American Express Platinum Card for Schwab Review
2018.3 Update: This card has a unique feature: you can cash out MR points at a fixed ratio 1.25 c/p. People always ask one question: do we receive 1099 forms if we cash out MR points in this way? Now we get data points: we don’t.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points after spending $5,000 in first 3 months.
- We estimate that Membership Rewards (MR) are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 60k highest sign-up bonus is worth about $900!
- You can use MR points for deposits by Schwab to your eligible brokerage account at a ratio 1:1.25! This the only card that can redeem your MR points towards cash in a decent ratio. You won’t receive tax forms for cashing out MR in this way.
- Earn 5x MR points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- New: Earn 5x MR points for hotels booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Earn 1 Membership Rewards Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- $200 airline fee credit for incidental charges such as checked bags or even airline gift cards per calendar year. Because this benefit resets according to calendar year instead of when you opened the card, you can actually get airline fee credit TWICE during the first year! Note that this benefit is not automatically enrolled, you need to enroll and specify an airline by clicking here.
- New: $200 in annual Uber credits ($15 per month, $35 in December). The credits will expire every month.
- Complimentary access to the following airport lounges:
- Priority Pass Select, you need to enroll on your own, and then a Priority Pass Select card will be mailed to you, free for up to 2 companions;
- Centurion Lounges, free for up to 2 companions;
- Delta Sky Clubs, you need a Delta boarding pass on the same day, $29 per companion;
- Airspace Lounges, free for up to 2 companions.
- Complimentary . Use this link to activate.
- Complimentary Hilton Gold Status. Use this link to activate.
- Complimentary membership for Avis, Hertz, and National membership. Use this link to activate.
- Complimentary Boingo membership (Airport free Wi-Fi). Use this link to enroll.
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre application fee.
- Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR): if you book hotels through FHR, you can enjoy the benefits of elite members, such as: room upgrades, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, etc. The benefits varies by hotels.
- Platinum Card Concierge service: for the busy or even lazy, you can use this service to book hotels or reserve restaurants and so on, the service is said to be very, very good.
- With this credit card, you can get access to Amex Offers, which often offers very good discounts at some stores. In the past we have seen offers like: Spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; Spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Authorized users also have access to the airport lounges mentioned in 7. The $200 annual air credit is shared between cardholder and authorized users.
- This card is relatively easy to get approved for because it is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. Charge card means that you don’t have the option to pay only minimum payment, you have to pay your balance in full on the due dates. Note that Charge Card applications will also result in a Hard Pull, just like Credit Card applications.
- Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit.
- New: $550 annual fee, NOT waived for the first year. Note that annual fee does not count towards the minimum spending requirement (and this is true for all credit cards)!
- For up to three Additional Platinum Cards, the total annual fee is $175.
- You need to have a Charles Schwab Brokerage Account in order to apply for this card. It is free and it’s OK to get one purely because of this card. Additionally, you may want to look in to opening a Charles Schwab Debit Card while you’re at it for the $100 sign-up bonus and no ATM/foreign transaction fees! (The only downside is that applying will result in a hard pull)
Introduction to MR Points
- You can earn MR points with AmEx ED, AmEx EDP, AmEx Green, AmEx Gold for Ameriprise, AmEx PRG, AmEx Platinum, AmEx Platinum for Ameriprise, AmEx Platinum for Schwab, AmEx Platinum for Mercedes-Benz, AmEx Blue Business Plus, AmEx Business Green, AmEx Business Gold, AmEx Business Platinum, etc.
- The MR points you earn on different MR cards will automatically go to the same MR account.
- MR points never expire. You will not lose the MR points on one card if you close the account, but you will lose all of the MR points if you close all of the MR cards. In order to avoid losing your MR points, we recommend to keep the no annual fee AmEx ED.
- If you have any of the MR cards, MR points can be transferred to some airline miles. One of the most common and best way to use MR points is to 1:1 transfer them to All Nippon Airways (ANA, NH) miles (Star Alliance). Other good options are: Air Canada (AC) (Star Alliance), Delta Air Lines (DL) (SkyTeam), British Airways (BA) (Oneworld), Asia Miles (Oneworld), Singapore Airlines (SQ) (Star Alliance), Flying Blue (SkyTeam), Virgin Atlantic (VS) (Non-alliance), etc. If you use MR in this way, the value is about 1.6 cents/point.
- If you have any of the MR cards, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate about 1 cent/point towards air tickets on AmEx travel portal.
- If you have AmEx Platinum for Schwab, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 1.25 cents/point towards cash. If you don't want to spend time studying airline miles, this is a pretty good way to cash out the points. If you don't have this card, you can only redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 0.6 cents/point towards cash.
- In summary, we estimate that MR points are worth about 1.6 cents/point.
- For more information about MR points, see Maximize the Credit Card Points Values (overview), and Introduction to MR: How to Earn and Introduction to MR: How to Use (very detailed).
Recommended Application Time
- You can get the sign-up bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
- AmEx doesn’t care about the number of hard pulls.
- You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.
This card is quite special for the value of MR points. When you have this card, you can redeem your MR points to cash at a ratio 1:1.25! For those who don’t want to spend a lot of time studying airline miles, this is really a good ratio! If you apply soon and keep this card for one year, you will get 60k MR points (worth about $960, and at a minimum $750), two airline fee credits ($200*2), and $200 uber credit. The cost is just the first year annual fee $550. So in total, the net income is about $1010! In order to avoid the repeat of perks, I don’t suggest you apply for this card when you have the regular AmEx Platinum Card. The travel perks are great but the earnings rate is not impressive so I wouldn’t call this card a keeper. Note that there are a lot of perks in this card, and some of them need to be enrolled by yourself, don’t forget to enroll them after receiving the card! If one day you don’t want to keep this card any more, but still want your MR points, you can apply for the AmEx EveryDay (ED) (no annual fee) to keep the MR points and use them in the future.
To Do List After You Get The Card
- Enroll in Airline Fee Credit benefit and choose a carrier. You must enroll and choose a carrier prior to making a reimbursable purchase.
- Enroll in Priority Pass Select (PPS).
- Enroll in SPG Gold.
- Enroll in Hilton Gold.
- Enroll for Avis, Hertz and NationalCar Rental Privileges.
- Enroll in Boingo American Express Preferred Plan (Wi-Fi internet access).
- Apply for ($100 reimbursement) or TSA PreCheck ($85 reimbursement).
Related Credit Cards
Note that, although the look and benefits of the following cards are almost the same, they are different products, and they don’t affect each other’s sign-up bonus:
- AmEx Platinum regular version
- AmEx Platinum for Mercedes-Benz
- AmEx Platinum for Ameriprise
- AmEx Platinum for Schwab (this post)
Recommended Downgrade Options
- You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee, so I suggest you close it when you don’t want to keep it any longer.
- Click here to check AmEx application status.
- AmEx reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083. The “real” backdoor number of Amex is well protected. Different from Chase, the representatives from this AmEx reconsideration backdoor number only have the right to help you submit requests.