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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.
So, what benefits do The Platinum Card® from American Express authorized users get?
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.
Members can show The Platinum Card® from American Express for access, or in domestic destinations, they can register via the American Express app and scan a QR code via touchless check-in to enter.
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 (enrollment required), 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.
Authorized users will have to enroll and link their accounts to take advantage of hotel elite status perks.
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.
» Learn more: The cheapest way to rent a car
TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit
Authorized users are eligible to receive one statement credit every four years for the application fee for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. 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.
» Learn more: The best AmEx transfer partners — and ones to avoid
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.
» Learn more: What to know before buying travel insurance
What’s not included
Some popular perks of holding The Platinum Card® from American Express are expressly left out for authorized users. These include the monthly Uber credit, which only applies to the primary user, the $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit and many of the most valuable AmEx Offers. Terms apply.
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.
Consider adding a Gold-level user for free
If you don't like the idea of paying an additional $175 on top of the annual fee to add a Platinum-level authorized user, you can instead add American Express® Gold Card authorized users for no cost at all.
While these cardholders aren't granted the lounge access and status benefits that Platinum authorized users get, they are given their own TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit and still contribute to Membership Rewards earning.
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.
» Learn more: How to get money-saving AmEx Offers on your card
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.
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.
If it’s hotel elite status you’re after, there are other credit cards that offer equal or higher levels of status, and if you plan to apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, an authorized user can save as much as $100 in their first year of applying. If that’s the only benefit you’re after though, there are other credit cards that come with this benefit for a smaller cost.
The Platinum Card® from American Express authorized user benefits are impressive, and 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.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card