Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

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bhwabeck3533
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Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by bhwabeck3533 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:32 am

Currently my wife and I share a Delta Sky Miles American Express card. We try to put all daily expenses on the card; and pay-off the balance at the end of each billing cycle. The perks are rather limited: Delta Miles (approx 75,000 annually), free checked luggage, and one companion-ticket per year. (I think they charge us $200 a year).

I'm staring at a promo which came in the mail for an American Express "Platinum Card". It offers: 100,000 member points (after spending $5000), 5x points on "eligible" travel, $200 in airline credit fee.... and access airport lounges. (This one is $550 a year).

Should I have two cards? Should I have one and my wife have the other? Should keep just one? Is there a better offer out there? Open to ideas!

HomeStretch
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by HomeStretch » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:44 am

There is a long ongoing BH thread on this topic that might be helpful:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=192008&hilit=Credit+card+strategy

The site doctorofcredit.com also has credit card recommendations. The right card for you depends on your spending pattern and goals (i.e., maximize travel rewards or cash back, etc.).

Amex Platinum is a costly card so you’d want to make sure you get enough value (airline $200 credit, global entry/precheck fee reimbursement, lounge access) to make the annual fee worth it. Amex has been scaling back lounge access benefit recently (write-up on doctorofcredit).

Whatever card you decide to apply for, check to see if there is a sign up bonus or spend bonus available. Doctorofcredit sometimes has codes for higher bonuses than what you might find on the issuer’s website.

MichCPA
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by MichCPA » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:45 am

Short answer: Only keep them both long term if you can use the credits. Its worth getting for at least 1 yr because of the sign up bonus. (100k is normally the max)

Long:

The Amex Platinum will give you fantastic lounge access (free SkyClub if on Delta flight vs $29 using your existing card), better rates on airfare and when you book hotels through amex travel. It also gives you hotel status. It is a good value if you can use the credits.

Drawbacks:
The $200 airline credit overlaps with the Delta Platinum's discount on in-flight purchases and free bags so it might be hard to use.

Booking hotels through Amex Travel means you don't get status benefits or the point from the hotel loyalty program. You might want to have the Amex Platinum for status but use another card to book hotels to get the hotel pts (incl the extra pts you get from your Amex Platinum statuses :? )

The Uber credit is monthly, not yearly. You can get around this if you have good Uber eats options. The Saks credit is split into 2 $50 credits you can use in each half of the year.

ETA: You might want to switch your airline from Delta for the Platinum credit if you ever use anybody else and would pay for bags.

xb7
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by xb7 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:34 pm

The Amex Platinum was for me a card that I had to work at to justify the annual fee, typically involving what to me are sort of 'games' that I found that I don't want to play --- for example, using the travel credit to get delta eGift cards to later spend on flights, but that loophole is shut down now I believe. Trying to find something from Saks that I want each six months --- this last time I just didn't. Ordering something from Uber Eats every month (I've never felt the need to use Uber for transportation). Yes, the thing about either booking hotels via the Amex site to get 5x points or booking directly with one that the card gives you status on as you don't get the status benefits via the Amex travel site. Extra cost for an add-on card, so if we fly Delta, I can use a Delta lounge but my wife can't without paying. And my couple of experiences with Amex lounges were nice overall except that they're pretty full, had to wait to get in for one of them.

Everyone is different though and situations are different. You might get enough value from their international flight program to justify the annual fee (I never tried that one). Or maybe deluxe hotels appeal through that program, or you like getting their thick catalog of conspicuous consumption periodically via snail mail, or you find their concierge helpful (never tried it). Customer service WAS good overall, no argument on that point.

For me, though, the card was a bad fit overall and the 'games' were too much and starting to change my behavior in ways that I didn't like. I've got a couple of Chase cards now instead that are just dead easy to use, very little in the way of games (though using their travel portal takes a little getting used to and a shift in expectations).

MichCPA
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by MichCPA » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:04 pm

xb7 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:34 pm
The Amex Platinum was for me a card that I had to work at to justify the annual fee, typically involving what to me are sort of 'games' that I found that I don't want to play --- for example, using the travel credit to get delta eGift cards to later spend on flights, but that loophole is shut down now I believe.
+1
Can confirm that the gift card work around is shut down. If you can't use the credits, the Platinum really a $550 lounge and hotel status membership. In that scenario I would get the high SUB, enjoy the lounges and status for a year and dump the card in the next year.

The Delta Platinum and Amex Platinum really overlap when it comes to baggage and incidental fees so I would hesitate to have both.

teamDE
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by teamDE » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:54 pm

The platinum 100k SUB offer is as good as it gets and somewhat hard to find. It's generally worth it to sign up and pay the $550 annual fee in exchange for the SUB. Long term, make sure you understand the perks and credits and weigh them against the $550 fee. Personally, the card isn't a good fit for us, as we don't travel THAT much nor shop at Saks, etc.

We do however have an Amex Gold which is $250/yr and focused on dining and grocery expenses. It's credits are $100/yr airline and $10/mo to Grubhub and a couple other restaurants. We use this card a lot and its a great fit for our lifestyle.

MichCPA
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by MichCPA » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:33 pm

teamDE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:54 pm
The platinum 100k SUB offer is as good as it gets and somewhat hard to find. It's generally worth it to sign up and pay the $550 annual fee in exchange for the SUB. Long term, make sure you understand the perks and credits and weigh them against the $550 fee. Personally, the card isn't a good fit for us, as we don't travel THAT much nor shop at Saks, etc.

We do however have an Amex Gold which is $250/yr and focused on dining and grocery expenses. It's credits are $100/yr airline and $10/mo to Grubhub and a couple other restaurants. We use this card a lot and its a great fit for our lifestyle.
I have the Amex Gold too. My main concern with the Gold, as it relates to the OP, is that the airline credit would go unused. You can't buy gift cards anymore. The primary work around that I have seen so far is to pay for most of a flight with a separately purchased gift card and the Amex credit can pick up the last hundred. I am unsure if you can use the Delta Platinum to get the $30 skyclub rate and use the Gold airline credit to pay for that. I really wish the Amex airline credit would be more like Chase's CSR travel credit and work with any charge on any airline.

If OP is a regular Delta flier, the Delta Platinum is very worth it, but it de-values the the regular Platinum, Gold, and the expensive Hilton card too much to justify their fees IMO.

auggiedoggies
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Re: Credit Cards Rewards Strategies - AmEx vs AmEx

Post by auggiedoggies » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:10 pm

Truly impossible to answer without knowing your flying and traveling habits.

But either way, you should absolutely get the card just for the sign up bonus, and then reevaluate after the first year if it's worthwhile.

FWIW, I have the Amex Business Platinum card, and get great use out of the $200 annual Dell benefit (you can buy microsoft gift cards, load them straight to your account, and buy anything from the microsoft store this way)

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