When thinking about earning United Airlines miles one doesn’t think Amex credit card or Membership Rewards. That’s because United isn’t a transfer partner with Membership Rewards. However, Air Canada Aeroplan, All-Nippon Mileage Club, and Singapore KrisFlyer are all transfer partners with Membership Rewards, which means you can use their programs to book United and Star Alliance flights. In other words, Membership Rewards points are VERY valuable to us United/Star Alliance flyers.
Top card benefits
- 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
- 50% more points on business purchases of $5,000
- 35% airline bonus
- Access to 1,000+ global airport lounges
- $200 credit per year for fees and incidentals on airline of choice
- No foreign transaction fees
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- 10 Gogo inflight internet passes
Even though Amex has become difficult in recent times, it’s still a key ally. I currently hold three Amex Membership Rewards earning charge cards, but after receiving the sign-up bonus, it’s important to consider whether keeping the card for a second year is worth it. I had to deal with making the 1st year worth it for my Amex Business Platinum card, which carries a $450 annual fee beginning on the first year. This may seem like too much, but is it? Here’s my annual fee offset outlook for my first year with this card:
- Annual membership fee: -$450
- Sign-up bonus: +$1,425 (1.9 cents * 75,000 points)
- Global Entry Fee Reimbursement: +$100
- Airline fee reimbursement: +$200 (used it for in-flight amenities and entertainment)
Considering this, I was very pleased with how this worked out, as I was at a +$1,275, and potentially an even larger positive depending on how I chose to redeem my points. But there was still another use for the card to make this first year even more worth the first year annual fee.
I had booked a somewhat pricey ticket to Houston, but was in need of changing dates, and United charges a fee + difference in fare for flight changes outside of the 24-hr cancellation policy. If the fare was cheap, I’d likely just let it go, but I had paid substantially more for the fare than the amount of the change fee. Though I had already used the airline fee reimbursement, I could use it again within my first year holding the card, because the fee reimbursement is restored every calendar year. I got the card in September > used airline fee reimbursement benefit by December > new calendar year > used airline fee reimbursement again before my one-year anniversary with the card. So I paid $200 for the change with my Biz Platinum card and the very next day SUCCESS!
I’m staring now at at a +$1,475, considering the $450 annual fee. Naturally this will change the following year, as there won’t be a sign-up bonus or the global entry fee reimbursement. Unlike the Amex Personal Platinum card, Amex hasn’t announced an increase in its annual fee…yet. But even then quantifying the use of benefits might deem it logical to keep this card if I can manage to offset the annual fee and earn MR points on daily spend. As with everything else, good planning is essential. I hope this post helps you to not scare away from applying for a credit card with this high a fee, particularly when there’s an increased sign-up bonus involved.
Apply for the Amex Business Platinum card HERE
Apply for the Amex Platinum card HERE