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American Express Platinum Card Sign-Up Bonus Increased To 40,000 Points – Is It Worth It?

by on March 12, 2014 · 27 comments

in American Express

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The sign-up bonus on the Platinum Card from American Express has been 25,000 points for spending $2,000 in 3 months, but the bonus has just gone up to 40,000 points for spending $3,000 in 3 months, and is the highest public offer we’ve seen in a while on this card.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 9.22.37 AMBefore you apply, just remember that the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card, which carries the same benefits as the Platinum Card as well as a couple Mercedes-specific perks and an annual fee of $475 instead of $450 – currently has a 50,000-point sign-up bonus with the same spending requirement, so you might consider that version of the card instead. You should also always check the Card Match Tool to see if you have any targeted American Express offers waiting for you since it sometimes offers higher bonuses than are available to the general public. For more on that and how it works, check out this post. I’m not sure we’ll see it go up to 50,000 or that one-time high of 100,000 points we saw in January 2013 again, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for that level in the near term, but it’s also always worth checking your mail for targeted offers.

With the Platinum Card cutting back on some benefits like American/US Airways lounge access on March 22, 2014, and restricting Delta lounge access to just the cardholder, a lot of readers have been asking whether this card is still worth the $450 annual fee. For me, the answer is yes thanks to all the other benefits the card still has to offer.

Sign-up bonus: Based on the redemptions that I am able to make with them, I personally value Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece thanks to their transferability to various airline and hotel programs (and transfer bonuses), so the 40,000 points that the personal Platinum card comes with right now = ~$800. Then here are my valuations of the other benefits the card confers.

Other Benefits

Annual Airline Reimbursement for Qualifying Airlines: $200
Lounge Access: $100 (more if you fly Delta and visit Priority Pass Select lounges)
Global Entry: $100
Starwood Gold Status: $100
Fine Hotels & Resorts: $200 (easily more if you stay at high-end hotels, less if you don’t)
Purchase Protection: $200

Based on my own use of the card and its benefits, I would say that carrying it adds up to about  $1,000 in extra value each year (though note the Global Entry $100 is a one time credit, but it works for all additional cardholders as well) – and potentially more if you can really max out the ones like Amex FHR bookings, lounge visits and hotel elite status. So based on my own usage and valuations, I would say you’re getting $1,000 in value minus the $450 annual fee for a final benefits valuation of $550 each year – and then with that sign-up bonus the first year, you are potentially getting even more value out of this card.

Valuations

Here’s how I came up with those valuations.

$200 Qualifying Airline Rebate: As a cardholder, you get a $200 qualifying airline rebate once per calendar year, meaning every January 1, you get $200 to spend on a qualifying airline that you designate. The rebate is automatic and as reported in this post, many people (myself included) have had airline gift cards reimbursed.

Platinum cardmembership confers automatic Priority Pass Select membership.

Platinum cardmembership confers automatic Priority Pass Select membership.

Airport Lounge Access: This was one of the cornerstones of the Platinum cards, though as I mentioned, this benefit is changing in a major way come March. Until then, when you have a valid ticket for same-day travel, the Platinum card gets you access to Delta, American and US Airways lounges. After March 21, though, it will just be Delta lounges that extend this benefit – and then only to the cardholder him/herself. Anyone extra costs $29 per person. To offset the Admirals Club/US Airways Club loss, Amex has been opening its own enturion lounges where Platinum cardholders get free access. They urrently have lounges at Las Vegas and Dallas airports with plans for lounges at San Francisco SFO and LaGuardia in NYC for now.

globalentry

Global Entry Application Reimbursement: I personally love Global Entry since it gets you out of lengthy customs and immigration lines when you return from traveling abroad, when you charge the $100 application fee to your Platinum card, you get a $100 statement credit, so it’s free, and it also gets you a Trusted Traveler number that confers TSA PreCheck eligibility.

