Would I ever use the American Express Platinum or Centurion (Black) cards?
American Express has these super uber high end charge cards, and Bridget of MAG, just recently got one.
NOTE: They say “charge cards”, because whatever you buy, has to be paid in full each month. No credit allowed, or else you get a nice hefty 30% interest rate slap to the face, which is painful in more ways than one.
Here are their two baller offerings:
The American Express Platinum Card: $699/year
- Entry level card for those aspiring to reach the Centurion level
- Income has to be at least $60K/year
- You get 1.25 points in their Rewards Tier
- You can trade those points for airline or hotel rewards
Update: Screenshot of the Amex Platinum site to prove that I checked online and it IS $699/year:
The American Express Centurion (Black) Card: $2500/year + a $7500 one-time fee
- Apparently it’s hand carved by woodland folk under a blue moon with fairy dusted tools*
- Have to be invited to get it — Update: this is the only thing I know for sure
- People say you have to spend over $250K on your Amex Platinum to get said invitation
- You also need a $20M net worth (apparently)
SO WOULD I USE EITHER CARD?
I would, if the benefits made sense for my lifestyle.
Unfortunately, they don’t because I am not spendy enough in the areas where the card would end up benefitting me.
(Oh and the most important part being that I don’t have $20M in net worth either for the Centurion card!!!!!)
I DON’T REALLY NEED A CREDIT CARD TO BEGIN WITH
A moot point with Amex, as it’s a charge card which means no credit limits allowed beyond the month, but it bears mentioning.
I can actually pay for everything in cash, so I don’t technically need a debit or a credit card, but I like it when they give me added benefits I don’t have to pay for.
HATE LOATHE ANNUAL FEES
Actually, I hate all fees, even though I understand that in SOME cases they are necessary.
Bank fees, currency exchange fees, withdrawal fees.. you name it, I hate them.
My 2 criterion for when I look for a credit card?
- No annual fee
- Does it have points or cash back?
I don’t really care about the interest rate on the credit card (I never leave a balance), and other perks like car rental insurance is nice, but I use it once in a blue moon.
I don’t go to restaurants that often, nor order takeaway, so it’s completely useless as a benefit.
The hotels and airline points rewards they mention are useless for me.
When I travel on vacation, I stay at places like Ibis, which is the super budget hotel under the Accor Group.
Their hotels are usually $100 a night on the high end, averaging around $80/night most times.
When I travel for work, it depends on who’s paying. If I’m paying (this is usually the case), I stay at the cheapest possible hotel in a decently safe area with basic amenities (no sharing of bathrooms, for instance).
To put it in perspective: I’ve been known to shack up at the Econolodge, which is a lot like the Motel 6 for my American readers (no joke).
That horrified even the most hardened of travelers, such as BF. Otherwise, I consider Hilton or the Marriott to be the minimum if the client is paying.
When I live in hotels, I stay at apartment hotels, which can be any kind of brand such as the Marriott Residence Inn. What does that all add up to in terms of Amex benefits?
INSURANCE FOR TRAVELING
The only insurance I buy when I travel is health insurance. I pay about $52 for 4 weeks which is about $624/year (if I bought travel insurance for the year that is), and that’s only if I go out of the country.
For work, I generally never leave the country (only 5% of the time).
Other than that, car rental insurance is covered by Visa (which is why I have both a Visa and a Mastercard), just in case.
I don’t really change my plans, nor do I change my flights unless something like a hurricane happens and they have to cancel my flight (in which case the airline does it automatically and even gives you a “I’m sorry” gift).
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM IT?
That said, I have friends who charge everything to this particular Amex, earning 1.25 points and turning them into Aeroplan points.
Apparently that is how they financed a yearlong trip around the world (he’s a consultant at a big company, she’s a stay-at-home-mom).
If you do spend a lot of money on the card (if you travel for work, this is big) and you do plan on traveling a lot for pleasure, this is a good idea, and well worth that $699/year, as you can easily rack up over $2000/week at a minimum or more in spending when you travel for work (hotel, flights, eating dinners out, taxicabs), depending on where you fly/travel to.
Otherwise, if you’re like me, it does zip for you because you’re spending your own money, and aren’t likely to spend over $2000/week (more like $2000 a month).
Update: I think my friends said they spent about $3000/week average on that card between his job and their personal expenses. $3000/week x 1.25 points = 195,000 points a year.
Plus, he was a frequent hotel guest at one single hotel chain and at one airline, so he racked up points there in addition to those Amex points.