Schwab Amex Platinum Why To Apply
I’m just going to come out and say it. I have too many Platinum cards mostly because of lucrative targeted offers. While that is something I am working on, I just recently picked up another one. The other day I decided to apply for the American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab which in most ways is a regular Platinum card, but it has a unique feature that can be quite valuable. Let me walk you through why I finally applied for the Schwab Platinum card and why you may want to consider it.
Current Schwab Platinum Offer
Historically the welcome offer for this card came with 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, however you can do better right now. As of publishing, American Express is offering an increased bonus on the Schwab Platinum card.
- Welcome Offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after $6,000 in purchases in the first 6 months of card membership.
The Schwab Platinum card is very similar to the regular Platinum card, however it does require that you have a Schwab brokerage account in order to apply. I already have a Schwab Bank Investor Checking account (and a free brokerage account that comes with it), so I didn’t need to do anything else in order to be eligible for this card. The Schwab checking account has no fees and gives unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide. I use this account solely while traveling to avoid ATM fees. It’s a great account and I highly recommend it.
Why I Applied for the Schwab Platinum
With a $695 annual fee, the Schwab Platinum card isn’t cheap, especially considering I have other Platinum cards, however I do not regret applying. There are a few reasons I decided to pick up this card now and I’ll walk you through them.
Schwab Invest With Rewards & Cash Value of Points
The biggest reason I decided to pick up this card right now is because of the unique perk you get when holding it. Invest With Rewards is a way to cash out your Membership Rewards points into your Schwab account at 1.1 cents each. While you can cash out points at 1 cent each via the Amex Business Checking account, the extra value adds up if you are cashing out any substantial number of points. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.
One of the things we have preached at Miles to Memories for awhile is looking at your rewards as having value. For example, if I transfer 20K Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt in order to stay at a Category 5 property, then I am giving up at least $200 in cash out value for those points. That increases even more if you have a card that allows you to “Pay Yourself Back” at an increased value.
The same goes for American Express points. If I transfer 70,000 points to a partner airline in order to book a business class flight, those points have a cash value. At 1 cent per point the value is $700. Some people don’t like to think of their points as being worth cash, but I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to think of them any other way. And this way of thinking is freeing.
I Have Way Too Many Amex Points
My wife, daughter and I spent much of this year traveling with plans to do the same next year. We came into this year with 7 figure balances with Citi, Chase and American Express thanks to traveling much less these past couple of years. While we did have some nice redemptions, for the most part our flights were fairly cheap cash wise and it didn’t make sense to redeem tons of points for flights. In the past I have almost exclusively used my American Express Membership Rewards points for flights, but I am
sorry happy to say my balance only increased this year despite all of the travel.
Given the situation I have three options. First I can run to the corner and tell all of my friends that I have a fat Amex points balance just to brag. Staring at that big number on the screen is fun, but it only inflates my ego and does little else. My second option is to “splurge” and start redeeming these points for A LOT of fancy travel. I do actually plan to use some points to plus up our travel this year (including a premium cabin flight or two), but I still have too many. Which brings me to option 3. Cashing them out to Schwab where I can invest the money or simply use it for travel expenses.
Is The Annual Fee Worth It + Other Reasons I Chose to Apply Now
While everyone’s situation will be different, the value for me is pretty clear. When I applied for the card I paid a $695 annual fee, however with the amount of points I plan to cash out I will get more than that in extra value from the 1.1 cent cash out option vs 1 cent with the Amex Business Checking Account. That takes care of my out of pocket cost, but there are still more perks to take advantage of.
As I mentioned above, the welcome offer for this card is a historical high at 100,000 Membership Rewards points. Given I can only get the bonus on this specific product once, I think it is a good time to grab it. That bonus will also offer me $1,100 in cash out value if I choose to go that route with those points. But wait there’s more.
Since I applied in the middle of December I will be able to take advantage of a few perks that add even more value. I will be able to grab the $200 airline incidental credit for 2022 and then again in 2023. If I choose to cancel or downgrade the card I can also potentially get the credit in 2024 before doing that. The same goes for the card’s Saks credits and even the $200 credit for American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. In other words, there is a ton of value in me getting the card in the middle of December.
Schwab Amex Platinum Why To Apply – Bottom Line
I have friends on both sides of the spectrum. Some never cash in points and only use them for travel and others almost exclusively cash out their points. There is no right or wrong answer here, but I think everyone owes it to themselves to at least acknowledge the value of their points balance and what that could mean in terms of real money in their pocket. I finally picked up the Schwab card because of its unique perk allowing me to cash out my points at an increased value, however I am also getting more than enough value from the other perks to justify yet another $695 annual fee.
Do you have the Schwab Platinum card and do you cash out your points? Do you cash out your balances with other programs as well or are you someone who only uses rewards for travel and nothing else? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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Not sure if anyone will see this reply, but what’s the play on the timing of the Schwab card? Do you amass a ton of MR points through other Amex means, then give yourself a year (while paying the $695 annual fee) to “cash out” these points? It seems like you would want mid to high 6 figures in points BEFORE getting this card. Can you downgrade and keep cashing out after the downgrade? No. So you can keep this card for an annual fee of $695, but it seems like you will need to be earning/cashing out points at a rate of 55,000 annually to offset this $695 fee (forgetting about the other “perks” that come with it). Therefore, if you have the Business Platinum along with this card (in Year 1), then it makes sense, but beyond year 1, it doesn’t feel like paying $1400 in annual fees is the correct move. Am I missing something on this?
