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I roused myself from the food coma that is the day after Thanksgiving, made the long walk to the mailbox, and found a surprising offer: a signup bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points on the AmEx Platinum. That’s worth a whopping 4 domestic flights. Happy Black Friday to you too, American Express.
I’m fairly sure this offer isn’t going out to everyone (just kids with a limited credit history, perhaps?) but if you should stumble upon it, I’d seriously consider applying for the card.
100k bonus points is nothing to scoff at. We deem Membership Rewards Points to be as good as cash, because you can redeem as few as 2,500 for gift cards at full value. You can also transfer your points 1:1 to many hotel and airline programs (click here for a full list), and if you’ve got the Platinum, you can qualify for a points advance in which you spend up to 60,000 points before you’ve earned them. So if you spend $3k in the first 3 months of holding the card, you’ll essentially receive $1,000.
To see the mailed offer, click here (PDF).
And that’s in addition to the other Platinum perks. The card is an asset to travelers, especially those who often travel abroad. Yes, the $450 annual fee is substantial, but in return, you get:
- Priority Pass Select lounge access, which is your ticket into airport lounges in 100+ countries and is worth $400 a year
- A $200 airline incidentals credit to offset change/checked bag fees, etc.
- A credit to the Global Entry program, which allows you to skip customs lines coming into the US and is worth $100
- MR Points that are worth 20% more when you redeem through AmEx’s travel center
- Automatic Gold Elite status in the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program
- No foreign transaction fees, saving you 3% of whatever you’d spend abroad
Oh, and there’s the less easily quantifiable perks:
- Dedicated concierge service
- Preferred seating for a number of events
- Return, purchase and warranty protection
- Travel accident and baggage insurance
Even without the 100k promo, the Platinum still gives 25,000 MR Points as a signup bonus, and as always gives 1 point per $1 spent. That’s $250 back your first year, plus $600 in airline-related, quantifiable benefits, plus the one-time $100 Global Entry credit, plus savings in F/X fees, which after the annual fee yields a $500 net gain your first year and $150 thereafter, before accounting for standard rewards.
The Platinum was always a really good value if you’re a traveler. In addition to the quantified perks listed above, you have the benefit of Starwood elite status and the assortment of other benefits. Didn’t get the 100k offer? No worries, the 25k offer is just fine. To sum it up: the AmEx Platinum was worth well more than its $450 annual fee, even before the 100,000-point promotion, and now it’s even more worthwhile.
Airline partners: AeroMexico, Aeroplan, AirTran, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, MileageManager, Points.com, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, TerraPass (the carbon offset program), Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic
Hotel partners: Best Western, Choice Privileges, Hilton, Jumeriah, Priority Club, Starwood
Car and rail partners: Amtrak, Avis, Enterprise, Mercedes-Benz financial services, National Car Rental, TerraPass
Check out our list of no foreign transaction fee credit cards, and stop paying unnecessary fees!
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