It’s interesting how different banks over/under-invest in the first impressions of their premium card offerings. For example, the OCBC VOYAGE comes in a very nice metal box…
…but my Citi Prestige arrived in an underwhelming standard-sized white envelope, just like any other credit card.
So I was curious which direction the AMEX Platinum Charge card would go with presentation, and given it carries an annual fee 3-4 times of the Citi Prestige/VOYAGE, it’s fair to say expectations were high.
Once your card is approved, you’ll receive a call from AMEX to arrange for courier delivery. I got a call in the early afternoon, and the package arrived that very night. Here’s the exterior of the very hefty-feeling box:
Open it up, and you’ll see a folder with your welcome vouchers (1 night at the St Regis/W Sentosa Singapore, $400 airline and $400 hotel credit, spa vouchers, dining vouchers etc- check out this post for the full listing) enclosed, as well as the usual terms & conditions, product highlight sheet, overseas activation instructions and a Priority Pass application form.
Beneath the literature, you’ll find your prize- set nicely in a wooden cutout holder.
That wooden holder isn’t just for the card, by the way. It doubles up as a phone holder and should fit most mobiles. Here’s my totally awesome and not at all antiquated Blackberry KeyOne in the holder.
And here’s the full layout of everything- those postcard-sized things are just reminders of the product’s core features. The 3D/2N hotel stay at selected Banyan Tree/Mandarin Oriental resorts across Asia Pacific was not included in the welcome pack. My understanding is that voucher only arrives after the annual fee had been billed to your card.
As far as unboxings go, this was a nice introduction to the product.
Register for upgraded hotel and rental car status (and start matching if needed)
Once your card is out of the box, the first thing you’re going to want to do is head to this site to register your card’s elite benefits. You’ll see a screen like the one below:
And a reminder of the 7 different types of elite status you’re now entitled to.
The registration process is pretty straightforward. Click on “enrol”, and a pop-up dialogue will appear prompting you to enter your details. If you already have an existing membership number with the program, you can enter it here so the account with your points/stay history etc. gets upgraded.
I tried applying for Hilton Gold status and got successfully upgraded within 24 hours. I was wondering whether there’d be problems, given that the name on my Hilton account (Aaron Wong) didn’t exactly match the name on my AMEX card (which has my han yu pin yin name). However, there were no issues with the upgrade.
Remember that once you have elite status with any of the hotel chains here, you can parlay it for elite status with two other programs:
I’d generally recommend that you hold off doing these matches until you’re sure you want to stay at a Best Western/Wyndham property, because status matches can only be done once (they’ll keep track of which competitor’s status you matched, so technically you could first match your Hilton Gold to Wyndham Rewards, then match your Radisson Rewards Gold to another Wyndham Rewards account in a subsequent year).
Your elite status with Radisson Rewards, Shangri-La Golden Circle, Marriott Rewards Hilton Honors, Hertz and Avis is valid so long as you continue to be an AMEX Platinum Charge cardholder.
Get KrisFlyer Elite Gold for just over $300
As an AMEX Platinum Charge cardholder, you’re automatically given Jade status with Shangri-La’s Golden Circle program. Thanks to the Infinite Journeys tie up, Golden Circle Jade members can earn KrisFlyer Elite Gold status with just three eligible flights on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir within four months.
Any booking class is eligible except award tickets, codeshare flights or ‘G’ (group fares). This means you could fly on Economy Lite tickets and earn Star Gold status for less.
The cheapest way of doing this? As per the SQ website, the cheapest fares on offer now are to Penang, starting from S$158 for a round trip flight. A round trip would count as two flights towards your three flight requirement, meaning that you could earn KrisFlyer Elite Gold for a mere S$300 or so.
That’s a pretty fantastic opportunity, when you consider the benefits that Star Gold status gives like lounge access, extra luggage, and priority boarding (KrisFlyer Gold has recently started giving some additional benefits too, but they’re not that impressive in my opinion). It’s certainly a lot easier than flying 50,000 elite miles in a year.
To register for the status challenge, login to your KrisFlyer account, click on Profile–> Partner Programmes. You’ll then be able to add your Shangri-La Golden Circle number to your account. Be sure to click “link” afterwards, because it’s not automatically done.
Upon linking, you should receive KrisFlyer Elite Silver immediately (lucky you). One thing I’m not sure of is whether the four month KrisFlyer Gold challenge period starts after registration and linking of accounts, or after you take your first flight. The T&C seem to suggest that it’s after registration, and in any case there’s no point linking your accounts until you’re ready to travel.
Note that you can only do this challenge once in your account lifetime. That’s to say, in subsequent years you’ll need to requalify for KrisFlyer Elite Gold the hard way, with 50,000 elite miles within a 12 month period. So be sure to time your status challenge to coincide with a busy travel period.
Apply for your Priority Pass
AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders get access to Plaza Premium, Centurion, International AMEX and Delta SkyClub lounges, which can be accessed just by showing your card. Both you and your first supplementary cardholder are also entitled to an unlimited visit Priority Pass.
You’ll need to fill out the form enclosed with your welcome pack, after which you’ll email the scanned copy to [email protected]. The first guest is complimentary, while any further guests incur a fee of US$32 (the printed materials that come with the Platinum Charge say US$27, but that fee was recently raised).
Quoted waiting times for your physical Priority Pass card are up to 3 weeks, but people seem to be getting their membership packages in about half that time. You’ll first receive a membership number and code via email that allows you to load your digital membership card on Priority Pass app, which you can use for lounge access.
Sign up for the Boingo AMEX Preferred Plan
As an AMEX Platinum Charge cardholder (although the regular Platinum and Platinum Reserve get this too), you’re entitled to a complimentary membership with Boingo Wi-Fi which provides
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access at global hotspots
- Access on up to four devices
- No Wi-Fi roaming fees
I understand that there was a period of time where Boingo’s AMEX plan was providing free Wi-Fi on selected airlines. This was actually a glitch- the AMEX provided Boingo plan does not cover airline Wi-Fi. You’ll need a World Elite Mastercard for that.
Just enter your 15 digit AMEX card number and you should see this screen. Follow the instructions and you’re good to go.
I’ve laid out my reasons why I believe the $1,712 annual fee of the AMEX Platinum Charge makes sense for me, but everyone should carefully consider the value proposition before applying. My next step is to pay a visit to Platinum VIBES and check out the F&B on offer- I hear it’s pretty good.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge for yourself, you can support the running of The Milelion by signing up through any of the links in this article.