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.” 😉
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?