What’s in My Wallet: My Favorite Travel Card – American Express Platinum
Up front disclaimer: I use credit cards responsibly and pay off my balances each month. If this is not you, keep scrolling, this post aint’ for ya.
I’m a big fan of making my credit cards work hard for me. Whatever it is that you like to do, get a card that rewards you for it. I travel a lot. So far in 2017, I’ve been on approximately 8 round-trip flights and spent 76 nights in a hotel. In the next two months I’ll take four more trips and stay 18 more nights in a hotel. I travel a ton for work, but MAJ Money Moves and I also like to travel for fun. There was not a PCS in for us in 2017, but every other year, I can bet on a week of travel and hotels for PCS-related travel too. That’s why I decided to look into the American Express Platinum Card.
What This is Not
I’m not a credit card churner. The card I’ll discuss below, I envision having it for a long time or at least while my husband is active duty and AMEX extends SCRA benefits to us. Card churning/travel hacking is when you open up a new credit card, make the required purchases, reap the rewards, and then close the account. The rewards can be awesome, such as free flights, hotel stays or points that you can turn into cash. Credit churning makes me a little uneasy, and I’m not willing to mess with my credit too much right now. However, I know plenty of people who do it successfully and benefit big time from it. If you want to see a real life experiment with credit card churning, check out my fellow MilBlogger, Military Dollar’s posts about card churning.
Every time I use this card, I kick myself for not getting it sooner. For servicemembers on active duty status or military spouses who put their servicemember as an authorized user, American Express (AMEX) will waive all annual membership fees on this card as well as on the card of your authorized user. Translation, if you are active duty military or you are a military spouse that applies and adds their servicemember as an authored user, AMEX will waive the $495 annual membership fee as well as the $174 annual membership fee for up to three additional cards. Although AMEX doesn’t need to apply the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to new debt, they stat that they will handle military accounts in accordance with the SCRA.
Credit card companies do not have to apply SCRA to new debt taken out during active duty service. The SCRA is really supposed to help servicemembers with debt they acquired before going on active duty status. However, many credit card companies (American Express included) extend SCRA benefits, basically as a “thank-you” to servicemembers. Therefore I choose companies that extend this benefits. Makes sense, right?
It’s All About the Benefits, Baby
This card comes with all the normal benefits of an AMEX charge card, but these are some of the benefits I use most with this card. These aren’t even all the benefits that come with the Platinum cards, they’re just the ones that I think are the most valuable.
- Up to $200 in Uber credits, $15 each month and $20 in December
- Earn 60,000 points if you spend $5k during the first three months. 60,000 points is roughly $300.
- Points Galore:
- 5x points on hotels books via AMEX Travel
- 5x points on airfare booked direct with airlines or via AMEX travel
- Access to the AMEX Global Lounge Collection via Priority Pass. Membership gives you free unlimited access to airport lounges around the world.
- $200 in airline fee credits for an airline of your choice. You can change up the airline each January.
- Free credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓™ ($85) statement credit. I chose the TSA Pre✓™ for mine and I love swooshing through airport security lines now!
- Complimentary access to unlimited WiFi on Boingo networks
- Automatic upgrade to gold status at Hiltons and Starwood Hotels, and Avis, Hertz, and National car rental agencies
- Free membership to ShopRunner, which gets you free 2-day shipping and returns with over 140 stores.
- Baggage & Rental Car insurance
The AMEX Platinum card also lets you have up to 3 authorized users on your account. Normally, it costs $175 for up to 3 authorized Platinum users. However, AMEX waives that for active duty status military. This is a huge benefit because unlike other cards, man of the benefits I mentioned above are also available for your authorized users. Authorized users do not receive the airline fee credits or Uber credits.
Remember, when you add an authorized user to your account, you’re responsible for what they spend. However, you are able to give each user a limit. I added my husband to my account, obviously, so that I could reap the benefits of AMEX waiving the fees for military. I’m also going to add my mom and dad so that they can enjoy the premium airport lounges and no baggage fees when they travel. Hey older brother, who’s the favorite child now?
What Benefits Have I Used so Far?
I’ve only had this car for 2 months. Remember, it hasn’t cost me a thing because AMEX waived all fees for MAJ Money Moves and me. However, in two months I’ve already used $1,023 in benefits, see below!
- $130 out of my $200 airline fee allowance
- $30 in Uber credits
- 60,000 points = $300 dollars
- $85 in TSA Pre✓™ credit
- ShopRunner Member ship (normally $79/year)
- Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access (normally $399/year)
If you are interested in the AMEX Platinum card and you sign-up through my link, I’ll get 15,000 points, and you’ll get 60,000 points (after you spend $5k in three months). If you don’t want to use my link, no big deal, I still recommend this card, it’s A-mazing!
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