Maximizing your benefits with Amex

There’s no doubt that while you’re on deployment, you’re spending a lot of money, and every time you do, you have a choice; get added protections and perks with each purchase, or pay cash and get nothing extra. Here we’re going to talk about why you should be using the Amex Platinum Charge Card (not a credit card) while on CAT.

The Platinum Card comes with a long list of benefits, and some of these require you to put in a bit of extra effort to take full advantage of all this card has to offer. We’ve created this simple guide so you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your card while on deployment.

One of the best benefits is that this card earns points in a flexible rewards program: Membership Rewards®. With Membership Rewards, you can transfer your points directly to some of the most popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, or use your points directly with American Express for gifts, shopping, or booking travel through Amex for optimal flexibility. Every dollar you spend on CAT means points towards your next vacation.

1. Airline Credits – ($200 Value)

This card comes with an annual airline fee credit worth up to $200 per calendar year. You will need to select the airline in advance with American Express to earn the credit with that particular airline.  Flying in or out of DFW a lot? You’ll probably want to choose American Airlines.

These credits will appear for incidental fees charged by the airline. These fees include baggage fees, change fees, lounge passes, upgrades, and in-flight purchases like meals and WiFi.

You can choose your preferred airline each January, so if you need a change, don’t fret.

2. Uber Credits – ($200 Value)

Alright, so you’re not getting chauffeured around from claim to claim, but you will use this perk. Your Uber credit gets applied to your account throughout the year as a $15 credit each month, except in December when it increases to $35.

You may not be using this for work purposes on deployment, but you may use it for leisure purposes on or off deployment. Having beers after a long day of claims? Uber home. Traveling for a conference or a new certification? Try to stay within walking distance and Uber to and from the airport.

3. Bonus Points – 5X on Airfare and Hotels

Speaking of travel, this is a huge bonus.  This card earns 5X Membership Rewards points for all airfare purchased with your card directly with the airline or when booking on Amex Travel.  Depending on your deployment activity over the year, this could mean serious points. At the end of a storm season, don’t be surprised if you can fly your family to your next vacation destination completely on points.

4. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit ($100/$85 Value)

This is a no brainer, especially considering the laptop/iPad/Disto/Digital camera/etc. you fly with in your carryon bag. 

One of the most popular (and easiest to get) credits from The Platinum Card is up to $100 for applying for Global Entry (or $85 for TSA PreCheck) and paying the fee using your card.

This credit will apply to all cardholders, including authorized users, and can be used every 4 years. Once enrolled in either program, your membership will last 5 years.

No more taking all your gear out of your bag at TSA, and no more taking your shoes off.

5. Saks Fifth Avenue Shopping Credits – ($100 Value)

Alright, so Saks isn’t really the place to pick up adjuster gear, but it still has stuff you need, and that’s $100 just sitting there for you.  New socks? Business casual attire? Whatever. You’ll spend it each year no matter what.

6.Airport Lounge Access ($700+ Value)

This is honestly one of our favorite perks, especially with frequent trips in and out of DFW where there’s a wonderful American Express Centurion Lounge. 

Cardmembers have unlimited access to all Centurion® Lounges for themselves and 2 additional guests when traveling in select airports. These lounges are a wonderful retreat from the hustle and limited seating of the terminal.

Centurion® Lounges are exclusively available for American Express cardmembers, and they offer complimentary gourmet food and drink in a very comfortable environment.

On the face of it, this may not actually seem like a wonderful deal, but when you consider just the food costs in airports, you’ll see the value. A decent meal for one person, without drinks costs $20. Throw in 2 $8 beers and with a tip, you’re over $40. No go to the lounge get all that with your card, and you won’t have to scrounge for an empty barstool or wait for slow service, the Centurion Lounges are spacious and well staffed.

7. Hotel Elite Status

This card enables you to enroll and elevate your elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels. We know those aren’t hotels where people stay on most CAT deployments, but it might be when you’re attending a conference or a certification class.  

Gaining instant hotel elite status with 2 major hotel chains will offer benefits that include late-checkout, room upgrades, and flexible options without having to stick to just 1 hotel brand.

8. Elite Status With Car Rentals

The Platinum Card offers you the ability to register for special benefits and elite status with Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental. This provides you with an exclusive rate code for cardmembers with special discounts and status. These companies often grant complimentary upgrades and expedited services to get you on the road faster.  With Hertz and Avis, and nearly every location, you can just walk straight to your car and drive off without stopping at the counter.

9. Extended Warranty

This benefit adds additional warranty protection to your purchases that have a warranty of 5 years or less from the manufacturer.

Once the manufacturer’s warranty expires, your Platinum Card adds up to an additional year of warranty coverage, up to $10,000 per item with a $50,000 maximum per year.

Buy all your gear with the Amex Platiunum and receive this coverage at no additional charge.

10. Purchase Protection

Accidents happen, but your card protects eligible purchases from theft and accidental damage for 90 days from your original purchase date.

This covers up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per calendar year, making it great coverage for new phones and other high-value items that are most prone to these types of accidents.

11. Return Protection

This covers all purchases made using your card and guarantees that you can return eligible items within 90 days of your original purchase. Your return protection works in addition to the store’s normal return policies, and it will cover up to $300 per item and a total of $1,000 each calendar year.

12. Premium Roadside Assistance

Don’t get stuck on the road! The Platinum Card pays for select premium roadside assistance up to 4 times per year. Whether you’ve got a flat tire, need a tow, or just ran out of gas, this card will make sure you get back on the road quickly.

13. Amex Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

You can save costs on most rental cars with additional insurance protection offered by the Platinum Card. This covers eligible car rentals that are paid entirely with your card if you decline the collision damage waiver coverage from the car rental company.

Eligible rentals are covered for theft and damage up to $75,000 without increasing the cost of your car rental. However, this card only provides secondary coverage, which means it kicks in after your own insurance.

14. Amex Baggage Insurance Plan

Your baggage will be covered with additional insurance if the loss of either checked or carry-on baggage occurs during travel booked using your card. This coverage will also extend to spouses, domestic partners, and dependents on the same reservation.

Amex baggage insurance will cover up to $2,000 for the replacement cost of items lost in checked baggage and up to $3,000 for the replacement cost of items lost in carry-on baggage.

Final Thoughts

We think the Amex Platinum card is a no brainer. Just the travel benefits alone. What is going through TSA pre-check for the next 5 years worth to you? A lot. Add that and the airport lounge access and we think that’s enough value for this card. Add everything on top and it’s a cornucopia of benefits for you that you’re getting on deployment, and points your generating to take home with you when the storm is over. 

The Amex Platinum card is not a credit card, it’s a charge card. This means that the balance needs to be paid in full at the end of each billing cycle.  This is important. This means that just like spending cash, you should not exceed your spending ability and that you should manage your money responsibly.