American Express Platinum gains a SEVENTH hotel status partner, indirectly

(EDIT: following a comment below, I have reworked this article because my original merging of Marriott and Starwood benefits may have been confusing.)

If you want to gain status at a number of hotel chains quickly, you have two options.  One is to start spending every night of the week in a hotel, changing property every night to maximise your stay count.  The easier option is to get an American Express Platinum charge card.

Amex Platinum has an unrivalled list of benefits for the frequent traveller, including

full travel insurance for yourself and up to five supplementary cardholders

car hire insurance

Eurostar lounge access

2 x Priority Pass, allowing up to four people free unlimited access to 1,000 airport lounge globally

exclusive hotel benefits, including a guaranteed 4pm check-out, via Fine Hotels & Resorts

The most comprehensive list of benefits, however, come from Amex’s hotel partners.  You can receive status in five hotel chains for free:

Hilton Honors (Gold status)

Club Carlson – Radisson, Park Inn, Park Plaza (Gold status)

Melia Rewards (Gold status)

Starwood Preferred Guest (Gold status)

Shangri-La Golden Circle (Jade status)

In December, this list grew to include:

Marriott Rewards (Gold status)

because, with the acquisition of Starwood by Marriott, you can instantly match your Starwood status to the equivalent Marriott status via the respective websites.

There is now a new status:

Taj Hotels InnerCircle (Gold status)

This has come about due to a new partnership between Shangri-La Hotels and Taj Hotels & Resorts.

Apart from its home market of India, where it is obviously very strong, Taj runs a number of luxury properties across the world.  This includes the well known Taj Exotica resort in the Maldives, 51 Buckingham Gate and St James’ Court in London, The Pierre in New York and a fairly new Taj-branded property in Cape Town.

Taj and Shangri-La are now co-operating to allow members the opportunity to earn points at hotels in either chain.  A status match is part of the package.

You can match your Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status to Taj InnerCircle Gold status via this website.

Taj InnerCircle Gold status is not hugely valuable but, at the same time, it is silly not to claim it if you are staying at a Taj property in the near future.  Taj InnerCircle Gold benefits are

Late Check Out

Early Check In

2 Upgrade Vouchers

15% discount on room redemption rate

You can also transfer your Shangri-La points to Taj and vice versa.  The rates are:

100 Shangri-La = 67 Taj

100 Taj = 38 Golden Circle

You can find out more on this special website here.


The ability to match Shangri-La Jade status to Taj InnerCircle Gold status will only benefit a few American Express Platinum cardholders, but it is always useful to have additional options.

Remember that you keep your Hilton, Marriott, SPG, Carlson, Melia, Shangri-La and Taj hotel statuses irrespective of whether you cancel your American Express Platinum card or not.  They will continue until they expire naturally, which is usually early in the following year or the year after depending on the scheme.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. Be very careful with that “FULL” travel insurance.. If anyone has any pre-existing conditions, those, or things that they decide happened as a result of those conditions, will not be covered. And unlike any other paid-for insurance, Amex will not entertain covering pre-existing conditions for a fee. They will ask you to take out their full paid-for insurance.

    So if you have high blood pressure for example, or take chloresterol tabs, the travel insurance is of limited value, as you’ll need to take out insurance anyway. You may find the Amex insurance is more generous for things like delayed luggage, but that alone doesn’t really have much value.

    • not good – makes it not much use for many people.

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Puzzling. We live longer, the Government says we are healthier and slides your retirement day out by a few years and the insurance industry is going the other way reducing benefits as you get older because you’re a higher risk. I suppose travelling at 70 was unthinkable 20 years ago

  2. I posted a while ago about an online link to upgrade from Gold to Platinum. Using the link has a bonus of 20k MR points for a £1,000 spend. I’ve just realised I never posted the actual link, it can be found here

    • Thanks Jim, thats been very helpful. Ive applied and been accepted 🙂

    • rams1981 says:

      thanks Jim. may use this for my wife. when i messaged from my wife’s account said couldn’t offer anything and to call and try which i’ve not done yet

    • Thanks a lot.
      It is much better to use this link. Would be using this over next month or so to upgrade my PRGC.

    • Jonathan says:

      This looks good. I’d been thinking about upgrading my wife’s gold to platinum for our holidays, but might get her to push the button sooner. Can anyone confirm the policy on the £450 fee on downgrade or cancellation? I *think* it’s a pro rata refund in both cases, but in the case of a downgrade the £140 gold fee is always charged?

      Tempted to upgrade now, hit the £1000 spend and cancel rather than downgrade, forgoing the MR bonus of her referring me later on.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Later this year we will be holidaying in Canada and staying in a mixture of Ritz-Carlton, Westin (SPG), and Hilton so potentially interested in the gold status. I’ve just cancelled my Amex gold, but considering if it’s worth getting my wife to upgrade hers to platinum? She’s already reached the threshold for the gold card bonus MRs and were going to hold onto that for another 6 months and then refer me before cancelling. Realistically we’d be transferring most of her earned points to avios or to me (I need to do those sums to see if its worth it).

    What’s Amex’s view on upgrading in say July (to catch our holiday) before cancelling a couple of months later (after she refers me)?

    • Genghis says:

      No problem. If you’re the supp on her account you’ll also be able to get the statuses.

      • Jonathan says:

        Cool, that’s really useful to know as I’ve got all the accounts as I do most travel.

  4. This may be for Genghis.

    With Jim’s link what is better option for someone who does not have either PRGC or AMEX yet?
    Go for PRGC and then upgrade or apply for AMEX platinum directly?

    Assume referral by spouse/family member who can refer from either PRGC or AMEX Platinum.

    • Genghis says:

      If you can internalise the referral then a referral Plat -> Plat generates 18k referral bonus + 35k sign up = 53k (vs 9k + 22k + 20k = 51k with gold upgrade route). On face value direct is best but if you’re slow at spending for the sign up bonus, only spending £1k on the plat via the gold upgrade route vs £2k on the direct route might work out best overall

      If you can’t internalise the referral it’s better to go the gold upgrade route (provided it sticks around) = 22+20 = 42k vs 35k if straight to Plat (and the fees will be less if you care about just hitting the sign up)

      • Genghis says:

        This assumes the upgrade link will still be around to use in the near future. The link looks v similar to or is the same as the old link???

        • Nate1309 says:

          I hope so. I used the link last year and all worked well but it had been dead for a long time.

        • Thanks Gehghis.

          Yes assuming the link will be live in another month or so for my upgrade and then plan to get Mrs roger a referral too.

  5. Is status recognition (Hilton) automatic and instant?

    • Genghis says:

      You need to apply for the statuses and they take around a week or so to apply to your loyalty account.

    • It is guaranteed, put it that way. You need to fill in a form online and give your existing account number, if you’ve got one. It will then take a couple of weeks at a guess to process the upgrade. If you want to benefit from Gold status the day after you receive your Platinum card it won’t be happening.

  6. OT – ParentPay have changed plans and will continue to accept Amex after 1st April. Had built up a healthy balance in anticipation of the Amex withdrawal too!

  7. OT but Amex Membership Reward Point

    Is the only sensible option from Amex MR to AADVATAGE is via SPG points?
    For my long haul flight redemption it is best to get AA points and redeem it on EY.
    But in UK other than MBNA there is not much opportunity to generate decent number of AA miles, like Avios or Virgin.

    Awaiting for better offer from MBNA for AA Card too.

    • Yes.

      Remember that Etihad has the occasional 20% or 25% bonus for transfers from Amex. This might mean that you’re better off via Etihad Guest as Amex to AA would be 1 to 0.625 at best, whilst to Etihad during a promo it could be 1 to 1.25.

      • True.

        But when you compare AA miles with EY for redemption particularly from Middle East/India, number of EY miles required on its own program is ridiculous compared to AA’s offering of 20K/42K ( for Y and J respectively).

        Not to mention higher taxes charged by EY. Compare that against AA which charged something like £18 for taxes. On EY Same ticket is higher miles (say twice at least + £125 or so in fees and taxes).

        And of course that is why you and other blogs have India and ME listed as AA MILES sweet spot. Hope their relationship last long and I can gather enough miles.

  8. Novice question… say you got the bonus points and you wish to cancel the Amex card. What happens to the points? Do you need to use them before closing the account?

    • Genghis says:

      For Amex MR you need to transfer out (or transfer them to another person – see article the other week)

  9. John R says:

    Rob, could you do an article comparing the platinum v business platinum. I remain confused over some of the benefit differences. E.g. Insurance coverage if travel not paid for with each card, car hire insurance does this cover wordwide, guesting benefits for lounge access, supplementary card benefits. Perhaps plat v bus plat v gold article? I am finding it hard to establish differences. And indeed whether buying a priority pass as opposed to “free” with plat.

  10. Optimus Prime says:


    I’ve applied for both the Hilton Barclaycard and IHG Premium Clarity Card.

    I’ve already received and activated both. My Hilton status was upgraded to Silver even before I received the card.

    IHG status hasn’t been updated yet, mainly because I made a mistake and typed the wrong membership number. I’m surprised to see the application went through anyway even though I gave them the wrong number.

    I’ve spoken with Clarity and they’ve fixed it. IHG says my status will be updated to platinum after my first credit card statement is issued. Is this true? Is it not updated as soon as your card is approved like the Barclaycard Hilton?


    • You’ve probably missed the automatic trigger initially due to the wrong IHG number – if so the first statement statement sounds reasonable…

  11. Stupid Question

    I have the BA Amex and recived 25,000 Avios at sign up (after spending the right amount) If I sign up to Platinum can I get the bonus miles even though I already have the BA Amex. The BA AMex is almost a year old. Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      No question is a stupid question if you don’t know the answer!

      Amex cards are treated as “families”. For instances. there’s the BA Amex family, the Gold/Plat chargecard family and the SPG (only one in the) family. You can have a card in each of these families and still get the sign up bonus.

      So specifically in your case, having the BA Amex (blue or black) will not affect you getting a sign up bonus for an Amex Platinum chargecard.

  12. I currently have the Amex Gold card, was looking to cancel soon. Have a week booked up at Hilton Dubai the Walk coming up at the end of April, just lost my diamond status and now Silver. If I “upgrade” to Platinum I assume I will get Gold status in HH. I assume I can just cancel the Plat card soon after and I will just get the fee back pro rata right? Does anyone see any issues/ pit falls with this plan?

  13. JamesP says:

    Apologies in advance as I am sure the subject has been covered a few times, but cannot find the info:
    I have an AMEX Platinum and a supplementary card for my partner. If I cancel our cards, and my partner takes one (and I become a supplementary cardholder), will she get the welcome bonus (30000 points I believe)?

    Alternatively, if I simply cancel, I assume I lose the benefit of my Priority Passes even if their expiry date is further down the line? For Eurostar, I assume I can still flash the inactive AMEX Card, as they only do a visual check for the lounge.

    Thank you!

    • Genghis says:

      Yes. Even better – you refer your partner for 18k and then she gets an enhanced 35k sign up bonus.
      After cancellation PP goes but can still use at E lounges

  14. gymrat says:

    How do you get Club Carlson Gold? I did not know you get this benefit from AMEX Plat.

    • It’s been a Plat benefit for years. Apply for it via the usual route in the benefits directory.