The Platinum Card® from American Express comes chock-full of cardholder benefits that offset its annual fee. One of its most value-laden perks, however, sometimes flies under the radar.
For cardholders with a spouse, children over the age of 13 or trusted colleagues, the ability to add up to three authorized users for a flat annual fee of $175 (in total, not per card) can be a noteworthy perk. It brings many of the same benefits that the primary cardholder enjoys to others without paying the full annual fee. Terms apply.
What are the The Platinum Card® from American Express authorized user benefits?
Centurion Lounge access
American Express has a growing number of Centurion Lounges across airports around the world. These feature a variety of benefits, from chef-driven buffets and complimentary bars with wine tasting areas, to shower suites and billiard tables. The domestic lounge network includes locations in Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.
In addition to a Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong, there are other international American Express lounge destinations, including Buenos Aires, Delhi, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Mumbai, São Paulo, Stockholm and Sydney.
Priority Pass and other airport lounge access
Most airports around the world don’t have Centurion Lounges or American Express-affiliated facilities, but an authorized user gets access to airline and airport operated-lounges (as part of the Global Lounge Collection), too. These include lounges through free Priority Pass Select membership, as well as access to Escape Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when flying a same-day Delta flight. Authorized users can take advantage of these perks just like the primary cardholder.
Authorized user benefits also come with access to Airspace Lounges and some Lufthansa lounges in Munich and Frankfurt. This range of lounges gives authorized users plenty of choice that they may not otherwise have when traveling.
Hotel elite status
Authorized users enjoy hotel elite status just like the main cardholder does. This includes Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status with Hilton Honors. There are many benefits that come with this status, including the potential for room upgrades and bonus points for eligible charges.
Additionally, authorized users can take advantage of the benefits of Fine Hotels & Resorts perks, which include items like complimentary breakfast and space-available room upgrades when making hotel reservations through the American Express travel portal.
Car rental elite status
Authorized users enjoy elite status with rental car companies, although these are not as perk-heavy as the hotel elite status. Status levels granted to authorized users include Avis Preferred status, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards status and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. Terms apply.
TSA Precheck/Global Entry fee credit
Authorized users can apply for TSA Precheck ($85 fee) or Global Entry ($100 fee) and will find that their multi-year access fee is covered by being an authorized user. It’s returned in the form of a statement credit after charging the fee to their card. Terms apply.
Bonus points on charges
Members earn the same bonus points on spending categories, like flights and hotels (5x per dollar spent on flight and hotel spending through AmEx Travel), as the primary user, though the points are awarded to the primary member’s Membership Rewards account. Terms apply.
Expedited shipping on online purchases
For authorized users who shop online using the card at participating online stores, free ShopRunner membership, which comes with two-day expedited shipping, is available. Terms apply.
There’s also trip delay and trip cancellation insurance, as well as purchase protection, that applies to authorized users when they make a purchase using the card. Terms apply.
What’s not included
While not an official policy, authorized users will often note that their AmEx Offers vary from those of the primary user and typically stick to the less lucrative offers.
The risks of adding an authorized user
Despite all the tempting perks, it is important to understand the benefits and the risks of adding an authorized user. If authorized users have a physical credit card tied to your account with their name on it, you’re basically giving them access to your personal credit line. This is why you wouldn’t want to add an authorized user unless you trust the person — you’ll be on the hook for any charges that they make.
Of course, if you trust them, this could help you reach minimum spending requirements for a welcome bonus. Another perk is that it can help build credit history for someone who doesn’t have any of their own (ideal especially for younger people looking to build a credit score).
Since it is a flat fee, the annual cost for adding an authorized user is $175 no matter if you add one, two or three users. Consider whether the benefits are worth it to you. An infrequent traveler who rarely uses airport perks or stays in hotels may not get the same value as someone who travels a lot and makes lots of online purchases and can benefit from purchase protection and ShopRunner membership.
How to add an authorized user
It’s easy to add an authorized user. Log in to your account and go to the Useful Links section on your account home page. Click on “Add Someone to Your Account” and complete the sign-up process. You need to provide the authorized user’s social security number and date of birth when you apply. There’s also an option to add the social security number later, but it must be done within 60 days.
It takes about three to five business days for the card to arrive — adding an authorized user is not instant. Authorized users will have to wait for the card before accessing some perks, like Centurion Lounges.
If you add an authorized user
You’ll need to think about how the $175 annual fee for up to three authorized users can be offset by the perks and benefits of the card, including lounge access, hotel elite status and a TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit.
The Platinum Card® from American Express benefits for an authorized user could be an affordable way to access a host of perks and bonus points on spending. It is a great option for families, couples and benefit-seeking friends you trust.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
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