Why I Just Signed Up for Another Platinum Card, and Why It Makes Financial Sense

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

I’ve had the Platinum American Express card for years. I don’t put much spending at all on the card. This is a play for the benefits that come with the card, and I find those well worth it.

Now is a key time to get the card. In fact, I just got a new Business Platinum myself. Here’s why.

It’s an expensive card but I can do math.

  • The card offers a $200 airline fee credit. While not the way it is ‘supposed to’ work per the terms and conditions, I have always been successful buying a $50 and $100 airline gift cards with the credit and using those to buy tickets.
  • The fee credit is on a calendar year. So I use the $200 credit this month, and get another $200 credit in January. That’s $400 in credits during year one.

The card also reimburses the $100 fee for Global Entry, or $85 fee for TSA PreCheck, but I already have Global Entry so that won’t factor for me on this new card.

Still, at a much reduced cost I get a pretty good signup bonus.

  • The personal card offers 40,000 Membership Rewards points after $3000 in eligible spend within 3 months.
  • The business version lets you earn up to 100,000 points: 50,000 points after $5,000 spend within 3 months and an additional 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 within those first 3 months. This is a limited-time offer through January 25, 2017.

And then there are all of the other benefits of the cards.

Airport Lounge Access

As an American Airlines flyer I connect in Dallas frequently, and I’m a huge fan of the American Express Centurion lounge there.

I use it frequently, and the Platinum card gets complimentary access for the cardmember and two guests.

There’s a Las Vegas lounge, the New York LaGuardia lounge, and one in San Francisco as well. Miami opens next. And a ‘lounge studio’ in Seattle.

The card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership that allows complimentary access to participating lounges for the cardmember – this includes Alaska Airlines lounges and many international ones.

This card got me my shower in the domestic terminal in Sao Paulo. And in Alaska lounges it means a pancake machine.

The card provides Delta lounge access for the cardmember when flying Delta same-day. (This is a better deal than buying a Delta club membership in my view since the fees are similar but with American Express Platinum you also get Centurion lounge access, and Priority Pass Select membership,)

Hotel and Car Rental Elite Status

The card offers Starwood Gold status and National Car Rental Executive status.

Starwood Gold’s key benefit is 4pm late checkout. National lets you pick your car from the “Executive Aisle” instead of the standard “Emerald Aisle” that club members choose their vehicles from.

Free Internet on the Go

The Platinum card now comes with unlimited Boingo wireless internet access.

The benefit is unlimited internet access for up to 4 devices, worldwide. 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. That said, I do carry my own internet wherever I go so I wouldn’t pay that price out of pocket for the plan.

There are many airports where internet access isn’t free, and international data even with my unlocked hotspot device isn’t cheap so I signed up for this as soon as it went live.

Membership Rewards Points

40,000 points is a 60% increase over the previous bonus offer for this card, and these are points in one of my 3 favorite currencies.

The smart use of Membership Rewards points is transferring them to airline frequent flyer programs.

Among the transfer partners are Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA Mileage Club, and Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance), British Airways and Cathay Pacific (oneworld), and Delta, Air France, Aeromexico, and Alitalia (Skyteam).

The transfer partners I personally use the most are British Airways (for short, non-stop domestic flights on American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska which start at 4500 points each way), Singapore Airlines (because they offer really good premium cabin award space to their own members), and Aeroplan (for 45,000 mile business class awards each way to nearer-Europe).

Beyond the bonus, though, this isn’t the strongest card for earning Membership Rewards points on an ongoing basis. So for me it’s about the benefits, carrying and keeping the card, rather than using it for ongoing spend.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Hey Gary, for the business version, can you not get the bonus if you had or applied for the gold card within the past 12 months? I applied in May 2013 but closed it in June 2014, so I would like to get it but would also like the bonus. Thanks!

  2. I thought Daraius said yesterday @FTU u can only get AMEx card bonuses once per type of card?

    As far as Global entry, I’m paying for my neighbor’s fee with my personal Amerprise Plat AMEX (fee waived 4 1st year). Paid for mine w/ previous Busness Plat.

  3. I just signed up for this a few weeks ago too, for all the reasons you described above. If you call the OPEN line for new business accounts and say you misplaced an offer they’ll immediately give you the option of 100,000MR points for $10k spend in 3 months. $10k can be tough to hit, but 100,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

  4. You can charge the cost of somebody else’s PreCheck application and Amex will reimburse it. And then depending how much you like them, you can ask them to pay you back some fraction of the retail price. 🙂

  5. Gary- how many miles sign up bonus did you get? I gave my email address on the Amex Bus Plat pg and they sent me an email link with a 75,000 mile sign up bonus.

  6. I’m surprised you’re settling for 40k. On Nov 30 you had a mention from Doctor of Credit about a 75k Amex Gold. His blog also suggested a way to get the 100K Amex Plat Business offer. It worked, my husband is now on his second 100K Amex Business Plat. (He cancelled his last Bus Amex card 19 mos ago). We both have Global Entry already. Bill n DC has a great idea, give it as a gift. And $200 this year, $200 next makes it that much better. I’ll cancel my Business Plat after I take advantage of my $200 in ’15. Once the 10k spend is met the Amex Bus Plat won’t see much use ‘cept for the occasional FHR stay which sometimes offers amazing deals.

