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An American Express Platinum Card With No First Year Annual Fee
Note: The application links in this post are not affiliate links and I receive no compensation if you apply for this card.
A couple of months ago I was the first one to bring to light a new exciting offer for the American Express Platinum card for Ameriprise Financial. While the Ameriprise version of the card carries all of the same benefits as the normal Platinum card, the annual fee is waived the first year for both the applicant and up to 3 additional cardholders. (A potential $625 savings.)
The Ameriprise version of the card has been around for awhile with the waived annual fee, but historically there hasn’t been a sign up bonus. Currently American Express is offering 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $3,000 spending in the first three months. This offer is set to expire on 8/31/14.
Is This Better Than The Normal Platinum
In my original post I examined all of the benefits of this card. Essentially it is the same as the regular Platinum card and comes with a $200 annual airline fee credit, Global Entry reimbursement, lounge access, etc. Supposedly the card is for Ameriprise customers only, but there are hundreds of data points suggesting that anyone can get it. In addition to the waived annual fee, it also awards 5,000 bonus points for every $20,000 in spending in a year which is another feature unique to this version.
Some people have told me that they would rather take a 100,000 point offer in lieu of this one, but for me the decision isn’t so easy. First of all, 100,000 point offers are targeted and thus not easy to get. (There are some reports of people calling American Express and getting a 100,000 point offer over the phone by saying that they “lost” their code.) Secondly, saving cash upfront can be valuable.
Since the normal American Express Platinum card comes with a $450 annual fee and a $175 annual fee for up to 3 additional cardholders, you are saving $625 in cash up front. (Assuming you need or want additional cardholders.) That is huge in my opinion. With that said, let’s do some math to see if a 100,000 point offer is better.
For this math I will conservatively value Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each. Everyone has their own way of valuing things, so feel free to substitute in whatever value works for you. (For beginners, Membership Rewards can be transferred to a number of travel partners and/or redeemed for cash. I come to my valuation based on the average value I expect to get for my redemptions.)
I also want to quickly note that the best publicly available offer for the normal Platinum card is 40,000 points with a $450 annual fee or 50,000 points with a $475 annual fee for the Mercedes Benz version. I wouldn’t even consider either of those options since I believe the Ameriprise version is superior to both. I did the math comparing those offers in my original post.
Normal Platinum Card – 100,000 points worth $2,000 – $625 annual fees = $1375 bonus value
Ameriprise Platinum Card – 25,000 points worth $500 bonus value (Plus you keep the cash.)
As you can see, if you can afford the annual fee and have use for the points, then it makes sense to pay up for the 100,000 point offer. (If you can get it.) With that said, if you have a lot of points or would rather keep your cash, then the Ameriprise version of the card is very attractive.
I personally decided to get the Ameriprise version a couple of months ago since I have plenty of Membership Rewards points already, didn’t have access to a 100,000 point offer and wanted the card right away to get Global Entry fees waived for myself and my family. I have no regrets about doing this since I tend to value keeping cash in my pocket slightly higher than most people.
In the end there is no way to know if American Express and Ameriprise will extend the 25,000 bonus point offer past 8/31/14. If you are considering getting the card then I suggest reading my original post and/or heading to the Ameriprise site for all of the details! Application Link (Not an affiliate link.)