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$200 hotel credit offered with The Platinum Card® from American Express applies to prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings made via Amex Travel. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
There's no doubt that The Platinum Card® from American Express is an expensive beast. With an annual fee just shy of $700 per year (Rates & Fees), you really have to maximize the card's benefits in order to make the cost worthwhile. However, if you have family or friends who'd like the benefits of an Amex Platinum without paying the full annual fee, a usable workaround has been to add authorized users to your account.
Now, American Express has announced an increase to the annual fee you'll pay for each authorized user — and it's not pretty. So should you still add authorized users to your account? Let's take a look at the benefits you'll get versus the cost to decide whether it's still worth it.
The Cost of Adding an Authorized User to the Amex Platinum
On August 17, 2023, American Express announced that the cost of adding an authorized user to the Amex Platinum is increasing from $175 to $195 (Rates & Fees). This may not seem like a huge increase, but there's a much bigger change afoot.
Previously, the cost for an authorized user was $175 for up to three additional cards, then $175 for each additional Platinum card thereafter. Now, it's $195 for each additional Platinum Card for Authorized Users. This represents a huge blow for those who rely on authorized user cards for benefits such as lounge access and elite status. If you had three authorized users on your account, it cost $175 last year. Going forward, this will cost $585.
Given the large increase in fees, is it still worthwhile to keep your authorized user cards? There are some pretty significant benefits involved, after all.
The Benefits Of An Authorized User Amex Platinum Card
It's best to think of an authorized user on the Amex Platinum as a sort of Amex-lite. You'll get many of the benefits — but not all. If you add a Companion Card, your authorized user won't enjoy perks but can help you earn points and spend some of your annual credits.
If you add an additional Amex Platinum, there's a fee, but your cardholder will enjoy the perks discussed below. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Airport lounge access
Perhaps the most important benefit here is that authorized users with an Additional Amex Platinum are granted access to the Global Lounge Collection. This comprises more than 1,400 airport lounges around the world, including American Express Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Plaza Premium Lounges, and Priority Pass lounges.
There isn't another credit card that offers this much access to airport lounges, which can easily make the annual fee as an authorized user worth it if you're a frequent traveler. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Hotel elite status
The Amex Platinum comes with a host of elite statuses, which are passed on to authorized users. This includes the ability to enroll for complimentary Gold status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy.
While Marriott Bonvoy Gold doesn't get you much beyond a 2:00 p.m. checkout and room upgrades, Hilton Gold entitles you to complimentary breakfast (or a food and beverage credit), which can be incredibly valuable — on top of the room upgrades.
Rental car elite status
The Amex Platinum also provides rental car elite status:
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle.
- Avis Preferred Plus.
- National Emerald Club Executive status.
These benefits are extended to authorized users, as well.
Global Entry/ TSA PreCheck credit
Interestingly, though authorized users are able to take advantage of the many credits the Amex Platinum offers each year, they don't generally get their own allotment. This means that the $200 in annual Uber Cash the card provides must be shared among all users.
The only exception to this is the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, which offers up to a $100 credit every four years for Global Entry or four and a half years for TSA PreCheck. You'll simply need to charge the application fee to your card and you'll be reimbursed.
Global Entry allows you to skip the standard queue at immigration in favor of automated kiosks, while TSA PreCheck allows you to bypass the regular line at airport security. It's worth noting that Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck access.
Access to the Fine Hotel + Resorts program
The American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program allows you to book high-end hotels with benefits that mimic elite status. This includes perks such as 4:00 p.m. checkout, complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, and more. Bookings even include a $100 on-property credit to use during your stay, and your authorized users can reserve hotels here.
Shared annual credits
Although authorized users aren't entitled to their own annual credits each year, they do have the ability to share what the Amex Platinum already offers. These include:
- $200 hotel credit
- $200 airline incidental fee credit
- $189 CLEAR Plus credit
- $200 in Uber Cash
- $240 digital entertainment credit
- $100 Global Entry fee credit (every four years) or $85 TSA PreCheck credit (every four and a half years)
- $100 Saks credit
- $155 Walmart+ credit
- $300 Equinox credit
- $300 off a SoulCycle bike (not factored into the annual value)
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Perhaps the most important benefit of being an authorized user is that you have access to the shared pool of points that the card earns. Why is this such a big deal?
Because Membership Rewards points earned by spending points on an Amex card are limited in their transferability. You can't pool or transfer Amex points directly from one person to another. But you can transfer points to someone else's hotel or airline rewards program if they're an authorized user on your account.
If you're looking to share your Amex points with another person, they'll need to be an authorized user on your card — full stop. They'll also need to have been a user on your card for at least 90 days before making the transfer.
Finally, you'll want to note that authorized users of the Amex Platinum earn points at the same rate as the primary cardholder:
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Earn 1X points on other eligible purchases.
The Benefits of a Companion Amex Platinum Card
Formerly known as an Additional Green Card, the Companion Platinum card is another card option for those looking to add users to the Amex Platinum. This no-annual-fee option (Rates & Fees) has far fewer benefits than a standard authorized user, but it maintains two key features:
- Global Entry/ TSA PreCheck credit
- Transferable points
As we noted above, it's important to have users on your account in the event that you'd like to share points with a friend or relative. If the $195 annual fee is a little too rich for your blood, the Companion Platinum Card can be an alternative.
Is It Worth It To Add Authorized Users on the Amex Platinum?
Now that we've broken down the benefits that authorized users get, here comes the real question: Is it still worth it to add them? This is going to depend entirely on your travel style.
The biggest things to consider are how often you travel and how often your authorized user travels separately from you. Sure, airport lounge access and hotel elite status is great, but if you're always traveling together you're looking at redundant benefits. If you spend $75,000 or more on your Amex Platinum annually, you'll have guest privileges at Centurion Lounges (otherwise, guest passes cost $50 per adult). And you have guest privileges at Priority Pass lounges regardless of spending activity.
However, if your authorized user tends to travel on their own, these benefits can be invaluable.
Because authorized users have access to the American Express Centurion Lounges on their own, it may be worth getting a card if the pair (or more) of you visit the lounges at least four times per year but you aren't putting more than $75k of purchases on your Amex Platinum. Consider four visits at $50 per adult guest: That costs a hair more than the $195 annual fee. With five or more visits, you're now saving money by adding an authorized user, rather than paying for guests.
The increase in annual fees for authorized users of the Amex Platinum is a huge blow. There's no denying that. However, the additional cards offer great benefits for the new $195 fee. This includes airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and the ability to share Amex points via transfer partners.
Whether or not it's worth it for you will depend on your personal travel situation. Before adding an authorized user to your card, do the math to decide if the numbers make sense. Is your friend/relative getting $195 in value? If not, consider giving your friend the no-annual-fee Companion Card, which still allows you to earn and transfer points without costing a dime.
Has your approach to authorized users on the Amex Platinum changed now? Let us know in the comments below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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