Yesterday I decided to make a New Year impulse decision and apply for the AMEX Platinum card. Yes, the one with the $550 annual fee. I was instantly approved. When I clicked the apply button you would’ve thought I just signed away my first born child. I was so nervous, and still am to a degree. Here’s why and also what I’m telling myself to make it better.
1. $5,000 minimum spend
One of the requirements of the AMEX Platinum card to earn the 60,000 Membership Rewards sign-up offer is to spend $5,000 in the 3 months subsequent to the account opening date. This works out to about ~$1,600 in monthly discretionary spend. I’m sorry but unless you’re making well over six figures annually, this amount is stretching it.
In my case, yes, I have a full-time job and I do decently well, but hitting the $5k mark is going to take a bit of creativity.
A couple of ways I initially plan to meet the spend, or at least get me close:
- ~$1,000: Pre-pay auto insurance for the year
- ~$1,000: I shop a ton at Amazon so I plan on buying gift cards and using them when I normally would.
- ~$1,000/month ($3k total): my normal monthly discretionary spending (outside of auto payments, etc).
One of the ways you can meet minimum spend if you’re close, but still need a little help is to Venmo some cash using your Platinum card to a friend or spouse. Of course, you’re going to incur a 3% fee, but I’d gladly pay the small fee to make sure I secure my 60,000 MR bonus.
After breaking it down, I’m not too upset anymore because I have a clear plan on how to get to that spend number. It also gives me an excuse to splurge a bit and buy some things I’ve really wanted 🙂
2. Charge Card
The AMEX Platinum card is a charge card, meaning you can’t carry a balance to the next billing period. You have to pay your card balance in full every month. This is fine for me as I always pay my balances in full, but I guess it’s the fact that I don’t have that safety net that makes me a bit skittish.
The silver lining is I see this as an opportunity to have peace of mind that I’ll continue to be at $0 balance at the start of the new billing cycle. Another good thing is that I’ve heard AMEX is pretty flexible if you give them a call and keep them informed with purchases you’re about to make and they’ll be able to possibly stretch the due date, etc.
3. A couple of the benefits only seem good if you’re wealthy
Included in the benefits package you receive with your AMEX Platinum card are a few perks that will benefit you if you’re higher class and not a pleb like me:
- Access to book travel through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Access to discounted premium class airline tickets (Business / First)
- Personal travel counselor
Look, make no mistake, Fine Hotels & Resorts properties are premium hotels often costing $400+ per night. I don’t know about you, but I’m not rushing to use this perk. However! And this is a big however. I’ve seen hotels through FH&R for around $200-300 per night in Europe that include excellent perks like $100 food and beverage credits, guaranteed early check-in/late check-out, and complimentary upgrades. This makes booking these hotels worth it.
I’ll probably never use the discounted premium class ticket benefit as I just don’t plan to spend $5k+ on first or business class tickets.
The jury is still out on the personal travel counselor. I like the idea of being able to pick up the phone and call someone at AMEX to get me out of a bind if say my flight is cancelled or I’m having trouble booking a restaurant/show. I’ll be sure to report back once I use this.
On the Plus Side
You’re probably wondering why I did get this card then. In my opinion, the other benefits far outweigh the cost. The $200 annual airline credit (though limited), $15 per month Uber credits ($35 in December), Centurion Lounge / Priority Pass Lounge / Delta Lounge access, medical evacuation coverage, rental car perks, and the SPG/Marriott/Hilton Gold status are a great value for the hefty $550 annual fee.
Also, I don’t know if this works, but I have a friend who calls AMEX to complain about the lack of use for the benefits and they waive or discount his annual fee. Worth a shot.
Do you have the AMEX Platinum card? What do you like / dislike about it?