Tim Foolery

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Great Travel Benefits of American Express Platinum Card

I’ve been waiting to get an @AmericanExpress Platinum Card for a while now.  I’ve wanted this card for the fantastic travel benefits, but I never pulled the trigger. Then on Tuesday night a special and short lived promotion made it clear that my time to strike was now.  American Express was offering 100,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points after spending $3,000 in 3-Months.  Easy Peasy.  I jumped on the offer and was approved instantly.

Why am I excited about this card? Let’s look at the benefits, shall we?

First off 100,000 MRs are worth at least $1,000 when cashed in for travel or so much more if you transfer these points to airline or hotel points.  For example, you can transfer 100,000 MRs to British Airways and get a 30% bonus. 100,000 MRs = 130,000 British Airways Avios.  American Express offers these transfer bonuses all the time and among many of their partners.

Secondly, each calendar year (not card member year) you get $200 in airline fees reimbursed. That means you can get free check bags, free booze or various other fees reimbursed.  You can even get reimbursed for some airline gift cards.  How great is that?

You also get the $100 fee for Global Entry reimbursed if put on your Platinum Card.  What is Global Entry? It is a program offered by the US Government where trusted travelers can bypass the long lines at Immigration when returning to the US. Basically you apply and interview with the TSA and when you return to the US from traveling abroad you can go through customs at a Kiosk.  This is a great benefit at O’Hare as it seems that I’m always standing in line for over an hour when returning home.

Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is an added benefit from great hotels throughout the world.  This benefit gives you early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast for two, a room upgrade and spa or restaurant credits at some world class hotels.

Airport Lounge Access is also granted at American and Delta Lounges if you are flying on American or Delta tickets the same day. You can also get access to US Airways lounges (you don’t have to be flying on US Airways to access their lounge either).

The final travel benefits that I’m looking forward to using is the Priority Pass Select. This gives the card holder access to over 600 airport lounges in over 100 countries. The big problem with this benefit is that you don’t get to bring a travel companion into the lounge with you. You can bring a guest in for only $27 though – which would totally be worth it under some circumstances.

The annual fee for this card isn’t waived and is quite steep at $450/year, but if you look at the hard dollar benefits you get the first year it is easily worth at least $1,500 for me (assuming I don’t use the lounges or the Fine Hotels and Resort Benefits — if I do, even greater value).

This list of the benefits are not all inclusive, but are just the benefits that I am looking forward to using.

What is your favorite benefit of the American Express Platinum Card?  Did you get in on this 100,000 Membership Rewards Sign On Bonus deal earlier this week?

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