Read The Forum Rules: We have a clear set of rules to keep the forum running smoothly. Click here to review them.

Post Reply 
American Express - thoughts?
Author Message
lunchmoney Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 384
Joined: Nov 2018
Reputation: 0
Post: #1
American Express - thoughts?
I have used my Citi credit card for the past few years, and in general have not thought twice about "perks" on spending. I get cashback on purchases, and pay the card off in full (or close to it) each month. A co-worker says I should jump into the Amex ecosystem, and boasts about the benefits of his Platinum card.

Anyone here have any thoughts? Can I justify an annual fee of $500+ dollars?
02-14-2020 04:23 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Cuntus Epicus Offline
Pigeon

Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2019
Reputation: 0
Post: #2
RE: American Express - thoughts?
My only experience is from the UK side of AExpress but aren't there any free AE cards with advantages to them, or ones where the 1st year is free and then you cancel after exploiting/using them?

Otherwise it would depend on whether the advantages are worth the 500 dollars - I've looked at the more expensive ones here, but calculated that the perks aren't worth it compared to buying them elsewhere. I've read that the American CC benefits are far superior though to the UK ones but whether that is still true I don't know.

I have a cashback AE card and they are quite rare over here these days - 1/1.25% of spend on a free card - but the perks are less because of it.

If you travel / fly a lot for work and can pay on your card and claim back, and get a specific AE travel based card, that could certainly swing it.
(This post was last modified: 02-14-2020 07:56 AM by Cuntus Epicus.)
02-14-2020 07:46 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Balls_Hang_Low Offline
Banned

Posts: 131
Joined: Nov 2017
Post: #3
RE: American Express - thoughts?
They pay for your nexus application $60. They give u 200 bucks uber credit. 200 bucks hotel credit I think. And access to the lounges which is good if you travel. The card pays for iitself.

If I didn't have a car and stayed at hotels instead of hostels or Couchsurfing I would definitely get it.
02-14-2020 08:50 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Repo Offline
Hummingbird
*****

Posts: 3,421
Joined: Feb 2015
Reputation: 24
Post: #4
RE: American Express - thoughts?
Really depends how much you spend a year. If its less than $50K a year (including reimbursed company travel as pointed out above) then probably one with a lower fee would be more worth it.
02-14-2020 09:11 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes Repo's post:
lunchmoney
lunchmoney Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 384
Joined: Nov 2018
Reputation: 0
Post: #5
RE: American Express - thoughts?
(02-14-2020 09:11 AM)Repo Wrote:  Really depends how much you spend a year. If its less than $50K a year (including reimbursed company travel as pointed out above) then probably one with a lower fee would be more worth it.

I do track my credit card spending, and the past two years it has hovered around 17-20k, with the higher number being due to a few one-time purchases after a move. Sounds like I should look at a lower tier (gold, green?) card of theirs.
02-14-2020 09:45 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
kel Online
Kingfisher
***

Posts: 616
Joined: Dec 2019
Reputation: 3
Post: #6
RE: American Express - thoughts?
How much is the fee?

It's reddit-tier, but I usually just look at Nerd Wallet to find out the best credit card or two to have. I use the card for everything, but still in the grand scheme of things don't buy much. I want to get off credit and use cash, but I've been lazy.
02-14-2020 10:49 AM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
paninaro Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 422
Joined: Jul 2013
Reputation: 5
Post: #7
RE: American Express - thoughts?
There's plenty of credit card review sites out there, so I won't rehash all the detailed analysis they provide. The two major cards are AmEx Platinum, and Chase Sapphire Reserve, and both cost $550/year. Both earn points that you can convert to miles on various airlines partners, and be aware there is not much overlap so that may affect your choice. For example, Chase you can convert to United miles but not Delta or American miles, and AmEx to Delta and Jetblue but not United nor American. Keep that in mind if you expect use your miles to fly out of an airport where one carrier dominates.

The value of the AmEx is more for status, not spend. In other words, just by having the Platinum card, you get gold status with Hilton and Marriott/Starwood, along with access to many airport lounges. So even if you don't charge stuff on it, you can still come out ahead. For example, I've stayed at Hilton properties and my status sometimes gives me a free room upgrade to a suite (and executive lounge access) along with free breakfast and sometimes dinner if the lounge access is included. That's $50-100/night benefit right there.

Chase is more for the spend. Any spending on travel or restaurants earns you 3x the points, so a $1,000 hotel stay = 3,000 points. It can be as little as 25,000 miles on some airlines for a domestic round-trip ticket, so your spending can easily earn you a free round-trip ticket per year.

Now here's the one aspect that's a big benefit of miles over just cash-back or converting your points to pay for a ticket at 1 cent/point. The price of an airline ticket (in cash) varies widely. A one-way international business class ticket from LA to London can be $2-5k easily. Meanwhile, the price _in miles_ for the same ticket has a lot narrower band of pricing in miles. Usually it will be 70k-80k miles. That's where you get the big benefit. For example, last summer I converted 60,000 AmEx points to British Airways miles and flew to Europe (one-way) in business class for just the cost of taxes. That same set of flights would have been $7k if I bought the flight. So even when a credit card lets you converts points to money at 1 cents each -- well that would be 700k points to buy the flight, or 60k points when converted to miles. There's the huge benefit -- if you expect you'll want to use your points for international travel. Domestic flights are usually pretty cheap anyway, so not worth using points compared to just paying for it.

There's a lot more benefits which you can read about elsewhere, but I just covered what I think other websites don't really explain well. I have both cards, which is a lot in annual fees but I also charge a lot of company expenses on there so my spending is considerable.
02-14-2020 03:47 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes paninaro's post:
DJ-Matt
Kona Offline
Crow
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 5,741
Joined: Aug 2009
Reputation: 144
Post: #8
RE: American Express - thoughts?
I love AMEX. When you got a problem they are on it. The card absolutely pays for itself, too. Get one.

