast Traveler

Then there is the annual hotel credit: I took advantage of the $200 credit for my prepaid two-night stay in the Bahamas at SLS Baha Mar. Because SLS is in the American Express Hotel Collection, I received a $100 experience credit to spend at designated restaurants, spas, or resort activities. When I checked in, an upgrade was available to an ocean view room, another benefit of reserving rooms in the Hotel Collection.

To avoid the stress of long lines while going through security screenings, my family takes advantage of the PreCheck credit. When you pay for a Known Traveler Number with your Platinum Card, you will receive an $85 credit. My son and I were both approved for TSA PreCheck and received an adjustment on our cards. Global Entry and Clear credits are available too.

Another major perk of the card is access to the Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion, Escape, and Priority Pass Lounges. For now, two guests can tag along at no additional cost. If the rules change for lounge access, my authorized users can still enter because they have the same lounge benefits as me. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, my guest and I arrived at the Centurion Lounge in time to enjoy breakfast and lunch. The meals and cocktails would have cost more than $100. If your flight is on Delta, you will receive complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club. However, your guests will need to pay the $39 fee.

For those looking to maintain airline status, here is a travel hack that involves using the lounge perk: If it’s close to the end of the year and I’m short on segments, I will find a cheap flight on Southwest, fly early in the morning, hang out in a lounge, and take a flight home later that day. I do not spend money on food or waste points on a hotel, but I earn flights to keep my A-List status.

You can also use this hack to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass Promotion every September to allow a companion to fly with you for free (taxes and fees apply) for two months starting in January. To take advantage of the promotion, register your Rapid Rewards number, purchase a round-trip or two one-way flights, and travel by the designated date. (To note, you cannot use points to book.) If you are not a Rapid Rewards member, register for free.

Because two checked bags fly free, I use the $200 airline fee credit to purchase alcoholic beverages on Southwest. You can also change your preferred airline every year in the benefits section of your AmEx portal. If you fly Delta, you may want to choose the airline as your preferred carrier and use the airline fee credit to pay for your guest to enter the Sky Club.

When I checked in at the Marriott for a timeshare vacation package in August, I informed the front desk clerk of my Gold Elite Status. She upgraded my room from the seventh to the 30th floor, where I watched the sunrise every morning. In addition, you also receive automatic Gold Status with Hilton Honors. However, you must be a member of each hotel reward program and enroll online or call the American Express Platinum Card Service for it to be enabled.

Current welcome offer

As of publication, new cardholders can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases within their first six months of card membership.

How to earn points

Cardholders earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, as well as 5x points on hotels booked with American Express Travel. While not as steep, you can earn 1x membership rewards points by paying for recurring expenses like cell phone and internet bills with your card. I set up my home security system and mobile accounts for autopay, and my son also uses autopay for streaming services with no added charge. 

Leave a Reply