Amex makes waves with terrific new welcome offers

Posted: 13 November 2020 10:43 am
News
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Get insane rewards on gas and supermarket purchases, up to $4,500 in value.

American Express announced welcome offer updates for two of its cards Thursday morning: the Platinum Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday Card. The Blue Cash Everyday Card now earns 20% back on purchases at Amazon.com during your first six months from account opening, up to $200 total, and $100 back after you spend $1,000 during that same time period. The Platinum Card, on the other hand, now offers a whopping 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in your first six months of card membership and 10x points on US gas station and supermarket purchases on up to $15,000 during your first six months.

These new offers follow the trend of providers adjusting their cards’ rewards and bonuses to suit changing consumer spending patterns in light of the pandemic. Amex had already begun adding limited-time rewards or bonuses to its cards – such as the statement credits on streaming services – but these new welcome offers are one of its largest tweaks yet. Let’s look at how each card’s bonus now stacks up to competitors.

The Amex Platinum Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Platinum Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve frequently lock horns as the premier travel option for Chase and Amex.

The Platinum Card from AmexChase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee$550$550
Welcome offer75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in your first six months.

10x points on US gas station and supermarket purchases on up to $15,000 during your first six months.

50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months.
Rewards5x points on flights booked with Amex Travel or directly through airlines (on up to $500,000 annually starting Jan 1, 2021, reverting to 1x points after).

5x points on hotel bookings through Amex Travel.

1x points on everything else.

Earn 3x points on travel and dining purchases.

Earn 10x points on Lyft car rides.

Earn 1x points on everything else.

Total points225,00050,000
Welcome offer valueUp to $4,500Up to $750

Before these updates, the Platinum Card already had one of the highest welcome offer values available on a rewards card. However, the card was generally only of interest to travel junkies. With this new offer – specifically the bonus points you can earn on gas station and supermarket purchases – the Amex Platinum now has a much broader appeal.

In fact, the Platinum Card may now be worth picking up for the welcome offer alone. If you manage to max out the $15,000 cap on gas stations and supermarket purchases, you’re looking at 225,000 Membership Reward points. This is one of the largest welcome offers available on any card in recent memory and would be worth $2,250 if you redeemed it purely on gift cards or through the Amex travel portal. But like with most travel cards, the real value of this welcome offer comes in the ability to transfer these points to an eligible travel loyalty program.

On average, points transferred this way are worth about 2 cents each rather than 1 cent. That means you could boost your total welcome offer value to a breathtaking $4,500. That’s enough value to pay for the Platinum Card’s welcome offer for roughly eight years. And of course, the Platinum Card has retained the same valuable travel perks it’s always had, including annual statement credits and top-of-class lounge access.

How to maximize the Platinum Card’s welcome offer

While the value of the Platinum Card’s welcome offer is unmatched, Amex hasn’t made it easy to nab that value. The 10x bonus rate on gas stations and supermarkets lasts for just six months.

That means in order to reach the $15,000 cap, you would need to spend at least $2,500 a month on these two categories. And despite the Platinum Card’s status as a travel card, you can only earn the 10x points on US gas stations and supermarkets. If you’re trying to squeeze as much value as possible out of this offer, here are a few tips that can help.

  • Add an authorized user. Adding your spouse or child on your account as an authorized user can help ensure that you’re earning rewards on purchases, even when you’re not present at the time of the transaction.
  • Buy big ticket items. Most supermarkets offer more than just groceries. If you’ve been looking for a reason to update your silverware, buy a new grill or pick up some patio furniture, putting those purchases on your Platinum Card is a great opportunity to push those rewards.
  • Take a local trip. If you can time it right, try to pick up your Platinum Card prior to a road trip or other local travel that would require plenty of gas and groceries.
  • Help out others. If your friends or family need to go grocery shopping, offer to foot the bill using your card. They can pay you back later and you can reap the accelerated rewards.

The Blue Cash Everyday vs. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards

While not as impressive as the Platinum Card’s new welcome offer, the Blue Cash Everyday’s new offer gives it a nice edge as we head into Black Friday and the holidays.

Blue Cash EverydayCapital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
Annual fee$0$0
Welcome offer20% back on Amazon.com purchases up to $200 within your first six months.

$100 after spending $1,000 within your first six months.

$200 after you spend $500 in your first three months of account opening.
Rewards3% back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, reverting to 1% back.

2% back at US gas stations and select US department stores.

3% back on dining and entertainment.

5% back on Uber Eats until January 31, 2021.

2% back on grocery stores.

1% back on everything else.

Welcome offer value$300$200

The Blue Cash Everyday has a small, but appreciable, lead over the SavorOne Cash Rewards, with both cards serving as solid everyday spending cards. The only tradeoff with the new Blue Cash Everyday offer is you’re limited to purchases made on Amazon.com. With holiday spending underway though, an offer focused on Amazon.com is likely to fit comfortably in most consumers’ holiday spending plans.

If you think you can manage the spending and you’ve been looking for a new card, we highly recommend checking out the Amex Platinum Card’s new bonus. Even if you can’t reach the cap, you’re still looking at thousands of dollars of value. And given this value, it’s hard to say if this offer will stick around long.

Disclaimer: A previous version of this article listed the potential welcome offer value of the Chase Sapphire Reserve at $650. This has been corrected to $750.
Photo: Supplied

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