When I tell my friends how much I pay in membership fees for my Platinum card from American Express, I always see wide eyes and a dropped jaw in response. “What?!! $550?! You’re crazy!” Back in the day, I thought paying $550 for any credit card was insane, but I have learned the ins and outs of award travel and now don’t blink an eye paying the fee year after year.
American Express Authorized User and Spending Bonuses
Lately American Express has been offering some great authorized user and spending bonuses for several of their cards. Many of these bonuses are targeted, but it might be worth calling American Express to see if you can get the promotion applied to your account. Below I will go into detail about the authorized user and spending bonuses that have been popping up so you know what to be on the lookout for!
How to Downgrade Premium Credit Cards: Prestige, Reserve, Platinum
Premium credit cards can be a great value, but they also carry a hefty annual fee. You can enjoy free airport lounges, travel credits, insurance, and other perks and privileges, but at some point, you might decide you don’t want to pay the annual fee anymore or you want to try a different card. Many of the benefits like lounge access, the Global Entry credit are offered by several cards. But if you close the card you lose the credit line attached to it and that may bring down your credit score. There are also other considerations like what to do with the points you’ve accrued. So what’s the best plan to keep your credit line and points? You downgrade the card.
How the Annual Travel Credit on Premium Credit Cards Can Pay Off
You might be taken aback by the $450-$550 price tag on a premium credit card, but you need to weigh the benefits to see if the fee is worth it. One of the biggest payoffs beyond the sign-up bonus the first year is the annual travel credit one gets with a premium card. When you put that together with lounge access and the other benefits these cards offer you might find the card not only pays for itself but gives you extra funds for travel.
How Premium Credit Cards Can Help You Access Airport Lounges
Now that there are a number of new premium cards in the market it’s time to revisit the benefit of airport lounge access. It is one of the most popular ones for frequent travelers. The lounge is a sanctuary where you can unwind in a comfortable chair, work or play on your computer with free Wi-Fi, grab a complimentary latte or beer, watch some news and sometimes even take a shower.
Some lounges even provide more than basic comfort, with upscale décor, delicious light meals and inventive cocktails. You might even want to arrive at the airport early just to enjoy the lounge. There are a number of ways you can get access to this valuable perk including having a premium credit card. Let’s run through the options.
Comparing Premium Travel Rewards Cards
Competition in the premium travel card segment continues to heat up as two new contenders have recently entered the market: the Altitude Reserve card from US Bank and the UBS Visa Infinite card. In addition to these new cards, Amex has made a variety of benefit changes to both the personal and business versions of the Platinum card.
Change and Cancellation Fees: Is It Worth Speculating on Award Flights?
Is it worth booking an award flight as soon as it becomes available? You might get the cheapest redemption or a hard-to-find first class seat on a popular flight, but your reservation will be about a year out. A lot can change in that time. Knowing how much you’ll have to pay to change or cancel that flight can determine if it’s worth taking the chance.
Which Card Is Better – Amex Platinum Personal vs. Business?
Amex has been announcing a series of changes to both the personal and business versions of the Platinum card over the past several months. The pace of these announcements has increased in recent weeks, and now the differences between the two cards are greater than ever before.
Talking Travel Rewards Credit Cards with Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly
If you had a chance to meet two of the world’s most famous astronauts, what would you talk about? On the Thursday before the Super Bowl last month, I was invited to attend the NFL Player’s Association VIP party at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Among the hundreds of attendees were dozens of current and former players, who easily stood out because of their size.
Philadelphia Gets More Lounge Access and Qatar Unveils New Business Class
Qatar Airways is planning to introduce a new business class seat with doors that close and fully flat beds. The Q Suites will begin flying this summer. Learn which flights will have them plus more of the latest in miles and points news.
Amex Announces Big Changes to the Platinum Card
Ever since Chase released the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Amex has been playing catch up in the premium card market. Amex’s first response was far less than hoped for – they added 5X earning on airfare to the personal card and the ability to receive a 50% points rebate for premium cabin booking to the business card.
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Free Miles for New JetBlue Flyers and Expanded Perks for Best Western Rewards Elites
This month, there are several bonus offers for those with specific credit cards; don’t miss out! And learn how Best Western elite members are getting some extra perks for their loyalty.
Speed Through Airport Security with Clear
If you’re looking to breeze through airport security, then you may want to consider signing up for Clear.
Similar to Global Entry, in the sense that you’ll be able to verify your identity at a kiosk and avoid waiting in line to have your ID checked by the TSA, this program is expanding to several new airports nationwide. Clear allows members to leave their ID at home as your identity is used by verifying either a fingerprint or iris scan.
Amex Platinum Card Updates
American Express recently refreshed a few benefits on their premium cards in response to Chase and Citi upping the game with the Sapphire Reserve and Prestige cards. Here’s a recap of the changes made to the American Express Platinum cards.
New Amex Centurion Lounges in Hong Kong and Philadelphia
American Express recently announced that it will open Centurion lounges in Hong Kong and Philadelphia later this year. That will increase the number of these exclusive airport lounges from seven to nine. Find out what they have to offer and how you can get in.
Amex Sign-up Bonus Clawbacks and Hitting Minimum Spend Requirements
American Express sometimes offers 100,000-point sign-up bonuses. Not too long ago, some people found a link online for a 100,000-point sign-up bonus for the personal Platinum card which was not supposed to be made public.
Best Amex Credit Card Combo: Amex Everyday Preferred and Amex Platinum
The Everyday Preferred card and the Platinum card is the best two-card combination in the Amex cards lineup. The combined benefits of these cards provide just about everything a travel hacker could want in their credit card portfolio—high points earning rates on everyday spend, a valuable transferable points currency and a wide variety of luxury travel benefits and purchase protections.
Which Amex Membership Rewards Earning Cards Are Worth Holding Long-Term?
Amex Membership Rewards is unique among transferable points programs in that it is the only program that has a card with no annual fee which still allows transfers to partners. That card is the Amex Everyday card (not to be confused with the Everyday Preferred card, which we take a closer look at below). So if you ever find yourself going through a period in which paying the annual fee on any other Amex cards is not worth it to you, but still want to retain your stash of MRs and ability to transfer them, a product change to the Everyday card may be the best option.
These Credit Cards Offer Special Savings on Your Next Hotel Stay
RewardExpert is dedicated to helping you earn free travel with airline miles and points, which can be earned more easily using certain credit cards. But did you know that these same cards sometimes provide special discounts and promotions when you book a hotel?
Premium Credit Card Comparison: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Citi Prestige vs. Amex Platinum
Now that Chase has entered the premium segment of the credit card market with its new Sapphire Reserve card, it’s time for a comparison of the premium offerings from the three primary travel rewards credit card issuers, Chase, Citi and Amex. We rank each of these cards in a variety of categories and come up with a winner.