There has been a lot of chatter about the American Express platinum cards recently (both the personal & business versions) due to it being the end and start of the calendar year. These cards both allow you to get a $200 statement credit for airline incidentals and fees per calendar year. I thought it would be prudent to have a look at a few reasons as to why it makes no sense to apply for these cards if they come with the standard 40,000 point offer.
- You can get a higher 100,000 point bonus on the business card just by calling in. This is probably the worst kept secret in the miles & points game. I haven’t heard of anybody not receiving this offer if they call in and follow my instructions in the linked post.
- People are receiving targeted bonuses of 100,000 and even 150,000 points on the personal card. American Express now only lets you get each bonus once per life time (you can still churn the business cards every 12 months), even if you aren’t targeted for these offers now then chances are you will be in the future. Personally I think it’s worth holding out for 100,000 offer (only a select few have gotten the 150,000 offer), in the mean time you could get the business card above. You can check to see what targeted offers you have from American Express here.
- American Express has a great annual fee policy, which means you can actually get the airline incidental three times and only pay the annual fee once. If you apply for the cards in December, you can get the $200 credit that year, then again in January and then again the following January. American Express will waive the annual fee if you cancel within one month after it posts to your account and prorate it after that on a monthly basis (e.g you pay month to month).
- The annual fee is still $450. Whilst you can recover $400 of this in airline gift cards/incidentals you’ll still be forking over $50 and without $200 of that for 12 months.
My suggestion would be to get the 100,000 business card now if you’re considering it because we don’t know when calling in will stop working (because you can churn these every twelve months, it’s probably not worth bothering trying to get the airline credit 3x). Then you can wait to get targeted for the personal bonus of 100,000 or 150,000. Hopefully this coincides with a good time of the year to get the airline credit three times.
I think this is a great illustration of why you need to do research on every credit card before you apply for it. I’m always happy to give my limited advice on twitter or via e-mail. But that will never be a replacement for doing your own research because everybody’s goals and spending habits are different.