My plan for maximizing the incredible Amex Platinum offer

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Update:Since this post was written, additional great offers have surfaced. Please click here to see every option.

Yesterday, news spread of an amazing but targeted Amex Platinum offer.  The offer is for 100K points after $5K spend plus the ability to earn 10X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets for 6 months (on up to $15K spend). That’s an absolutely awesome offer.

When I learn about targeted Amex offers, I always check each of the browsers on my laptop to see if I’m targeted. Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Chrome are shown above, but of course it is worth checking other browsers too (Safari, Opera, etc.)

I have several browsers installed on my laptop, and so I tried browsing to this magic page in each browser: www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/platinum/.   Firefox showed me a 75K offer.  Same with Microsoft Edge.  Not interested.  I can do better than that even without a targeted offer.  Chrome, though, showed me the magic 100K + 10X offer!  (Later the 100K + 10X offer showed up in Microsoft Edge as well — it seems almost random).

Now that I knew I could find the 100K + 10X offer, I set about finding out who in my family was eligible.  With this offer (and with most Amex offers), you can’t get a welcome bonus if you already have the card or have had it in the past.  I currently have a Schwab Platinum card and my wife and I have each had Mercedes Platinum cards in the past, but those are considered different products from the generic Platinum card.  From that point of view, we were good to go.  Unfortunately, both of us have also had the generic Platinum card in the past.  Here’s what I found in my records for each person in my immediate family:

  • Me: I signed up for the Platinum card on 4/14/2014 and cancelled it on 5/14/2015
  • My Wife: Signed up on 1/8/2013, and cancelled on 3/7/2014
  • Son: Never had the card

It’s generally believed that Amex “forgets” that you’ve had a card about 7 years after you cancel it.  My Platinum card was cancelled just over 5 years ago and my wife’s was cancelled just over 6 years ago.  Since these cancellations were less than 7 years old, neither of us were necessarily qualified to get the new card and bonus.  That said, I’ve heard reports in the past (including my own experience with a couple of other cards) where people have received welcome bonuses despite having had the same card more recently than 7 years ago.  Still, it seemed that my son was the most likely to be eligible.

Now or later?

Usually I like to apply for Amex Platinum cards (there are several flavors) in early December.  This way, if I end up cancelling when the second year annual fee comes due, it’s possible to triple-dip the calendar year credits.  For example, one could earn $200 in airline fee credits in December 2020, $200 January through December 2021, and $200 in January 2022.

In this case, though, I doubt the offer will be available a few weeks from now.  The almost-as-good Resy offer might be available then, but I don’t know for sure.  I decided that it was worth giving up the triple dip to ensure getting in on the offer while I could.

Application Results

My son applied for the card, but received his first ever “talk to the hand” from Amex:

We’re sorry. We can’t approve your application at this time.
You’ll receive a letter within the next 10 business days explaining why we were unable to approve your application. We thank you for your interest in American Express.

Next, I decided to give it a shot.  Yes, I’ve definitely had the card before, but it’s been a while.  Maybe they would approve me?  Yep!

Maximizing the deal

There are three buckets of benefits I hope to make the most of: welcome bonus benefits (100K points + 10X earnings), COVID rebates ($20 streaming and $20 wireless credit in November and December), and standard ongoing credits.  The Platinum card has many other benefits too (elite status, fine hotels & resorts, airline savings, etc.), but since I also have the Schwab Platinum card, it doesn’t do me any good to get those benefits again.  See this post for more about Platinum card benefits: Amex Platinum Complete Guide.

Here are the benefits that matter to me:

Welcome Bonus

  • 100K points after $5K spend in your first 6 months.
  • 10X points at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months.

COVID Credits

  • $20 per month cell service rebate through December 2020
  • $20 per month streaming service rebate through December 2020

Standard Credits

  • $200 airline fee credit: Amex automatically reimburses up to $200 per calendar year for airline fees for your selected airline only.
  • $200 in Uber & Uber Eats Credits: Amex reimburses $15 per month ($35 in December) for Uber & Uber Eats charges.
  • $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December.
  • Variis by Equinox: $25 back each month in statement credits (up to 9 uses / $225 back).

With all of the above combined (except the Equinox credits, which I probably won’t use), here’s how much I could earn in the next 12 months:

  • 250K Membership Rewards points (100K from the bonus plus 150K from 10X spend).  Since I have the Schwab Platinum card and since that card allows for cashing out points at 1.25 cents each, the 250K points are worth at least $3,125 to me.
  • $80 in COVID credits.
  • $400 in airline fee rebates ($200 in 2020 plus $200 in 2021)
  • $250 in Uber & Uber Eats credits ($50 in 2020 plus $200 in 2021)
  • $150 in Saks credits

Total: $4,005 if I cash in the points. Or 250K points + $880.  Either way, it’s a fantastic haul for a $550 card!

My Spend Calendar

Here’s how I hope to get all of those points and credits.  I’m assuming that I’ll spend $2500 per month at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets for the first 6 months to max out the $15K of 10X earnings.  This equates to about $600 per week.  That’s more than I usually spend, but I’m hoping that it will be OK to mix in a gift card now and then with my purchases.  Amex doesn’t like people to run up spend by buying gift cards, but my hope is that they’ll be OK with the occasional gift card thrown in with regular groceries.

Nov and Dec 2020 Spend:

  • Spend $200 on airline fees (award fees)
  • Spend $50 at Saks.com (I’ve always been able to find a nice present for a family member in the sale section)
  • November 2020
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Pay $20 towards phone service (AT&T)
    • Pay $20 towards streaming services (Youtube TV)
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats (Already done! I ordered delivery last night)
  • December 2020
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Pay $20 towards phone service (AT&T)
    • Pay $20 towards streaming services (Youtube TV)
    • Spend $35 with Uber Eats

2021 Spend:

  • Spend $200 on airline fees (award fees)
  • Jan – June 2021
    • Spend $50 at Saks.com
  • January 2021
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • February 2021
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • March 2021
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • April 2021
    • Spend $2500 at grocery stores & gas stations
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • May 2021
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • June 2021
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats
  • July – December 2021
    • Spend $50 at Saks.com
    • Spend $15 with Uber Eats each month, and $35 in December before cancelling the card.

Wrap Up

We’ve seen a lot of amazing offers recently, but this one is super-special.  If you do it right, it’s possible to earn 250,000 points with $15K spend in 6 months!  If you can’t spend that much, it’s still a great offer.  Suppose, for example that you spend $300 per week on gas and groceries.  In 26 weeks, that would amount to $7800 spend earning 10X points.  Between the 10X offer and the 100K welcome bonus, you would earn a total of 178,000 points with only $7,800 spend!  That’s insane.

What if you aren’t targeted for the 100K offer?  Well, the 75K offer with $300 restaurant credits is insanely good too!

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