Cabo San Lucas Never Looked Better Than With The American Express Platinum Card

This is part two of the Platinum Card Challenge, presented by American Express.
John McMahon
John McMahon


American Express Logotype Stacked

There’s no doubt that flying in business and first class to North America is one of the smartest ways to put your American Express Membership Reward® points to work. With the help of hefty points bonuses when you sign up for a credit card, accumulating Membership Rewards points could be the ultimate hack to nabbing a seat at the pointy end of the plane.

But…as I found out during our recent trip to Scotland for the opening instalment of our Platinum Card Challenge, recurring Card perks are where the real value lies and American Express’ Platinum Card® leads the card world in this regard in our opinion.

On the road, at the airport, in the air, and when checking into the world’s best hotels – be it in Edinburgh or Cabo San Lucas – we believe no card helps you level up every aspect of your itinerary as comprehensively as the American Express Platinum Card.

After being shown the ropes in Scotland earlier this year, I can now attest to this statement with my own evidence from Jack and I’s head-to-head jaunt to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This time we were both armed with the American Express Platinum Card. 

Now also a Platinum Card holder, I too was privy to the perks that he rightly flaunted in Scotland – which included room upgrades, room credit, complimentary meals, and travel insurance. The real question this time around was who did it better?

Let’s dive into how American Express’ Platinum Card can enhance your next trip to North America by unpacking the wild perks and privileges we were lucky enough to experience in Cabo.

On The Ground

Flying out of Sydney, we kicked off the trip over a glass of celebratory bubbles at the American Express Centurion Lounge, which we could now both access with our Platinum Cards.

Despite your class of travel, Platinum Card Members get complimentary lounge access1 to over 1,400 lounges worldwide in over 650 airports across 140 countries. You don’t have to worry about holding status or flying with the right partner airlines. The Platinum Card is your golden ticket to access all of them, with some lounges even allowing you to enter with up to two guests. 

And while it’s not exactly the sexiest perk of the Platinum Card, it’s also worth mentioning you get a suite of travel insurance coverage2, including but not limited to Medical Emergency Expenses, Travel Inconvenience, Trip Cancellation and Amendment, and Loss Damage Waiver when you use the card to pay for your return trip. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply (such as maximum age limits, pre-existing medical conditions and cover limits). 

The Flight

After Jack pulled off perhaps the greatest Boss Hunting stitch-up of all time for Scotland – sticking me down the back in seat 76D and redeeming Membership Rewards points3 for a first-class seat on the same plane – it was now my turn to return fire.

Enter the most luxurious aeroplane seat I could find that flies to Australia; Singapore Airlines’ First Class Suites on the A380. You might be wondering why I chose to fly via Singapore to get to Los Angeles and down to Cabo. The answer? A bucket-list tick of unrivalled proportions.

One-way just to Singapore from Sydney (not even to Los Angeles) in this elite cabin class at the time of flying would have cost me nearly $7,000 cash. But with Membership Rewards points? When transferred to Singapore’s Krisflyer program, it clocked 155,000 miles and $92 Aussie dollars in taxes. A laughable fee that I made back in a few glasses of Tattinger at the First Class Lounge in Sydney.

Onboard, I was king of the castle in my private suite that would rival most people’s bedrooms. I pre-booked the Boston Lobster Thermidor for lunch, sipped everything from NV Krug to a Taittinger Comtes Blanc de Blanc and a delightfully crisp drop of Henri Giraud MV18. When it was time for a bit of R&R at 41,000 feet, my host generously made up the separate bed and the Lalique pyjamas meant I could keep my clothes fresh for the onward flight to LA.

It’s worth noting that Singapore Airlines American Express Membership Rewards redemption rate is 3-1. The redemption rate is higher than other Membership Rewards Airline partners, however when you consider the absolutely wild cash price it costs to fly in this once-in-a-lifetime seat, it’s worthwhile to look out for an award seat in Singapore Airlines’ A380 First Class Suites cabin.

From Singapore, there was a short connection on the ground in Changi before my overnight flight to Los Angeles.

If you’re not familiar with the program, Membership Rewards points are the absolute sweet spot in the frequent flying game. With 12 different partner airlines to choose from, they’re easily the most flexible of all points programs to have in your arsenal when searching for and booking classic award seats in business and first-class to North America3.

Jack, while not indulging in the same supreme levels of luxury as myself, still found himself a business class seat on Qantas direct from Sydney to Dallas. A solid product, for sure, and a more direct route booked using just 126,500 Qantas Points transferred from American Express. Nothing to tell the grandkids about, but a tidy redemption nonetheless.

The Layover

I relish the opportunity to switch off from the outside world and kick back in the sky when I’m at 35,000 feet. Singapore to Los Angeles’ mega 14.5-hour hop meant I could basically finish an entire season of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, along with all of the other TV series I never get to watch. An underrated perk of the Platinum Card is a complimentary Amazon Prime Subscription Credit4 to use on a subscription to some of the best streaming content in the game right now. It’d be worth downloading a handful before throwing your device on flight mode.

While I was still in the air, Jack enjoyed a night in downtown Dallas, Texas, before his connecting flight to Cabo San Lucas the next morning.

As a Platinum Card Member, you also get Hotel Elite Status where you’re fast-tracked to the higher tiers of leading hotel loyalty programs around the world, without having to fulfil the usual qualifying criteria like numerous night stays each year. Partners include Marriott BonvoyTM Gold status5, Hilton Honors Gold status6 and Radisson Rewards Premium status7.

