American Express just announced a major change to one of its popular premium travel credit cards: Starting on October 6, its Platinum credit cardholders will receive five times the points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through American Express’s travel portal.
The issuer’s Business Platinum credit cardholders are getting an even sweeter deal: They’ll earn 50% points back when using American Express’s Membership Rewards Pay with Points in its travel portal to book a flight with their selected airline. They’ll also get that benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline, the issuer said. Moreover, business Platinum cardholders will earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on any purchase of $5,000 or more.
Prior to the change, both versions of the Platinum card (you can see a full review of the personal credit card here) offered cardholders one point in its Membership Rewards program and double points when making reservations through its travel portal. Cardholders receive a $200 airline credit, airport lounge access and a fee credit for Global entry or TSA Pre✓, among other travel perks.
A Crowded Market
American Express’s announcement comes on the heels of Chase’s launch of its new Sapphire Reserve credit card, a product that made headlines for featuring one of the biggest sign-on bonuses ever. Reserve cardholders can earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening, which amounts to a whopping $1,500 when you redeem them through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal. (That bonus was so popular, incidentally, that Chase temporarily ran out of the branded metal credit cards.)
American Express is currently offering new personal Platinum cardholders 40,000 membership points when they spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Remember, while some premium plastic certainly sounds like a dream come true, you’ve got to be able to afford the perks. These types of credit cards typically tout high annual fees. Both the Platinum and the Reserve, for instance, cost $450 a year. And you’ve got to travel — or at least spend enough — to justify that charge. You should also be in the habit of paying your balances off in full; otherwise, you’ll just pay those points back in interest.
If you are looking to add to your wallet, be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to determine if a card is right for you. And check your credit score: Premium plastic generally requires stellar credit, so you don’t want to risk an inquiry (and a ding to your credit score) only to be denied. You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the American Express Platinum is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
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