Rewards whiplash and my next new cards

Update: Some of the credit card offers and benefits below have expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

Yesterday Amex introduced a terrific new credit card, and now I’m suffering from Rewards Whiplash…

When Chase introduced their Sapphire Reserve card last summer, I was thrilled with the suite of Ultimate Rewards cards I had cobbled together: Sapphire Reserve for 3X travel and dining; Ink Plus for 5X office supply, cell phone, and internet; two Freedom cards for rotating 5X categories; and the Freedom Unlimited for 1.5X everywhere else.  See: The BEST travel rewards card.

Then, Amex responded with a game changing feature to their Business Platinum card.  They began offering a 50% rebate on points used to pay for flights.  This made it easy to get 2 cents per point value from Membership Rewards points.  And, since the Amex Everyday Preferred card has a fantastic rewards structure, that combination of cards made it possible to get between 3% and 9% value on spend.  Excellent.

I liked that Business Platinum rebate feature so much that I was thinking of switching my wallet over from Ultimate Rewards to Membership Rewards.  My primary hesitation had to do with the Everyday Preferred card.  In order to get full value from that card through its 50% point bonus, I would have to make 30 or more purchases every billing cycle.  I knew that I could set up enough automated tiny purchases to make this a non-issue, but it was still enough of a speed bump that it kept me from pulling the trigger and applying for that card.  So, I dragged my feet and didn’t do it.

Then, Amex dropped the Business Platinum card’s game changing feature.  The 50% rebate will soon reduce to 35%.  The value of Membership Rewards points when used this way will drop from 2 cents per point to just over 1.5 cents per point.  I can get that value every day from my Sapphire Reserve card, or even my new Altitude Reserve card.  And those two cards don’t make you wait around to get your rebate.  They offer the 1.5 cents per point value up front.  And with those cards, the 1.5 cents per point value is not just for your selected airline, but for all supported airlines, hotels and car rentals.

So much for giving Amex a spot in my wallet, right?

Then, out of nowhere, came the Amex Blue Business Plus.  This new card replaces the old Blue for Business Card in Amex’s lineup.  It has no annual fee and it offers 2 points per dollar for all spend, up to $50,000 spend per calendar year.  This is the first and only 2X everywhere transferable points card.

Whoa!

If you value transferable points more highly than pennies, then this card clearly beats out 2% cash back cards for everyday spend.  In fact, this new card instantly took over the top spot on my Best Rewards for Everyday Spend page.  Based on the current 1.82 cents per point Reasonable Redemption Value (RRV)this card offers 3.64% returns on all spend.  That’s just crazy.

This card isn’t great for super heavy spenders that would max out the $50K 2X limit in a week.  But for those of us looking to simply keep the most rewarding cards in our wallets for everyday spend, or for business spend, this card is a no-brainer.

If you missed yesterday’s post about this card, please see: The new king of everyday spend: Amex Blue Business Plus for full details.

My next cards

Many would do well to sign up for both the Business Platinum card and the new Blue Business Plus card.  If you sign up for the former by May 31, then you’ll be able to keep the 50% pay with points rebate for a full year.  In that way, the Business Platinum card gives you 2 cents per point value for 12 months.  And, the Blue Business Plus card gives you 2 points per dollar for spend.  Combined, they would offer 4% rewards, everywhere for the next year.

In my case, my wife has most of our Membership Rewards points (I transferred most of my own to Virgin Atlantic while there was a 30% bonus) and she has a while yet to enjoy the 50% points rebate since she signed up for her Business Platinum card in late December.  So, I’ll pass on signing up for a new Business Platinum card at this point.

I’ll also pass on getting the Everyday Preferred card.  It’s a great card, but too much hassle.

But, obviously, I’ll sign up for the Blue Business Plus card.  And, my wife will too.  Together, that will give us $100K in 2X spend, or 200K per year in cheaply acquired points (see yesterday’s post for examples of how I might use the cards to buy points extremely cheaply).  And, at some point, I may get a card for my second business.  I don’t know for certain, but it seems likely to me that a second card would have a second budget of $50K 2X spend…

Again, if you missed it, please see: The new king of everyday spend: Amex Blue Business Plus for full details and analysis.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. The schilling for this trash card and the “game changing” is a joke dude. Is it getting that bad these days for the cheezy tweets and pumps?

    • You may be able to get 1 more credit card (some people max out at 4, others at 5 to my knowledge).

      But charge cards aren’t subject to the same limit — you could add charge cards. For clarity, “credit cards” are also known as “revolvers” — cards on which you can carry a balance from month to month (though you shouldn’t). “Charge cards” are cards that must be paid in full every month (examples include the Premier Rewards Gold, Business Gold Rewards, Business Platinum, personal Platinum, Green card, etc.).

      As always, YMMV based on having the income/credit to support whatever you open.

    • Your Platinum card isn’t a credit card, so you currently have four Amex credit cards. Most people find that they can get 5, so you should be good, but you may have to call in after applying to get it approved. Alternatively, simply cancel one of your Hilton cards first. I can’t think of any reason to have both. You can always upgrade or downgrade the one account as needed.

      • Called Amex and cancelled the Surpass. I asked if there were any offers to offset the $75 AF and they offered the ff:
        1500 points for spending $1000 in 3mos or
        $25 statement credit.
        Politely said no and lol to myself to the first offer!

  2. Hey @Greg or @Nick…. Just a few months ago, I signed up for the Blue for Business Amex. Offer was (is on for me) 10K on signup, 2X for a year and 10X for 6 months at Restaurants. I am figuring to work this card for at least until I max the restaurants (organic spend pretty much) and then switch over to this newer card. Think the sign-up will be still in effect in about 4 months or so?

    Also, as long as I apply for and do not product switch, I ought to still be good for another bonus on the new card, right? Whatta you guys think?

    • Yep, I would definitely recommend keeping the Blue for Business until you’ve used up the signup offer.

      I don’t have any insight as to how long the 20K offer will be around for the new card. There’s always a chance it will be gone in 4 months. Any reason not to just sign up for the new card now and keep both? Are you at your Amex credit card limit?

      • Yes, I am at 5 for credit cards with Amex right now. Kinda been lazy in letting go of at least one. Also, I have been trying to cut back in apps as I am still over 5/24 and despite my Chase banker’s best efforts, was turned down hard for a CSR

  3. Greg,

    This is a tough one for me. While at first glance, this is a no brainer, Samsung Pay with US Bank Altitude has been a game changer. I am having a very, very difficult time finding any location that does not accept Samsung Pay. No to mention, Samsung Pay gives you the ability to use a spouses card and avoid paying for more cards…….I could manufacture, but had Amex claw back 100K last summer, so very reluctant. Thoughts?

  4. Advice wanted…
    I have the Chase Preferred, Chase Freedom, Chase Ink
    My wife has the Chase Reserve and Chase Freedom

    My annual fee has come up on my Chase Preferred and was wondering if there is any reason to keep it since I and my wife have the bases covered with the other cards. Am I missing something here?
    I can still do points transfers from my Ink and Freedom to the Reserve without the Preferred card?
    Thanks

    • The only reason I can think of to keep it is if you spend a lot on dining and travel. And, if you do, you may find that it makes more sense to have your wife add you as an authorized user on her Sapphire Reserve account. You’ll save $20 that way (pay $75 for the AU card instead of $95 for the Sapphire Preferred) and you’ll earn 3X instead of 2X for travel & dining.

  5. I think 4% is a stretch.

    It’s 4%:

    -IF you have a Business Platinum

    -ONLY on airfare with one airline or business airfare

    -ONLY for a year

    -ONLY if you have no better way to pay for those flights (vouchers, gift cards, miles, etc.)

    Too many contingencies. Cash is cash.

    • Agreed. The fact that you need to pay $450 for the business platinum to get that 4% redemption just isn’t that appealing to me.

      I don’t value $200 fee reimbursements on one airline anywhere near $200 cash either. Was different when this was Amazon credit with MPX…

  6. We’ll see how long until Amex changes this to a regular 1.5x card when they see people using it for non-business related expenses (hint: giftcards, giftcards, giftcards). Or worse, shut down accounts. Or even worse enforce their terms on what counts as an “eligible purchase.”

  7. Amex just told me that there is a limit of 2 application for credit cards per 90 day period. The same limit applies for charge cards. Therefore, you can never apply for more than 2 credit cards and 2 charge cards per 90 days. Is this a new requirement?

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