Applying for a card on Amex’s website may not net you the most introductory rewards, so explore these tactics instead.
The competition for new credit card* customers is intense right now, and while the American Express website is offering record-high welcome bonuses on two of its most popular cards, there are a few ways to top those already lucrative promotions. Here’s how to maximize welcome offers on The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.
What Amex Platinum and Gold offerIf you apply directly through American Express, the Platinum Card promises 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in your first six months. Plus, you get 10 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and at eligible small businesses in the U.S. on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in your first six months of card membership.
On the other hand, the American Express Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in your first three months.
Even though Amex recently increased the annual fee on the Platinum card from $550 to $695, it added an enticing list of new benefits. However, if you want to stretch the benefits of the cards to their limits, there are two avenues to try.
Use CardMatch for 50% and 25% more points
The CardMatch tool contains much higher bonuses for targeted customers who are approved for Amex’s cards. These welcome bonuses run as high as 150,000 points for the Amex Platinum (after spending $6,000 in the first six months) and 75,000 for the Gold (after spending $4,000 in the first six months). These promos are 50% and 25% higher, respectively, than applying directly through American Express.
This involves meeting the same initial spending requirements and the same 10X multiplier on restaurant and Shop Small-eligible purchases for new Platinum card members, so it’s worth looking into.
Because it takes less than 60 seconds to see if you qualify and searching for offers doesn’t affect your credit score, CardMatch is a good place to start if you want to maximize the welcome bonuses on these cards.
Try Resy for 15X points multiplier
Through Resy, the Platinum deal is 125,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first six months, which is 25% more points than the standard offer, but the restaurant and Shop Small multiplier is 15X rather than 10X. If you max out the $25,000 combined cap in your first six months, that’s 375,000 additional Membership Rewards points – 50% more than you’d get from applying directly through American Express.
Resy’s Gold card incentive is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months plus 20% back as a statement credit on all restaurant purchases in your first 12 months with the card and up to $250 in credits. To take full advantage of this offer, you’d need to spend $1,250 at restaurants. If you regularly dine out, using Resy to apply for the Gold is the way to go.
If you’re an existing Amex customer
If you already have an American Express card, it’s worth logging in to your account to see if you’re targeted for any additional incentives.
For example, I have the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, and after I log in, I see a 75,000-point introductory offer for the Gold card with a $5,000 spending requirement in the first three months. A few days ago, I saw a 125,000-point Platinum offer, but that seems to have disappeared.
Keep in mind that The Points Guy values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece. If you max out the Resy welcome offer, your 125,000 points would be worth approximately $2,500. And if you get 15 points per dollar on all $25,000 in potential restaurant and Shop Small spending, those 375,000 points would be worth another $7,500. That’s essentially a $10,000 rebate on $31,000 in eligible spending – which can be hard to beat elsewhere.
What to do with Amex Membership Rewards points
Typically, the way to get the most value from your points is to transfer them to one of Amex’s 19 airline or three hotel transfer partners. The possibilities are expansive when you consider what you could do with the maximum of 500,000 points earned through Resy’s Platinum card bonuses.
The Points Guy notes that one of the most lucrative ways to use Membership Rewards points is to book first-class flights via Amex partner Virgin Atlantic. Round-trip, first-class seats between Los Angeles and Tokyo can be had for 110,000 points. Since they sometimes retail for $16,000 or more, that’s a jaw-dropping valuation. You could book four of these and still have 60,000 points left over.
If you’re interested in the Amex Platinum or Gold, I suggest investigating possible ways to apply. The best deal will depend on your personal circumstances, but, in general, I think the Resy offers are tough to top. That’s particularly true on the Platinum card, especially if you spend a lot at restaurants and small businesses.
The biggest lesson here is that it pays to shop around. When you’re in the market for a new credit card, leverage tools such as CardMatch, the issuer’s website and even direct mail promotions. Where you apply matters, and in the case of the Amex Platinum and Gold cards, it could significantly increase your welcome bonus.
*unlike typical credit cards, the American Express Gold and Platinum cards allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
Have a question about credit cards? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.