Let's Talk about the New Amex Platinum Earning Structure and Signup Bonus
October 6, 2016
So this week we have seen several changes to American Express' Platinum and Business Platinum cards. Now we have a new signup bonus on the Business version of the card. Let's talk about all of it.
-Personal Platinum Card will earn 5 points per dollar on airfare.
-Business Platinum Card will earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases over $5,000.
Value: Obviously it is easier to receive value on airfare purchases since most of us aren't regularly making purchases over $5,000. 5x points on airfare is the best earning rate you can get on any bonus category from any credit card, so if you have this card or are looking for a new card and you spend a lot on airline tickets, this is an incredibly compelling card given its other travel benefits like Centurion Lounge access. (Business Platinum Card will not earn 5 points per dollar)
-Business Platinum Card will receive a 50% refund on all "pay with points" airline purchases.
Value: Epic. This cuts your price in half. That is incredible. Paying with AMEX points only gives you 1 cent per point of value. I'm not normally a fan of paying with points as I'd rather transfer to a partner airline to redeem for business or first class travel, but if I can get my tickets for half price and get 2 cents per point? That is waaaaaaaay better. Remember, paying with points allows you to earn frequent flyer miles on your ticket as opposed to redeeming miles with a partner airline that will not earn miles.
New Signup Bonus
-Business Platinum Card is now offering 50,000 points when you spend $5,000 after 3 months, and then an additional 50,000 points when you spend an additional $10,000 in those same 3 months.
Value: The 50,000 is a little more than the 40,000 that had been offered, but most of us won't be spending $15,000 in 3 months unless you have a huge purchase to make.
Got it. So, should I get it?
Look, the Platinum Card has long been a great card for its benefits, but its earning structure has always sucked. If you have thought about getting the personal version of the Platinum Card because you travel enough to enjoy those benefits like Centurion Lounge access, Fine Hotels and Resorts, Delta Lounges, etc... then the 5x airfare bonus probably should put you over the top to get it.
If you don't travel regularly, do not get this card. I wouldn't have gotten it if I didn't fly out of DFW which has the Centurion Lounge.
These changes are a good start, but they still have a long way to go to be able to compete with the Sapphire Reserve as a total value proposition.