Using American Express Platinum Benefits On the Road

By Jonathan Spira on 29 May 2011
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Recently, American Express added multiple new benefits to the Platinum card including complimentary Global Entry membership, no foreign exchange fees, and a $200 credit for airline fees.  Members already enjoyed complimentary access to airline clubs operated by American Airlines, Delta, and US Airways as well as other benefits.

The added benefits make the Platinum card, in my opinion, a necessary part of every business traveler’s wallet.  On a recent business trip to Los Cabos, I was able to partake of multiple benefits over a period of five days.  Here is my report.

My outbound flight was American Airlines flight 721 from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.  Arriving at LGA with time to spare, I quickly cleared security (at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday morning), since no one was on line and headed to the American Airlines Admirals Club.

The first Admirals Club opened in 1939 at LaGuardia (prior to the club’s opening, AA founder C.R. Smith had used the title of “admiral” as part of an early loyalty program designation).  As an American Express Platinum card holder, I gained admittance to the Admirals Club at no charge (membership is $450 per year and a day pass is $50).  After relaxing and enjoying a cup of coffee, I headed to my gate for my flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Had I sat in the main cabin and purchased food or alcoholic beverages during my flight, I would have been reimbursed by American Express as part of the $200 airline-specific credit that covers such items in addition to excess baggage fees and flight change charges.

My flight arrived early at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and I made my way to the Admirals Club there.  It was more expansive and far more modern than LaGuardia’s but both shared great views of the runways and airport operations.  All I needed for admission was my American Express Platinum card and I was soon nibbling on sushi (roughly $10) accompanied by a complimentary glass of wine.

After an hour or so in the club, I headed to the gate and continued on flight 865 to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), in San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  During my stay in Mexico, my purchases made using the American Express card did not incur a foreign exchange fee, another new cardmember benefit that saved me approximately $80.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – The Return Flight and Global Entry

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