While I loved the monthly Paypal, streaming, wireless and other temporary perks that were provided by The Platinum Card® from American Express during the pandemic, that felt a bit like doing push-ups on the living room floor instead of engaging in a full-body workout in the gym. Every little bit helped, but the Amex Platinum card is far more powerful than some random extra monthly credits provided here and there.
Thanks to the ‘pandemic pause’, it had been a minute — or really a whole slew of months — since my Amex Platinum had had a full workout of delivering on the high-end travel and lifestyle benefits it is really known for and best at.
But, we recently packed up our bags, dusted off our fancy clothes and headed to Las Vegas with the Platinum polished up and ready for action at the front of the wallet.
In just one night, the Platinum card delivered over $200 in very real and valuable perks and reminded us why we love and keep that card. Here’s how.
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Saving $200 in one night
It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of benefits provided by the Amex Platinum — and that was true even before the long list of new perks that were just added.
I’m not going to run down the whole resume of what this card can do (you can find that here in our Amex Platinum review), but instead, I want to highlight what it did for the night we recently spent at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.
Application link: Amex Platinum currently available with an increased offer of 100,000 bonus points after $6,000 in spending in the first six months of card membership. This offer also comes with 10 points per dollar awarded on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small within the U.S. for up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first six months. The card does have a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Those with an Amex Platinum card can book hotel stays at over 1,000 hotels around the world — and throughout Las Vegas — via the Amex Fine Hotels and Resort (FHR) program. While some of these hotels are very expensive, there are plenty that price around $200 per night where paying with cash can be a better value than points.
This is not a useless gimmick or extra booking step to be ignored, but it’s a perk that has the potential to confer tremendous value when booking at a hotel in the FHR program.
The stated FHR perks include:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Special amenity unique to each property
Additionally, you can earn 5 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on prepaid, FHR bookings via the FHR site. On top of that, one of the new Amex Platinum perks is an annual up to $200 statement credit on prepaid FHR bookings (also valid on The Hotel Collection properties). Our booking happened just before that new annual benefit was added, otherwise, the card would have actually saved us $400 on this hotel stay.
At Bellagio, we didn’t score a meaningful room upgrade by booking via FHR, but we got the guaranteed money-saving perks.
The ‘special amenity’ provided for those who book a stay at the Bellagio with the Amex Platinum via FHR is an up to $100 food and beverage credit that can actually be used at 120 MGM Resorts bars, restaurants and lounges.
While we could have used it at a variety of MGM-affiliated resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, we kept things simple.
Other than the tip, which is expressly not covered by the credit, the $100 food and beverage credit fully covered our casual lunch of noodles, veggies and fried rice at the restaurant aptly named Noodles in the Bellagio — with room to spare.
After seeing the first showing of Cirque du Soleil’s O back at the Bellagio that evening after its almost 16-month hiatus, we went for a fancy post-show dinner at Yellowtail (also located within the Bellagio) for sake, sushi and sashimi.
Gallery: 5 Ways Your Vacation Will Cost More Because of the Pandemic (GOBankingRates)
While the leftover portion of the $100 credit didn’t cover all of our meal, there was enough credit left from lunch to get us started with a sushi roll or two.
Related: Vegas is back, here’s what it is like
Even though we had already used up the $100 food and beverage credit, booking via the FHR program with our Platinum card also allows for a separate breakfast for two benefit each morning.
At the Bellagio specifically, that is delivered in the form of two $30 breakfast credits per day, per reserved bedroom that can be used at Sadelle’s, Palio or Cafe Gelato. Just like with the $100 credit, gratuity does not count towards the $60 breakfast credit.
We were able to order breakfast pretty liberally, including coffees, juice, etc. and still stay just under the $30 per person credit at Sadelle’s.
Other than the added gratuity, that made our full-service breakfast complimentary thanks solely to booking the right way with the right card.
Last but not least, lining up late check-out (at least a meaningful one — meaning more than perhaps one extra hour) almost always costs extra in Las Vegas.
Securing 4 p.m. late check-out at the Bellagio to align with our evening flight out of Las Vegas likely would have cost more than $40, if it was even available.
When you take the $100 food and beverage credit we used towards lunch and dinner, the $60 in breakfast credits and at least $40 in value from the late check-out, we were safely at $200 in very real value from booking in this manner.
Considering the paid rate for the one night of hotel was $262.13 plus the $40 resort fee (reduced from $45 by virtue of booking via FHR), that’s a huge swing in value without any massive downsides.
Related: How to get more than $7,000 in value in the first year from the Amex Platinum
And it could have done more
Our Platinum card could have actually done more money-saving for us on the trip.
If we had wanted to, the card could have gotten me and my husband into the Amex Centurion Lounges in both Houston and Las Vegas, saving us the expenses on two more meals in transit. Ultimately, the lounges were in different terminals than we were utilizing, so we decided to skip visits on this trip, but that could have been at least another $50 – $60 saved on a few meals.
And while we hadn’t selected Spirit Airlines as our annual airline for the year on the Platinum, we could have.
If we had done that, then our seat assignments in Spirit’s ‘Big Front Seats’ for $68 per person could have likely been credited back as a statement credit thanks to the card’s $200 airline fee credit benefit. (Enrollment required.)
And the next time we book our hotel stay via the FHR program, we’ll have an annual $200 credit to use on the hotel booking itself — on top of the other benefits. That would have resulted in $400 remaining safely in our bank account when combined with the benefits we did use.
The Amex Platinum really is the Swiss Army knife of premium rewards cards.
It kept things interesting during the heart of the pandemic with credits on various types of purchases, but getting the card back out there on this trip reminded me of how glad I am to have it in my wallet for its core benefits.
If managing all of the perks sounds overwhelming, ignore some of the extra bits for now and focus on the included meals and late check-out that are guaranteed when booking via Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts with the Platinum card.
Now that life and movement have resumed a fair amount, the Platinum card is ready to make travel more comfortable — and help keep a significant amount of cash tucked safely in your wallet.
Head here to learn more about the current 100,000-point offer available for the Amex Platinum, its new benefits or to see if you are targeted for a potentially even better offer via CardMatch (offer subject to change at any time).
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
Featured image by author
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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