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What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

kshurika
Frequent Contributor

What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

Amex is banging on my head about these two cards. Mail, email, CSR's; they're all going at me. I won't go into the benefits of each card, or compare them. From what I can see, Platinum is a burn unless you travel a lot. I've got CSP for that and it's 95$/ vs. Platinum's 550$. The real sucker trap IMHO is that Platinum gives you 20% more sign-up points for 250% increase in initial spend.

Never been a big fan of charge cards. Can they boost your credit rating? (I KNOW they can crush it if you don't pay on time.) Do they drop your AAoA? Am I overlooking something? Convince me. I'm an attentive student.

Thanks.
Message 1 of 28
27 REPLIES 27
KJinNC
Valued Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

Charge cards are accounts and can, over time, help credit as they age, but they are calculated differently from revolving accounts. Most would say they don't help as much as revolvers. In the short term, like any new account, it would probably hurt.

 

Aside from that, the factors to consider IMO are:

 

1 - The annual fee

2 - The statement credits that you would be able to recoup without distorting your spending patterns too much

3 - The sign-up bonus (including whether you think you can manage the spend in the number of months)

4 - Rewards

5 - The perks (Platinum, in particular, has a long list)

 

The sign-up bonuses are generally pretty valuable, considering that a lot of people consider the points to be worth two cents each, though the value varies based on how you use them. With Platinum, the perks are pretty major, but the statement credits would be difficult for me to take full advantage of.

 

It's horses for courses ... if either fits your spend and lifestyle, and you can take the hit for opening a new account, go for it ... if not, don't. Good luck!


FICO Resilience Index: 69. Cards: 10/24, 3/12, 3/6. Accounts including loans: 12/24, 4/12, 4/6. At first accidentally, later deliberately, I used what I call the "thick-start" build method, which leads to heavy credit-seeking for a while with the goal of coming out of it without needing to build a thin profile for years. There are pros and cons. Thread describing method
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Card CLs total $151,100, not counting the AU card. The AU card brings the total to $177,600. In 03/19, card CLs totaled $0.
CU and bank memberships: Coastal Credit Union, joined 1987, direct deposit; PenFed, joined 2019; Navy Federal, joined 2020; USAA, joined 2020; Chase Bank, joined 2020. Best: Coastal, worst: NFCU. I have had weird Keystone Kops customer service problems with NFCU several times, despite their reputation here.

Closed but still on reports: American Express Gold, NPSL, 08/19-06/21 | American Express Delta Gold, $1,000, 09/19-10/20 | American Express Hilton Aspire, $3,100, 09/19-12/20 | Citi secured, $200, 04/19-09/19 | Capital One secured, $300, 04/19-08/19 | My Jewelers Club, $5,000, 05/19-08/19 | Green Dot Primor, $300, 05/19-08/19 | Self Lender secured $500 loan, 04/19-01/20 | Unsecured personal loan from Coastal, $1,000, 06/19-08/19.
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Message 2 of 28
kshurika
Frequent Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

Good reply. Thanks. I'll check the Platinum perks carefully.
Message 3 of 28
wasCB14
Super Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

I think of Platinum as a lounge/perk membership program that comes with various purchase protections and statement credits.

 

The fact that it's a credit product is borderline irrelevant.

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 4 of 28
solway
Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?


@kshurika wrote:
Convince me. I'm an attentive student.

Thanks.

I can’t, go with your initial instincts.

Discover It - 19.1K
Citi Double Cash - 16K
AMEX BCP - 35K
Elan Financial - 24.2K
Uber - 25K
Amazon Prime Visa Sig - 9.6K
Fort Knox Platinum - 2.5K
US Bank Cash+ - 14K
Citi AAdvantage PSWE - 21.5K
Message 5 of 28
kshurika
Frequent Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

I don't have any initial instincts. I haven't used a charge card in decades.
Message 6 of 28
Avenger48c
Established Member

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

There is a wonky credit impact. One advantage of a charge card from a credit perspective is spend on it isn't factored into your utilization for FICO score calculations, at least not on the more recent FICO models (I believe it's still factored into some of the older versions used by mortgage lenders). What that means is, for example....

