Huge Amex Platinum 100K Offer & Why You Might Want to Skip It

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Bypass The Amex Platinum 100K Offer

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.

Bypass The Amex Platinum 100K Offer

New Credits

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.

Bypass The Amex Plat 100K Offer

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.

Bypass The Amex Platinum 100K Offer

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The 100k offer has become a bit of a unicorn, so a better comparison is [barely usable credits/benefits + new credits] vs. [just the regular credits/benefits, when they’re actually usable]. In other words, open now vs. open later, both with the 60k. I definitely think that opening now is better, although I disagree with the alternative given for streaming (easy to get 15-30% off gift cards).

    Some other factors that make me think it’s better to open now:
    * Ability to meet minimum spend. $5,000 in 6 months is easier to hit than $5,000 in 3 months, even if spending is down.
    * 5/24 and other “hard rules” – people’s strategy in managing these has shifted due to low spending. For some, now is an excellent time to open a new card, as they’re opening them less often, and will continue to do so.
    * The tightening of underwriting is also something to consider: x/24 doesn’t matter if you’d be denied for other reasons. If that was the reason you weren’t getting it, and your count is dropping in the next few months, you might wanna consider opening it now.

  2. Mark,

    You may want to consider a different headline, maybe “Why you may want to get the card now vice waiting for a 100K offer”. Your current headline implies that there’s a (widely available) 100K MR offer that folks should consider not taking.

  3. I decided to use this time and beef up my balances so when travel does return I will be ready. I still do some MS and maybe a credit card offer.

    • I have done a mixture of beefing up my stash and focusing on cash back offers. With so many cancellations my balances are pretty healthy so I thought it was a good time to mix more cash back in there.

  4. The world in which MR are worth 1.5 cents each is gone, and may or may not ever return. There is basically little or nothing that these miles can be redeemed for these days. They can be redeemed for air routes that no longer exist for seats that aren’t leaving the ground, as well as hotels that are mostly closed, and if open can’t be reached and are in countries I’m not permitted to enter. Collecting MR or any points these days is an exercise in speculation about when these things will return, while the cardholder continues to pay annual fees and foregoes cashback opportunities. I don’t know what MRs are worth today, to the extent their worth anything, but a large discount factor has to be applied to that 1.5 cent figure we all used to agree was a useful rule of thumb.

    • In the short term sure. But I don’t think anyone is expecting to travel in the short term. If you are not willing to sit on them for a bit then you should bypass signing up for any card right now and sticking to cash back. And that would be totally plausible and understandable. I guess a lot depends on when you think travel will pick up and how long you are willing to wait on it.

      • Don’t forget SoFi 20% off streaming. This site pushes the SoFi deals so much that probably every reader has an account.

      • Agree. We both agree that the 1.5 cents should be subject to some sort of discount rate to account for its present value and everybody has to decide what their personal discount rate is . . . but whatever the rate, the 1.5 number has to come down.

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