Thursday, November 24, 2022

Should I Get An Amex Card

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Complimentary The Australian Premium Subscription

Which AMEX Card Should You Get First?

The Platinum Card comes with a complimentary premium digital subscription to The Australian, which gives Card Members access to The Australians news coverage and analysis from Australia and around the world across a number of different devices including desktop, laptop, tablets, and mobile. In addition, Card Members also receive access to The Wall Street Journal.

The premium subscription also comes with exclusive member-only features including a weekly curated eNewsletter featuring a selection of the best reads from The Australian and global news partners including The Economist and Harvard Business Review, as well as biannual virtual events featuring some of The Australians most experienced political and business journalists.

The complimentary The Australian Premium subscription is available to Primary and Additional Platinum Card Members.

What Is Pay It Plan It From American Express

Pay It, Plan It is a flexible payment feature offered by Amex. Pay It allows you to pay off eligible purchases under $100 anytime before your statement is due. Plan It lets you opt into a monthly installment plan for eligible purchases over $100. Instead of accruing interest on those purchases, youd instead be subject to a monthly fee and fixed payment schedule.

You Shop Primarily At Stores That Don’t Accept Apple Pay

Some major retailers, including Walmart, dont accept Apple Pay. And while Costco does, you can only use Visa cards there the Apple Card runs on the Mastercard payment network. This is to say nothing of the much smaller merchants where you may run into issues: Food trucks, mom and pop stores, bodegas and others simply may not be equipped to handle Apple Pay.

» MORE: How the Apple Card stacks up against the competition

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How Cashback Credit Cards Help Curb Rising Inflation

During times of inflation, your transport, grocery, and every other bill will inevitably increase. If you are already feeling the pinch from inflation, perhaps it is time to consider getting a cashback credit card to reduce your financial damage.

With cashback credit cards, as the amount you spend increases, the cashback earned increases in tandem. As such, you will be able to maximise your savings. While it definitely will not lower your overall expenditure to what it previously was pre-inflation, the cashback earned is still a substantial amount that can help you offset some of those higher bills.

The good thing about cashback credit cards is that you will be able to get rewarded for spending you were already planning to make. Thus, to increase your cashback earnings, you can consider owning a rotating bonus category credit card.

Using a rotating bonus category credit card when you are purchasing items that fall into one of the categories covered will earn you bonus cashback, reducing the effects of inflation.

Summing Up: The American Express Platinum Card

Friend

This card is likely to appeal most to those who travel frequently and can utilise most of the travel benefits of the card. Given the high annual fee of $1,450 every year, a cost-benefit analysis should be made, especially if you are a borderline frequent traveller. For those that rarely travel, other American Express cards such as the American Express Explorer Card might be better suited.

Remember, once youre a Card Member, take advantage of the Amex referral program to earn more points.

The American Express referral program allows Card Members to earn points by referring their friends and family to apply for other American Express cards, offering both the applicant and the Card Member bonus points for doing so.

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The Acceptance Rate Is Better But Still Lacking

Nothing deflates an Amex holders day faster than the following phrase:

Sorry Visa and Mastercard only.

Poof. All those potential reward points, gone.

Historically, merchants have refused Amexs because of high merchant fees. In 2017, Visa and Mastercard charged an average of 2.12% compared to Amexs 2.36%.

0.24% may not seem like much, but when youre operating on razor-thin margins, it adds up. Thats why, until very recently, only 3.7 million out of 10.6 million U.S. merchants accepted Amex.

Since then the acceptance rate among U.S. merchants has gotten much better from 35% to 99% in just a few years. However, Amex still struggles internationally. According to a 2020 Nilson report, while Visa and Mastercard are now accepted by over 70 million merchants globally, only 44.2 million of them accept Amex.

Its ironic, then, that Amex cards offer the industrys best travel rewards but theres a 37% chance you cant use them when you land.

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Tiered Rate Cashback Credit Cards

Tiered rate cashback cards offer different levels of cashback depending on the annual spending. To better understand how such cards work, we can take a look at the UOB One Card.

To earn a 5% rebate on general spending, a minimum spend of S$2,000 with a minimum of five transactions per month is required. To earn 3.33%, a minimum spend of S$500 is required.

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What Is The Difference Between Cash Back And Points

Cash back cards earn a percentage of eligible purchases back, which you can use to offset the cost of purchases . Youll get a statement credit for your earnings.

Membership Rewards points are similarly earned on eligible purchases, but offer many more redemption options at varying redemption rates. Youll get the most value for your points when you use them to book flights through American Express Travel or transfer them to a travel partner.

Amex Cards That Earn Transferable Points

How To Get The American Express Centurion Credit Card | Amex Black Card

Every traveler should have a card that earns transferable points to shield you from devaluations and give you flexibility when it comes time to redeem. Many American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to 19 different airlines, including British Airways, Delta and Singapore Airlines.

You also have the option to transfer your points to three hotel chains: Hilton, Marriott and Choice. You can use your points to book flights or hotels directly through Amex Travel, but transferring them to a partner and then redeeming them typically results in the best redemption value.

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Understand Your Spending Patterns

The key to capitalising on cashback credit cards is to understand your spending patterns. Analysing the categories on which you spend the most will help you find a cashback credit card that aligns with your needs and lifestyle.

For instance, if you do not own a car, there is really no reason why you should own a cashback credit card which only offers bonus cashback for petrol. In a similar vein, if you are a low-spender, you should avoid cashback credit cards that have a high minimum spend requirement.

To help you find the best cashback credit cards that fit your lifestyle, we have recommended cards to help you earn the best cashback for petrol, dining, online shopping, low spenders, affluent spenders, and everyday household spend.