It largely depends on how many points you are earning. Some feel keeping the card is worth it for the cash out options since they earn a ton of points, but if that’s not the case I could see a good strategy coming when you have a high balance and only keeping it for the year while using that time to cash out.
If you got in December’22 you can get the airline credit every year.If you cancel it, after a year, how would you get the credit in ’24.Wouldn’t you have to pay the annual fee?
the key benefit you are missing is these deposits can go into a Roth IRA and Schwab treats it as a bonus, not a contribution. First, put the CY max into Schwab Roth IRA from checking, then transfer all the AMEX points at $.011 into Schwab Roth above the cap. i.e. no cap.
Are you totally sure on this? I’m not so sure that waves all government restrictions on a Roth.
A few blogs have talked about this and the answer seems to be that the website wil ALLOW you to do it but that doesnt mean the IRS thinks its legal. Could very well decide X years from now (when more people try it) that everyone who did this was breaking the rules (they are, to be fair) and implement the normal penalties for breaking the contribution limits. Not worth the risk in my view but YMMV.
Huh..Interesting. I have no income (pension and investments are not income per govt) and no way to fund ROTH. Its an interesting work around but like you I think its sketchy…Think I’ll pass
Thank you so much, Shawn!! I have banked at Schwab for over 20 years. I got the Platinum about two years ago. I have lots of points and was strategizing just how to get a penny per, as opposed to .7 or even .6. You came through with the solution for me, and I had never heard of it. Just cashed out for more than I ever expected. All the best to you!!
That’s awesome! So glad to help.
Was debating getting a Schwab account a few years back, still waiting for legacy TD accounts to be converted to Schwab, but hadnt realized it would take this long.
1.1cpp… hell no. No matter how many points I have… MR UR doesn’t matter… never at 1.1cpp no matter what kind of flexibility I get. Closest I will ever get to cashing out points is redeeming MR points at Amex Travel and get 35% rebate with Business Platinum cards. what at 1.5cpp? I did that several times taking advantage of mistake fares and extra low fare deals. Case in point, I was able to book 4 of us for this christmas in Europe for mere $1565 per person Air France/KLM lie flat business classes all the way redeeming just 101700 MR points after rebate round trip per person and get ton of Delta miles or Virgin points back. I booked this almost year ago when air fare was still cheap but this is borderline mistake fare. It went up to $4k per person a week later. Unless I get an opportunity like that, no way in hell I would cash out points at 1.1cpp. I am religious about 1.5cpp bottom line.
When you factor in the value of the airline points you will earn on that Business Platinum airfare redemption, depending on your tier status earn rate and other factors, it often works out to 1.65 to 1.85 cents per Amex point.
That being said, for Shawn’s specific circumstances, short-term cash needs might take priority over long-term travel like-to-haves.
Comparing the theoretical value of a premium cabin ticket doesn’t quite work to get a real value in my opinion. You can fly in coach for example and most wouldn’t pay the cash fare so using that value isn’t the way I would go about it.
That said, I think you missed the point. It isn’t about needing cash it’s about having way too many points and realizing I would rather make the cash work for me. If I had 200K points instead of millions the calculation would be different.
There are only so many redemptions that I can make plus many times I’m okay with coach to save the miles. You are paying cash for those award tickets even if you don’t think of it that way. Whatever the cash value of the points is what you are paying. Add in future potential earnings on that money and there is a true cost. Sometimes I redeem for nice flights, sometimes for coach and now because I have so many points I’m cashing them out too.
Currently have the card. Rude awakenings:
1. Can’t product change the Schwab version to Gold or Green.
2. Referral bonus is $100 per referral, not MR points.
I like the Platinum, just not this flavor.
I cash out MRs and URs all the time… for travel. I do transfer a fair amount to the airlines, as I’m usually getting much better than 1.1cpp. And while I have stayed at some hotels on points, that isn’t all that common. Cash is king. The Schwab Platinum (and Chase PYB) enables this.
This way I travel where I want, and stay where I want. Not where my points tell me where I can stay. And I certainly don’t plan my vacations around where Hyatts are located. I also don’t have to worry about blackout dates. The cash covers EVERYTHING for our trip that points can’t, such as food for example.
I agree. Being able to turn points into cash that works for all travel expenses is a great way to do it! I think a lot of people in this hobby are slow to come around to this point of view (including me) but once they do I’ve never heard of someone regretting it.
I’ve always been that way since I started in this game. Honestly I’m surprised there aren’t more out there doing so… being a free agent is the most valuable asset you can have while traveling.
Jump on in Shawn, the water is great on the cash side!
I was recently turned down for my fourth business Amex despite being continually peppered with offers even now. I only have one personal gold and platinum. Any thoughts on my likelihood of getting approved? I’ve built up just about a million MR’s and I’d hate to lose them because of eyes on my accounts.
I think the likelihood with this card is similar to other Amex cards. It’s strange they are turning you down even with targeted offers. What was the reason they turned you down? One nice thing is Amex doesn’t normally run credit when you are a current customer so it might be worth trying to see if you get approved. It’s personal vs. business too so that can make a difference.
They said that I had recently gotten the same card. I did, three times in around a year so I don’t hold the refusal against them. I’m just puzzled that they keep pushing gold and platinum businesses card offers at me when I log in and via snail mail.
I only have 1 complaint about the card, Morgan stanley gives a free plat.. Schwab only gives up to $200 off.. Maybe they could be more competitive there.. i got the card this past April and I went with them bc Schwab banking is one of the best No atm fees bank accounts…
I really love my Schwab account. I’ve had it for many years and use it as my travel account. That way my main accounts are safe in case I encounter a scammy ATM plus I never have to think about where I use the ATM with the fees being waived.