March 19th, 2014
Final Days For American And USAirways Lounge Access Via The Platinum Card; Is Platinum Still Worthwhile?
Lose lounges, make $100-$500.
The final day to use The Platinum Card® from American Express to enter an American or USAirways lounge will be this Friday, 03/21.
Some people got emails with a $200 of $500 credit towards any American or USAirways ticket fees or lounge memberships.
I didn’t get that so I used the live chat option while logged in on AmericanExpress.com to ask about that and the agent gave me a $100 credit for incidental spending on American or USAirways between 03/22-12/31. Others have gotten the $100 credit by calling as well.
Post your results in the comments!
It Plat still worth it?
So what does the card still do to justify its hefty annual fee? Well it does have a 40K signup bonus but with American Express bonuses apparently going to once in a lifetime that isn’t something you can keep on counting on getting in the future.
Airport Lounges. Kosher food in Vegas, Newark, Tel Aviv and more:
The biggest addition are the American Express branded Centurion lounges. American Airlines was furious when the first Centurion lounge opened in Dallas. There is also a Centurion lounge in Las Vegas and more lounges will be opening in LaGuardia, S. Francisco, and other airports in the near future. There are also Centurion lounges throughout Central and South America though those aren’t as luxurious as the US lounges.
Originally these lounges were designed for free access only for Centurion cardholders, you know them as those black cards that cost a ridiculous $2,500 per year with a $7,500 initiation fee that used to give elite status on airline like Continental and USAirways but no longer do.
But once the Platinum card started losing airline lounges they opened it up to Platinum cardholders for free as well. You can bring your spouse and kids into the lounge for free. Or you can bring in any 2 other people with you for free.
What can you get there?
-In the Las Vegas Centurion lounge there is a full stocked kosher menu from Haifa restaurant. And it’s all free of charge. DDF members have reported that they stock Hot Roast, Schnitzel, Grilled chicken, Baked Salmon, Pastrami Sandwiches, Mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, salad, fruit, rolls, and desserts. If you call beforehand they can heat the food up for you (it’s all double-wrapped) and have it waiting. Otherwise there are cold options or you can wait for it to heat up while you wait. Reports about the food quality and service have been excellent.
If you call a couple days in advance they will even order fresh kosher meals for you, free of charge.
And you can top it off with top-shelf booze, also free of charge. A DDF member said he did quite a number to their Glenlivet 21 year old single malt!
-In the Dallas lounge they offer a spa with a free clothes-on massage and other spa services.
-In all Centurion lounges they can help you with any AMEX account issues. You can even access the lounge if you forgot your Platinum card as they can look it up with your ID.
-You can take a shower in the lounges as well and from what I’ve heard they’re a while lot better than the showers found in the airline lounges. Plus they have L’OCCITANE toiletries which is a whole lot better than the single dispenser of mystery goop found in some airport showers that magically work as soap, shampoo, and conditioner as if it’s manna from the sky.
With amenities like that who needs airline lounges with their low end food and beer?
-Platinum cardholders also get a free Priority Pass membership.
There are over 600 lounges worldwide that accept Priority Pass and you can access all of them for free.
-In Newark you can access the Art & Lounge. That’s the same lounge that El Al provides for their business and first class passengers. It has exclusively kosher food and Israeli art.
-In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.
See the Priority Pass site for their complete list of lounges. Note that you can’t access United lounges with the Priority Pass membership that you get from the Platinum card.
You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.
Currently there are Airspace lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, and JFK (JetBlue terminal).
These are modern lounges with free premium coffee and self service soft drinks. Additionally you and every guest also gets a gift card valid towards purchasing premium alcohol, local craft beers, cocktails, and meals.
You can access these even with an inactive Platinum card until the card expires 4 years from the date of issue.
Currently you can bring your spouse and kids into Delta lounges for free when flying Delta. Or you can bring in any 2 other people with you for free.
Effective 05/01 you will not be able to bring in guests for free. However secondary Platinum cardholders can access Delta lounges for free as well. You can a Delta lounge even with an inactive Platinum card until the card expires 4 years from the date of issue.
You can add 3 additional users onto a personal Platinum card for $175 ($58.33 per additional cardholder per year). Secondary users do get full lounge access so they will have access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges for themselves and they will be able to guest others into Airspace and Centurion lounges.
The annual fee on this card is a doozie, $450. But it’s not as painful as it sounds.
As with annual fees from most banks, they are refundable if cancelled within 60 days. It is also pro-rated if cancelled after 60 days and you have another American Express card (i.e. if you have the card for 3 months and then cancel you would get a $337.50 refund), and it is pro-rated if you downgrade the card even if you have no other American Express card.
$200 per calendar year airline fee credit.
Every calendar year you can get a $200 airline fee refund. That means in your first cardmembership year you can get a $400 refund thanks to a $200 credit in 2014 and a $200 credit in 2015.
You can use it to buy airline gift cards in $100 increments.
Or you can just get it all in cash via the PGGM or the CHFFGM as described here.
Only the primary cardholder get the airline fee refund.
Global Entry Fee Refund
It costs $100 to apply for global entry which lets you bypass the customs line. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.
If you have Global Entry you also get TSA Pre-Check, which allows you to avoid the nude-o-scope machines and lets you leave your shoes on and laptop in your bag.
Additional cardholders qualify for a Global Entry fee refund as well.
Starwood Gold Elite Status:
Platinum cardholders get Gold elite status for free. That gets you free Wi-Fi or you can get a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!
It also gets you free upgrades and 4pm late checkout.
Lost Item Protection:
If you buy something on your Platinum card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered. No other card I’m aware of offers lost item protection. Many cards offer stolen item protection, but that requires a police report to be filed and often it has a cap of just $1,000.
Car Rental Perks:
A 4 hour late return fee-free grace period at Hertz and fee-waived Gold Plus membership, National Executive guarantee upgrades and faster free award rentals, Avis free weekend certificate with 2 rentals, and more.
The card also comes with free checked baggage insurance and it has no foreign exchange fees. And of course it comes with all of the amazing purchase protections that other American Express cards have as well.
So, is it all worthwhile? It’s not for spending, frankly I value Starpoints earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express more than the Membership Rewards points from this card. Bizarrely even the less expensive American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card earns more Membership Rewards points than the Platinum card thanks to its bonus categories.
But the Platinum card does continue to have very unique benefits. I’ve laid most of them out for you and you’ll just have to decide for yourself if its worth it based on your own situation