The Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t just another card with perks — it’s a staple in the credit card community. Not only does it come with some of the best benefits in the industry, its welcome bonus just increased. If you were considering applying for the card, now just might be the time to do it with the elevated bonus.
The new welcome bonus
For a limited time, the offer on The Platinum Card® from American Express has increased: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. This new reward is 15,000 points higher than the previously available public offer on this card.
Although the minimum spending requirement is the same, the time frame to meet it has gone up from three months to six months. This gives cardholders more time to earn the bonus without stretching their budget too thin.
New cardholders will also have the ability to earn 10x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for the first six months (capped at $15,000 in combined purchases). The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t currently offer bonus points for gas and groceries, so this addition is a huge earnings booster for those who spend money in these two categories or have seen an increase in this spending since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Terms apply.
Even if all your minimum spending falls into non-bonus categories, you’ll end up with at least 80,000 Membership Rewards points. And if you manage to spend $834 per month on gas and groceries during the first six months while you work toward your welcome bonus spending requirement, that’s an extra 50,000 points added to your balance.
What you can do with 100,000 Membership Rewards points
Let’s say that roughly half of your minimum spending is in the 10x bonus categories, and the rest isn’t. This leaves you with about 100,000 Membership Rewards points, which can get you a lot of travel. Let’s take a look at a few possibilities.
Fly from the U.S. to Hawaii for 35,000 miles in economy on Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is a SkyTeam partner of Air France and KLM, which run a joint loyalty program called Flying Blue. It’s possible to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue at a rate of 1:1 and book flights on SkyTeam partners, such as Delta.
A one-way economy flight from the United States to Hawaii will set you back 17,500 Flying Blue miles, or you can go round-trip for 35,000 miles.
So, with the points earned from the welcome bonus alone, you and a plus one can fly to the Aloha State and back for just the cost of taxes and fees — with some points left over.
Fly from the U.S. to Japan for 75,000-90,000 miles in business class on All Nippon Airways
Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways (ANA) is another Membership Rewards airline partner to which you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio.
ANA’s award chart is largely based on when you travel — the program charges fewer miles for off-peak dates and more miles for peak dates. Let’s say you want to go to Japan during the regular season. A round-trip award ticket in business class from the United States is going to run you 85,000 miles. This is a solid rate for business class on an award-winning airline.
Off-peak awards for the same trip require just 75,000 miles, while peak pricing goes up to 90,000 miles. Still, that’s not bad for a round-trip to Japan in a premium cabin.
Fly from the U.S. to Europe for 100,000 miles in business class on Delta Air Lines
Another Membership Rewards airline partner worth considering is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Although Virgin Atlantic isn’t a SkyTeam member, Delta has a 49% stake in the British carrier and is a non-alliance partner.
If you have an eventual Europe trip on your mind, Virgin Atlantic requires 50,000 miles to fly on Delta from the U.S. to Europe (nonstop flights only) in business class, aka Delta One. Points transfer 1:1 here as well.
That means with 100,000 miles, you can take a round-trip journey to Europe completely in the front section of the plane. Keep in mind that flights with connections will require more miles.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Key benefits
On top of the elevated welcome bonus, you get to use all the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express as well. Although the card’s annual fee is $550, you can offset it by utilizing the following perks.
$200 airline credit: Select an airline each year and get $200 back (as a statement credit) toward incidentals, such as checked bags, seat selection and in-flight meals when you charge the purchases to your card.
$200 Uber credit: Receive $15 per month ($35 in December) toward Uber rides and Uber Eats orders.
$100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit: Shop at Saks Fifth Avenue (either in store or online) and receive two $50 statement credits ($50 between January and June, and another $50 between July and December). Don’t be scared off by the high cost of its products; check out the clearance section for more reasonably priced deals.
$40 per month in statement credits: Receive $20 per month in streaming credits and another $20 per month in cell phone credits (available only through Dec. 31, 2020).
TSA Precheck / Global Entry enrollment fee credit: Receive $85 toward TSA Precheck (every four and a half years) or $100 toward Global Entry (every four years) enrollment when you use the card to pay for the application fee.
Fine Hotels & Resorts: Book hotel nights in the Fine Hotels & Resorts network and receive perks such as room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout, complimentary Wi-Fi and a property credit.
The bottom line
The new welcome bonus on The Platinum Card® from American Express, and especially the 10x earning rate at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, will get you enough points to have a variety of redemption options. Even if you redeem points toward economy flights, you’ll still end up extracting great value. Additionally, the benefits of this card can offset most of (if not the entire) annual fee if you take advantage of them.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for: