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Are the six free American Express Platinum hotel status cards worth having?

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If you’re looking to get yourself some hotel status cards quickly, there is no easier route than getting The Platinum Card from American Express.

It comes with SIX hotel status cards.  Five of these are given to you directly and one requires you to complete a status match.  Even better, your partner (or whoever you choose to give your free supplementary Platinum card to) will get the hotel statuses too.

What hotel statuses come with The Platinum Card?

American Express Platinum offers the following hotel statuses automatically:

You can also get the following status via a guaranteed match:

  • Taj InnerCircle Gold status (Taj and Shangri-La have a formal status matching programme)

You will have six shiny cards in your wallet but ……

It is worth looking more closely at each of these statuses to see if they are actually worth anything.

Here is the ground rule for this article.  Because I am old and cynical, I do not trust anything unless it has the word ‘guaranteed’ in front of it.

I won’t move my business to a hotel because I may or may not receive a benefit ‘subject to availability’, which can mean anything.  The one thing you can be sure of is that ‘subject to availability’ does NOT mean is ‘as long as we can physically manage your request, you can definitely have it’.  That isn’t how it works.

As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not guaranteed, I assume I won’t be getting it and I value it at virtually nothing.

You also need to remember that you must book direct to obtain any of these benefits. Bookings via Expedia, Hotels.com etc will not count.

So, if you get yourself an American Express Platinum card primarily for the hotel benefits (although the 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards points – worth 30,000 Avios – you get for signing up come in handy too!) then what are you certain of getting on your next stay?

Hilton Gold benefits

Hilton Honors Gold – what is guaranteed?

This is the mid-tier Hilton status.  Hilton Honors is generally known for having the best mid-tier benefits in the hotel industry.  Gold does not carry a lot of weight in North America, where hotels are overrun with Gold members, but it does often carry respect in Europe and Asia.

The standard requirements for a Hilton Gold are either 20 stays, or 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points in a calendar year.

The key benefit here is free breakfast.

You will receive a free breakfast of some sort at all Hilton Honors brands, including Hilton, Conrad, Curio, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree hotels.  This is usually but not necessarily full breakfast – at the Conrad New York, for example, I was given a special Gold breakfast menu which allowed me to pick a couple of items from a short list or take a $20 credit off a cooked item. At Hilton Garden Inn you need to select breakfast as your ‘My Way’ benefit.

You should also receive some sort of space-available upgrade at most brands.  You shouldn’t expect too much, often just the best room in the category you booked.  You will also receive two free bottles of water per stay.

The other main benefits of Hilton Honors Gold are:

  • 80% bonus points – which soon adds up
  • late check-out (not guaranteed)
  • 2nd guest stays free (only useful in countries which tend to charge more for two people, eg Germany)

You will also qualify for the ‘book 5 nights and pay for 4’ Hilton Honors redemption benefit which is offered to all status members.

Overall, because of the sheer size of the Hilton chain and the guaranteed breakfast, and to a lesser extent the upgrade of some sort, this is the best of the free Amex Platinum hotel statuses.

You can see the official list of Hilton Honors Gold benefits here.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold – what is guaranteed?

Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty scheme for Sheraton, St Regis, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, Aloft, Westin, W, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Marriott, AC Hotels, Delta, Protea, Renaissance, MOXY and various other brands.

Even though Gold Elite status usually requires 25 nights per year, the benefits are modest:

  • 25% bonus points on your stay
  • 2pm late check-out
  • Upgrade to an ‘enhanced’ room at check-in
  • Welcome gift of 250 or 500 bonus points, depending on brand

Breakfast is conspicuously missing from this list.

The upgrade benefit is unlikely to deliver you anything noticeable as a Gold member although the late check-out benefit is handy.  The bonus points are welcome but are not hugely valuable given my 0.5p per point valuation.

The full list of Marriott Bonvoy Gold benefits is here.

Innside exterior

MeliaRewards Gold – what is guaranteed?

Melia is a Spanish-based hotel group.  The key brands are Sol, Tryp, Melia, Gran Melia, Paradisius, ME and INNSIDE.

