The American Express (Amex) card lags behind the more popular MasterCard and VISA brands in part due to the merchant costs to accept the card. However, frequent travelers and people who do their business spending using American Express know the value of the card and reap its benefits every day. While being the company with the insanely exclusive Guardian card, which restricts applications through an “invitation only” offer, the company has a number of other options including the American Express Platinum card.
The Platinum card has recently been reintroduced to the business public, and it is packed with car rental benefits. Along with its association with three of the major car rental companies – Avis, Hertz, and National – it comes with the American Express Car Rental Privileges Program. It is a very competitive alternative to many of the other travel and car rental cards available. Continue reading to discover 10 of the many benefits the Platinum Card has to offer for renting a car.
1. Coverage up to $75,000 per claim is included for collision damage or theft
While liability is a different issue, even if your car is stolen or you get carjacked you can drive your favorite rental car knowing that you’re covered. This benefit amount exceeds most of the available collision and theft benefits from competitors.
2. Avis Preferred status
This benefit lets you skip one of the most annoying and time-consuming aspects of travel – having to wait in line to get your rental car. Anyone who has traveled outside of the United States knows that adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road is not the only problem with car rentals.
3. The Platinum Card has an exclusive car rental feature not found on any other American Express card
Well, probably (except for the Guardian card since they keep a tight lid on all the card’s benefits) but the Amex Platinum is the only card issued by the company that offers primary car insurance coverage. Most other competitors offer only secondary insurance, which means you will have to pay out of your own pocket to be truly covered.
4. National Emerald Club Executive status
Actual users of the Platinum card say this is by far the best benefit for the average frequent traveler. You get guaranteed upgrades, never pay more than the midsize price for renting the vehicle, and have access to an exclusive reservation phone number. When it comes to getting more for your travel dollar and the convenience of a speedy trip through the check-in lines, this benefit ranks near the top.
5. The Car Rental Privileges Program charges you per rental, not per day
When you apply your program benefit to your rental, you will pay in the range of $12.95 and $24.95 for additional coverage. However, rather than being charged on a per day basis the charge is a one-time fee for the entire time you are renting the car, saving you significant money over the course of a year.
6. Hertz Gold Plus Rewards privileges
The third major car rental company in this list, the Hertz benefit gives you as much as 25% off of regular car rental contract rates. One of the key benefits is their 4 hour grace period, allowing you to return the car later without being charged for an extra day. Using this benefit can result in you getting extra airline miles or even free rental car days, depending on how often you travel and use the Hertz Gold Plus card benefit.
7. It covers the unexpected
Though it is something most people prefer not to think about very often, there are many people who get injured in car accidents that end up being killed or severely injured. The Platinum Card will cover you for such unfortunate scenarios up to $500,000 when the incident involves a common carrier.
8. The benefits of the program are available in most countries
Earlier it was mentioned that traveling abroad can be less than straightforward. Fortunately, the American Express Platinum Card might be considered a “no surprises” card as they let you know upfront where your benefits are not accepted. This includes the countries of Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand. Also, not every type of vehicle is covered, so you want to check to see if your favorite rental is in that group.
9. It covers the unthinkable
While car accidents occur on a daily basis, events such as suffering from exposure or a vessel disappearing, wrecking, or sinking are not on the minds of travelers. There are conditions that have to be met to get the benefits attached to this coverage, but of your rental is going to be ferried this type of coverage is something worth looking into.
10. There is still a benefit even if you use Uber
New competition requires making changes to rewards programs, and American Express has included up to $200 in free Uber credits per year. Card holders can use $15 each month from January through November, and $35 in December, to take an Uber ride to their destination. The only caveat is that the credits do not carry over from month to month; it is a “use it or lose it” part of the program.What has not been mentioned is the annual fee of the American Express Platinum Card. At $450 a year, it may seem more than a bit steep, but keep in mind it is intended for frequent business travelers who are more likely to encounter events that will require the use of the insurance benefits and stand to save significant amounts of money by using the card. The $200 Uber credit pays for half of the annual fee, and the significant discounts on upgrades and contract rates make having the card very beneficial. Overall, it is considered one of the best cards on the market for frequent travelers.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee