I wasn’t originally intending on writing this type of post since it’s been covered by nearly every blogger out there, but I was asked a bunch of times and figured one was warranted Instead of doing an entire card review, however, I’ll do a bullet-point version that will hopefully help answer most of your questions and give a rundown of some next steps.
- The $450 annual fee DOES NOT count towards your $3K spend requirement. It’s a fee, not a purchase.
- Lounge Access: you ALWAYS have access to US Airways Club Lounges. You will also have access to American and Delta lounges only if you are flying with them that day.
- Lounge Access Part 2: Priority Pass Select membership. You will gain access to hundreds of international lounges with this card, and they have a mobile app to tell you which ones. Enroll here.
- You get a $200 annual airline fee credit, but you have to designate an airline first. This credit can be used to buy gift cards on many airlines (this is the preferred redemption of those in the points community). Mile Value wrote a comprehensive post on this subject.
- You will now have access to Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts. Lucky wrote about the benefits and uses extensively here.
- The $100 Global Entry application fee is waived. If you travel internationally, sign up! I used to have all kinds of trouble re-entering the country, but not anymore thanks to Global Entry. Read why The Points Guy raves about it too.
- You’re now an SPG Gold member, but you have to call to enroll first. Call Starwood at 1-888-625-4990 and tell them you have the Amex Platinum card and would like to have SPG Gold status. They might ask for proof, but it’s usually just faxing a copy of your card. Easy.
- UPDATE: Just to clarify, while the $450 fee does not count towards spend, the $200 airline credit and $100 Global Entry cost DO count since it’s considered spend. For more info, see the discussion in the comments.
- You get rental car benefits with Avis, Hertz, and National. Too much information to list here, but check out this website for all the details.
- There’s plenty more benefits, but I think I covered all the fun stuff. Feel free to ask me any questions I didn’t answer!
Those 100K points that everyone is expecting can do a lot for you. I’ll list some fun ways to redeem those miles below, but these are by no means the only ways or even the best ways. As always, do what’s right for you!
- Singapore Airlines First Class Suites LAX-NRT-SIN (one-way): 91,375 miles when transferred to Singapore Airlines.
- Round trip business class ticket from the US to Europe on Star Alliance when transferred to Singapore or Aeroplan.
- Eleven Round trip short-haul flights on American Airlines when transferred to British Airways (9,000 miles each round trip). Take advantage of a transfer bonus for even more!
- Not my preferred way to redeem these points, but transfer them to Virgin Atlantic and then to Hilton for 200K Hilton Honors points.
- Two and a half round trip domestic (including Canada) business class tickets on United, US, or Air Canada for 40K miles when transferred to Singapore Airlines.
- There’s obviously a million other ways to enjoy your points!
If for some reason you’re having trouble meeting the $3K minimum spend requirement, I recommend reading my post on how to boost your miles/points earning strategy. You’ll find all kinds of interesting ways to minimize your total out-of-pocket costs.
Enjoy your points!