The Amex Platinum gets you automatic elite status at Marriott and Hilton - here's what that unlocks at thousands of hotels around the world
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express, you can get complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton and Marriott. You don't have to stay a certain number of nights to qualify.
- Even if you stay in hotels just five or six nights a year, the perks that come with Gold status can be particularly valuable, ranging from extra points to free breakfast with Hilton.
- You do have to activate your status benefit with each hotel loyalty program, but this only takes a few minutes.
- See Business Insider's list of the best travel rewards credit cards »
The American Express Platinum card offers a tremendous amount of value for cardholders, despite a large $550 annual fee. For instance, during my first year with the card, I got more than $2,000 in value, netting me more than three times the value of the annual fee.
In addition to perks like airport lounge access and travel credits, one big benefit of the Amex Platinum card is that just by holding it you're eligible for elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotel loyalty programs.
Without the Amex Platinum card, you'd generally need to spend at least 25 nights in Marriott hotels to earn Gold status in the Bonvoy, or a whopping 40 nights (or 20 stays) in Hilton hotels to earn Hilton Honors Gold status.
While the benefits of elite status are obviously more useful the more you use them - so the more often you stay in hotels - the status you get from the Platinum card can still be worthwhile even if you just spend five or so nights in hotels each year.
Here's how it works.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
Get complimentary hotel elite status: Click here to learn more about the Amex Platinum card »
How to activate Hilton and Marriott status with your Amex Platinum
While Gold status with Hilton and Marriott is complimentary if you have the Amex Platinum card, you do need to activate your status with both programs.
To do this, log into your Amex Platinum account online, and navigate to the Benefits tab. Here, you can click for more details about both Hilton and Marriott elite status.
Click into the benefits page for each program, and you'll be prompted to enter your Hilton and Marriott account information. If you don't have accounts with either of the hotel programs, you'll need to create them (which is free).
Read more: Amex Platinum card review
While both hotel statuses are called Gold, there are actually some pretty big differences between the benefits that this level of status comes with at each brand.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold status benefits
Here's what you can get with Marriott Bonvoy Gold status from your Amex Platinum card. (Keep in mind that you'll have to book directly with the hotel to get your elite benefits, not through a third-party site).
You can also get complimentary Gold status from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, though that card is best for those who stay at Marriott hotels several times a year, since it has a $450 annual fee and its benefits are specific to the hotel chain.
25% bonus points on each stay
This is fairly self-explanatory. You'll get a 25% bonus on every point you earn during your stay - this includes the points you earn on your room, plus the ones you earn when you charge incidentals to your room, such as the hotel restaurant or spa services.
This benefit is pretty self-explanatory, too. When you check in, you'll get an upgraded room if there's availability. This can mean you get more space, a better view, or some other improvement.
As long as there's availability in the hotel, you can get a checkout time as late as 2 p.m. as a Gold elite member. Just make sure to request it at the front desk.
When you check in for your stay, you'll get 250 to 500 bonus points as a thank you. It's not huge, but it's a nice way to help pad your points balance.
Complimentary premium internet access in the room
This one can be especially useful. When you have Gold status and log into the hotel's in-room WiFi network, you'll get the enhanced-speed option at no charge.
Hilton Honors Gold status benefits
The Hilton Honors program has undergone some changes over the past few years, but generally I find it to be a useful program. Hilton Gold status comes with a handful of extremely valuable perks, of which I'm definitely a fan.
You can also get complimentary Hilton Gold status with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, or Diamond status (the highest level) with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. Those hotel credit cards are best for Hilton loyalists, though.
Here's what you get:
80% bonus points
While Hilton points are generally worth a bit less than Marriott points - though not by that much anymore - Hilton makes up for this and more with a higher bonus on your earned points. Like with Marriott Bonvoy, this includes just about every room charge.
This is a big one - enough that I often lean toward staying at Hilton hotels more than Marriott ones
Hotel breakfasts can be expensive, but sometimes it's the best option - especially if you want to maximize your vacation time. As a Gold Hilton member, you and a travel companion who's in the same room as you can get a free breakfast every morning. The savings from this can add up quickly, especially since the continental-breakfast buffet can be $20 or more per person.
The details on this benefit are a bit ambiguous, but as a Hilton Honors Gold member, you can get a late checkout time on request, subject to availability.
Fifth reward night free
Anytime you book a four-night stay using points, you can stay for a fifth night for free. Obviously this can be an excellent benefit if you're saving up points for a vacation - you'll have enough for your stay sooner.
Two free bottles of water
There's nothing quite as frustrating as checking into your room, tired and thirsty after a long flight or drive, and grabbing a water bottle waiting for you on your nightstand only to realize it's a wildly inflated hotel-minibar price. If you're a Gold elite member, there's nothing to worry about - two water bottles are free.
You'll get a room upgrade when you check in if it's available. While this generally excludes executive suites, some hotels will give you a top upgrade anyway. Keep in mind that you may need to ask for the upgrade.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.