In January 2013, I signed up my wife for the Amex personal Platinum card. At the time, via something called the CardMatch Tool (more about that later), she was targeted for 100,000 points after $3K spend. Since then, I’ve seen great Business Platinum offers, including the 150K offer I signed up for recently (details here), but I haven’t seen personal Platinum card offers with huge point bonuses. Until now…
Recently I added the CardMatch Tool to my Best Offers page. It shows up both near the top of the Best Offers page, and near the bottom, like this:
The CardMatch Tool lets you check for credit card offers targeted to you. In my experience, the tool rarely results in offers any better than those already widely available, but every now and then something good shows up…
On June 5th, I received an email from a reader asking for help in evaluating offers she had found within the CardMatch Tool. One offer really stood out (bolding is mine):
The Platinum Card® from American Express – $450 annual fee
- Get 100,000 Membership Reward® points after $3,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
- No foreign transaction fees. No matter what country you’re in, when you use your Platinum Card there are no Foreign Transaction Fees.
- 24/7 Platinum Card® Concierge service for assistance with reservations, travel, gifts, and more.
Wow, that appears to be the same offer my wife received in 2013!
Your miles will vary
I tried to find this offer through the CardMatch Tool for myself and my wife, but neither of us were targeted. My guess is that offers like this are limited to those who have never had the Platinum card before (note, though, that I have no inside knowledge of how the targeting works). I then tried the tool on behalf of my niece who is currently in college and has never had a credit card. She received a 60K Platinum card offer on June 9th 2015:
Clearly, only certain people get targeted for the 100K offer. And, note that there is no evidence that the offer is available, at all, anymore. It’s possible that this reader simply lucked into a short term opportunity. I simply don’t know. That said, it only takes a minute or so to see if you’re targeted, so it can’t hurt to try.
I didn’t recommend this offer to this reader
Even though this is an amazing offer, I didn’t recommend it to the reader who approached me. She’s brand new to miles & points and she specifically told me that she doesn’t make a lot of money, has never had a credit card before, and was primarily interested in domestic travel.
The Platinum card offer is terrific, but it has a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year. I did explain to her that its possible to recoup $400 in value from the card through the $200 calendar year airline fee credits ($200 this calendar year and $200 next calendar year). In my view, though, recovering $400 in airline fees is best left to those who travel often and/or can make good use of gift cards, or those who know advanced tricks. And, of course, the card’s $100 Global Entry fee credit is great, but it doesn’t directly reduce her costs unless she was planning to sign up for Global Entry or TSA Precheck anyway.
My other hesitation in recommending this card to this reader was that it earns Membership Rewards points. I think of Membership Rewards points as a currency best used by advanced level miles & points hobbyists. To get the most value from Membership Rewards points it is usually necessary to transfer points to foreign airline programs and understand ways to avoid high fuel surcharges. Alternatively, a person can spend extra money and hire an Award Booking Service to help. In other words, it takes either expertise or money to get the most from Membership Rewards.
Also, one of the most likely uses for Membership Rewards, for her, will soon become less attractive: As of October 1, Membership Rewards points will no longer transfer 1 to 1 to British Airways. Instead, the transfer ratio will drop: 250 Membership Rewards points will convert to 200 British Airways Avios. British Airways points offer amazing value for short non-stop awards including flights on partners such as American Airlines. Prices start at just 4,500 British Airways Avios each way. As of October 1 2015, though, those same flights will cost 5,625 points, if starting with Membership Rewards. That’s still not terrible, but you can do better with Chase Ultimate Rewards (which, as far as I know, will continue to support 1 to 1 transfers).
Also, among the transferable points programs, I think that Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most accessible to beginners. And, I think that both the Freedom card and the Sapphire Preferred card are great options for getting started. I suggested that she start with one or both of those.
Who should get the 100K offer?
In a recent comparison between Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards, I suggested that Amex Membership Rewards were best for those seeking premium international flights (e.g. business or first class). Of the three programs, Membership Rewards offers the most transfer partners. Of those, a few have great award prices for certain destinations. Those awards, though, typically involve at least some fuel surcharges. Membership Rewards points, therefore, are also best for those who have the means to pay those surcharges (often several hundred dollars per ticket) or, perhaps, to pay for an Award Booking Service… Or, for those who have the expertise to find ways around paying high fuel surcharges.
The Platinum card is also great for anyone who travels often and can make use of its great benefits: airport lounge access, Global Entry fee reimbursement, SPG Gold status, etc. (see: see “Maximizing value from Amex Platinum cards”). On the other hand, those who primarily want the perks rather than the points may do better with the Ameriprise Platinum card which waives the first year fee for both the primary cardholder and up to three authorized users (details here).
Using the CardMatch Tool
When evaluating the results from the CardMatch Tool, it is important to compare the offers there to those publicly available elsewhere. Offers displayed by the tool are not necessarily better than or even as good as offers available elsewhere. As a reminder, my Best Offers Page is a great resource for finding the best publicly available offers. Most offers on that page are not affiliate links. I only list affiliate links when, to the best of my knowledge, they are equal to or better than offers available elsewhere.
A 100K signup bonus for the Amex personal Platinum card was recently spotted in the wild. I think it’s a fantastic offer – I would get it if I could – but its not for everyone. Also, the offer is clearly not available to everyone. Via the CardMatch Tool, Neither my wife nor I received the offer at all. Meanwhile, my niece received a 60K offer for the same card. That’s a decent offer, in my opinion, but obviously 100K is much better. Hopefully some readers will have better luck than I in finding that offer.
Advertiser disclosure: The link to the CardMatch Tool, as found on my Best Offers page, is an affiliate link. This means that I will earn a commission whenever a person is approved for a credit card offer that they applied for after clicking through that link.