In the nearly 8 years of running CreditCardForum, the best signup offer we’ve seen for the Platinum Card is 50,000 points (and even that was rarely offered – only twice and for a limited time from what I remember).
In the past there was occasionally a loophole (or perhaps a systems glitch) that might allow you to get a better offer. It was usually only around for a couple weeks, then it would magically disappear.
Guess what? Whenever AmEx decides to run test these types of promotions it might be available to more people than intended.
I really need to emphasize the “might” part because this is not an openly advertised offer from American Express, a CreditCardForum advertising partner. This offer appears to be very targeted, so you might not be eligible. So far I don’t know of any current AmEx cardmembers who have been presented these offers through CardMatch.
Use this CardMatch link to see if you are presented with any offers.
I have an outstanding FICO above 800 but not even I was presented with any targeted offers. Then again, I do already have a few other AmEx cards so I wonder if that has something to do with it.
Step One: Fill out this brief form on CardMatch
Fill out this basic info about yourself in the submission form…
Rest assured this form does NOT use a hard credit check. It only does a soft credit inquiry, which will NOT affect your credit score and it will NOT appear on your credit report.
The reason they need to do a soft pull of your credit like this is because the American Express Platinum 100k bonus is not offered to everyone.
They don’t disclose the requirements, but presumably having an excellent credit score will be needed. Also, my guess would be that they might not offer it to people who go crazy credit card applications just to get bonuses (the easy way to detect this would be your Average Age of Accounts, which can be calculated by pulling your credit report). But again I emphasize these are just guesses.
Step Two: See your pre-selected offers
Now here’s the moment of truth… do you qualify for the Platinum Card’s 100k sign-up bonus or not? I have excellent credit but was not presented any offers. However here is what was presented to someone else I know (at least as of 11-25-2013):
This is 4x higher than the current openly advertised 25,000 Membership Rewards points.
As mentioned a 100,000 point deal was offered earlier in 2013, via this same CardMatch tool, but within a couple weeks the plug was pulled on it. I procrastinated last time and missed out on it and now, it’s not being presented to me.
And even if you don’t get offered the full 100k incentive for the AmEx Platinum Card, I would still strongly urge you to apply for one of their other cards if you are lucky enough to get offered an above-average bonus for one of them.
For example, my friend was also offered a bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points for the Premier Rewards Gold (shown to him on 11-25-2013):
Since this card normally has a 25,000 point incentive, he is getting double the normal amount. And look at what he was offered for the Blue Cash Preferred (shown to him on 11-25-2013):
Wow! American Express has never publicly featured that rich of a promotion for this card before that I’m aware of.
So how much is the 100k potentially worth?
The dollar value of 100,000 Membership Rewards points is quite high. Usually the most advantageous way to redeem your points is by transferring them to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.
Currently in 2013, MR points can be transferred to the following partner airlines:
- Delta Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 SkyMiles
- Hawaiian Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 HawaiianMiles
- Frontier Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 EarlyReturns Miles
- Virgin America: 200 MR points = 100 Elevate points (note: from my experience Elevate points are always worth a fixed value or slightly above 2.2 cents each)
- Virgin Atlantic: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Flying Club Miles
- Air Canada: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Aeroplan Miles
- AeroMexico: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Club Premier Miles
- EL AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 20 Matmid Points
- KLM & Air France: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Flying Blue Award Miles
- Singapore Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles
- JetBlue Airways: 250 MR points = 200 TrueBlue Points
- British Airways: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Avios points
- Alitalia Airlines: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 MilleMiglia Miles
- All Nippon Airways: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 ANA Mileage Club Miles
- Cathay Pacific Airways: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Asia Miles (Note: You can actually use “Asian Miles” on flights with over 20 of their partners including American Airlines, Air China, Air New Zealand, Mexicana and others).
Now as we all know frequent flyer miles are usually worth more than 1 cent each. Using that math, this bonus might be worth more than $1,000 depending on how you redeem them.
In the above scenario, if I had transferred 100k Membership Rewards points to Virgin America, it would have been enough to book me SIX roundtrip flights from LAX to ORD (8,047 per flight x6 = 48,282 Virgin America points). That is insane credit card offer if you can get it! (well technically “charge” card offer, since the Platinum is not a credit card).
*As is customary, there may be additional fees, taxes, and other surcharges you have to pay out of pocket for frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.
And if travel is not your thing, as with most card reward programs there are plenty of gift card options for stores and restaurants that will yield a 1 cent per point value.
Those are the two best ways to spend your American Express points. Redeeming them for things like merchandise, Amazon.com purchases, etc. will not give you the most bang for your buck, so I would advise against going that route.
Now there is a drawback when you apply for the Platinum AmEx and that is the annual fee you will have to pay. It’s $450 and that’s not waived for the first year (unlike their other cards, they NEVER waive the fee on this one). But when you consider some of the benefits like…
- Up to $200 annually in airline fee reimbursements – Choose your favorite airline and enroll to receive up to $200 in statement credits annually, to offset incidental fees they may charge you. For example, you can put the $200 towards checked baggage fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases, etc.
- Airport lounge access – You get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, but that’s just the start. When you’re flying on Delta, you can also access their participating lounges for no charge. To put that value in perspective, normally just to buy a one-year membership to Delta Sky Club you would have to cough up $450! You also can access Airspace Lounges at JFK, CLE, and BWI. Lastly, your card gets you into Centurion Lounges at LAS and DFW, which are the first of several American Express lounges that will be opening in major US cities. No other charge card or credit card offers a better lounge access program.
- Fine Hotels & Resorts Program – When you book your room thru the FH&R program, you get valuable benefits for no additional cost. This include a free room upgrade when you check-in, if available. Noon check-in, if available. 4:00 pm late checkout. Daily breakfast for two. Lastly, an additional perk that is unique to each property (examples may include a $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two people). Over 700 hotels and resorts participate in this program.
Obviously when you factor in those benefits, it’s understandable why there’s a $450 annual membership fee and why it can be well worth it. Then when you add in the value of possibly earning up to 100,000 bonus points, it really is a no-brainer if you qualify for the better promotion.