A 100,000 Membership Rewards points offer from Amex Platinum has been reported on many, many websites, blogs, twitter accounts, etc. This is like a blast from the past: last time an offer like this made its appearance was 2 years ago, and even then it wasn’t public. I and thousands of others had to game it in order to grab 100,000 points. Now, no gaming is required: you either get this offer or don’t. Since the internet is buzzing with this incredible offer, you can pick any one of hundreds of sources, from Flyertalk to Slickdeals, but at the end of this post, I’ll share the link that explains it the best IMHO.
But first, allow me to quote… myself. This is what I wrote about this absolutely awesome card in my book when the bonus was “measly” 50,000 points, not 100,000.
Take Amex Platinum as an example. The card carries a massive $450 annual fee, which it never waives, no matter how nicely you ask. So, for a budget conscious fellow obtaining such a card would be akin to abomination, no?
No! Quite the opposite. It might be one of the best bargains you can get your hands on.
In order to understand how such an expensive credit card can save you a lot of money let’s take a look at the benefits this card offers.
- $200 credit in a calendar year for “accidentals” on the airline of your choice. That includes luggage fees, food and drinks on board, access to the lounges, ticket reissue and cancellation fees. Since it’s calendar years, if you apply in the middle of the June, you’ll get $200 for the remainder of the first year, and $200 for the second year, $400 total.
- Complimentary access to hundreds of airline clubs and lounges. Normally, a pass to such clubs cost more than $400 a year. If you have never been in an airport lounge and don’t think it’s worth that kind of money, wait till you get into one—it’ll forever change your travel experience.
- Free Global Entrée worth $100. Global Entrée is a new program that allows you to bypass immigration lines upon return to the States, and it’s a life-saver if you travel abroad frequently. On my recent return from Cancun to New York I had a 50-minute layover in Detroit. I bypassed a three-hour wait by proceeding directly to the Global Entrée Kiosk with my passport. I was back in the good ole’ USA in a matter of minutes.
- No foreign transaction fee. This would be a more enticing benefit if Amex was accepted in more places abroad.
- Gold Status with SPG program (Westin, Sheraton, W, etc.). That’s a fantastic benefit providing you with free internet, possible room upgrades and possible access to the lounge for free snacks and booze.
- Luxury Hotels and Resorts Program. This program offers you free upgrades and other perks at hotels around the world. I haven’t had a chance to use this perk yet, but it looks very interesting.
- Cruise Platinum Program offering free upgrades and other perks. I have never used it, so can’t comment.
The benefits of Amex Platinum alone are worth the price of admission.
This is, of course, all just icing. If the card didn’t offer a 50,000 Membership Rewards point sign-up bonus (transferable between airlines and hotels), the card wouldn’t be worth my time.
I managed to get this bonus in 2010, as well as an additional 50,000 MR points when they matched another offer I had also found on the internet. Even if the MR points were only worth a penny (they’re actually worth much more than that), then I got $1000 in benefits plus other fantastic perks, minus the $450 annual fee. Still, even at 50,000 point bonus, it is an incredible value.
Whenever a card you’re interested in has an annual fee, think of it as a deduction against the benefits you get from having it. But do remember to choose your cards wisely; those fees add up very, very quickly.