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AMEX Platinum & CSR

Loquat
Moderator

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR

There's so much that one an unpack with your question OP.  While a lot of what everyone has mentioned is very important to consider, I'll add on some of the things I've haven't seen mentioned yet or asked to you.

 

Amex Platinum - ?

Do you value airport lounges?  If so, is your home city airport or the places you frequent have a Centurion Lounge?

Do you fly Delta?  If so, going back to my first question, do you value airport lounges?

Are you comfortable with how the airline incidental credit works? Do you value Saks credits?  Do you Uber/Uber Eats?

Do you have authorization users you'll be adding or considering?  If so, are you comfortable with the $175 annual fee?

The Platinum does have trip protection but are you aware of the details?  No, it isn't as simple as the CSR.

Are you aware that Priority Pass offered on this card doesn't allow for access to PP Restaurants anymore?

Do you place value on Marriott and Hilton Gold Status?

 

Sapphire Reserve - 

Are you okay with the DoorDash/Lyft Credits?  (both may go away next year, Chase hasn't said anything official either way)

Are you comfortable with the fact that Chase is showing absolutely no signs of even remotely making this more competitive.

This card also charges for authorized users at $75 each whereas the Platinum gives you the first  3 AU's for $175 and then $175/person after 3.

 

 

There are so many things to consider when looking at both of these cards.  While their annual fees are similar, in my opinion they both offer value for the right person and as @K-in-Boston mentioned, it some situations it can make sense to have both.  

 

All of these card and this hobby in general comes down to YOUR numbers.  What makes sense to you make not to me or someone else.  Treat these cards and their value like you would point valuations.  While lots of us have TYPs, UR, and MR points, I bet if you put 10 of us in a room together we'd all come up with difference values of those same points.  None of us would be right and none of us would be wrong in our calculation of value.  Points, miles, and their worth are person and use specific.  

 

I'm sure others will chime in to give you a bit more persective on these cards but this is just something I thought you should consider as well when looking at them.  

Message 11 of 27
wasCB14
Super Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@longtimelurker wrote:

@GrandBaker wrote:

@K-in-Boston  Well said! This in a nutshell 

It may not be for everyone, but if the math works there's no one answer for whether it makes sense to have multiple high AF cards;


Right, and another factor is disposable assets.    A quick analysis might show, for example, "If I do make these two trips in 2021, then I will be way ahead, otherwise a loss"     If you have "enough" money, the $550/$1100 AF and the prospect of a loss if things don't go to plan may not really matter at all.   With much less money, you may not want to take the chance, or at least wait until you have a much better idea about whether those trips are going to happen.


Business and emergency travel aside, if $550 would be a serious loss for me then neither card might make much sense.

 

Travel spend in general, delivery and dining vs. groceries, airport lounges, Saks...all luxuries to one degree or another.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 12 of 27
coreysw12
Valued Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR

Personally I prefer to just pick the travel rewards ecosystem I like the most, and stick with that. Otherwise it takes too much mental gymnastics to figure out what I should charge to what card all the time.

 

Also I don't like it when my points are spread too thin among too many different ecosystems. I'd rather have 100 MR or UR points, than 50 of both. But that's less of a problem, of course, if you're the type who accumulates over a million points per year.

 

I "only" get around 250k points per year though, and I find it to be infinitely more useful to have 250k UR points than to have 125k each in MR and UR. Otherwise I could end up in a situation where I have to book different people on different itineraries (or worse, different airlines) to be able to pay for everyone's vacation airfare with points.

 

That exact scenario happened to me two summers ago, when my girlfriend and I flew to Canada for a wedding. She flew Alaska, while I flew United, because we didn't have enough points at the time to book both tickets on the same airline.

 

Nowadays, I use UR exclusively for credit card points - it works well for me because 99% of my flying is UA and SW, who are both UR transfer partners. Even if the AF on an Amex Platinum didn't bother me, I still wouldn't do it simply because of the hassle it would cause.

 

Of course, I don't mean to say UR is better than MR - they're equally good in my opinion. UR just happens to work better for myself, but not everybody.

    Total Loan Balance: $58k / $65k

    Total SL: $42.4k
Goal cards:



United 1K - 675,000 lifetime flight miles    |    Chase Status: 3/24
Message 13 of 27
K-in-Boston
Moderator

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@coreysw12 wrote:

 

<snip>

That exact scenario happened to me two summers ago, when my girlfriend and I flew to Canada for a wedding. She flew Alaska, while I flew United, because we didn't have enough points at the time to book both tickets on the same airline.

 

<snip>


I don't mean to derail, but why not just book a pair of one-ways on each airline rather than a round-trip on each?  While the price difference between a round-trip Y flight to Europe and two one-way tickets to and from Europe or Asia might be $1,000 vs $12,000 and would never make sense, or that some international or partner awards are the same points for a one-way as for a round-trip, within North America it's unusual for there to be price/points discrepancies between the same flights booked separately or together.  (And with Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, and TAP Portugal often being exceptions to the two one-ways booked separately will cost many times more than the same itinerary booked as a round-trip.)

Message 14 of 27
coreysw12
Valued Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@K-in-Boston wrote:

@coreysw12 wrote:

 

<snip>

That exact scenario happened to me two summers ago, when my girlfriend and I flew to Canada for a wedding. She flew Alaska, while I flew United, because we didn't have enough points at the time to book both tickets on the same airline.

