17 for ’17 — part 2: Amex Membership Rewards

      2 Comments on 17 for ’17 — part 2: Amex Membership Rewards

This is a continuation of part 1, in which I wax eloquent upon how it came to pass that I acquired 17 new credit cards this past year. Here’s what else I got:

American Express Business Gold Rewards: So, get this. We used to use this card for our business before we got the Chase Ink Plus, so, since it was costing us $225 per year, we closed it. Two weeks later, I receive a mailer offering me this very same card, with a 75,000 Membership Rewards signup bonus, and first year free. Normally, Amex has a rule where you can only ever earn a card’s bonus if you’ve never ever had that specific card before, but they not this time. Am I stupid? No. I grabbed it.

American Express Business Platinum: I used to make fun of this card, because it seemed so not worth its $450 fee beyond the alleged status it confers. Yet, as of two weeks ago, now I have one. First off, they were offering a 100,000 Membership Rewards signup bonus. Second, they “enhanced” this card: buying tickets through the Amex web site using points, for a favorite airline in economy or for any airline in business class, now costs half. And this applies to all Membership Rewards points that you already have, and any you earn on other Amex cards. So rather than bitching and moaning about how I can’t use Amex points for domestic travel because I have to transfer to Delta and Delta SkyMiles are shit, I can now just designate United as my airline and pay for any kind of cash ticket using Membership Rewards points at an excellent rate. Hoorah.

American Express Blue For Business: This was completely off my radar. I just got this two days ago, my 17th card for ‘17, because they’re having a nutso promotion on it until the end of January. It has no fee, a 10,000 Membership Rewards signup bonus, and for the first six months, you get fucking 10 points per dollar spent at restaurants, up to $2,000. All I do is eat in restaurants, so that’s 20K more MR points right there. But it gets better: for the first year, you get 2.3 Membership rewards points points per dollar on…everything. Combined with the Business Platinum, that’s 4.6% returned for buying tickets on United (my preferred airline), or business class on any airline. (Except, fuck it all, I just realized, as I write this, that I had this card a billion years ago, so I may get none of these signup benefits, due to Amex’s one-bonus-per-lifetime rule. We’ll see. It was a long time ago. At least it won’t have cost me anything. In this game, you win some, you lose some.

 

2 thoughts on “17 for ’17 — part 2: Amex Membership Rewards

  1. David Knezevich

    American Express Business Platinum – How are you converting these to anything meaningful? Every review I read online about it says that it is cheaper to buy tickets through Google FLigths or Expedia or Orbitz or Whatever. Amex site where you convert points to flights is usually 20-30% more expensive, making that 5% (5 points) meaningless.

    Reply
    1. Ivan X Post author

      David, it’s the Amex Personal Platinum that gets 5 points per dollar on airfare (which I don’t care much about). The Business Platinum doesn’t offer that, but it does provide 50% off of a points ticket when you pay with points, on a yearly designated airline (or any airline if it’s business/first). This yields an excellent use of points if the cash price is average to good.

      As an example, a $112 fare on United to Miami recently cost me only 5,600 MR points.

      Also, I have not (yet?) seen any instances where the prices on AmexTravel.com are any higher than Google Flights, Kayak, or airline web sites.

      As for transferring to partners for award tickets, rather than paying with points, MR points continue to be pretty bad for domestic routes, though they are sometimes useful for international travel.

      Reply

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