Key takeaways

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express is a versatile travel rewards and benefits card powerhouse that allows you to add an authorized user to your account for $195.
  • The annual fee for an authorized user is high, but could still be worth it if you take into account the card’s benefits and savings authorized users can enjoy.
  • An Amex Platinum authorized user can get many of the same perks as the main cardholder, including exclusive access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection and The Hotel Collection.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is arguably one of the top luxury travel rewards credit cards available. Packed with travel credits and elite status perks, the card is a popular choice for both road warriors and infrequent travelers alike who want to upgrade their travel experience. While the $695 annual fee is high, the value of the benefits can make it worthwhile if you take advantage of them properly. Plus, you can add authorized users to your account for $195 each.

A $195 fee is still steep for an authorized user account, but Amex Platinum authorized users get access to unparalleled travel benefits, including dedicated statement credits and lounge access. If you’re considering adding an authorized user to your Platinum Card, here’s everything you need to know about how to do it and what benefits you’ll be extending to that lucky individual.

Benefits of being an Amex Platinum authorized user

Amex Platinum authorized users get access to a slew of benefits in exchange for the $195 annual fee. Those benefits include:

  • Airports can be loud, chaotic and stressful to navigate. When you’re ready to settle down with a meal or cup of coffee, you often pay through the roof. Thanks to the card’s airport lounge access benefits, Platinum cardholders and their authorized users can avoid these hassles.

    Platinum card authorized users get full access to Amex’s Global Lounge Collection, which includes the exclusive Centurion lounges. Delta SkyClub access and Priority Pass Select membership, a Priority Pass tier exclusive to those who receive their membership through a financial institution, sweeten the deal further

    Lounge access for authorized users offers hundreds of dollars in value. Because of the annual fees associated with the regular Priority Pass tiers, Priority Pass Select membership alone is worth over $429 per year.
  • Currently, it takes 40 nights to earn Gold status with Hilton and 25 with Marriott. With the Amex Platinum Card, you get automatically upgraded just for being a cardholder. As a Hilton Honors Gold member, you’ll enjoy valuable perks like complimentary breakfast, space-available room upgrades and 100 percent bonus points, to name a few.

    Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite isn’t as generous, with key perks being room upgrades, 25 percent bonus points and a welcome gift of 250 or 500 points. Nonetheless, having status can improve your experience when staying at Hilton and Marriott properties. Not only is this perk extended to primary Platinum cardholders, but also to authorized users who want to claim their own hotel elite status.
  • If hotel elite status isn’t enough, Amex Platinum authorized users also qualify for the same complimentary rental car elite status primary cardholders receive: Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star and National Emerald Club Executive status.

    Avis Preferred

    • Special discounts
    • Minimum of 100 points rewarded on every rental
    • Expedited service

    Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star

    • Complimentary upgrades
    • 25 percent bonus points for every dollar spent
    • Up to a 15 percent discount on standard rates at participating locations

    Emerald Club Executive status

    • Guaranteed upgrades in the U.S. and Canada when booking the midsize rate
    • Earn a free rental day after six credits (as opposed to seven for non-elites)
    • Access to Executive Area, where you can choose any full-size car and only pay the midsize rate
    • No second driver fees
  • Whether you call the airport your second home or fly just once a year, having Global Entry or TSA PreCheck can make your travel experience infinitely better. Membership in Global Entry lasts four years and costs $100, while membership in TSA PreCheck costs $78 dollars and lasts five years. Amex Platinum cardholders get an application credit of up to $100 every four years for Global Entry and 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. Remember, if you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll get TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.

    Not only can you take advantage of this card perk, but your authorized users qualify for their own credits, too. Getting Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for yourself and your authorized user can take the sting out of the $195 authorized user fee and ensure you’re all able to get through the airport quickly when traveling together. It’s a win-win for everyone.
  • Authorized users on the Amex Platinum Card don’t receive their own $200 airline fee credit with a pre-selected airline, but their purchases count towards the main accountholder’s credit. It’s still useful because some people don’t fully use their credits and even let them expire (guilty). That’s mainly because Amex limits the credit to a single airline you have to select ahead of time. It’s easy to miscalculate, choose an airline you don’t end up flying with, and then get stuck with a credit you can’t use.

