The Platinum Card® from American Express Increased Welcome Bonus

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Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The publicly available welcome bonus on the American Express Platinum Card has long been 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months.

Well, American Express has finally upped the introductory offer on this card to 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. While the card sometimes has huge targeted offers, this is the best publicly available offer I’ve seen on this card in a long time.

The card does have a $550 annual fee, which isn’t waived for the first year. It’s worth noting that for $175 you can add up to three additional cardholders to the account, which in my opinion is an amazing deal given that they get most of the benefits listed below (including lounge access, Global Entry fee waived, and access to Fine Hotels & Resorts, though not the $200 incidental fee credit).

The Platinum Card® from American Express is all about the perks

I’ve paid the annual fee on this card year after year, though I haven’t actually put much spend on it ever. It’s not an especially rewarding card for everyday spend, but comes with some amazing perks that I value at substantially more than the annual fee.

  • $200 annual airline fee credit. As I’ve written about in the past, you get a $200 annual airline fee credit each calendar year just for having the card. The credit is designed to offset the costs of checked bags, premium seating, etc., and can be a great savings. You do have to designate your airline preference in advance. In practice this can also often be used to purchase airline gift cards, though your mileage may vary. I purchased $200 in American Airlines gift cards this year, and they got reimbursed. Since the card’s annual fee is based on the membership year vs. calendar year, this means you can actually get two $200 airline fee credits with your first year’s annual fee (one now and one on January 1, 2015).
  • Lounge access with Delta and Priority Pass, along with the Centurion Lounges. For having the American Express Platinum Card you get access to Delta SkyClubs as well as a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you access to over 600 airline lounges worldwide. The American Express Centurion lounges are an exclusive benefit for cardmembers, with locations in Las Vegas and Dallas.
  • Global Entry fee waiver. Global Entry is a life saver for international travel and has really taken the hassle out of customs and immigration. If you’re a cardmember the $100 joining fee will be reimbursed.
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. By booking select hotels through Fine Hotels & Resorts you get complimentary breakfast, a room upgrade, guaranteed 4PM late check-out, and a property specific amenity usually worth $100 (be it a property credit, dining credit, spa credit, complimentary lunch or dinner, etc.)

So to me those benefits substantially outweigh the $450 annual fee. Given that you get a $200 airline fee credit ($400 the first year), that essentially offsets my out of pocket to $50 the first year and $250 for each subsequent year, in my book.

Add in the lounge access (I live in Seattle, so a Priority Pass membership gets me access to the Alaska Board Room, which is useful), access to Fine Hotels & Resorts, etc., and it’s well worth the fee in my opinion.

Membership Rewards points are incredibly valuable

Membership Rewards points are in my opinion one of the most valuable points currencies out there. Membership Rewards has a number of useful transfer partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA Mileage Club, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, Singapore KrisFlyer, etc., which means there are tons of great opportunities to use American Express points for first and business class travel.

I appreciate the points because they transfer instantly to most partners, and can also be transferred to mileage accounts in someone else’s name, so are great for “topping off” accounts.

There are more rewarding Membership Rewards cards for everyday spend

If your goal is to maximize the number of Membership Rewards points you earn for everyday spend, there are better cards out there, like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. This card offers:

  • 3x points on airfare purchased with airlines
  • 2x points on gas purchased at US gas stations & groceries purchased at supermarkets, along with US restaurants

So I actually find that the Platinum Card and Premier Rewards Gold Cards are great complements — I have them both and put my spend on the Premier Rewards Gold Card, while I keep the Platinum Card for the perks.

It’s also worth noting that soon American Express will be introducing the EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred Cards, which will be a good option for everyday spend.

Mercedes Benz 50,000 point offer still alive

It’s worth noting that there’s still a Mercedes Benz Platinum Card out there that offers  similar benefits. The annual fee is $25 higher, though the sign-up is 10,000 points higher.

Bottom line

While the American Express Platinum Card isn’t my favorite card for everyday spend, it is a great card for the perks that come with it. I’ve held onto the card for years and still find it to be worthwhile. I’ll continue to use the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express for my American Express spend, though.

Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express

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  1. Lucky —

    Tried using your link and got the following message: “You have been identified as a current American Express Card Member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express Card Members.”

  2. “…ME THOSE…” >.<

    Anyway, with Amex waiving foreign transaction fees on the Delta cards, I was thinking about canceling and upping my Delta Platinum to the Reserve. I'm having trouble finding the value in the Platinum charge if both waive forex fees.

    With the cards I have, I'm currently paying exactly $1000/year on annual fees (I think). Granted, I think I get more than that out of them, but I'm starting to question the value of some. Besides the Priority Pass (which I don't use very often) and the $200 airline fee reimbursement (Delta eCerts), the only reason to keep this card around is in case of big emergency expenses since they've authorized some ridiculous (work) transactions in the past…like party-for-hundreds-of-people-with-open-bar-and-amazing-dinner-ridiculous.

    Even as a Delta PM, I'm finding Chase points to be far more valuable (Hyatt). Dunno…kind of missed the boat on reevaluating my strategy for 2014, so I guess I'll just stick with it for now.