Aloha!
02-14-2020 07:11 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 2 users Like Kona's post:
germanico, dicknixon72
Tail Gunner Offline
Hummingbird
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 3,424
Joined: Jan 2012
Reputation: 56
Post: #9
RE: American Express - thoughts?
(02-14-2020 04:23 AM)lunchmoney Wrote:  Can I justify an annual fee of $500+ dollars?

If you travel extensively, the card pays for itself. Do some basic research. There are plenty of articles on the web.
02-15-2020 01:17 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
lunchmoney Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 384
Joined: Nov 2018
Reputation: 0
Post: #10
RE: American Express - thoughts?
Ended up apping for the Amex Gold. The 4x points on dining was good enough for me.
02-15-2020 06:38 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
monsquid Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 444
Joined: Jun 2014
Reputation: 2
Post: #11
RE: American Express - thoughts?
Had the Amex Platinum for four years before switching to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Great card, especially the travel benefits. It gave 5x points on travel booked through their portal. I used it to charge work trips and hotels that were paid by through company travel claim. It was great because I could get easy 80-100k extra points per year because my manager was generous on my limits.
02-15-2020 10:21 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Seadog Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 490
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 26
Post: #12
RE: American Express - thoughts?
I've never paid for a credit card, and generally view any charging a fee through a jaundiced eye. The only reason to do it is for perks, which are marginal. I get like 1.5% or so back from mine, which is normally $120/yr but free for people with certain relationships with the bank. Spending 15k/yr or so, that works out to ~$400, or a free flight every couple years, hardly a game-changer, but better than a kick in the ass. Then of course along side buyer protection and various free insurances.

When you start paying for a card though it changes the game a lot. Yes you get $200 worth of Uber or whatever, but it's only really worth $200 if you were going to spend that $200 on Ubers anyways (maybe you were), but when you start changing your behaviour and spending things you normally otherwise wouldn't since it's "use it or lose it", the real value is considerably less. ie if you're taking Uber's just because you have the credit vs otherwise driving, your real savings may not be $200, but rather that $40 you otherwise would have spent driving yourself, if that makes sense. Just because it's worth $200 to someone and that's what they charge, doesn't necessarily mean it's worth $200 to everyone.

Secondly, many of those sort of perks are only really useful if you don't need them and won't really use them. Let me clarify. I'll use lounge access as an example. It's great, way better than being around and breathing the same air as the gate lice, but it's most useful for someone who flies a lot since you get a ton of lounge entries. However, if you're in the position to really capitalize on it since you're in an airport every week, the odds are you already have free status/lounge access through various frequent flier programs. If you're on the other side and actually do need it since you fly so rarely, then the whole benefit is basically lounge access twice a year making it way less valuable.

My friend gets like $100/yr free airport parking with some card. However, he only parks there when he has it. When it's used up, we go back to driving each other, so is the value really $100? The fact that he doesn't do it when he actually has to pay $100/wk of his own money, implies that the value you him is considerably less than that.
02-16-2020 02:19 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 2 users Like Seadog's post:
kel, DJ-Matt
monsquid Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 444
Joined: Jun 2014
Reputation: 2
Post: #13
RE: American Express - thoughts?
You can also use the Uber credits for Uber Eats. I used to order my favorite Thai once a month. Lessened the carb loaded guilt because at least "I didn't pay for it."

I eventually downgraded my Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Preferred which has a $95 annual fee. To me this is worth it because I spend enough per year to make it back. Usually get 2 or 3 referrals per year which is an additional 30-45k. I also have the Chase Freedom Unlimited (no annual fee) to get 1.5x on most purchases and 2x on travel/dining with the Preferred. What makes the $95 fee worthwhile is the perk to consolidate the Ultimate Rewards points from both cards and transfer it to your preferred travel partner (non-fee rewards points can't be transferred).

What all of this boils down to is about 2 free rounds trips per year to Los Angeles from the East Coast for me. I have friends/family there and it's totally worth it. YMMV.
(This post was last modified: 02-16-2020 07:10 PM by monsquid.)
02-16-2020 07:09 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Avant-Garde Offline
Sparrow

Posts: 120
Joined: Jun 2013
Reputation: 2
Post: #14
RE: American Express - thoughts?
I'll give you guys info on my experience with AMEX:

I've had different versions of their cards over the years - from Gold to Platinum to Black. This was many years ago but from what I remember the yearly fee was "only" $100-200. At the time, I traveled a lot and AMEX had travel offices all around the world. Their traveler services were top-notch and was for me, well worth the annual fee. I'd say there's probably a rise in status with these top-level cards especially using it in businesses that serve VIP types, business class or first class travelers. I remember going into an AMEX office to buy a last minute plane ticket for the next day and got my ticket and was out the door in 15-20 minutes. I've had experience with going in to other travel agencies to buy tickets and this was by far the fastest.

Now, I have a basic AMEX Cash Magnet card. 0% APR for 15 months, cash back, no fee. I recently cashed in my points of around $70 and just applied it to the balance.

There are many cards out there. Even AMEX has 7-10 different card types. As others have pointed out here, it just depends on what is important to you or what you're looking for. I myself prefer the zero APR, no annual fee types. I have close to a 800 credit score and get so many promo letters in the mail from all these banks from Citi to Wells Fargo to BofA, sometimes twice a month for the same offer. The latest ones have 18 months zero % APR and no annual fee. I'm still on my zero % APR time range on my AMEX card so I'm patiently biding my time, but I'm certainly going to transfer some when the time comes.
02-20-2020 08:39 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication