[EXPIRED] Why we rushed to apply for the 100K Business Platinum offer before the end of the year

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The current 100,000 point signup offer for The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN is set to expire on January 25th.  My wife signed up yesterday.  We had intended to do the application earlier in the month, but time slipped away.  You know how that goes.  We realized yesterday that time is running out to eke out the most value possible from the first year of card membership, so we jumped on it.

 

The Business Platinum card has many great benefits, but I’ll point out four that are of particular interest to us at the moment.  Except for the airline fee credits, each of these are unique to the Business Platinum card (i.e. they are not benefits of the consumer Platinum card):

  1. 50% bonus on points earned for purchases of $5,000 or more.
  2. 50% rebate on points used to book flights with your preferred airline (or with any airline for business or first class).
  3. 10 Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year.
  4. $200 in airline fee credits per year.

Chances are good that my wife will cancel this card when the annual fee comes due 12 months from now.  In the meantime, we want to get as much value from the card as possible.  That begins with the signup bonus…

$15K Minimum Spend

To get the full 100,000 point signup bonus, it’s necessary to spend $15,000 in 3 months (new cardholders earn 50K points after $5K spend, plus 50K additional points after $10K more spend in 3 months).  That’s a huge spend requirement.

There are many ways to meet that spend requirement (see: Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works?), but the ideal approach is to avoid purchasing gift cards.  Amex’s terms state that prepaid cards (i.e. gift cards) are not qualifying purchases.  See: How to avoid Amex Clawbacks.

Also, we would ideally make purchases of $5,000 or more in order to earn 1.5 points per dollar for those purchases.  Suppose, for example, we had a very large federal tax bill.  In that case, we could pay our taxes by credit card with a 1.87% fee.

Here’s how it could work:

  • Pay $14,730 in taxes with the Business Platinum card
  • Pay 1.87% in fees = $275.45

We would earn 1.5 points per dollar on the tax payment and 1 point per dollar on the fees (which are usually charged separately):

  • Points earned on taxes: 14730 x 1.5 = 22,095
  • Points earned on fees: 275

The above payments would be enough to trigger the full 100,000 point signup bonus.  So, in total, we would end up with over 122,000 points.

50% Airline Bonus: 122,000 points = up to $2,440 in flights

The Business Platinum card’s 50% Airline Bonus works like this: Use points at 1 cent per point value to book a flight with your preferred airline (or with any airline if you book business or first class).  You will then automatically get 50% of the points back.  So, a $1,000 flight would cost 100,000 points, but you’d get 50,000 points back.

The downside is that you need to have twice as many points to begin with as you’ll ultimately use, but this is unquestionably a great use of points.

You can read more here: Amex 50% bonus is a (minor) game changer . Here’s why…

10 Gogo Wifi Passes

The Business Platinum card’s Gogo Passes are special because they can be used for international travel.  My wife has plans for at least three trips to Europe in 2017, so those passes will come in handy.  And, since her first flight will be fairly early in January, it was helpful to get the card now.

Up to $200 $600 in Airline Fee Credits

We may find that the Business Platinum card’s many great perks will make it worth keeping (see: Your Platinum Card arrived. Here’s what to do next…).  But, if we decide not to keep it past one year, we can walk away $600 in airline fee credits richer, thanks to signing up in December…

The trick is to earn $200 in credit in December when the card arrives.  Then earn $200 in credits in 2017.  Then, finally, earn $200 in credits in January 2018.  Once the second annual fee comes due, we can cancel the card.  If we pay the second annual fee, we’ll have about 30 more days to cancel and get our money back.  If we wait longer, we could downgrade to a $95 Green card so as to get the prorated difference back.

OK, great, but how do we make sure we get the card in time?

According to Travel With Grant, Amex won’t expedite new business cards for the primary user, but they will expedite employee cards.  See: Need to Expedite a New AMEX Card? Add Yourself as an Authorized User / Employee.  Weird.  So, rather than asking to expedite her new card, my wife simply opened a chat session to request an expedited employee card in my name.  Employee Platinum cards would cost $300 each per year, but it’s possible to add employee Green cards for free.  And, spend on the Green card would apply to the minimum spend requirement on my wife’s Platinum card.  Go Green!  Done and done.

amex-rush-biz-employee-card

The new Green employee card should arrive today or tomorrow.  We will then pick a preferred airline and earn $200 in airline fee credits before December 31st.  See: Amex airline fee reimbursements. What still works?

Summary

My wife’s single application for The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN should lead to over $3,000 worth of travel ($2,440 from points + $600 from airline fee credits).  Our costs will include $450 for the first year annual fee plus about $300 in processing fees if we use the card to pay taxes (in order to meet minimum spend).  We can look at this as earning a 75% discount on up to $3,000 worth of flights.  And, this doesn’t even account for the card’s many valuable perks (Gogo Wi-Fi, hotel and car rental elite status, club lounge access, etc.).  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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