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GoGo in-flight internet isn’t cheap. I’m currently on a 4.5K BA Avios award and the price for internet access on this one hour flight is $9.95.
Luckily I have an AMEX Business Platinum card which now comes with 10 free annual GoGo internet passes. You can signup for your 10 free passes via this link.
Of course it’s not worth having the card just for the GoGo passes, but it’s always nice to have a valuable perk added to a card.
Note that only the business platinum card has the free GoGo passes, the consumer platinum card does not.
Is Business Platinum worth it?
It definitely is for the first year with the 40K signup bonus. You can earn the bonus if you haven’t had the card within the past 12 months.
Plus in your first cardmembership year you can get $400 in airline fee credits thanks to a $200 credit in 2015 and a $200 credit in 2016 if you signup now.
But what benefits does the card have?
-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, San Francisco, and more to come. Miami will be the next to open.
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.
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, 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.
I just used the Cleveland lounge this morning where I got free bottles of still and sparking water and a newspaper.
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 lounges 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.
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.
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.
I breezed by 50 people in line this morning thanks to pre-check. Left my jacket and shoes on, my laptop in my bag, and went from walking into the airport to sitting in the lounge in less than 3 minutes.
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.
Starwood Gold Elite Status:
Platinum cardholders get 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.
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 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.
Boingo Internet access:
In addition to 10 free GoGo in-flight internet passes per year you also get unlimited access to over 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide. These are located throughout airports and cities across the globe.
So, is it all worthwhile? It’s not for spending.
I value Starpoints earned from the Starwood American Express more than Membership Rewards points.
Credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card simply earn more Membership Rewards points per dollar than the Platinum card. The 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.
But the Platinum card does continue to have and add 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.
Applying for a business card and the benefits of business card spending:
Even if your business doesn’t have a Tax ID number it can still qualify for a business card and there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.
For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.
A great thing about these business cards is that they don’t report your spending on your personal credit report.
On personal cards if you spend money on your card your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a few dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month.
On a business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. Plus if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.