How to Maximize the American Express Platinum Card Credits
relaxing at a pool watching a streaming app

How to Maximize All of the American Express Platinum Card Credits

“Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”

Whenever I tell people that I pay $695 a year for a credit card, I get kind of a weird look. Said looks grows even stranger when I then explain how I even save/make money with that same card. The product in question is the American Express Platinum card, which I’ve held since 2019. The truth is that, despite that fee, the numerous credits and perks that the card offers do make it worth it. At the same time, you do have to know how to use those credits in order to get the most from them.

With that in mind, while you can check out my full review of the card (and why I think it’s worth that hefty fee), today, I want to focus on the various credits the card offers and share some ways to get the greatest value out of each.

The American Express Platinum Card’s Credits and the Best Ways to Use Them

hotel room bed

Fine Hotels + Resorts or Hotel Collection Credit ($200 annually)

American Express’s Fine Hotels + Resorts program (FHR) allows cardholders to access special benefits at select hotel properties. Some of the perks that come via these bookings include early check-in when available, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, a $100 property credit, free breakfast, upgrades when available, and more. Similarly, the Hotel Collection includes such perks as the $100 property credit but scales back some of the other benefits. I mention all of this because, when Amex revamped the Platinum card a few years ago, they added a $200 annual credit that can be used toward Fine Hotels + Resorts or Hotel Collection bookings.

First, it’s worth noting that FHR bookings only require you to stay one night and the $100 property credit is per stay, not per night. So, one way to maximize is to stay a single night at an eligible property. Meanwhile, Hotel Collection bookings require a minimum of two nights, but the $100 credit still only applies per stay.

The downside of FHR is that some of the properties can be extremely pricey. Yet, that’s not the case across the board. In particular, I’ve had great luck in Las Vegas where FHR properties are pretty plentiful (even though the line-up does seem to keep changing) and relatively affordable. I’ve also managed to find reasonable Hotel Collection options in Chicago, Orlando, and Dallas so far.

Ultimately, to make the most of this credit, you’ll want to check hotels during the off-season, weekdays, and other discounted times. You may also want to keep an eye on what that $100 property credit is. Personally, I always opt for properties offering a dining credit, whereas some instead feature a spa credit or other options. Lastly, if you have status with any hotel chains (including Hilton or Marriott Bonvoy, which the Platinum card offers Gold status for), you may be able to stack your loyalty benefits with the FHR benefits — so be on the lookout for those opportunities as well.

Digital Entertainment Credit ($20 a month)

Considering how streaming has taken over the world in the past few years, it makes sense that Amex would add a credit geared toward these platforms. Alas, this $20 per month Digital Entertainment Credit (as it’s officially called) doesn’t cover just any streaming service. Instead, your options are limited to the following:

  • Peacock
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times
  • SiriusXM
  • The Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, and/or ESPN+)

Maximizing this particular credit will heavily depend on your preferences and what services you may already have. In my case, we love Disney and hate ads, so I use my $20 per month credit on the Disney+/Hulu premium duo plan. Meanwhile, if you have a SiriusXM-equipped vehicle, perhaps using that monthly expense for your credit makes sense. Or, if you’re into staying up on the news, then the NYT or WSJ options might appeal to you. Really, there aren’t any huge tips or tricks with this one — it all just depends on what you like.

CLEAR Plus Credit ($189 annually)

Another credit that comes with your Platinum card is one for CLEAR Plus. That sum will cover your entire yearly membership, allowing you to save time at airport security (hopefully). If you’re not familiar, CLEAR allows you to bypass the ticket check portion of TSA, which also means that the service can be used in tandem with TSA Precheck. Although I’ve seen some negativity about CLEAR lines as of late, I’ve only had positive experiences so far and regularly get through checkpoints in under five minutes.

As for how to maximize this one, it only becomes necessary if you want to add a family member. If that’s the case, then I’d recommend looking into the discounts you get as a Delta SkyMiles or United Mileage Plus member. With these discounts (which were more significant in the past but have since been adjusted), you’ll be able to add a family member to your membership, use your full Amex credit, and save some money in the process. Of course, if you’d rather pay nothing out of pocket, then just sign up yourself, use your full credit, and call it a day.

Equinox and AMEX Platinum card

Equinox Credit ($295 annually)

When Amex increased the Platinum card’s fee to $695 and added credits to it, the $295 credit for Equinox was easily the most controversial. That’s partially because, initially, that amount was divided into monthly credits. Thankfully, Amex and Equinox have since updated the credit, which can now be used in one fell swoop.

If you’re an Equinox member already, then this credit is easy to use. But, if you’re not, you probably won’t get much benefit from this. That’s because, from what I’ve heard, this credit will barely cover a single month of the gym’s membership fee. Ouch.

With that said, you can also use the credit toward the Equinox+ app. Even then, the monthly cost is $40, so your credit will be nearly used up after seven months.

Ultimately, this is one credit I think is okay to pass up on if it doesn’t apply. For me, the goal is that you’ll get enough value from the other credits the Platinum card offers that this one won’t be a big deal.

Uber Cash Credits ($15 per month + an extra $20 in December)

When you link your Amex Platinum card to your Uber account, you’ll receive $15 in Uber Cash each month. Actually, you’ll earn an extra $20 each December (for a total of $35) so it comes out to a nice, round $200 per year. Unfortunately, this Uber Cash is “use it or lose it” each month and doesn’t roll over. Thus, to get the most value from the card, you’ll want to ensure that you’re redeeming this Uber Cash monthly.

If you take Uber rides frequently, then that is probably the best way to use this credit. However, if you’re like me and only use the rideshare service once in a while, there’s luckily another option: Uber Eats.