 

<snip>


I don't mean to derail, but why not just book a pair of one-ways on each airline rather than a round-trip on each?  While the price difference between a round-trip Y flight to Europe and two one-way tickets to and from Europe or Asia might be $1,000 vs $12,000 and would never make sense, or that some international or partner awards are the same points for a one-way as for a round-trip, within North America it's unusual for there to be price/points discrepancies between the same flights booked separately or together.  (And with Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, and TAP Portugal often being exceptions to the two one-ways booked separately will cost many times more than the same itinerary booked as a round-trip.)


That's an excellent point, and I don't recall why that option didn't work out for us, but it's certainly a better option if it's available.

 

Still, going back to my original point, this is why I like to stick with as few points ecosystems as possible, to avoid situations like that altogether. It's a non-issue if you've got 100's of thousands of points piled up in each ecosystem, but when you only have 10's of thousands it really makes booking a vacation itinerary a pain in the rear sometimes.

    Total Loan Balance: $58k / $65k

    Total SL: $42.4k
Goal cards:



United 1K - 675,000 lifetime flight miles    |    Chase Status: 3/24
Message 15 of 27
drboxing
Established Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR

I don't think it makes that much difference because both cards do almost the same, its just a matter of preference. I prefer the AMEX Platinum which is what I use for all my travel
Message 16 of 27
mkhan1093
Frequent Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@drboxing wrote:
I don't think it makes that much difference because both cards do almost the same, its just a matter of preference. I prefer the AMEX Platinum which is what I use for all my travel

Well I don't know if it can be reduced to just "pick your lane." I would say that's more of the philosophy behind the Marriott Chase vs Amex cards - they're more or less the same cards with different banks behind them and maybe one or two minor differences.

 

If you travel mostly outside of planes, then Platinum really isn't a great card for you at all whereas the CSR could be. So, as has been said so many times already in this thread, it all comes down to personal lifestyle and what you value.

Message 17 of 27
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@mkhan1093 wrote:

@drboxing wrote:
I don't think it makes that much difference because both cards do almost the same, its just a matter of preference. I prefer the AMEX Platinum which is what I use for all my travel

Well I don't know if it can be reduced to just "pick your lane." I would say that's more of the philosophy behind the Marriott Chase vs Amex cards - they're more or less the same cards with different banks behind them and maybe one or two minor differences.

 

If you travel mostly outside of planes, then Platinum really isn't a great card for you at all whereas the CSR could be. So, as has been said so many times already in this thread, it all comes down to personal lifestyle and what you value.


Exactly.  Platinum is great if your travel is centered around air travel.  CSR is a much more flexible, general-purpose travel card IME and that is why I selected it over the Platinum since it fit my lifestyle and spend much better.   And I totally agree that higher levels of travel and travel spending can usually merit having more premium cards before they become redundant and a burden.  



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Message 18 of 27
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@thecreditman wrote:

Does it make sense to have both an AMEX Platinum and a CSR in rotation? I used to have a CSR when it first came out, but never an AMEX Platinum. Seems like overkill to have multiple $550+ AF cards, even though I know the CSR fee comes down considerably when used properly. What are your thoughts?


I carry both; for me, the AFs themselves are irrelevant if they're returning more value than I'm paying. I'd rather spend $1100 on $2500 worth of value than $500 on $1000 worth of value. I'm still accruing enough MR and UR even with reduced travel to warrant the costs.

 

Platinum gets airfare spend plus the occasional promotional offer. Right now, I'm burning through the spend $2500 for 1500 bonus 3x offer by throwing spend that would have otherwise only gotten 1.5x UR on CFU through Platinum. All dining and other travel continues to go to CSR, plus the occasional gas purchase for 5x.

Message 19 of 27
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: AMEX Platinum & CSR


@wasCB14 wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

@GrandBaker wrote:

@K-in-Boston  Well said! This in a nutshell 

It may not be for everyone, but if the math works there's no one answer for whether it makes sense to have multiple high AF cards;


Right, and another factor is disposable assets.    A quick analysis might show, for example, "If I do make these two trips in 2021, then I will be way ahead, otherwise a loss"     If you have "enough" money, the $550/$1100 AF and the prospect of a loss if things don't go to plan may not really matter at all.   With much less money, you may not want to take the chance, or at least wait until you have a much better idea about whether those trips are going to happen.


Business and emergency travel aside, if $550 would be a serious loss for me then neither card might make much sense.

 

Travel spend in general, delivery and dining vs. groceries, airport lounges, Saks...all luxuries to one degree or another.


This is something I never quite understood with the logic some pursue such things with.

 

Cards like CSR/Platinum are travel/"luxury" cards, geared toward a more affluent demographic. Small amounts like $550 are well within discretionary for this demographic, if not outright pocket change. There's nothing stopping anyone outside this demographic from getting them, but if someone's on limited income or a tight budget such that even the AF is going to impact their finances, why still try to justify or shoehorn such an expense into their budget? Even if there is a return on value that exceeds the AF in this case, if it's something that has a significant negative impact on one's budget, it's probably not the best idea to pursue.

 

Someone making $80k a year can technically 'afford' to buy a Porsche (maintenance is probably out of the question, though), and they may really, really, REALLY enjoy driving it, but if it comes at the cost of obliterating one's budget to the point everything else is off the table or at risk, maybe it's time to say that a Porsche isn't really right for them. Yet, I see some similar behavior with some card chasers -- they go after the big ticket cards and the biggest concern on their mind 9 months in becomes how are they going to deal with the AF when it comes up for renewal.

 

Similarly, it doesn't matter if we're talking about a $550 AF, a $12 Netflix subscription, or a $25,000 timeshare; these are all discretionary things and if any of them require someone to go looking for reasons to keep them, that's an immediate sign right there that these things may not be right for them.

Message 20 of 27
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