In the UK, they have a number of impressive but not very well known hotels which you may want to try with your new Melia Rewards Gold status including:

  • ME London, the Norman Foster designed hotel on the Strand which has a good reputation.  Think of a hotel like The Trafalgar nearby or a more sophisticated W.
  • Melia White House, a surprisingly pleasant art deco era hotel near Regents Park where we had our 2016 and 2017 HFP Christmas parties

INNSIDE Newcastle is finished and ready to open as soon as the city moves out Tier 2 covid measures.

MeliaRewards Gold offers the following benefits:

  • 30% bonus points
  • free breakfast for a companion (so basically 2-4-1)
  • free wi-fi
  • 3 x 20% off vouchers for room bookings
  • 4pm late check-out at city hotels, 2pm at resorts

Late check-out IS guaranteed as long as the hotel is not 100% full.  You will also receive free wi-fi.  There is no upgrade benefit.

Overall, there isn’t much here to persuade me to move a stay to Melia EXCEPT for the ‘almost guaranteed’ 4pm check-out.  That could be important on a short break if you have a late flight back.  Even the ‘2-4-1’ breakfast has its limits – we were recently refused it on one room when I booked two rooms for the same evening, with one adult and child per room.

The full list of MeliaRewards status benefits is here.

Club Carlson Gold benefits

Radisson Rewards Gold – what is guaranteed?

Radisson Rewards is the loyalty scheme for Radisson Blu, Radisson Edwardian, Park Plaza and Park Inn plus a few smaller brands.

Gold is their middle tier which usually requires 30 nights or 20 stays.  It is worth noting that their top tier, Platinum, is hard to get (60 nights or 30 stays) compared to the size of the chain.  This is good news because it means that a Gold member may well be the highest status member in a hotel on a particular night.

Your Gold status will get you:

  • 15% off food and drink
  • room upgrade “when available”
  • 25% bonus on base points
  • two free bottles of water
  • early check-in and late check-out “on request”
  • welcome gift

Nothing is guaranteed except your free water, welcome gift and bonus points – and there is no free breakfast.  However, in my limited experience, you can do well as a Radisson Rewards Gold because there are often no Platinum members booked in who out-rank you.  The bottom line is that, whilst Gold is not technically their top tier, hotels take it more seriously than they take, say, Hilton Honors Gold.

Full details of Radisson Rewards status benefits are here.

Shangri La Shard

Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade – what is guaranteed?

Shangri-La has only a limited presence in Europe via its luxurious properties in London (in The Shard) and Paris.  It has a large presence in Asia and also operates the lower priced Traders, Hotel Jen and Kerry brands.

Your Jade status will get you:

  • 25% bonus base points
  • “Priority upgrade to the next available best room category, if the reserved room type is not available at check-in” (I have no idea what this is meant to mean – it appears to mean you are guaranteed not to be downgraded!)
  • 11am check-in and 4pm check-out (not guaranteed, and many hotels including London and Paris do not offer it at all)
  • three welcome amenities
  • free breakfast
  • partner stays free, in hotels which charge more for double occupancy

This could work out well for anyone planning to travel in Asia.  The 4pm check-out, if ‘available’ and as long as your hotel is not on the excluded list, is handy.  All you are guaranteed is the free breakfast and a welcome amenity but overall I think you could do quite well from the benefits above if your hotel was playing ball.

The official list of Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade benefits is here.

Taj InnerCircle Gold – what is guaranteed?

I’m not going to focus on this heavily as few of you will ever stay at a Taj.

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.  Taj InnerCircle Gold benefits are

  • Late Check Out
  • Early Check In
  • 2 Upgrade Vouchers
  • 15% discount on room redemption rate
American Express Amex Platinum card

Conclusion

Just because you now have six mid-tier hotel status cards in your wallet via The Platinum Card doesn’t mean that your hotel stays are going to be transformed.

That said, if you are a regular guest at participating properties – although not regular enough to earn status in your own right – then you could do nicely.

Over the years I have done OK on Hilton and Radisson stays via my Amex Platinum status.

