Should You Bypass The Amex Platinum 100K Offer With The New Credits?
The unicorn of the miles and points world is the much sought after 100,000 point American Express Platinum offer. It may take checking CardMatch 4,700 times, 300 hail mary and a little bit of fairy dust to get one but it is something we have all sought after. One of the most know sayings in miles & points: wait for that 100K offer before getting a Platinum card! It is said almost as often as: start your miles and points journey by applying for Chase cards because of 5/24, duh. But with Amex’s recent refresh and some very tempting credits does it make sense to still wait for that magical 100K offer? Or is there more value in grabbing a lesser offer now and moving forward with the credits?
Setting The Parameters
Let’s start by setting the ground rules. I am going to base these calculations off a perceived value of 1.5 cents per point for Membership Rewards points. Some will value them more than that and others less than that so plug in your own numbers for the calculations.
I will also give you my thoughts on the value of each credit. You should plug in your own values because they may be different than mine. I will hopefully show you a road map to making this decision for yourself.
If we are valuing Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents a piece then the 100K offer has a value of $1,500. The standard 60K offer would have a value of $900. That is a gap of $600 that we need to make up if you were to jump on the offer now. So let’s see how close we come to closing that gap.
Last week everybody and their brother was making big moves. Chase added a limited time grocery bonus, Citi allowed travel credits to work on food purchases and Amex did a little of both. But we want to focus on the Amex Platinum changes so let’s go through them 1 by 1.
$20 A Month In Streaming Credits
Streaming is the number one form of entertainment for many people in 2020. That means most people will have a use for this credit. I would discount this one slightly since you could earn more on the payment with another card, like 5X with the Chase Ink Cash. So let’s discount this one by 6% (an extra 4 points per dollar at 1.5 cents each). The maximum credit available is $160 ($20 a month for 8 months). With a 6% discount we are looking at $150.40 to the good. If you have a different card that earns a bonus on streaming then plug that number in instead.
$20 A Month In Cell Phone Service Credits
I think it is safe to say pretty much everyone reading this has a cell phone. Heck, a majority of you are reading this ON YOUR PHONE…I know mind blown, right? So it is safe to say that you are paying a $20+ a month cell bill. Even if you are rocking a 2007 Motorola flip phone, who remembers that sexy Razor phone everyone HAD to have, you can use this credit. I am going to discount this at the same rate as above since you could once again earn an extra 4X per dollar with the Chase Ink Cash. So with the 6% discount we are looking at a value of $150.40. If you have a different card that earns a bonus on cell service payments then plug that number in instead.
Crunching The Numbers
American Express also launched a $200 travel credit a few days after all of this was announced but that was for current cardholders so that is why it is not in these calculations.
If you remember, we have a $600 gap to make up when looking at the value of a 100K offer versus the standard 60K offer. With the new cell phone service and streaming credits we were able to make up about $300 of that gap, or get half way there. You can look at it another way, the additional $300 in value is like getting an additional 20,000 points tacked onto the offer ($300 divided by 1.5 cents per point). So with the current credits you are looking at an 80,000 point welcome offer essentially.
What About The Best Of Both Worlds?
You should remember that these offers would stack with a 100K offer as well. So it is possible to double dip if you can get yourself targeted, remember to grab that fairy dust before hitting submit! There is also an even more targeted 125K offer floating around. I mean we can really dream can’t we? It is also possible to pull up a 75K offer with a clean browser. So be sure to check other browsers etc. before finally settling on the 60K offer as your only option.
If you can get any of these offers jump on them ASAP. You would get your cake and get to eat it too.
So, Should You Apply Now & Bypass The Amex Platinum 100K Offer?
We fell short of the 100K offer in terms of value. But we are closer than we have ever been without a targeted offer.
If you are steadfast in getting the 100K offer then you could still wait. There is a chance you are never targeted for it though. No one knows for sure what causes people to get targeted. In the past there would be leaked links from time to time, that is how I got it myself. But that hasn’t happened for several years now and Amex started freezing accounts that took advantage of them anyway so it would be best to skip it if a leaked offer ever did return.
I guess it really boils down to your risk / reward level and how sick and tired you are of waiting for the offer. If you would rather take the increased offer now and leave a little on the table but grab the sure thing then I think jumping on it makes sense. If you don’t mind waiting it out and want to risk the 20K / $300 extra in value at a chance at 40K extra then you stand pat.
I personally think taking the extra $300 in credits now is the smart money. I think it is more likely that you never get targeted and I am not sure that a better offer ever returns to the mass public.
What About The Charles Schwab Platinum?
Chuck at DoC makes a great point about the Schwab, something I can’t believe I completely spaced on. This is a different version of the regular platinum but offers the same standard 60K welcome offer. You have to jump through a few more hoops, like sign up for a checking account with them, and it comes with two hard pulls (the checking account has a hard pull too). But it is considered a different product than the regular Amex Platinum so you could grab it and still wait for the 100K offer. That is assuming you haven’t already done this in the past while waiting on the 100K offer since the offer is once per lifetime.
I think the Charles Schwab Platinum is actually the best version of the Platinum cards long term. It allows you to cash out Membership Rewards points into your account at 1.25 cents each, no other versions offer this. That is a great back up plan in case travel is on hold for a while. So if you are unable to get the 75K, 100K or 125K offer and don’t mind a few extra hoops and an extra hard pull then this is probably the best option for you.
Hopefully this post got you thinking some about whether or not it is worth skipping the 100K Amex Platinum offer for what is available now. This also gives you a good breakdown at how to compare offers for other cards. What the thought process should be, how you should weigh your options and how you should judge risk. Everyone’s answer to these questions can vary widely but the process should remain pretty much the same.
Let me know in the comments if you think people should bypass the Amex Platinum 100K offer or wait.