Why I Always Shred My Amex Platinum’s Priority Pass Membership Card

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You probably know that it’s possible to achieve many thousands of dollars from the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express each year. It’s hard to believe the amount of perks Amex has managed to jam into a millimeter-thin slab of stainless steel.

Quite a few of these goodies are incredibly niche and far from useful to the average cardholder. Even still, it’s relatively easy to extract $1,200 in value from the card with a small bit of strategy.

One of the card’s best benefits — worth well over $400 per year to even the occasional traveler — is its Priority Pass airport lounge benefit. This gives you the magic admission ticket to 1,300+ lounges worldwide. You can enter as often as you want, and you’ll (usually) have access to unlimited free alcohol and food, free Wi-Fi, comfy chairs, and sometimes even showers.

To use this benefit, you must enroll your card in Priority Pass. But get this: I immediately feed the Priority Pass membership card through the paper shredder when I receive it. Here’s why.

Why I throw my Amex Platinum Priority Pass membership away

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Pro

  • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
  • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber

Cons

  • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
  • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards

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More Information

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Membership Card. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times . Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

The absolute best Priority Pass lounge membership money can buy costs $429 per year. For that price tag, you’ll get:

  • Unlimited free visits
  • Visitors cost $32 each per visit

The Priority Pass membership that comes with the Amex Platinum gives you:

  • Unlimited free visits
  • Up to two guests for free per visit

In other words, the Amex Platinum’s version of Priority Pass can be significantly more than the highest-tier option available to paying Priority Pass customers. If you regularly travel with a partner and child, the Amex Platinum is effectively worth $64 per lounge visit.

It really is a great membership. The reason I throw it in the trash bin is that I have other credit cards that offer even better Priority Pass benefits.

Different credit cards offer varying Priority Pass benefits

Quite a few credit cards offer Priority Pass lounge membership. But the exact terms of your membership differ depending on which card you have. For example:

Read our guide to the best credit cards with free Priority Pass airport lounge access for all the nitty-gritty stuff.

I currently hold five credit cards that come with some form of Priority Pass lounge access. With each membership, I receive a unique Priority Pass membership card. These cards do not specify the credit card from which I received them — so I adopted the habit of simply writing “Amex Platinum” or “Bonvoy Brilliant” on the back to help myself remember.

I now just throw all but my favorite membership away — the one issued by my Ritz-Carlton credit card. There’s no reason to have more than one Priority Pass membership card. For example, if I accidentally grab a membership card other than the one associated with my Ritz-Carlton Card, a few things could happen:

  • My Priority Pass card could be rejected when I traipse into a Priority Pass-participating restaurant (if I picked up an Amex-issued membership card).
  • The check-in desk will charge me when traveling with more than two friends.
  • The lounge will turn me away because I hadn’t even enrolled that particular card.

Better to shred all the ones I don’t use and not even worry about something going wrong.

Read more: The best credit cards with free airport lounge access of 2022

Bottom line

If you’ve got multiple Priority Pass lounge memberships, I recommend disposing of all but your favorite one. It can eliminate confusion and even embarrassment at the airport.

The Amex Platinum doesn’t offer the absolute best Priority Pass benefits. Other cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are slightly better. But the Amex Platinum is still extremely useful for accessing airport lounges that other cards cannot, such as:

You can access these lounges by simply showing your Amex Platinum at the door — freeing you up to dispose of your Priority Pass card.

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