New American Express Platinum PreCheck and Boingo Internet Benefits and New Lounges to Access

American Express, an advertising partner of this blog, sent out word today of two new benefits coming for their Platinum card cardholders this June… which is right around the corner.

Boingo Wireless

Starting in June 2014, Platinum Card Members will receive complimentary, unlimited access to more than 700,000 land-based Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide in airports, retail and hotel locations through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. Once enrolled in the plan, Card Members can have simultaneous internet access for up to four devices without worrying about data caps or roaming fees.

Statement Credit Option for TSA Pre✓™

Starting in June 2014, Platinum Card Members will have the option to receive a statement credit for a TSA Pre✓™ application fee. The $85 statement credit for TSA Pre✓™ is an alternative to the existing benefit that American Express launched in 2011―a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry application fee.  Card Members can receive a statement credit for either the TSA Pre✓™ or Global Entry program application fee once every five years.

  • If the Card Member travels internationally, Global Entry can reduce wait time at US Customs when returning from international travel. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, the Card Member will receive access to TSA Pre✓™
  • If the Card Member does not travel internationally or does not think he/she meets the requirements of Global Entry, the Card Member can opt to apply for TSA Pre✓™ alone.  TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening at participating U.S. airports.

Unlimited Boingo Internet Access Worldwide

Unlimited internet access for up to 4 devices, worldwide, seems on-face huge. The closest approximation of a plan from Boingo appears to be their $59.95 monthly plan that’s capped at 2000 minutes. So in some sense this benefit is worth ‘at least’ $720 a year.

In practice, though, I’m not sure how often I will use it. That’s because I have internet access pretty much anywhere I go in the world already — a Verizon MiFi device here in the States, and an unlocked wireless hotspot for international travel that I can put international data sim cards into and I also have a reasonably-priced SIM card that works across much of the world.

Still, there are many airports where internet access isn’t free, and international data even with my unlocked hotspot device isn’t cheap so I’ll certainly be signing up for this.

TSA PreCheck Benefit

The Platinum card already offers a $100 statement credit for Global Entry applications, and you cannot take that and the $85 statement credit for applying directly for PreCheck of course there’s no reason that you would need both.

I finally got Global Entry last year (I used my Platinum fee credit to cover the cost of applying) and it’s fantastic.

I’m through immigration formalities in the States in moments, and I’m even looking forward to using it in Australia later in the year.

Getting PreCheck used to be somewhat hit or miss for me but I’ve had it almost universally since being approved for Global Entry. So if you’re eligible, I’d definitely recommend getting Global Entry.

However if you aren’t eligible for Global Entry it’s nice to know that you aren’t shut out with the card, that they’ll cover the PreCheck application instead.

New Lounges Cardholders Can Access

The new Newark Airport Art & Lounge that I wrote about last omnth club on Concourse B has become a Priority Pass lounge, meaning that American Express Platinum cardholders can access it via their Priority Pass Select benefit.

In addition, the Virgin America Loft at LAX (Terminal 3) has also become a Priority Pass lounge.

More About the Card

I offered an extensive review of the card and its benefits last week, prior to the announcement of these two new benefits.

The card’s signup bonus has just been increased to 40,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months.

I love it for the Centurion lounge, the $200 airline fee credit, and if I wasn’t already qualifying on my own for Starwood Gold and National Car Rental Executive status.

I think it’s fantastic that American Express is adding benefits to the Platinum card. Taken together it’s more than enough value that the card continues to have a place in my wallet.

(Note that cards in this post offer credit to me if you’re approved using my links. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Boingo one has the potential to be huge for me. I have an unlocked iPhone and usually do get a local prepaid SIM when traveling overseas, but there’s always that time (when you first arrive at the airport, are trying to get to the hotel, etc.) before you get the SIM where you feel cut off from everything. (I’ve massively overpaid on taxis, etc. to get from the airport into town because I didn’t have data I could use to find out how to navigate the bus system or find a cheaper taxi/remis/whatever provider.)