  3. Can you use the $200 annual airline fee credit to offset the fees imposed on award seats by airlines?

    Also, is there an a minimum income requirement to obtain this card?

    Thank you!

  4. @ Kalboz — In practice usually they can be if they’re not too expensive (in which case they seem to be viewed as airline tickets as opposed to fees).

    Don’t believe there’s formally an income requirement. If you have a good credit score I find it’s usually pretty easy to get approved for, given that it’s a charge card and not a credit card.

  5. @ Tar_000 Open the link in an incognito browser window (or whatever your browser calls a “private” browser window) – that will work. It is because of the annoying way Amex uses their cookies. Even if you do not have the card, if someone else had logged into their Amex account (like a family member), it would still think you already have it.

  6. @ Lucky,

    I have tried to apply with Amex 3 times in the last 12 months. All times denied.

    I have a credit score above 720, but have 12 inquiries.

    Advice as to when/ how to get approved?

  7. Any idea how long this will be available? I applied for the AA Executive end of January out of cycle. Not sure if I should wait? Is the Mercedes B card better if you are not keeping long term?

  8. @ Ari — A credit score of 720 is right on the cusp of the rating I’d hope for if applying for cards. I’d try to get your score up a bit more (maybe to 750) and then try again. What reason did they give for the rejection?

  9. @ Kate — Not sure when the offer expires, unfortunately, though I believe it’s limited time. Yes, the bonus on the MB Card is a bit better, assuming you haven’t had either card before.

  10. Bloggers are dishonest.

    “While the card sometimes has huge targeted sign-up bonuses, this is the best publicly available offer I’ve seen on this card in a long time.”

    Nonsense. Offers for this card with a 50K sign-upn bonus come and go all the time. There was a 100K sign-up bonus on this card a year ago. It wasn’t “targeted” in any way – I got it, from a link posted on Flyertalk, as did hundreds (thousands?) of other non-targeted users.

    The only think that it didn’t include was a fat referral fee for this blogger.


  11. @Brad – What lucky means by public is going to the actual American Express website. It’s available to anyone with no published expiration date, i.e., even the most clueless kettle can get it without going on any forum or following any blog.

    The link you used—how can you be so sure that no one was getting referral fees from it?

  12. @Lucky
    Do the additional cards (for the additional $175 fee) allow the new cardholders to have ALL the same benefits as the initial holder? If so, it seems like a no-brainer to add 3 more cards to the account, so my entire family can benefit from the $200 airline credits. Or, is it only one credit for all of us?

  13. @Brad – If you are so certain of the better bonus, please let me know because I’ve looked all over for weeks. 25K and free Amazon Prime is the best available I’ve seen.

    I doubt the referral fee is very fat, but even if it, who cares when a blogger like Lucky helps everyone out, and at no cost? I’ve found his information to be honest and helpful.

  14. Lucky, if I buy American Airlines gift cards directly from id there an expiry date?
    Can I use them in bits and pieces? Say I had 4 x $50 cards, how can they be spent?

  15. The additional card holders do *not* get the listed benefits ($200 airline fee, priority pass, global entry). Not sure why you (and other bloggers) say you do.

  16. @ Nemme — I clarified the post, but they do get everything except the $200 airline fee. They do get the Global Entry fee waiver and Priority Pass Select membership.

  17. @ Frank — There’s no expiration date, and you can use them towards multiple transactions (so they can carry a residual balance).

  18. @ Matt — Sorry, to clarify the $200 airline fee credit is only for the primary cardmember. But the lounge access, Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry fee waiver, and Fine Hotels & Resorts access are for additional cardmembers as well.

  19. @ Brad — To be clear, I said publicly available. There will always be ghost links out there. Sometimes they work out, other times they don’t. I know lots of people that have gotten burned applying for higher unpublished sign-up offers they found on forums.

  20. Lucky, if this and the MB plat are pretty much the same, would it be wise to get the MB? Or does the regular Plat have an advantage over the MB plat? Sorry if Im confused between the 2…

  21. I have been unable to get priority pass and global entry for additional card members. Do you have any advice how to convince Amex reps to honor what you say is true? They can do FHR.

  22. I have Amex Biz Gold… I’ve had it for about 8 months… offer popped up on my Amex account to upgrade to Biz Platinum and get 30k points if I spend $10k in 5 months… is it worth it?
    Does it take a hard credit pull?

  23. AMEX MB Plat application now says “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had a Platinum Card® account enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program.” Looks like their new policies are already being put into place.

  24. Lucky,

    I would like to know the answer to Dino’s questions too:

    Dino said,
    Lucky, if this and the MB plat are pretty much the same, would it be wise to get the MB? Or does the regular Plat have an advantage over the MB plat? Sorry if Im confused between the 2…

  25. @Lucky, thank you for the prompt response. I used the above link to this result: “The offer you selected is no longer available. Take a look at the following offers that are currently accepting new applications online.” Listing instead the SPG, HH, and Blue Sky & Blue Cash cards!

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