My experience of Melia, Shangri-La and Taj is too limited to draw any honest conclusions.  Marriott Bonvoy Gold status was only introduced in 2019 following the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

If you are thinking of applying for the American Express Platinum charge card to take advantage of these benefits, you can find out more in my review here.

You can apply for the card here.

Don’t forget the sign-up bonus is currently 30,000 Amex points which makes the £575 fee more palatable – and there are plenty of other benefits, including airport lounge access.

You will also retain the hotel status cards until their expiry date even if you cancel your Platinum card for a pro-rata refund.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (48)

  • TGLoyalty says:

    I think while there are no amazing guaranteed benefits they are all worth having as mid tier status should stop you getting the worst room in the hotel.

  • Nori says:

    Meliá gold. Was declined late checkout. Later complained. Was told that they couldn’t do it due to the IT system “upgrade” (read “problem”) at the time. Asked for a compo. Was fobbed off.

    So sometimes guaranteed may not be guaranteed. Just be mindful. But I agree that most times some sort of a late checkout is honoured.

    • MattB says:

      We had similar issues in NY innside. Originally told no, but later asked someone else and managed to get 2pm.

  • Adam says:

    What is the hotel in the picture above Melia paragraph?

  • Cuchlainn says:

    Re HHilton 5 nights for the points value of 4 nights for Silver status and above – does this only apply to the standard room reward ?

    • Tom1 says:

      Pretty sure it’s all rooms. You can easily check it (if silver) by checking availability for 5 nights and seeking the total. You don’t need the points to check.

      • Rob says:

        Just standard price redemptions (which are usually on standard rooms). You do not get it on premium room redemptions because Hilton is paying the hotel the usual cash rate.

        • Cuchlainn says:

          Thanks Rob – Seasons Greetings to you and all the HfP team 🍾

      • Cuchlainn says:

        Thanks Tom – priced it up and only lower end rooms qualify for 5 for 4 nights ☹️

  • BuildTheWall says:

    Hilton status qn. I got Hilton gold thru platinum card in august 2020. If I cancel the card in July 2021, how long will I keep my gold status (assuming I don’t stay often)? Is there a soft landing?

    • Harry T says:

      They’ve just extended status for all elite members, so worth checking when yours will be extended to.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Do we think amex are going to try and get an airline signed up to offer mid tier status? Now that would be super interesting…

    Would get me to switch very quickly.

    • Rob says:

      It’s very rare. When Cathay Pacific gave out Gold status (BA Silver) a few years ago to Amex Plats, the UK office kept it secret to avoid annoying BA. It wasn’t mentioned in any of the Platinum marketing material. We were the only place where you could read about it.

      It is also stupidly expensive. Every time a UK Amex Plat cardholder entered a BA lounge using their Cathay Gold, Cathay got a bill.

      • Nick says:

        Not strictly true… in oneworld lounges, the operating carrier pays (and not a small amount either). Still, explains why BA was upset with both Amex and Cathay over it.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          As I understand it, it depends on how the access is being granted – if you enter a J lounge on a J ticket, regardless of status, the carrier pays. If you enter a F lounge on a J ticket with OWE, the card issuing airline pays.

          So if you’re flying BA Y and enter the CX F lounge with a QF Platinum card, QF pays.

          If you fly MH J and enter the QF J lounge with a BA Gold card, MH pays. Enter the QF F lounge in the same circumstances and BA pays.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            I’ve observed the detail they take down at the CX F lounges in HKG, I (until COVID) regularly flew J in/out of HKG, and on entering the Wing/Pier F lounges they were very diligent in recording the details of my QF Platinum card (flying usually CX), so I’m guessing QF got the bill each time.

          • Doug M says:

            Interesting. What about doing a lounge tour, like in LHR T3 pre-Covid, on FT they always say only the first lounge visit is charged.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            @Doug good question. I’d automatically assumed that each visit would be charged (though only one charge per lounge, per day, regardless of number of entries), but am basing that assumption on nothing.

            It would be logical though, because an Emerald at T3 could visit BA/AA/CX/QF J, then BA/CX F lounges, and surely they’ll all want paying? Unless there’s some sort of revenue share going on at certain airports/terminals (or just in general).