Are you ready for the next big (Amex) thing?

Over the past few years, American Express has offered a number of very lucrative sign-up bonuses for their premium cards (Gold and Platinum) – with very limited-time offers. Usually these offers only last for a day or two before they’re gone, but if you’ve got all your ducks in a row and apply before the link expires, you can earn a hefty chunk of points. Last year, I got in on one of the 100K Amex Platinum offers, while Josh got a 75K Amex Business Gold bonus. This abundance of points equals a lot of travel in our house, and in my opinion this was the best sign-up bonus we each got all year.

I do not have any insider info on this, but it seems like it’s about time for another big offer to hit. If you’ve been waiting for this to happen, make sure you’re prepared in case of a “credit card sign-up bonus emergency.” In other words, be ready to act fast.

  • Decide which other card(s) you might apply for at the same time; it’s better for your credit score if you apply for cards in batches (since your credit score will dip initially from the hard credit pulls, then rebound – if you apply for 1 card every month versus 3 cards on the same day every 3-4 months, your score won’t get as much “recovery time” in between application-day dings).
  • If you’re kinda on the fence about whether or not you want to add a premium Amex card to your wallet, spend some time now to familiarize yourself with the features each card has to offer. Then you won’t feel pressured or rushed when time is short.
  • Consider whether you need to do any credit card housecleaning. I just did this, and it was a great move for me. It gave me some clarity about possible next cards, plus we added 27,500 points to our stash through retention offers.

Not only did we earn a ton of points through last year’s gigantic Amex sign-up bonuses, but the cards have both been keepers. In fact, my Amex Platinum card is definitely one of my favorite cards to have, because of all the additional benefits it provides. In case you aren’t familiar with what it’s got to offer, here’s the lowdown…bookmark this page if you need to, so you can return to it in case of a real “bonus emergency.” ūüėČ

A featured selection of Amex Platinum card benefits

  • Annual $200 Airline Credit: Using the full amount of this credit each year really helps to offset the hefty annual fee of the Platinum card. You can select one airline per calendar year, then you receive a $200 credit to spend during that year towards non-airfare purchases on your chosen airline. However, in practice, the credit covers more than these things. Visit Flyertalk to read up on the surprising reimbursements folks have received.
  • Free Global Entry: As an Amex Platinum cardholder, when you apply for Global Entry and pay with your card, Amex will reimburse you for¬†the full amount of the $100 application fee. I went through the Global Entry¬†application process this summer – it was quick, easy, and resulted in major time and stress savings at airports.
  • Free Starwood Gold Status: This benefit gives you room upgrades, free wifi, and 4 pm late checkout.
  • Access to the American Express “Fine Hotels and Resorts” (FHR) benefit:¬†This perk saved us a few hundred dollars last year, and I’ve got a couple of FHR trips booked this year that I am also really excited about.
  • Priority¬†Pass Lounge Access: This gets you in to to over 600 lounges across 100 countries, regardless of the airline you are flying.
  • Centurion Lounge Access: I had the opportunity to visit the Centurion Lounge at DFW, and it was amazing: spa treatments, gourmet food, cocktails…all for free, all very classy. As a Platinum cardholder, you get lounge access for yourself and two guests (normally the cost is $50/person, which might actually be worth it, but you don’t have to make that choice if you have the card, because it is free!)
  • Roadside Assistance: When you have the card, you are covered for included¬†emergency services up to four times a year. I decided to cancel AAA because of this, and I have successfully used the service¬†to get a tow when my battery died.
  • Car Rental Elite Status: Platinum card holders can receive special car rental amenities, upgrades, and benefits with Avis and National, plus Free Hertz Gold status (which includes a 4-hour rental return grace period).
  • Free Amazon Prime Membership:¬†If you aren’t already an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up and get reimbursed. I’ve been a member for years, and it always feels like magic to have orders delivered so quickly – they say it takes two days, but I have placed orders in the morning that I have received later that afternoon!
  • Free Shoprunner membership: I use this free 2-day shipping service primarily at Drugstore.com, but there are over 80 other participating stores.

So, there you have it. Those are all of the reasons that I am holding on tight to my Amex Platinum card. I suppose at some point it will make sense to let it go, but until then, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

Are you prepared for a “bonus emergency?” Would you get this card if the sign up bonus was high enough?

Comments

  1. The Amazon prime, is that new? Is it only an introductory offer?

    I’ve had it for years… great thing, Amazon prime. Though wouldn’t mind amex paying for it. I bet it’s just a one-time thing though.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Ibotez – Yes, this is a new benefit that Amex has added to the sign-up bonus for this card. If you do not already have Amazon Prime when you sign up, you get one year for free.

  2. i had signed up for the plat last jan when they had the 100k offer via creditcards.com but did not see the amazon prime benefit. are you just saying that amazon prime MAY BE a benefit depending on the application?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Al – I am in the same boat…when I signed up, the Prime membership was not offered as a benefit. Amex recently added it to the list of benefits for the Platinum card.

  3. can you get the same card twice? i have the amex platinum business for about 5 years. if there is an offer can i apply for a personal card? another platinum and/or maybe a gold?
    if i apply for one and downgrade later do i get to keep the bonus?
    thanks so much?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Margiec – If you have had the Plat Biz card for five years, you can definitely still apply for the personal Plat or Gold card anytime at this point. Normally the terms state that you cannot have applied for a similar product within the past 12 months. If you apply for a premium card now, and downgrade later, you do get to keep the bonus.

      Hope that helps!

  4. I hope they do this again soon! I would get that 100k offer! Plus all those perks, seems like a lot more than $450 per year!

  5. No one ever notes the free international companion first/business class air tickets benefit. I love the fact I can get fully refundable companion business class ticket for my spouse. Price for my ticket is usually just slightly higher than a restricted ticket bought directly from the airline.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Susan – You’re right, I didn’t note that! Great feature if you are in the market for a “buy one, get one free” ticket. Maybe I will do a future post on that.

  6. This is a great idea. I have been thinking it would be good to rack up some Amex miles but I was not prepared for a credit-card sign up bonus emergency! Key things I think are to determine if our family needs to Platinum Amex (my husband has one so I can get global entry credit for both of us on that) and what other cards to apply for in the same round. Thank you! What do you think – we don’t travel much, just with points – is it worth a second Platinum or should I go Gold if the bonus is decent?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Jane – Yes, it pays to be prepared! I would say, wait and see what the bonuses are like during the “emergency.” That can help you make your decision. Josh and I both have the Platinum card at this point, and it is worth it to us because of the benefits, but if you don’t travel much it might not be worth it. Do you have AAA? That was another reason I’m keeping the card – I canceled my AAA membership and saved another chunk of change.

  7. I looked online and it says that I need to sign up for a new card in order to get amazon prime. How did you get it? what was the process for you to get amazon prime?

    Thanks!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Dave – I already had Amazon Prime before I got the Platinum card, so I wasn’t eligible for reimbursement from Amex. The benefit only apples if you do not have Amazon Prime yet.

      • To clarify, I mean that I don’t have amazon prime but it states under the platinum card terms that only new signups for the platinum cards are eligible for 1 year of free membership.

        Thanks

        • Points Pixie says:

          Dave – Oh, thanks for clarification! Yes, that too – you need to be a new Plat signup AND a new Amazon Prime signup.

  8. Hey – congrats on the BoardingArea gig!

    Would be great to see an AMEX offer for early 2014. I’m ready ūüôā

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