This week I wrote about about a great 100k point sign up bonus offer for the American Express Platinum Card. While not publicized, the offer is available to certain people using the Card Match tool. Unfortunately I wasn’t selected, but my wife was! Since American Express Membership Rewards are worth about 1.8 cents each to me, this is a massive sign up bonus equal to around $1,800! Applying for the card was an easy decision and my wife was instantly approved this morning.
Card Match Offers
While there’s no specific set of rules for who is eligible for Card Match offers, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion as to why my wife was selected and I wasn’t. I’ve taken out both the Amex Everyday Preferred and Amex Blue Business Plus cards this year. The cards are part of our household’s overall spending strategy which looks like this:
- Travel & Dining: 3X Points Chase Sapphire Reserve (5.4% Value)
- Gas: 3X Points Amex EDP (5.4% Value)
- Groceries: 4.5X Points Amex EDP (8.1% Value)
- Everything Else: 2X Points Amex BBP (3.6% Value)
While I’ve opened a few Amex accounts this year, my wife doesn’t currently hold any American Express cards, and hasn’t received a sign up bonus from Amex in well over a year. Presumably she’s a better potential customer to Amex than I am since I could be looked at as a churner.
American Express Platinum Card Details
The Platinum card comes with a hefty $550 annual fee which competes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige in the premium card market. The main benefits of an American Express Platinum Card are as follows:
- 5X points on all airfare purchases booked directly with the airline
- $200 annual airline fee credit (bags, seat assignments, and potentially gift cards)
- $100 credit towards TSA Precheck or Global Entry
- Access to Centurion, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Lounges
- $15/Month in Uber Credits ($20 in December)
If I’m being honest, I don’t think we’ll hold onto the card past the first year – barring any dramatic changes from Amex. The airline fee credits are way more complicated to redeem than the simple $300 travel credit from Chase on the Sapphire Reserve card. Furthermore, the card’s $550 annual fee is $100 more than the Sapphire Reserve. A case could be made to keep the Platinum Card if you plan to spend heavily on paid airfare or use Centurion and Delta Sky Clubs on a regular basis. For our family, it’s a distant third behind the Sapphire Reserve and Prestige cards.
Airline Fee Credit – Calendar Year
Here’s another great reason to grab the 100k bonus if you’re eligible. The Platinum Card comes with a $200 annual airline fee credit. The reward is intended to pay for things like checked bags, on-board meals, and seat assignments. However, there’s huge data points on flyertalk that indicate airline gift cards are also eligible.
The great thing about this benefit is that it’s given each calendar year. Since we just got the card today, I’ll go ahead and purchase $200 worth of gift cards before the end of the year. Come January 1st, we’ll be eligible for another $200. That makes the $550 annual fee a little easier to swallow! Just remember that the benefit requires you to choose one airline. So make sure you plan to fly that particular airline sometime soon.
I’m kind of an old-school guy. Back in the day the American Express Platinum Card was the ultimate status symbol. I suppose it still might be to baby boomers and people a little older than I am. The problem with the Platinum Card is it’s rewards structure just hasn’t evolved enough to keep up with the competition. While the card still looks awesome, I just can’t find a reason to keep it long term. That being said, the targeted 100k sign up bonus is a can’t miss proposition, especially if you straddle the airline credit over 2017-2018.