  7. This is NOT a good time to get it as it is at the end of the calendar year and the $200 dollar reimbursement will expire for 2014 just as you get the card.
    I recommend getting the card in January if you are going to get one anyway

  8. We also like the plat card for the cruise benefits. We take 2-3 cruises a year and get $100-$300 per cruise booking on top of what we would get from our travel agent. You don’t need to book with amex travel either. Apparently very few people use the benefit because the cruise line is not that familiar with all of the benefits other than the on board credit. This year we got $700 in value from this benefit alone over our 3 cruises.

    https://www.americanexpress.com/cruiseprivileges

  9. @nathaniel….priority pass with AX is the “select” card, meaning it excludes United clubs. AUs can also get a pp select card for free.

    @gary…do you think publishing this will make it more or less likely that Amex closes the gift card credit? Against that, what is the likely revenue from an post like this?

  10. In 2009 I was ready to give up on AMEX after they wanted to do an FR right before a trip I was making and cut my limit 90% because I wouldn’t provide documents in 48 hours.
    Then, a few days into the trip the card stopped working. I had to call AMEX from Stantsed to find out someone had try to use the card at a Chuck-e-Cheese in Cicero, Ill.
    They actually wanted me to go back into London to get the card replaced. Luckily I had another card with me.
    Terribly frustrating they insisted they could not print a card in Amsterdam even though they finally did.
    After all this I’m glad I didn’t cancel, and I don;t feel bad at all about using the Vegas lounge for both
    breakfast and dinner. I don’t even have to pay penny slots to get free drinks.
    I doubt everyone can get their money’s worth out of the platinum Card, but I am intent on running up the free food and liquor tab until they start charging for entry.
    In addition, the gift card purchase bonuses using the Everyday Card and the business platinum or Starwood card at 2.25% off –and earning MR’s or Starpoints–then cashing out with Google wallet for 2.9% reduces the cost of buying miles or Starpoints to a very low level. This year , after 19 yrs having the corporate platinum I was able to actually find an IAP 2 for 1 ticket at the lowest published fare: 2 DL Business tickets to Sydney for $7500. That last one is likely the biggest award miracle of all time.

  11. How do you post this without evening referring to the new restrictions on personal card churning with AMEX?

    Oh right, you want the referral $$$.

  12. You should have called Amex for a better offer. I got a business platinum in September with 100k sign up bonus.
    They don’t advertise it obviously. I just asked if there was a better offer.

  13. I just got a targeted email with the 100,000 MR sign-up promo w $10K min spend in 3 months. Pretty excited to try the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge at the end of the month. Thanks for the gift card reminder. I forgot about that.

  14. I keep getting 100K business offers in the mail at least twice a month. Might have to take one up it sometime.

  15. Gary – You write “I gave my email address on the Amex Bus Plat pg and they sent me an email link with a 75,000 mile sign up bonus.”

    What page did you enter your email address on? I know Amex used to have a page where you could check your targeted offers but I can’t seem to find it anymore…

  16. Gift cards and registry did not work this year wiith United for the $200 credit. Thinking of switching airlines in 2015. Any suggestions? AA does not work for NJ billing addresses for gift cards.

  17. I can do math too. And it does not make long term sense to support paying a fee to hold a credit card. I realize that, eventually, bad consumers will spoil credit cards for everyone and the day will come when it’s back to the 1980s and everyone pays some nonsense fee to hold a credit card because they’ll see that too many people are willing to fall for this crap. But it won’t be because *I* didn’t call B.S. on it.

    @Jon be cautious about Amex bonus. They are telling people they are accepted and then not honoring the bonus after you meet your spend. They will come back and find some previous account from years gone by and claim they are only giving one bonus to a customer. @James I would hope bloggers have been kept in the dark because they are allowed to churn as much as they like but sooner or later somebody needs to tell them they’re selling a product that is not the same as what the general public is getting.

  18. Thanks to all who mentioned the 100k offer. I called and asked and got the offer. A five minute phone call was all it took. Approved!

  19. Keep sinking lower and lower in your cc peddling. You are honestly trying to push a referral link when people can easily get 2.5x points via another app? Very ethical.

  20. @Bill n DC – Thanks for attending FTU!

    The terms & conditions in AMEX *personal* cards suggest that the bonus is (currently) only once in your lifetime.

    However, the terms and conditions for *business* cards suggest that it is possible to get the sign-up bonus 12 months after you closed the card.

  21. Gary, message me. I can give you a 100K offer. You’re the best blogger in the business. The fact that you’re settling 40K means you have REALLY slipped. Let me HELP you.

  22. Oh man I read the post and signed up for the 40k offer, didn’t see the stuff below about the 100k! Does anyone know if I can call and get it retroactively applied?

  23. Savvy post , I Appreciate the analysis . Does someone know if my assistant might be able to locate a sample a form version to fill out ?

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