The downside of Uber Eats is all of the fees that come with it. So, to keep these fees to a minimum, I’d recommend sticking to the pick-up option. Granted, even with this route, the menu prices you pay are usually a bit inflated from what you’d experience when ordering directly through the restaurant. Plus, not every restaurant that offers delivery will also offer pick-up. Nevertheless, if you want to use this credit and don’t have any rides to take, then I think this is your best bet.

Airline Incidentals Credit ($200 annually)

Famously, the Platinum’s Airline Incidentals credit isn’t the easiest thing in the world to use. That’s because, rather than being able to use it for things like airfare or upgrades, the credit is only triggered by fees such as baggage, in-flight refreshments, seat selection (which sounds like upgrades, but technically upgrades aren’t allowed while paying just to select a seat), and more. Also, before you ask, Amex has long since closed a previous loophole where purchasing gift cards triggered the credit. In other words, in most cases, the only way to use this credit is while actually flying.

What makes this credit even harder to use is that you need to select an airline ahead of time. In my experience, you can switch your selection by using Amex’s chat feature, but I’m not sure how often you can do this. So, be sure to think your choice through. For example, if you have status on one airline and, thus, don’t pay as many fees, it may make more sense to select a secondary airline that you occasionally fly but incur more fees with. Also, if you fly discount airlines such as Spirit or Southwest, those might make sense as airlines to select due to some of their fees.

Another option is specific to Delta flyers. While Platinum cardholders get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, there is a fee for any guests. But, if you pay this fee using your card (and you’ve selected Delta as your airline for this credit), the $50 guest fee will trigger your incidentals credit. Is this a good way to use your credit? Maybe not — but whatever works.

By the way, since this credit is so limited, you can find Reddit threads about people who treat several of their fellow passengers to free drinks and snacks while aboard just to use up their credit. That sounds like a pretty baller idea to me, so I’m going to say go for that if you can.

American Express Platinum and Walmart+ logos

Walmart+ Credit ($12.95 per month)

When it was first announced, the addition of this credit left some scratching their heads. Yet, it’s true: you can sign up for Walmart+ via Amex and have your $12.95 monthly fee completely reimbursed. Note that this is only for the monthly option, so don’t try to save money by signing up for the annual option as it will actually end up costing you more. Since your entire membership fee is covered by this credit, there’s not really a reason not to give it a try.

So what do you get with Walmart+? Well, the membership offers free delivery on orders over $35, free shipping with no minimum purchases, discounts at select fuel stations, access to the Walmart Scan & Go feature, and more. Even if none of that sounds very useful, Walmart+ also includes a complimentary Paramount+ subscription. Because of this, once again, I think it’s worth signing up for just because you can.

Saks Fifth Avenue Credit ($50 to be used between January and June, $50 to be used between July and December)

Another interesting Platinum card credit involves Saks Fifth Avenue. In this case, the weird part isn’t the retailer itself but how the credit is broken up. Each year, Platinum cardholders get $100 in credit for Saks — $50 twice per year. Specifically, $50 during the first half of the year and $50 during the second half.

I don’t know if you know this or not but Saks Fifth Avenue is not cheap! In turn, maximizing this credit is a bit of a crap shoot. That said, with some patience and searching, you can find some decent deals.

In the past, I’ve managed to use my $50 credit toward such items as a dress shirt, shoes for my wife, a raincoat for my dog (that she honestly wears all the time), and more. The trick is to look at the site’s Sale section and sort by price. Then, try to find something that either costs as close to $50 as possible or that is worth the price minus the $50 credit. This strategy still isn’t foolproof, but hopefully you can find something worth using your $50 credit on.

Oh! And don’t forget to check Rakuten before making your Saks purchase.

One recent negative change is that Saks no longer offers free shipping via ShopRunner. That will likely further cut into the usefulness of this credit for most. So, if you do struggle to find anything, it may be worth skipping this altogether.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit ($100 every five years)

Finally, we come to a credit that isn’t monthly, bi-annually, or annually but once every five years. With the Platinum card (and several other cards for that matter), you can get up to a $100 statement credit toward a Global Entry or TSA Precheck subscription.

To maximize this credit, I’d recommend trying Global Entry. For one, the service’s $100 for five years fee means you’ll literally be getting the most from the perk. Moreover, not only does Global Entry grant you expedited reentry into the United States and numerous airports (and, as I learned, land crossing from Canada) but also includes a TSA Precheck membership.

If you don’t travel internationally and don’t live near a Global Entry interview location, then you might want to just stick with Precheck. But, if you can find an interview and plan to take even a couple of international trips in the next five years, I say upgrade to Global Entry. After all — Amex is picking up the bill either way.

The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
5
Annual fee
$695
Welcome bonus
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Rewards
5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or via Amex Travel, 5x Membership Rewards points on hotel bookings made via Amex Travel, 1x Membership Rewards points on all other purchases.
Worth the hefty price for frequent travelers
With airport lounge access, numerous travel and lifestyle credits, complimentary hotel status, and more, the Platinum Card is perfect for both luxury travelers and casual travelers alike.
Pros
  • Includes complimentary airport lounge accessing including Centurion Lounge, Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta), and more
  • Up to $1,400 in annual credits
Cons
  • $695 annual fee
  • Some credits may not be as usable or valuable to certain cardmembers

When a credit card costs $695 a year, you sure as hell want to get the most value out of it. That’s definitely the case for the American Express Platinum Card. The good news is that, with a variety of credits offered, many cardholders will indeed be able to recoup their annual fee (and then some) — as long as they follow some best practices along the way. So, whether you’re already a Platinum cardholder or thinking about becoming one, hopefully these tips can help you make the absolute most of the card’s credits and save you money overall.

Fioney has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fioney.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.” (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney.com to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney staff.)

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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