A lot of people are thinking about whether they should signup for a new credit card now given various time-limited enhancements that cards have gotten over the past few weeks. I just wanted to do one quick recommendation which could make sense for a lot of people: the American Express Schwab Platinum card.
The American Express personal Platinum card got an added benefit for 8 months of $20 in streaming credits ($160 total) and $20 in mobile wireless credits ($160 total). And, through May, Amex will give you 6 months to do the signup bonus spend instead of the regular 3 months.
This is all true for any version of the personal Platinum card, including the regular Platinum, Schwab Platinum, and Morgan Stanely Platinum.
Since Amex has a once per lifetime rule, a lot of us try waiting until we get one of those 100,000 points offers before applying. If you can’t a good offer on the Amex Platinum, the decision is harder, and some have decided to hold off now.
The Schwab and Morgan Stanley both come with a standard signup bonus of 60,000 points after $5,000 in spend. The Morgan Stanley version is harder to get due to $5,000 deposit requirement. Both of these cards have the 60k bonus as a constant, we’ve never seen that number change. (Update: almost never.)
And that’s why the Schwab card could make sense now: you get all the added benefits without ‘losing’ any signup bonus since it never goes higher, and you are gaining the extra $320 in credits and the longer 6-month spend time.
An added factor in why this card makes sense now particularly is because a lot of people don’t see themselves traveling a ton in the upcoming months/years, and thus don’t necessarily want to keep huge stashes of Membership Rewards points. The Schwab card allows you to get 1.25 cents per point which some might consider a poor value under ordinary times but a good value under their current travel expectations.
It is worth noting two downsides here:
- You’re giving up on the potential triple-dip $200 travel incidental credits. These travel credits are getting harder to use, so some people won’t fret the loss of the third credit much.
- If you’d apply a different time, you’d likely be able to make more use of the travel benefits throughout the membership year than you’ll be able to do in the coming year.
In the end, for most people it’ll depend on how much you value the travel benefits; if you value them highly, it’s probably worth waiting to apply to the Schwab Amex Platinum (and any other version); if you don’t value them much, this is really the best opportunity to signup now.
Certainly someone who is mainly interested in cash back (e.g. doesn’t travel regularly) would usually not gain much from the card and now can gain significantly more: Typically, the $750 signup bonus (60k x 1.25) only gets you $200 cash after the $550 annual fee, and then you get to use the $200 Uber credit and whatever you can get out of the $200 airline incidental credit and $50 Saks credit. Now, you’ll get all that, plus the $320 in wireless and streaming credits. This already seems more worthwhile.
This article is primarily for those who have not gotten the Schwab Platinum card before and are eligible for the signup bonus, but even those who won’t get the signup bonus might consider the card if they really want that 1.25% cashout option. All of those credits can offset the annual fee and you net the cash-out option.
There are some other cards, like the business Platinum, which might make sense to signup for now, even without getting the absolute best signup offer…but that’s for another time…lots of articles have been written about signing up for cards now, I just thought this Schwab angle was something worth highlighting.