    With authorized user purchases counting toward the airline fee credit, you have a higher chance of redeeming it.
  • The Amex Platinum Card comes loaded with shopping and entertainment credits. While authorized users don’t get their own credits, their purchases do count towards the primary cardholder’s credit. The Amex shopping, travel and entertainment credits this applies to include:
    • $300 Equinox credit
    • $240 digital entertainment credit
    • $200 hotel credit (requires a minimum two-night stay via bookings from The Hotel Collection)
    • $200 Uber Cash (for rides or Uber Eats)
    • $189 Clear Plus credit
    • $155 Walmart+ credit
    • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit
    The Saks Fifth Avenue $100 credit works much like the airline fee credit. It’s restricted to a single merchant and expires when unused. While authorized users don’t get their own credits, their purchases are eligible for the primary cardholder’s credit.

    The Saks Fifth Avenue credit is issued twice a year, in $50 increments. It’s easily overlooked since not everyone shops at Saks. However, if your authorized user does, it becomes another card perk that can justify the added annual fee.
  • ShopRunner is sort of like the Amazon Prime of popular retailers, offering free two-day shipping at over 100 online stores. It’s a must-have if you shop online and like to get your items fast. Membership costs $79 per year, but it’s free for Platinum cardholders and authorized users.

    In fact, authorized users can claim their own ShopRunner membership when they sign up via American Express.
  • Amex Offers is by far one of the most valuable benefits of any Amex card. Through this program, you can get statement credits at popular merchants that include retail and travel. It’s not uncommon to see an offer for $50 off a $250 hotel bill or even a discount on your utilities or cell phone bill. Most of those savings came from my Amex Platinum Card, which tends to have the most lucrative discounts.

    Amex Platinum authorized users can go online and add their own Amex Offers to their cards. If you come across a particularly enticing Amex Offer, you can take advantage of it twice — once on your card and again on your authorized user account. This is an incredibly valuable perk that can help offset the Amex Platinum Card’s $195 authorized user fee.
  • Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) is an exclusive program for Platinum cardholders that offers elite-type perks at some of the best hotels worldwide. We’re talking free nights, resort credits, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check-out, to name a few. This can help you save money and even upgrade your next hotel stay.

    Amex Platinum authorized users have full access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and earn 5 points per dollar spent on hotel reservations booked through Amex Travel.
  • The Hotel Collection is a pared-down version of FHR, exclusive to Amex Platinum and American Express® Gold Card cardholders. Bookings include free room upgrades and a $100 credit on qualifying two-night bookings. Any authorized user on your Platinum Card will have full access to FHR and The Hotel Collection.

How to maximize the use of an Amex Platinum authorized user

Once you’ve added an Amex Platinum authorized user to your account, you can take steps to maximize the perks you both get. For starters, authorized users can help you meet large spending requirements for membership rewards faster. Considering the current spending requirement on this card for those who want to earn their New Card Member offer is $8,000 within the first six months of card membership for 80,000 Membership Rewards points, an authorized user can come in handy.

You can meet that requirement by charging about $1,335 in monthly expenses to the card, but you might want to get your bonus faster. Perhaps you’re saving up for a summer vacation, or you want to get a head start on booking holiday travel. The sooner you meet that spending requirement, the sooner you’ll have those 80,000 Membership Rewards in your account.

By adding an authorized user to your account, you can reach your spending goals faster and maximize the rewards points you earn.

Should you consider giving your authorized user a Gold Card instead?

If you want to give a loved one a thoughtful gift, the Platinum Card can be a great option. As long as an authorized user doesn’t have bad credit and is over the age of 13, they will likely be accepted.

However, adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card still costs $195 per year, while issuing a Gold Card is free. If you’re adding an authorized user simply to earn more points or manage expenses, you might want to consider giving them a Gold Card instead.

It’s also important to note that being an authorized user also does not count towards the Amex once-per-lifetime rule. That rule impacts welcome bonus eligibility, and since authorized users do not receive a welcome bonus, they can still qualify for their own Amex Platinum bonus down the line.

How to add an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card

You can add an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card over the phone or online. Doing so online is fast and straightforward. Here are the steps:

  1. Log into your American Express account.
  2. Click on “account services” on the main navigation.
  3. Select the “manage additional card members” tile.
  4. Click “add someone to account.”
  5. If you have multiple American Express cards, select the Platinum Card on the next page.
  6. Enter the authorized user’s full name, email address, Social Security number, date of birth and home address.

The bottom line

Amex Platinum authorized users receive many of the same benefits as primary cardholders, including the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, ShopRunner membership, elite status and more. It costs $195 to add an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card. However, you can choose to give your authorized user an Amex Gold Card instead, without paying a fee (and without all the Platinum perks).