The American Express Platinum card is a card with many great benefits. It is one of those cards that is nice to hold onto but not one to put spending on considering the lackluster points earning. But, when it comes to card perks, the Amex Platinum is the winner, hands-down.
However, those perks all come at a price. The price is a $450 annual fee and that is not (normally) waived for the first year. That means, you will be paying $450 the first month for the privilege of having the card and its load of perks. The bonus typically is nice to soften the blow but normally does not offer enough to give substantial value and wipe out the effect of the annual fee.
Enter the Fee-Free Amex Platinum through Ameriprise! Thanks to a partnership with Ameriprise Financial, American Express actually offers their Platinum card fee-free for the first year! This is the normal offer but now through August 31, you can also earn 25,000 Membership Reward points after spending $3,000 in 3 months (according to Amex’s new policy, you are ineligible for that bonus if you have ever had the Amex Platinum card before).
Maximize the Fee-Free Amex Platinum Card Through Ameriprise
According to the terms, if a relationship between the applicant and Ameriprise does not exist, American Express has a right to cancel the card or switch it to a different card. This offer is offered to Ameriprise customers, but is available through a public link that does not request any information or confirmation about your Ameriprise accounts, so others have reported success with it as well. If you are an Ameriprise customer of any of their products, you will have no problem. For other applicants, your mileage may vary.
The 25,000 Membership Reward points from this card are a nice boost and probably offer a value of around $450 to consumers who use them to transfer to one of Amex’s valuable partners. However, if you have ever had the Platinum card before, your chances of getting those 25,000 points are not very good. So, if you have already had and cancelled the Platinum card before, does it make sense to get this card again? The answer is a definite yes! I will show you how you can maximize the fee-free Amex Platinum card from this offer.
Annual Airline Reimbursement – $400 in reimbursement in the first member year
This is one of the nicer benefits that offer you direct value. That is because you will receive $200 in airline reimbursement credits each calendar year. If you apply for this card now, you can get the $200 reimbursement now and next year for a total of $400 in your first, fee-free year!
What can this reimbursement be used for? There is the official list of things like:
- Change fees
- Baggage fees
- Phone reservation fees
- Pet fees
- Airline lounge passes (or towards annual membership)
- In-flight purchases (such as entertainment and amenities)
- Seat assignment fees (for things like Economy Comfort)
All of those things can be valuable, especially if you do not have elite status. You do need to designate a single airline and it cannot be changed for the entire year. The airlines it covers are Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. The great part is that one of the unofficial reimbursements that has worked for countless customers is gift cards with the chosen airline. Most people will get gift cards in smaller amounts ($50, though some have success with $100) but I know that United did work for me at the full $200 level. In addition, many people have reported that cheap airline tickets ($75 and under) have automatically processed as a refund as well.
Since gift cards get reimbursed, this gives you the chance to get $400 towards future travel with this card ($200 each calendar year)! These airline gift cards (must be electronic gift cards) can be used towards any type of future travel, but may be limited in how many you can use per ticket. Southwest, for example, could be an excellent way to go if you have the companion pass as it will basically double your amount!
Additional Card Holders
The additional card holder fee for the American Express Platinum is normally $175 for the first three additional card holders and then $175 for each additional card holder after that. With this fee-free card, the first three are actually free for the first year! This is very helpful for many of the following benefits!
The American Express Platinum was dealt a blow earlier this year when card holders lost access to the AA/US Airway lounges. This reduced the airline lounges to only Delta. However, in place of those lounges lost, American Express is actually building their own Centurion Lounges that are supposed to be some of the nicest domestic airport lounges in the US. They are currently in Las Vegas and Dallas/Ft. Worth with one opening in LaGuardia (NYC) shortly and San Francisco and Miami after that. In addition, you will also be able to receive a free Priority Pass Select membership that will give you access to many other lounges. This works for all additional card holders.
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status
Holders of the American Express Platinum card get comped SPG Gold status, which is great! SPG gold does not come standard with either of their own co-branded cards (you must spend $30,000 in a year to earn it), so being able to have it only by holding a card is a big perk. While it is not as valuable as Hilton Gold as far as perks, it is a more noticed perk by agents as it is normally harder to come by than Hilton’s Gold. This works for all additional card holders
National Emerald Executive Status
Card holders also receive National Emerald Executive status, which is a tremendous car rental status. It does come through other methods as well, but it is a nice perk to have with the Platinum card. This works for all additional card holders.
Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Reimbursement – up to $500 total in reimbursement!
Global Entry enrollment costs $100 for a 5 year period. Global Entry is simply incredible to have, a great timesaver, and a huge plus when traveling with a family! One of the great things is that you do not need to have the card used for the enrollment payment in the name of the applicant – so, I can use my card registered in my name for a friend’s enrollment and still receive the reimbursement! You could choose to just have the TSA Precheck reimbursement instead ($85), but since you receive TSA Pre with Global Entry anyway, you should just apply for Global Entry. This works for all additional card holders.
Many, many more
There are many more perks that you can get with this card, including:
- Baggage insurance up to $3,000 (when eligible travel is booked with the card)
- Travel Accident Insurance for $100,000 if death or dismemberment occurs while traveling by plane, ship, bus or train (when eligible travel is booked with the card)
- Medical Assistance and Insurance – this is a great one (and one of the reasons that I and my friends have gotten this card). This even protects you with injuries from snow sports and most adventure sports (like running!). If you have to go to the hospital, you simply call American Express and they will direct pay the hospital up to $2.5 million! They will even pay for books, magazines, and flowers! In addition, if you were traveling alone, they will pay for the relative of your choice to come and stay with you at up to $250 a night. After you get out of the hospital, if you were told not to travel yet, they will pay for your stay in a hotel. And finally, another great one is that they will pay for your medical evacuation expenses!
- Car Rental Insurance – if you use your card when picking up a rental car, you will be covered for all insurances as a primary insurance coverer.
- Access to the Fine Hotels and Resort program with great perks
So, if we add up all of those benefits for the main card holder and the three free card holders, we get a great value out of this card! Not only do four separate people receive Starwood Preferred Gold status and National Emerald Executive status, but you will also receive lounge access for those same four people and four Global Entry application reimbursements as well as $200 airline reimbursements per year. That adds up to a definite value of $800 in actual cash benefits as well as the potential for a lot more in non-monetary benefits from the lounge access and elite access. For a card that has no annual fee for this first year, this is awesome!
Of course, if you have never had the Amex Platinum card before, that also allows you to earn the 25,000 Membership Reward points for another $450 in value, bringing your total value from the first year to over $1,200!
If you are eligible for this card, now you know some of the fantastic ways to maximize your first year of fee-free membership.