New American Express Platinum Benefits, Including Free Boingo Hotspots Worldwide!

I just received the below email from American Express, listing some of the new travel benefits available to Platinum cardholders.

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Let’s talk about all three of the new benefits.

BENEFIT 1

Boingo is an American company that provides over 1 million global Wi-Fi hotspots and offers several plans for consumers, which you can see below.

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It looks like the American Express x Boingo plan is better than any regular Boingo consumer plan. With American Express, there are no roaming fees, there is no limit on usage and up to 4 devices can be connected at one time, although they must all be at the same hotspot. Nice!

Let’s work through the financials, now. With current Global Plan subscribers, getting an American Express Platinum card is a no-brainer now. The yearly fee on the Platinum card is $450, but a Global Plan costs $708 per year. So, a new Platinum cardholder, at the end of the year, would have saved almost $260. Add in the other Platinum benefits – concierge, Fine Hotesls and Resorts, Membership Rewards, signup bonus, Delta SkyClub access, Global Entry, etc – and the choice to get the card becomes overwhelmingly clear. Heck, the normal signup bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points is worth at least $500!

For Mobile and Unlimited Plan subscribers, the savings are less, since yearly a Mobile Plan is about $95 and an Unlimited Plan is about $119. Still, it’s another $100 or so of value for being a cardholder. Fine by me.

BENEFIT 2

The second new benefit is reimbursal* for the TSA Pre✓ application fee. TSA Pre✓ is a US-government program where, upon approval, you get the following benefits at airports:

  1. No removal of belts, shoes, light outerwear/jacket, 3-1-1 compliant bag, laptop
  2. Separate security line

Skipping, or at least, semi-bypassing the regular passenger horde at airports can be a godsend and this program really makes the most awkward and frustrating experience of air travel that much easier. However, applying for this reimbursal is not a good idea. Why?

The TSA Pre✓ reimbursal is in lieu of being reimbursed for Global Entry, which is another US-government program where, upon approval, you get to skip the regular customs line by feeding your passport into a computer. It takes 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes to re-enter the US. Anyone who’s waited in an interminable line at customs knows how amazing Global Entry would feel. On top of this, however, Global Entry users are also automatically enrolled in TSA Pre✓! It makes much more sense to get both the Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ benefits, than just the TSA Pre✓ benefits, in my opinion.

*You still get points for the purchase even though the purchase is reimbursed!

BENEFIT 3

American Express Centurion Lounges are nice. Really nice. They make United Clubs feel like outdoor doghouses. Look at the cocktail and food menus from the Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas, for example.

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Meanwhile, United offers pretzels, carrots and bananas and charges for any drink stronger than a Budweiser. . .

My home airport is LaGuardia, so I’m looking forward to the Centurion Club opening there later this year. I’m sure folks in Miami and San Francisco are feeling the same way. For now, complimentary access to Delta’s Skyclubs will have to suffice.

OVERALL

While none of these benefits, on their own, make the American Express Platinum card a must get, they all add significant value to a card that already had a strong case for application, despite the $450 yearly fee.

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