Using the latter, Jack was eligible for a suite of perks when checking in at The Statler Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton, including a space-available room upgrade.

On his early morning flight the following morning, Jack basically flew for free from Dallas to Cabo San Lucas with American Airlines flight thanks to his $450 AUD annual travel credit8. When booking through Amex Travel, this credit can be used on everything from flights, to hotels and car hire. 

I personally saved mine for another bucket list tick on the ground in Cabo…

The Cape, A Thompson Hotel

Touchdown, Los Cabos, where I checked in to The Cape, A Thompson Hotel – an effortlessly luxe and cool perch on the end of Medano beach looking back over Cabo San Lucas and its dramatic peninsula.

The Cape is a member of the American Express Hotel Collection9, and because I booked it through Amex Travel, Platinum Card holders like myself get a host of specific benefits when staying for two nights or more.

The hero perk is without a doubt the room upgrade at check-in, when available. Suddenly, I found myself in the dramatic Panoramic Suite with a plunge pool right on the corner of the property with sweeping 270-degree views. There was also a $100 USD property credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, or resort activities9.

Arguably one of the most impressive hotel rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying, the Panoramic Suite for that evening clocked in at almost $3,500 AUD. I had originally booked the one-bedroom suite – the room category below this one – which retails for around $800 less, and then I strategically used my $450 annual travel credit for the stay too8. So when you do the maths, I’d really earned myself nearly $1,300 of extra value just because I booked with the Platinum Card.

The check-in experience was all topped off with a complimentary bottle of tequila waiting for me in the room, distilled exclusively for the hotel, alongside a custom note from the hotel’s General Manager thanking me for my patronage. 

As Platinum Card Members, Jack and I both can unlock Amex’s duo of curated hotel programs, each with its own suite of benefits. They are aforementioned The Hotel Collection, and American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts program. You can read more about the differences between them and the hotels on offer here.

Now for the latter…

The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

Jack will be the first to admit that redeeming Membership Rewards to fly first-class across the globe is his favourite way to use his Platinum Card. That being said, well after you’ve stepped off the plane, Jack knows better than anyone after our trip to Scotland that the Platinum Card’s explicit benefits and overall value really shine through American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts program7.

Jack tells me that his experience at The Waldorf Astoria in Los Cabo Pedregal showcased the benefits of Fine Hotels & Resorts in all their glory. Think 12 pm early check-in, room upgrade on arrival (which nabbed Jack a one-bedroom suite with a plunge pool), a guaranteed 4 pm late check-out, as well as a $150 USD room credit to be used during his stay10.

On the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo San Lucas and built into the rock of the mountainous terrain that encircles it, The Waldorf offers a seriously different vibe to The Cape in the most Mexican way possible. The hotel is a hacienda-style property with individual villas and complexes dotted with infinity pools and lined with palm trees.

It also plays home to one of the most spectacular (albeit expensive) hotel restaurants in Cabo, the cliffside El Farallon. Jack’s $150 USD room credit didn’t go far here, but it was better than nothing.

Hooks, Slices and Bites

Flying first class and checking into elite hotels is only half the fun in Cabo San Lucas. If there are two things Jack and I love more than both of them, it could be golf and fishing.

For the latter, Cabo’s entire existence essentially stems from the wildly plentiful waters of the Baja California peninsula. Hundreds of world-class fishing boats dominate the marina, prized trophy fish are a magnet for big American money, and day charters promise big hauls of Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and Marlin.

Back up some world-class angling with some equally outrageous golfing at one of the many superb courses around Cabo San Lucas. The likes of Quivira and Palmilla are renowned for a reason, but getting a tee time might be a struggle. Consider a newer course on the scene like the Greg Norman-designed Solmar Golf Links. These 18 holes hug the northern dunes of Cabo along the Pacific Ocean and while the Platinum Card doesn’t unlock any direct perks when playing a round here, it does buy you the course fee which includes complimentary food and drinks. Watch out for the 17th, however, where the green juts out into a lake like an island. Easily one of the most spectacular par 3’s in all of Baja California.

And finally, the food. One of the most underrated perks of the Platinum Card might be the Global Dining Credit11. If you’re not familiar, it gives you $200 to spend at participating restaurants in Australia, and $200 to spend abroad. Lucky for us, Hacienda Cocina y Cantina – the best-rated hotel restaurant in Cabo – was part of this program. Be it a kickoff meal on night one or the last supper before flying home, it’s worth choosing your restaurants accordingly, like we did, to save a serious chunk of change on your fine dining experience.

This is part two of our Platinum Card Challenge with American Express. Looking beyond Cabo? We’ve curated our favourite Fine Hotels & Resorts properties from all across North America. Keen to revisit Scotland? Watch part one of the American Express Platinum Card Challenge here. And of course, you can learn more about the American Express Platinum Card at the link below.

Fast Facts – The American Express Platinum Card

  • Card type: Charge Card
  • Annual Fee: $1,450 p.a.
  • Cash Flow Period: Up to 44 cash flow days12 and no pre-set spending limit13

For the full breakdown of the Terms & Conditions, click here.

John McMahon
John McMahon is a founding member of the Boss Hunting team who honed his craft by managing content across website and social. Now, he's the publication's General Manager and specialises in bringing brands to life on the platform.



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