American Express Platinum card amps up sign-up bonus to 60K points
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American Express has upped the ante for the Platinum Card from American Express by increasing its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points.
As of March 30, 2017, Platinum cardholders will earn 60,000 points after making $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership – a boost of 20,000 points from the previous sign-up bonus. The increase is in addition to the long list of new card enhancements that went into effect March 30, including $200 in Uber credits and a 5X Membership Rewards offer.
Are the benefits worth the price tag?
Along with the updated sign-up bonus and other card improvements, American Express has increased the annual fee for the Platinum card from a lofty $450 to an even loftier $550 per year – one of the highest annual fees currently attached to a rewards card.
However, you can offset this annual fee by taking advantage of the following card enhancements (terms apply):
- Uber Rides with Platinum – This feature offers Platinum cardholders $15 in Uber credits each month and a $20 bonus in December for rides in the U.S. – allowing those who use Uber often to save up to $200 annually.
- Complimentary hotel perks – Cardholders who book their stay at Fine Hotels and Resort properties through American Express Travel can take advantage of several free perks, including daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, a $100 hotel credit, Wi-Fi, late checkouts and early check-ins.
- Priority Pass Select membership – Cardholders receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which grants access to more than 1,000 airport lounges globally. Additionally, they receive two free guest passes with each Priority Pass lounge visit – saving $27 per guest, per visit.
- Gold cards with no annual fee – Platinum card members can now add additional Gold cards to their Platinum card accounts without incurring additional annual fees. Card members also earn Membership Rewards on purchases made by additional card members.
- $200 airline fee credit – Each year, cardholders can receive up to $200 in statement credits to cover airline incidentals, such as checked bags and in-flight meal fees.
- $100 application credit – When applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, cardholders will receive a statement credit every four years of $100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA PreCheck.
Rewards for travelers
Along with its 60,000-point sign-up bonus, the Platinum card allows you to earn points for every eligible purchase you make. Card members earn 5 points for each dollar spent on eligible hotel bookings at amextravel.com, 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, 2 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases made through the website, and 1 point for each dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. You can redeem points for travel, gift cards, shopping, entertainment, merchandise and charity. You can also transfer points to 17 airline partners, including Delta Air Lines.
An ideal match?
With its platinum status and massive list of travel perks, the Platinum card from American Express is designed for the elite traveler who finds that the card benefits outweigh the pricey $550 annual fee.
But if you are ruffled by the idea of paying such a high fee each year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige cards may be a better fit due to their lower fees and their travel credits that apply to a broader array of expenses.
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