SPG Gold featAutomatic Starwood Gold Status: When you have a Platinum card, you can get automatic Gold status with Starwood by calling SPG up at 1-888-625-4990 and telling them you have an Amex Platinum card. You then have the representative call Starwood on your behalf to upgrade your Starwood account to Gold status. Starwood Gold is usually attained after 25 nights or 10 stays, and gets you a 50% bonus on Starpoints (so you earn 3 points per $1 spent at Starwood properties), free internet, room upgrades, 4pm late checkout and overall better customer service. Given that internet can cost $10-$20 per night depending on where you are, plus room upgrades averaging about $10-$50 per night, even if you only have a couple of stays per year, you can still get some value from this benefit.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 9.12.54 AM

Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: The Fine Hotels and Resorts program for American Express Platinum cardholders is a hotel booking site that confers a host of added perks and benefits on bookings including room upgrades, free third and fourth nights, complimentary breakfast, early check-ins and guaranteed 4pm check-outs, resort credits for expenses like restaurants or spa treatments, and free WiFi among other possibilities (note, offers vary by hotel and booking). Room rates are typically  the same as those being offered on the hotel’s website, but these perks can add up to thousands of dollars of extra value per stay. Hotel programs consider FHR as a travel agent rather than an Online Travel Agency (OTA), so you get points and elite credit and still enjoy elite benefits and these value-added perks.

Purchase Protection: Amex’s  purchase protection program offers coverage for purchases made all over the world for you or someone else up to the cost charged to your card up to $10,000 per purchase and $50,000 per card per year up to 90 days after the date of purchase if your merchandise is lost, stolen or damaged. Amex also offers return protection where they’ll refund eligible charges for something you want to take back, even if the merchant won’t take it back, up to $300 per purchase and $1,000 annually. Amex offers extended warranties for up to a year on purchases where the manufacturer’s warranty is 5 years or less. So using your Amex Platinum card could end up saving you money if your purchases don’t work out as well as you’d like, or if they are lost, stolen or damaged.

Those are just some of the many benefits the Platinum card includes (there are more like the Premium Companion Ticket and Premium Car Rental Insurance) but if you can take advantage of them by planning your travel strategically, you can reap a lot of value from the Platinum card,  especially considering the current sign-up bonus of 40,000 points.

For more information, see these posts:

Is the Amex Platinum Worth the $450 Annual Fee?
Maximizing the Amex Platinum $200 Annual Airline Rebate
Understanding the Amex Platinum Lounge Access Benefit
The Amex Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
My Experience Getting Refunded for the Global Entry Application Fee With My Amex Platinum Card
Amex Platinum and Centurion Cards Now Available with SmartChip
The Amex Platinum Card Review

 

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • nrdk

    Keep in mind there are often targeted sign up bonuses of 50, 75, and even 100k MR points. I received one last fall without any solicited attempts to do so.

  • Amex

    I had the Amex personal platinum card for a few years, in February i called in for a retention as my AF was due. I was given 25k retention bonus. I then asked the rep if he would change my card from the personal platinum to the MB platinum. He said no one has ever done this. He made it happen without a hard credit pull. So my question is this – Can i use an additional $200 airline reimbursement now that its a different credit card? I had already used the $200 in January on my Personal Platinum. Thank you!

  • Garrett

    I have this card, but have never used the purchase protection. Anyone with some insight as to how effective it actually ends up being? Areas where i feel like this could be useful would be dropping an iPhone, spilling a glass of whatever on your MacBook…maybe even having the sleeve of an expensive jacket come undone.

  • SRT

    I’ve had good experiences with Purchase Protection. My wife dropped her brand new phone and there was a crack across the screen. I called up Amex and within 72 hours I got a statement credit for the full price of the phone!

  • FlyingJoey

    Can I call AmEx and ask for more MR points?

  • Garrett

    What kind of spend do you put on that card? Mine will be coming up soon, so I would like to do something similar. Problem is I put very little on that card unless I’m overseas. Put way more on my PRG and CSP.

  • Garrett

    Wow–good to know. Within 90 days I’m assuming? (…and really? Full retail price?…awesome)

  • TraderSam

    Is there any upgrade bonus to upgrade from gold to platinum? I saw 25k bonus last year but I was too late to take action

  • Santastico

    Have the card and don’t spend almost anything on it. However, Delta lounge, Fine Hotels, extended warranty on electronics purchase and primary insurance on car rental pays the card for me. Just booked 10 nights in different hotels in Hawaii using FHR and I am saving a ton of money by getting room upgrade, 3rd night free, free breakfast for 2, etc… Well worth the $450 annual fee.

