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 unnecessarily complicated benefits (like the Saks Fifth Avenue and Airline Fee Credit).
I’m usually on the fence about keeping or downgrading the card when my annual fee is due. However, this little-known AMEX Platinum card perk saved me more than I lost with the Saks debacle and factored into keeping this hunk of metal in my wallet for another year.
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 had a flight to Philadelphia which arrived around 10 AM on Friday and my flight home was 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 was 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 same rental, one price was for 2 days and the other for 3 days, and the only difference was that the first price used 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 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. 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 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 telling them I had a certain credit card.
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