My Journey from AMEX Platinum Critic to Adding an Authorized User

by joeheg

If there was ever a credit card that you could summarize my relationship with as “It’s Complicated,” the American Express Platinum Card fits the bill. And if you’re old enough to remember when Facebook relationship statuses mattered, welcome to our website.

I loved my Platinum Card when I first got it. Club access was incredible and it upgraded the way we traveled. Then the fees increased, benefits were limited, and the credits became hard to use. Eventually, I ditched the card and never looked back.

I stayed that way until 2022. I had plenty of other cards that provided club access and provided similar, if not better, travel benefits (Hello, Sapphire Reserve).

It took a generous upgrade offer from AMEX for me to become a Platinum cardholder once again. I soon learned the card benefits can be used to earn back more than the annual fee.

After I renewed my card for another year, I considered adding Sharon as an authorized user. This is a bit awkward because she’s already an authorized user on my account. Last May, AMEX sent me an offer for 20,000 Membership Rewards points after adding someone to my account. I didn’t want to pay AMEX another $175, so I added her to my card with a no-fee Gold Card. This card is a strange animal as it’s connected to a Platinum Card and earns the same bonuses but has almost none of the benefits. This AU Gold card is not to be confused with the AMEX Gold Card, which is great in its own right.

Why Pay For An Authorized User?

American Express Platinum Card Authorized Users get many of the same benefits as the main cardholder. One Mile At A Time does a great job of breaking down all the benefits you’ll get for $195.

The main benefit is lounge access. There are many clubs you can access with the AMEX Platinum Card. For us, the two most important ones on the list are the AMEX Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs.

Due to overcrowding issues, both of them have put restrictions on guests into place. For Centurion Lounges, guests cost $50 each unless you spend at least $75,000 on the card per calendar year, in which case you can bring two guests for free. Delta Sky Clubs allow access when flying Delta on the same day, and you can bring guests for $50 each.

It’s a weakness, but if I have access to a nice club, I will take advantage of it. So I added Sharon as a fully credentialed authorized user. Her Platinum card arrived in a few days.

In the time since I paid for an authorized user, here’s how many times we’ve used the club access:

  • Delta Sky Club Atlanta
  • Delta Sky Club Orlando (2x)
  • Delta Sky Club Minneapolis
  • Amex Centurion Lounge Charlotte

So, 5 times. At $50 a visit for a guest, we would have paid $250 in fees. Instead, I only paid an additional $175. In addition, it’s nice to be able to visit Centurion Lounges on our trips without thinking if it’s worth paying the extra $50 for a guest.

There are additional perks for authorized users, like getting a Global Entry credit and hotel status, but that’s not why I’m paying for an authorized user. It’s all about access to the Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Nick April 19, 2023 - 6:22 pm

I recently added my wife to my platinum card, which is a $170 cost that allows me to add up to three additional cardholders to my account. After doing so I realized that all cardholders must be over the age of 13. Initially, I was going to add my two small children, not so that they could actually use the card, but so that they could enter the centurion lounge and I would not have to pay the $50 per person fee each time. It sounds like there is no way around this, but it does seem strange that if they were 13, they could enter for free since I have already paid the $170 a year for up to 3 additional cardholders. I appreciate your AMEX goal to help lessen the crowds at lounges but also feel like it really penalizes families with small children.

Matt April 20, 2023 - 7:57 am

After spending the $170 to add my wife as an authorized user, I found the other two AU’s I paid for make great Christmas gifts for relatives. You can set the spending limit for the cards at $0 but the AU gets the lounge access and various elite statuses.

Dee May 25, 2024 - 2:28 pm

Still not happy that Amex Plat and Delta Amex have really limited our club access as of 2025. So much for treating your loyal customers fairly!NOT


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