  • Jon P

    My daughter stomped on my MacBook Pro. I had to submit some paperwork but they credited me ~$1200 for it (purchased on a Green card as an additional cardholder of an Amex Platinum card holder).

  • Icheckthingsout

    TPG neglects to mention the best reason to sign up for this card – TPG makes money if you use his link to the application.

    I wonder how much TPG makes per referral. Wonder why that information has never been mentioned?

  • KHALID

    I think barclaycard is better and cheaper , also priority pass is useless because it allow card member to access the worst lounges in airports

  • Danny

    Some of the priority pass lounges I’ve been in are very nice. Maybe we’ve been in different airports?

  • SRT

    Yes, I did that within the window. I amazed how quickly the claim was settled. Always nice to see credits on your statement. Yes, they refunded the full price including taxes and Verizon’s upgrade fees :-)

  • Ethan

    So just a heads up, I got in on a 100k MR offer about a month ago. It was a targeted offer but it never hurts to ask.

  • mpkomo

    Has AmEx starting enforcing a new policy on getting the sign-up bonus for these cards? When I click the link to the 40,000 point offer in this link (as well as several others for different AmEx cards), I get a page for the right card, but at the top it says in red letters “You’ve been identified as a current American Express card member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express card members.”

    I have an AmEx Hhonors card and the Blue Cash, but I’ve never had or applied for the Gold/Platinum cards. Do I just need to apply from a different cpu that AmEx doesn’t recognize from logging into my accounts or will they pull the sign-up points when they see I’m already a card member?

  • thepointsguy

    That’s why I mention the Card Match Tool and to check your mail for targeted offers – always pays to keep an eye out!

  • Jumus

    That’s an absolutely ridiculous statement, seriously… Priority Pass gives you access to over 600 lounges worldwide. Just because you have been to some lesser quality ones maybe means you have been in crappy airports. There are some world class lounges available using the Priority Pass, I know cause I have been there.

  • nrdk

    Just an FYI, I use the Card Match Tool pretty religiously (every 3 weeks), and the 100k AmEx Plat offer never showed up on there back in November when I received it via snail mail. However, I do know that AmEx has a separate area somewhere on their site (can’t recall where) in order to view targeted snail mail offers, unfortunately did not test to see if it showed at the time.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalboz/sets Kalboz

    I got the AMEX Platinum Mercedes Benz charge card. Can I still get “the” AMEX Platinum card with the 40K MR bonus points? Or, are they the same product?

  • road100

    TPG, I am curious how is AE Plat. compared to Visa black card? On the Visa black card website, it claims ” Cardmembers enjoy an industry-leading
    rewards program where points have double the value of American Express
    Platinum when redeemed for airfare”, and “Unlimited VIP Airport Lounge Visits”…. anyone knows what VIP lounge they are referring to? This black card AF is 495…

  • JG

    Wondering the same thing.
    Amex doesn’t allow me to sign up for the 40k since I already have a card with them.

  • Becky B

    Just FYI, I called today to cancel my card (I got the 100k MR last Feb) b/c I’m just using it for Delta lounges anymore and they offered one of the following: $450 fee waived or 50k MR. I took the points. So worth $250 (after the airline reimbursement). You might try a “retention” call.

  • Becky B

    See my reply above. YES.

  • pbimm

    Long-time Platinum cardholder who spends about 30K a year on the card. When i called to cancel/downgrade today they only offered me an additional $100 statement credit. This actually ticks me off because I’ve never even called to ask for a retention bonus in the past.

  • Becky B

    Honestly, I’d call back and get another rep. Tell them your friend got 50k MR as a retention bonus. The alternative was the annual fee of $450 waived. I took the points, obviously.

  • http://erikaawakening.com/ Erika Awakening

    Great info thanks so much. I just got the Chase Ink Plus and am looking for more ways to get more miles. Love getting those free international first and business class tickets :)

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