The Platinum Card® from American Express is arguably the king of travel rewards credit cards. Packed with travel credits and elite status perks, the card is a popular choice for road warriors and infrequent travelers who want to upgrade their travel experience. The $695 annual fee is perhaps the only downside to this card. But once you’re over that hurdle, you can add authorized users for $175.
While $175 is still steep for an authorized user account, it can be well worth it if you take all the added travel perks into account. 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.
Why you should add an Amex Platinum authorized user
Adding an Amex Platinum authorized user has many benefits. For starters, authorized users can help you meet large spending requirements faster. Considering the current spending requirement on this card is $6,000 within the first six months of card membership, an authorized user can come in handy.
While most people can meet that requirement by charging $1,000 in monthly expenses to the card, 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 100,000 Membership Rewards in your account.
Aside from benefiting the primary cardholder, adding an authorized user is also highly beneficial to the additional cardholder. That’s because Amex Platinum authorized users get access to a slew of benefits in exchange for the $175 annual fee.
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. Not only will they receive many of the same valuable perks as the primary account holder, but they get it for a much lower annual fee.
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 qualify for their own Amex Platinum bonus down the line.
Which benefits does an Amex Platinum authorized user get?
Unlike most credit cards, the Amex Platinum card comes with a $175 annual fee for authorized users. That seems steep—until you take into account the myriad of cardholders benefits included. Here’s a look at all the benefits Amex Platinum authorized users get access to:
Airport lounge access
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 Network, which includes the exclusive Centurion lounges. Priority Pass Select membership and Delta SkyClub access sweeten the deal further.
Lounge access for authorized users offers hundreds of dollars in value. Priority Pass Select membership alone is worth over $429 per year.
Hilton and Marriott Gold elite status
Currently, it takes 28 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 Gold member, you’ll enjoy valuable perks like complimentary breakfast, space-available room upgrades and 100 percent bonus points, to name a few.
Marriott Gold 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 authorized users can claim their own hotel elite status upgrades.
Rental car 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 (12 rentals or $5,000 spent per calendar year)
- Complimentary upgrades
- 25-50 percent bonus points for every dollar spent
- Access to a dedicated Avis Preferred Plus customer service line
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star
- Complimentary upgrades
- 25 percent bonus points for every dollar spent
- 15 percent savings on standard rates at participating locations
Emerald Club Executive status (12 paid rentals or 40 rental days)
- Guaranteed upgrades in the U.S. and Canada when booking the midsize rate
- Earn a free rental day after six credits (as opposed to 7 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
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
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 these programs lasts around four years and costs around $100, but Amex Platinum cardholders get an application credit every four years for Global Entry and 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.
PreCheck is $85, while Global Entry costs $100 and includes PreCheck membership. Not only should you take advantage of this card perk, but your authorized users qualify for their own credits. It can take the sting out of the $175 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.
$200 airline fee credit
Authorized users on the Amex Platinum Card don’t receive their own $200 airline fee credit, 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 of your choosing. 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 towards the airline fee credit, you have a higher chance of redeeming it.
Shopping, travel and entertainment credits
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. Here’s a rundown of all the Amex shopping, travel and entertainment credits this applies to:
- $300 Equinox credit
- $240 digital entertainment credit
- $200 hotel credit (requires a minimum two-night stay)
- $200 Uber Cash
- $179 Clear credit
- $155 Walmart+ Credit
The Saks Fifth Avenue 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 by heading to https://www.shoprunner.com/enroll/americanexpress.
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. Last year alone, I saved over $2,000 across five American Express cards thanks to Offers. 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 $175 authorized user fee.
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts 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.
The Hotel Collection
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.
Why you should consider giving your authorized user a Gold Card instead
Adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card costs $175 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.
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.
- Log into your American Express account.
- Click on “account services” on the main navigation.
- Select the “manage additional card members” tile.
- Click “add someone to account.”
- If you have multiple American Express cards, select the Platinum Card on the next page.
- 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 TSA PreCheck credit, Shoprunner membership, elite status and more. It costs $175 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.