If I had to describe my relationship status with my American Express Platinum card, I’d have to go with “it’s complicated.” For all the things the Platinum AMEX does well, like unequaled lounge access, there are just as many benefits that are unnecessarily complicated (like the Saks Fifth Avenue and Airline Fee Credit.)
I’m on the fence if I’m going to keep or downgrade the card when my annual fee is due. However, this little-known AMEX Platinum card perk just saved me more than I lost with the Saks debacle and is making me think it might be worthwhile to keep this hunk of metal in my wallet.
There are many ways to recoup the $695 annual fee. Some are easier, like the streaming media credit or the CLEAR membership credit. Others are only useful to a subset of customers, like the Soulcycle credit.
However, there’s a benefit of the AMEX Platinum that I wasn’t aware of until I needed to rent a car for a weekend.
I have an upcoming flight to Philadelphia which arrives around 10 AM on Friday and my flight home is at 2 PM on Sunday. I went to Autoslash to look up rates and found a reasonable price with Hertz.
During the “great car rental shortage” I had been able to find less expensive car rentals with my corporate rate, so I checked the prices from Hertz after logging into my account. Autoslash’s price was lower, by a considerable amount, but why?
Autoslash refers you to Priceline for most bookings and I’m willing to give them the referral money to save me the time of searching for a lower price. But I was wondering why their price was so much lower.
Here’s the Autoslash price.
Here’s my corporate rate for the same rental.
The big difference was that for the exact same rental, one price was for 2 days and the other for 3 days and the only difference was that the first price was using the American Express Platinum card discount code and the other my corporate discount.
Why does this matter? Because when you use the AMEX Platinum code with Hertz, you get a 4-hour grace period when returning your car. There’s a 2-hour gap between when I’m renting and returning the car, which triggers an additional day rental fee with my corporate rate.
I’ve written about how you can plan your flights to save on rental car expenses but that’s not an option on this short trip. Most rental car companies provide a 30-minute grace period. Using the AMEX Platinum code, you get several benefits with Hertz:
- Complimentary one car class upgrade (subject to availability)
- Up to 20% discount on standard cars
- Up to 25% discount on Prestige Collections
- Up to 4-hour grace period
Returning a car 90 minutes after I drove it off the lot would usually cost me an extra rental day. By using the AMEX discount code, I’ll only pay for two rental days instead of three and save $70.
I have President’s Circle status from my Capital One Venture X card attached to my Hertz account, so I’ll get an upgrade and skip the line at the counter.
I’m using Autoslash to track the rental hoping for a lower price but I’m happy to save $70 because I have an AMEX Platinum card. But I’m most impressed that Autoslash “found” this hack for my rental just by my telling them I had a certain credit card.
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