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Traveling Platinum

April 30, 2021 5 min read No Comments

That’s right! You’re reading that correctly! My family and I are officially AMEX Platinum cardholders!

The main reason why we even looked into signing up for another credit card (because we do have a traveling airline-specific benefits credit card) is that our friends told us about the benefits of this card for active-duty military members! I was hesitant at first but then we looked up the benefits:
The Platinum Card® from American Express.

The AMEX Platinum normally has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), the true out-of-pocket annual fee for those in active duty is a nice, round $0. Let’s look at why such a great offer exists and what makes one of the best cards so beneficial for active-duty military members.

We didn’t know it at the time but our lives have changed! Not because we are “Platinum members” (though my husband has gotten a kick out of that 😆). But because we have access to so many benefits! We have access to over 1,300 lounges in airports worldwide, instant upgrades, and first-class services when traveling. This for me is a HUGE plus!

Airport lounge access

The Platinum Card is one of the best cards for airport lounge access. Like other premium travel credit cards, you will have a Priority Pass membership, which enables you to enter over 1,300 airport lounges around the world.

The Platinum Card from American Express also offers access to American Express Centurion Lounges. These are generally some of the best domestic airport lounges, with better amenities and fewer crowds than lounges offered through Priority Pass.

Finally, you can also get access to Delta Sky Club lounges with your AMEX Platinum Card when you are flying on Delta. Delta has put a lot of work into improving these lounges over recent years and they have become really nice places to relax while waiting for your next flight.

One thing to note is that due to COVID-19, select Priority Pass, Centurion, and Delta Sky Club lounges may be temporarily closed. 

You’ll need to enroll in Priority Pass once you’ve opened your AMEX Platinum card, which you can do on this page.

$200 in airline fee credits

The Platinum Card also offers up to $200 per year in airline-fee credits on one selected airline (that you choose).

This credit can be used to cover things like:

  • Baggage fees
  • Flight change fees
  • Standby fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Seat assignment/ reservation fees
  • Airport lounge day passes or annual memberships
  • In-flight food and drink
  • In-flight entertainment charges (like premium movies, but not Wi-Fi fees)

Just charge any incidental fees to your Platinum Card and the first $200 of fees on your selected airline each calendar year will be credited back to you. Read this guide for more about how to select your Amex airline. Enrollment required.

Hotel elite status

The Platinum Card® from American Express also offers added comfort when you get to your hotel, with automatic Gold Hilton status and Gold Marriott Bonvoy status. Hilton Gold status will earn you 80% more Hilton points during your stay, a space-available room upgrade (up to Executive room type) and complimentary breakfast. Marriott Gold elite status will earn you 25% more Marriott points during your stay, an enhanced room upgrade, a welcome gift, late checkout and more. Enrollment is required.

Between these two elite statuses, you have access to perks at a huge network of hotels and hotel brands which will make your stays more comfortable. Plus, you can earn points faster toward even more free nights.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership

The Platinum Card from American Express also offers a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

This is worth up to $100 and can be used once every four years for Global Entry or once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. Military members can speed through customs whenever they fly internationally on a commercial airline.

If you already have Global Entry yourself, you can use the credit to cover a family member’s application fee.

How to qualify for the Amex Platinum with military benefits

To qualify for these military benefits, you must be on active duty in one of the branches of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) or in a reserve component (Reserve, National Guard, and Air National Guard) that is called to active duty.

The benefits are also extended to Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissioned officers.

Members of the National Guard also qualify if they are under a call or ordered to active duty for more than 30 consecutive days (for example, per Amex, “responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by federal funds”).

Spouses of any qualifying service member also qualify (because this is how both my husband and I have a card now).

How to get the fees waived

In order to get the annual fee waived on your Amex Platinum Card, you will need to request it. It doesn’t happen automatically.

American Express says that the fastest way to receive your benefits is by submitting this form online. You can also call 1 (800) 253-1720 (or 1-336-393-1111 if you are outside the US) to request your benefits. They will take your information and ask some qualifying questions and then confirm your status with the Department of Defense. This process generally takes a few days but can take up to a month in some situations.

Either way, you apply for the card as you normally would and may be charged the annual fee initially. But once approved for SCRA benefits, you will see a statement credit for the fee amount post to your card.

Don’t forget that your spouse also qualifies, so if they have any American Express cards, they should definitely look at submitting a request for themselves.


The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best cards for active-duty military members. The card is worth it for everyone and easily justifies its annual fee, but it makes even more sense for qualifying military personnel because all the valuable perks can be attained without any annual fee while you qualify for SCRA benefits.

Several of these perks are statement credits which if used in their entirety are worth $400 per year (up to $200 in U.S. Uber credits and up to $200 in airline fee credits). The card also offers the $100 credit for Global Entry which can be used once every four years for a total of $500 of free value during those years. Read our full Amex Platinum review.

I highly encourage you, if you are an active-duty military member or a major traveler you need to look into The Platinum Card® from American Express.

More travel stories to come!


The things I love the most...Wine, traveling, and photography! Join me on my adventures as I travel the world and share my experiences as I travel with my daughter, top places to visit and how to travel on a budget!

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The Backpacker Mom

Hey there! I'm Phylicia, but you probably know me as "The Backpacker Mom." As a passionate wine educator and travel blogger, my daughter and I embark on exciting adventures around the world, sipping wine and creating unforgettable memories together. Join us on our wonderful adventures around the globe! Read More Here

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