Updates on American Express credit card sign-up bonuses

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Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.

UPDATE: This offer is expired. You can find the best current offers here.

I figured I’d post a quick update of some credit card sign-up bonuses for American Express, since there are a couple of targeted and increased sign-up bonuses out there right now.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card — 25,000 points after spending $2,000 within three months

While the best published sign-up bonus for the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is 15,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months, American Express is allowing existing cardholders to refer new members for a 25,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 within three months. The person making the referral also earns 10,000 Membership Rewards points. If you’re an existing member and want to refer a friend you can do so by logging into your American Express account, or if you’d like to be referred I’d be delighted to do so if you email me your first and last name at onemileatatime@hotmail.com. This offer expires February 13, 2012.

Reasons to get this card: Three points per dollar on airfare, two points per dollar on gas and groceries, and one point per dollar on everything else. This is one of my top three credit cards, and what I charge my airfare, gas, and groceries to. In the past American Express had great sign-up bonuses whereby they would honor targeted sign-up bonuses for everyone, though that seems to be a thing of the past

American Express Platinum Card — 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months

While the published offer for the American Express Platinum card is 25,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months, American Express is allowing existing cardholders to refer new members for a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 within three months. The person making the referral also earns 10,000 Membership Rewards points. If you’re an existing member and want to refer a friend you can do so by logging into your American Express account, or if you’d like to be referred I’d be delighted to do so if you email me your first and last name at onemileatatime@hotmail.com. This offer expires February 13, 2012.

Reasons to get this card: The $450 annual fee more than pays for itself. You get a $200 airline fee credit per calendar year, which in practice can be used to buy airline gift cards. Since it’s based on a calendar year, if you sign up for the card now you would get the $200 airline fee credit twice, meaning in practice you can get $400 in airline gift cards, bringing the annual fee down to $50. Beyond that you get complimentary Global Entry ($100 value) plus access to American, Delta, and US Airways lounges, as well as a Priority Pass membership. At the very least this card is worth having for one year for all the benefits, and then after that you can decide if it’s worth it to you or not. This is definitely a card I’d sign up for under this offer, as I can’t imagine we’ll see a better sign-up bonus anytime soon.

American Express Business Platinum Card — 25,000 points after spending $5,000 within three months

Just today American Express raised the bonus on the Business Platinum Card from zero to 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. While it’s not a great sign-up bonus, I do think it’s worth mentioning since the bonus went up and it’s the best published bonus.

Reasons to get this card: The benefits of this card are very similar to the American Express Platinum card, and the $450 annual fee more than pays for itself. You get a $200 airline fee credit per calendar year, which in practice can be used to buy airline gift cards. Since it’s based on a calendar year, if you sign up for the card now you would get the $200 airline fee credit twice, meaning in practice you can get $400 in airline gift cards, bringing the annual fee down to $50. Beyond that you get complimentary Global Entry ($100 value) plus access to American, Delta, and US Airways lounges, as well as a Priority Pass membership. At the very least this card is worth having for one year for all the benefits, and then after that you can decide if it’s worth it to you or not. I’m not sure if we’ll see a higher sign-up bonus of this anytime soon, though it sure wouldn’t surprise me.

Starwood American Express Card — 25,000 points after spending $5,000 within six months

While the sign-up bonus remains the same for both the Starwood Personal American Express and Starwood Business American Express credit cards, they have increased the referral bonus for consumers from 5,000 points to 10,000 points, through February 13, 2012. So you can now refer someone to the Starwood American Express and earn an even better referral bonus. If you’re an existing member and want to refer a friend you can do so by logging into your American Express account, or if you’d like to be referred I’d be delighted to do so if you email me your first and last name at onemileatatime@hotmail.com or you could apply through one of the above links.

Reasons to get this card: See this recent post.

Any questions?

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Comments

  1. actually i will do you one better. send me an email and I will split my 10k bonus with you. You’d find way more people willing to get a card that way.

  2. Thanks for the clear update. Wondering if it’s possible to upgrade my amex gold to the platinum and receive the same 50k bonus with 3k spend offer?

  3. @ S — Unfortunately to the best of my knowledge you don’t earn any bonus for upgrading. If you want to upgrade I would suggest applying for the Platinum card and then cancelling your Gold card.

  4. So, if I am an existing Gold card holder, I can’t get the 50k MR points by applying for the Platinum card?

  5. @ Robert — You absolutely can. “S” was just referring to calling to upgrade the card as opposed to applying for a new one altogether. Though can definitely apply for the Platinum card and get the bonus, even if you already have the Gold card.

  6. @ Lucky – Is the 10,000 point SPG Amex referral bonus open to everyone? My account indicates that I would only receive 5,000 points per referral (unless it’s hidden someone else on the Amex site).

  7. @ Brendan — In the search tool on americanexpress.com search “refer a friend,” and see if it comes up then. It should be available to everyone.

  8. 2 questions on the platinum card:

    A) If I’m already a gold rewards plus card member with an MR account, can I have my 50K bonus added to my existing MR account or will I need to maintain 2 separate MR accounts?

    B) On the AMEX website, I’m “pre-approved” to upgrade to the platinum for 25K bonus. If I apply via a referral, as opposed to upgrading, will by pre-approval save me a pull on my credit?

    thanks

  9. @ CDiddy — You would accrue Membership Rewards points in the same account. Unfortunately if you just upgraded you would get the 25,000 points, while if you applied separately you’d get the 50,000 points. I believe there’s no way to avoid the pull on your credit, though I’d say it’s worth it for the additional 25,000 points.

  10. My company has now given me a corporate AMEX and requires me to place ALL of my business expenses on this card, so they can receive certain cost reductions (e.g. THEY want the points). Is this a new trend? What’s next, corporate issued airline FF#s?!!

  11. @ Patrick — That’s correct, these are charge cards, though they do sometimes have an extended payment option. That being said, if you plan on carrying a balance I suggest almost never using a mileage earning credit card, as that’s where they screw you.

  12. @Cambria – Thanks for the heads up. Just applied and was approved for both the 75k PRG and the 72.5k Delta Gold via the special offers page.

  13. I went to the amex site and they don’t list the $200 airline credit per year. only $100 if you book a cruise or vacation with Amex Travel. have the benefits changed?

  14. @ Ross — They haven’t changed. If you check my links you should see it listed there, or otherwise be sure when you go to americanexpress.com that you’re looking for the right cards.

  15. Lucky, just an fyi but amex has a targeted offer to upgrade to platinum from prg. 50k bonus points after the first purchase

  16. I upgraded from gold to plat on January 2012, received 25k first… emailed AmEx, got another 25k a few days later for 50k total. No credit pull.

  17. Bill – what did you say to AmEx? I’ve been trying to get AmEx to do the same thing for me (match the upgrade offer from Gold to Platinum) for months. They won’t budge 🙁

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