Update: Today is the last day to use the online form to change the airline for the airline fee credit on the Gold and Platinum cards. The registration links can be found below. After today you can still contact AMEX to change the airline if you need to.
Originally posted on 12/15/15:
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
-Every calendar year you can get up to $200 in airline fee refunds with The Platinum Card® from American Express and with The Business Platinum Card. You can register for the airline of your choice on the Platinum cards here.
-Every calendar year you can get up to $100 in airline fee refunds with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. You can register for the airline of your choice on the PRG card here.
Officially these are intended to be used for bag fees, seat upgrades, and lounge passes/memberships. However they also work for items like $100 American Airlines gift cards, $100 United gift registry contributions, gift cards purchased for stores like Amazon, Gap, or Nordstrom via United’s MileagePlusX app, and more via DDF. Just be sure to register first via the links above!
2 weeks left: If you have a Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum card don’t forget to make your airline fee purchase in 2015 and again in 2016.
Triple dip if you apply now: You can apply for any of the cards above and get 3 fee refunds in your first cardmembership year. You would be able to get credit in December 2015 as well as in January 2016 and January 2017 before you would have to pay a 2nd annual fee. The Gold card’s $195 annual fee is waived for the first year and you can get $300 in fee refunds. The Platinum cards have a $450 annual fee that isn’t waived, but there’s $600 in potential fee refunds to cover that.
Is Gold or Platinum worth it?
The signup bonuses and the triple-dip opportunity are sweet, but so are the other benefits.
The Gold and Platinum cards have no foreign transaction fees.
Gold bonus categories:
The Premier Rewards Gold card is the better card for spending. It offers double points at restaurants, gas, and groceries in the US and it offers triple points on airfare.
Lost Item Protection+$10,000 purchase protection: Both the Premier Rewards Gold card and the Platinum cards now offer lost item protection!
If you buy something on your Platinum or Premier Rewards Gold card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered. No other cards that I’m aware of offer 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.
These cards also cover damaged and stolen items of up to $10,000 each as opposed to $1,000 on most other cards.
Is the Gold card worth $195/year?
Thanks to generous spending benefits and the $100 annual fee credit there’s a very compelling case to carry it.
Platinum card only benefits:
-Centurion lounge access:
American Express has operated Centurion lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Mexico for some time. Now they are expanding in the US market with lounges operating in Dallas, Las Vegas, LaGuardia, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and more to come. Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles are in the works.
Originally the US 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.
The lounges offer varying amenities like premium drinks, showers, and massages. And as they are staffed by AMEX you can even get help with account issues and access the lounge even if you forget your Platinum card.
-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 offers kosher food and Israeli art.
-In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.
You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.
Priority Pass gives access to the full network of “The Club” with 7 domestic lounges and growing.
Currently there are Airspace lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, JFK (JetBlue terminal), and San Diego.
These are modern lounges with free premium coffee, bottles water, 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 5 years from the date of issue.
You can access Delta lounges for free with a Platinum card when flying on Delta. You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can access Delta lounged for free as well.
The Delta SkyClub in JFK even sells kosher meals if you need one!
You can access Delta lounge with an inactive Platinum card until the card expires 5 years from the date of issue.
Secondary cardholder lounge benefits:
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 the Platinum 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.
Global Entry/Pre-Check Fee Refund
It costs $85 to apply for a 5 year TSA Pre-Check membership which makes flying pleasant again. Shorter lines, no need to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, or hat. You can keep your laptop and freedom baggie with liquids in your carry-on. And you go through a good old fashioned metal detector instead of assuming the position in a nude-o-scope. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.
It costs $100 to apply for a 5 year Global Entry membership which lets you bypass the customs line. 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. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.
Additional cardholders qualify for a Pre-Check or Global Entry fee refund as well.
My whole family has Global Entry and it sure makes traveling a whole lot easier!
Starwood Gold Elite Status:
Platinum cardholders get SPG Gold elite status for free. That gets you free premium Wi-Fi and a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!
It also gets you 50% bonus points on paid stays, and room upgrades and 4pm late checkout on all stays.
Hilton Gold Elite Status:
Platinum cardholders get Hilton Gold elite status for free. That gets you upgrades, bonus points, 5th night free on awards, late checkout, breakfast, and bottled water.
Free breakfast doesn’t usually do much for me, but we had the pleasure of staying at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem earlier this year where we were treated to a fantastic daily breakfast, which is free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. There is a mind-boggling quantity of awesome kosher food there, from dozens of daily hot dishes to hard cheeses, fresh fruits and pastries to fresh squeezed juices, as well as on-demand dishes like french toast, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. Unlimited wine, hot or cold chocolate drinks, and espresso drinks are included as well!
Car Rental Perks:
A 4 hour late return fee-free grace period at Hertz and fee-waived Gold Plus membership and National Executive guarantee upgrades and faster free award rentals.
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.
The Business Platinum card comes with 10 annual in-flight GoGo WiFi passes.
Unlimited worldwide Boingo WiFi:
The Platinum cards come with free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide, perfect for avoiding confiscatory rates at airports when traveling. Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.
So, is it all worthwhile? It’s not for spending.
Credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express earn more points per dollar than the Platinum card. The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is a charge card like the Platinum card but earns more points on airfare, gas, and groceries than the Platinum card.
The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN earns a 30% annual point dividend and had no annual fee, though it needs one of the aforementioned cards ot transfer points into miles.
But the Platinum cards do 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