    Also, sometimes you’re sitting at a restaurant or a train station or something and there’s a Boingo hot spot available, but you’re forced to use your limited prepaid data connection. (I’ve burned through 7GB in the last two weeks here in Mexico, which has cost me about $50 in prepaid data plan charges–and that’s just to keep up on work).

    Count me a fan. This alone seals my renewal of the Plat card, which I had been considering canceling (or downgrading back to Gold) due to the loss of lounges.

  2. @Gary Have you ever considered T-Mobile as your domestic carrier? The free unlimited international data and text has been a true travel game changer for me.

  3. @Andrew: I was with two FTers in TLV who had T-Mo, and the molasses-like speeds they were accessing the Internet at were so slow it wasn’t even funny. My local SIM was running circles around them.

    Also, T-Mo’s domestic coverage leaves a LOT to be desired. A local friend of mine in PA switched to T-Mo because of their attractive pricing. Shortly after signing up, he drove from Lancaster to Baltimore while on a business conference call…and shortly south of York, the call died and he had “No Service” all the way until he was in the outskirts of BWI. Note this was a pretty heavily-trafficked corridor along a major Interstate highway (I-83), not some podunk two-lane road.

    I like having 4G LTE everywhere I go with my Verizon Mifi and solid voice coverage (and LTE in most places) everywhere I go with my AT&T iPhone. T-Mo really needs to invest in their network if they want a fighting chance for my business.

  4. The Art Lounge at EWR doesn’t appear to be much of a benefit. I came through there last week and they were closed. I was told they currently have very limited hours for foreseeable future. Also, I have GE, but it doesn’t seem to trigger Pre-check…do I need to do something to get it?

  5. @Chris: Make sure your PASS ID (shown on your GE card or on the GOES website) is listed in the Secure Flight information section of your reservation. Also, make sure the name as it appears in the Secure Flight information is an exact match to what is displayed in GOES (100%–that is, if GOES only has a middle initial, don’t put your full middle name in the Secure Flight information. Note the Secure Flight information is separate from the name the ticket is booked under.

    It’s best to update your profile on your carrier with this information so it happens automatically for future tickets booked. Some carriers also don’t let you specify this information separately and may require you to call in to modify any existing reservations.

    There are extensive threads in each of the airline forums on FlyerTalk detailing how to accomplish all of this for your carrier of choice. Many of these threads also have wikis at the top with all of the good information condensed in one easy place.

  6. > @Andrew: I was with two FTers in TLV who had T-Mo, and the molasses-like speeds they were accessing the Internet at were so slow it wasn’t even funny. My local SIM was running circles around them.

    It’s actually not that bad, but you do have to use encryption. For some reason, T-Mobile shapes unencrypted HTTP down to nothing, so I end up using VPN whenever I’m using it internationally. They also tend to burst the first bit of traffic, so the speeds taper off as you use it more.

    GigSky seems neat, but the limit in some of the countries is laughably low. I pulled more than 100MB the first day that I was in Hong Kong a few ago. Seems like it’s easier to use T-Mobile until you get a local SIM card.

  7. > @Andrew L – I’ve looked at T-Mobile but I’ve not heard enough good things about their coverage.

    They’re great in populated areas and for international roaming. Not so great in rural areas in the US, though to me, that usually means 2.5G coverage. I keep around a prepaid Verizon phone for the times that I’m in rural areas in the US. I use it far less often than I’d originally thought.

  8. I used my AE Platinum card today to use the Delta lounge for free. Be aware that if you’re travelling with a companion and they do not have a Platinum card, they do not have access to the Delta lounge unless you pay. In this case my wife was expected to pay $29. In the end the hostess let her in with me, but I would not count that every lounge would do that.

  9. Regarding Boingo: Anyone know why the boingo iOS app seems to think your’e on a mobile plan with 2GB/month?

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