March 29, 2017 is ticking away. When the clock strikes midnight, the Amex Platinum personal card annual fee will increase to $550. Apply now and you get the old fee of $450-475 for the first year, and the new benefits such as the annual Uber credit.
What many do not know is there are many versions of the Amex Platinum card. Each bonus is currently ‘once per lifetime,’ but you can have the bonus from each version once.
Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of American Express or of any of these cards. I am not compensated for your use of any of the links, which are provided only for your convenience.
Does it make sense to lock in one of these today at the lower annual fee?
Complicating matters, as reported by the WSJ, the base Platinum offer will increase from 40,000 to 60,000 points. We don’t know if this will apply to other versions of the Platinum.
Don’t forget the Amex Business Platinum.
Here’s my take on each of the personal Platinum versions:
Amex Platinum (regular): the public offer is 40,0oo, to increase to 60,000. Using incognito mode it is currently possible to get 75,000. 100,000 offers appear with some regularity, and targeted offers have been as high as 150,000.
Amex Platinum (regular) my take: wait for a better offer.
Mercedes-Benz Platinum: current offer is 50,000. 75,000 offer ended June 2016. This card currently has a $475 annual fee. $75 incremental annual increase versus a possible extra 25,000 bonus.
Ameriprise Platinum: this card has no sign-up bonus. Instead, the first year annual fee is waived for the primary cardholder and authorized users. That is plural ‘users.’ This is the card to get if you want the Platinum benefits for free for a year.
Ameriprise Platinum my take: since the first year annual fee is waived, wait till you need the Platinum benefits.
Charles Schwab Platinum: the newest flavor of Platinum. Since the card launched the offers has been a steady 40,000. The great feature of this card is cashing out Membership Rewards points at 1.25 cents/point rather than all the others at 1 cent/point.
Charles Schwab Platinum my take: it is reasonable to hope the bonus will increase to 60,000. I am willing to risk the extra $100 annual fee for a shot at an extra 20,000 points.
Goldman Sachs Platinum: not open to the general public. Probably won’t become an employee or high value customer in the next few hours.
Goldman Sachs Platinum my take: [insert clickbait reference to Trump stocking his administration with Goldman Sachs veterans].
Morgan Stanley Platinum: this bonus has been a steady 50,00o. Like the Ameriprise, the first authorized user is free. It may go up to 60,000 or may stand pat given its distinct features, like first authorized user is free. Update: per comment from reader Ted Fung, you need a brokerage account at Morgan Stanley and reports elsewhere on eligibility say a balance of 250k or more may be needed to get the card.
Morgan Stanley Platinum my take: if I were to jump on an Amex Platinum today, it would be the Morgan Stanley. Locking in $450 with Platinum benefits for 2 people is worth missing out on a potential 10,000 extra bonus. Update: as above, most people will not be eligible.
My Amex Platinum decision:
I currently have an Amex Business Platinum that is several months out from the annual fee so I am not desperate to get Platinum benefits. I would only be chasing the bonus. I have no reason to think any of these will go lower, or that the cards will soon disappear entirely. I’ll wait till I need the benefits and swallow the higher annual fee.
If I were to go for one, it would be the Morgan Stanley if I were eligible.
Readers, what is your last-minute Amex Platinum call?