The American Express Platinum Charge Card is loaded with perks – beginning with unlimited Virgin Australia, Delta, Centurion and Plaza Premium airport lounge access, just for starters – but many of the benefits aren’t widely known, let alone mentioned on the AMEX website.
Whether it’s complimentary Star Alliance Gold status, extra elite memberships with hotels and car hire companies, free restaurant meals every time you fly or $700 in yearly travel credits instead of the normal $300, here are just some of the hidden benefits an AMEX Platinum Charge Card can unlock.
1. You can get Star Alliance Gold after just three flights
Merely holding an AMEX Platinum Charge Card gets you boosted to Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status, and while that’s a great perk on its own, it comes with a lesser-known benefit: Star Alliance Gold status through the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program after taking just three flights!
It’s done by linking your Jade-grade Golden Circle membership to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer scheme, which gives you instant KrisFlyer Silver (Star Alliance Silver) status, with a boost to KrisFlyer Gold (Star Alliance Gold) for one year after taking only three Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flights.
This is a one-off boost, not a perpetual Star Alliance Gold card, but with benefits like priority check-in, priority boarding, priority baggage delivery and a boosted baggage allowance across all Star Alliance airlines – not to mention lounge access over and above that already afforded to AMEX Platinum members – if you were going to take those flights anyway, you may as well Go for Gold!
2. Complimentary hotel, car hire, golf and wine club memberships
AMEX does a pretty good job promoting the Hilton Honors Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold and Club Carlson Gold Elite status boosts included with this card, but what you may not realise is that some of these tiers open the door to other elite cards too.
For instance, because Marriott now owns Starwood, you can take your SPG Gold membership, link it with a Marriott Rewards account and get instant Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status too for recognition at hotels like Ritz-Carlton and Marriott – and you don’t lose your SPG Gold card in the process.
On top of the handy Star Alliance Gold trick above, that nifty Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade card also gets you instant Taj InnerCircle Gold status when you link your Shangri-La and Taj Hotels loyalty accounts via the chains’ Warmer Welcomes program, unlocking perks at many Indian hotels.
Through the American Express website, Platinum cardholders can opt-in for a complimentary Preferred Golf Premium membership as well – providing a free round of golf when staying at participating hotels – and for Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status, giving car hire upgrades among other perks.
If that’s not enough, Hertz also extends car hire discounts to AMEX Platinum members, as does AVIS when you join the AVIS Preferred program via the AMEX website, while Langton’s provides Platinum cardholders with a $50 voucher to use towards their first wine purchase.
3. You can literally dine for free at major Australian airports
Included with your Platinum Charge Card is a complimentary Priority Pass membership, which isn’t only great for airport lounge access, but also for dining at a range of Australian airport restaurants which accept Priority Pass cards for dining credit in lieu of lounge access.
You get $36 of food and beverage credit when one ‘lounge entry’ is processed on your account, but as the Priority Pass membership included with AMEX entitles you to one complimentary ‘guest’ with every entry as well, that ups your dining credit to $72 when travelling with another person.
Yes, $72 of free food and drink every time you pass through Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane airports, when travelling with any airline. Just be prepared to show your boarding pass when you order, which helps prevent this benefit from being abused (and taken away).
4. You can get a free AMEX Platinum Reserve credit card
By holding the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, you’re eligible to apply for a complimentary AMEX Platinum Reserve credit card too: a card that’s no longer open to the public at large, and with an ongoing waiver of the Reserve’s normal $395 annual fee.
Why take this up? Well for starters, the Platinum Reserve offers its own $400/year travel credit – that’s in addition to the $300 travel credit included with the Platinum Charge Card – so as there’s no extra cost to have the Reserve, that’s $700/year in travel credits all up, which goes a long way to offsetting the Platinum Charge’s own $1,200/year annual fee.
Secondly, the Platinum Reserve card earns points at the same rate as the Platinum Charge Card, but has no points tiering: so while the Platinum Charge Card reduces its earn rate down to one point per $1 spent after 300,000 points have been earned in a year, the Platinum Reserve continues earning three points per dollar at restaurants and two points per dollar on travel charges, uncapped.
Finally, because the Platinum Charge Card is just that – a ‘charge card’ which needs to be repaid in full every month – having the Platinum Reserve credit card attached gives you the flexibility to carry a balance from month to month if you need to: but of course, interest charges do apply.
5. You can get a separate ‘account card’ on your Platinum Charge Card account
Not only can you issue up to four supplementary Platinum Charge Cards to other people – such as giving a card to your partner or spouse, and perhaps any trustworthy children or parents – you can also issue an extra card to yourself, which AMEX calls an ‘account card’.
It’s basically a second card linked to the same account, but with its own unique card number.
Frequent travellers might choose to leave this extra card in their passport wallet to avoid moving their regular card between their ‘everyday’ and ‘overseas’ wallets, while others might use the card to fund any direct debit bill payments, so that if their normal card is ever compromised and needs to be reissued with a new card number, their bill payments will continue as usual, without interruption.
Business owners might also use the account card for their business spend to keep those transactions separate for easy reconciliation, as the monthly statements AMEX provides group purchases by card number – making for easier integration with some accounting programs, too.
If you don't already have an American Express Platinum Charge Card, you can apply for one here.