Scenario assumption: You have a TCL of $5k and you spend $1k per month on normal spending
Scenario A: You spend $1k/mo on traditional credit cards and don't PIF before the statement cuts. Your overall utilization is 20%.
Scenario B: You put $800 of your spend on a charge card and only use your credit cards for $200. Your overall utilization would be scored at 4%, because the $800 wouldn't be counted for scoring.

Traditionally, charge cards cannot carry a balance month to month, but AmEx has added a program called Pay Over Time over the past few years, which allows their charge cards to effectively act like a traditional credit card for purchases over $100.

I can't speak personally to the utility of the Plat, but I carry an AmEx Gold card and get extremely good use out of it since two of my largest spend categories are restaurants and groceries. The closing of the airline gift card loophole does change the math a bit, but it still justifies itself with useful perks and the very high earning rate for category spend. Whether or not it's worth it for you will depend on the particulars of your profile, how much you spend each month on bonus category purchases, whether you can use the airline fee credit and restaurant credits, etc. Note that groceries on the Gold do not include places like Walmart and Target but do include a lot of smaller local markets, butcher shops, etc, at least in my experience. I've had no issue getting 4x points at any restaurant or anywhere that could be reasonably considered a restaurant, including places like bars that don't serve food, but I've seen reports from others who have.

If you do decide to apply for one or both, be sure you check (using the incognito trick if necessary) for better sign up bonus offers. There are relatively easy to get offers for 50k MR on the Gold or 75k MR on the Plat, and there's also an elusive 100k MR offer on the Plat that's pretty much the great white whale of the credit community. The CardMatch tool is another way to get those offers, though I never personally have anything from AmEx in there despite being pre approved for basically all of their products on their website. AmEx also usually does a soft pull for new credit/charge cards for an existing member.

My apologies for the long read, you probably knew some or all of the above but wanted to be sure you had all of the nuances.

Message 7 of 28
Loquat
Moderator

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?


@wasCB14 wrote:

I think of Platinum as a lounge/perk membership program that comes with various purchase protections and statement credits.

 

The fact that it's a credit product is borderline irrelevant.


@wasCB14   +1.  Your reply is exactly how I explain the Platinum card to those who ask.  I put heavy emphasis on the lounge access because in my opinion, outside of that, you can do equally or better elsewhere.  I'll inform a person to run the numbers.  If you're not flying a lot or your departures and/or arrivals don't match up to the lounge benefit of this card then you're better off finding yourself a decent airport restaurant and plopping down there for a $25 meal.

 

I know folks put a lot of emphasis on the lounge access but in my experience, and more times than not, I've been at an airport that has a Centurion Lounge but it's in an opposite terminal and within security and navigating to said lounge is no easy feat.  I have a friend who actually decided that it was worth his time to try and access a Centurion Lounge in a terminal other than the one he was departing only for TSA to send him back from which he came because his boarding pass was not of the terminal he was trying to access.

 

TLDR - Make sure that you can take advantage of the benefits of the card.  Don't become a Saks customer if you never were one just to justify having it.  If you have never used Uber/Uber Eats, I wouldn't start now.  Can you use the airline credit shy of the the recently deceased gift card route?  Run the numbers. Make sure it makes cents and then make a decision!  

Message 8 of 28
NRB525
Super Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

OP which AMEX cards do you already have? This marketing indicates they know something about you.
High Bal Jan 2009 $116k on $146k limits 80% Util.
Oct 2014 $46k on $127k 36% util EQ 722 TU 727 EX 727
April 2018 $18k on $344k 5% util EQ 806 TU 810 EX 812
Jan 2019 $7.6k on $360k EQ 832 TU 839 EX 831
March 2021 $33k on $312k EQ 796 TU 798 EX 801
May 2021 Paid all Installments and Mortgages, one new Mortgage EQ 761 TY 774 EX 777
Message 9 of 28
kshurika
Frequent Contributor

Re: What's With Amex Gold & Platinum?

Yes, I have BCP. On the same day they made their most recent Gold/Platinum offer, they offered to reduce the APR on my BCP to 6.99% for nine months. I took it. Then, I put the end day on my calendar with five notifications and several alarms.
Message 10 of 28
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