OCBC 365 Card: No-Fee Cashback on Petrol

  • 6% rebate on dining, 3% on groceries, transport, recurring bills, online travel
  • Fee waiver with S$10,000 annual spend
  • Up to 22.1% fuel savings at Caltex, 20.2% at Esso
  • Cons
  • 0.3% rebate on general spend
  • High S$800 minimum spend requirement
Fees, Rewards & Perks

UOB One Credit Card: High Flat Rebate for Dining

UOB EVOL Card: Rebates on Contactless and Online Spend

Maybank Platinum Visa: Top Rebates for Small Budgets

HSBC Advance Card: Best for Affluent Advance Customers

Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard: Best for Everyday Household Spend

Do You Really Need A Credit Card

You may think that having a credit card is a necessary part of maintaining financial health. And while having one can be helpful in some situations, you should carefully consider whether you really need a credit card before you sign up. Credit cards can be useful tools when used properly , but they can be more of a liability than an asset if you do not manage them carefully.

The truth is, in many cases, you can get by without a credit card. If you find yourself struggling with credit card usage and credit card debt, you may want to close your credit cards and move to a cash-only system until you pay down your debt. Here are five common misconceptions about needing a credit card.

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Should You Apply For Multiple Credit Cards At One Time

While using multiple credit cards responsibly can increase your credit score, you should not apply for them all at once. Applying for multiple credit cards at the same time will lead to many simultaneous hard credit inquiries, which can negatively impact your credit score. It can also affect the length of your credit history, which is calculated by taking the average age of all your credit accounts and can also impact your credit score. All these factors could make you look less reliable to a potential lender, so it is best to open up new credit cards sparingly to signal healthy credit behavior.

You Crave Instant Gratification

Should I Get Two American Express Platinum Cards ...

Apple says you can apply for the card through the Wallet app on your iPhone in minutes, and you can begin using it the moment you’re approved. No need to wait seven to 10 business days to get a card in the mail. Similarly, when it comes to earning and redeeming your cash back, rewards are credited daily and can be used more or less immediately. Unlike many other rewards cards, you don’t need to wait until your billing cycle closes.

» MORE:

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I Need A Credit Card To Shop Online Or Rent A Car

In many cases, your debit card will cover you if you need to rent a car or shop online. In fact, you can do almost everything with a debit card that you can with a credit cardexcept spending money that you do not have.

For example, you can use a debit card to rent a car. The car rental company will put a hold against your debit card for a specific amount, so be sure to have that much available in your checking account. While it may be convenient to have a credit that you use solely for renting cars or paying for hotel rooms, it’s not necessary.

It can be easier to manage a car rental or a hotel rental with a credit card, however. If you choose to use a credit card for this purpose, be sure that you already have the money set aside to pay the full amount in your next billing cycle and avoid carrying a balance on your credit card or paying unnecessary credit card interest.

Amex Cards Have Industry

In a word, Amex rewards slap.

Not only will you earn crazy cash back with an Amex, but also some impressive sign-up bonuses, too.

Here are just a few examples:

  • 20% back on Amazon.com purchases within the first six months of card ownership.
  • $200 cash back after spending $3,000 in purchases within six months.
  • 6% cash back at supermarkets and streaming services.
  • 3% cash back on transit purchases.
  • 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points for spending $4,000 within first six months of card ownership.
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide and U.S.-based supermarkets.
  • $120 Uber Cash.
  • 125,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 within first six months.
  • 10x points on purchases at Shop Small and restaurants worldwide.
  • 5x points on flights.
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels.
  • $200 Hotel Credit.
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck®.
  • And more.

Even The Platinum Card®s eye-watering $695 annual fee starts to make sense when you consider it comes with $1,400 in credits for Uber, Netflix, and more.

Now that weve eaten dessert, its time for the cabbage, so to speak. Whats the bad news?

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Amex Credit Cards That Earn Hotel And Airline Points

In addition to cards that earn Membership Rewards points, American Express issues several credit cards that are specific for a particular airline or hotel chain. The big advantage of these cards is that they often carry extra benefits with the cobranded airline or hotel partner.

However, youre locked into earning points or miles in that specific program, leaving you at the mercy of the airline or hotel chain when it comes to devaluations that can wipe significant value from your accounts.

Is The Amex Platinum Worth The Annual Fee

Should You Upgrade Your American Express Card?

Given the hefty price tag that comes with the Platinum card, youll have to carefully look at your own spending habits and make sure you can get at least $695 of value out of the card each year. The first year is a no brainer with a welcome offer valued at $2,000 , the annual fee is much easier to swallow.

In subsequent years, its still possible to get $695 or more in value from the card, but it takes a bit more work. The $200 airline incidental credit and $200 in Uber Cash are the biggest benefits and the easiest ones to value. They drop the out-of-pocket cost to only $295 if you can max them both out each year, but given the restrictions on what triggers the airline credit youll have to be careful.

In exchange for that remaining $295, you get the single most comprehensive airport lounge access out there, and the rest of the benefits, including hotel elite status, further sweeten the deal.

Related: Maximizing benefits with the Amex Platinum

I personally save more than $150 a year on airport food alone just by having access to the Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong , but spending $695 just for the right to use a single credit card is a very personal decision. As you read through the rest of this post, make sure to think about how these scenarios apply to you and your usage of the Platinum benefits.

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Lounge Access With The American Express Platinum Card

There are several lounge options you can take advantage of as a Platinum Card Member.

Virgin Australia offers the primary Card Member unlimited access to Virgin Australia domestic lounges, including the ability to bring in a guest travelling with you. You and your guest need to be travelling with Virgin Australia to gain access.

American Express also has a growing network of American Express-branded airline lounges and Centurion lounges globally, including one at Sydney Airport International Terminal and another at Melbourne International Airport.

You can bring two guests to the American Express lounges, as well as children travelling with you, and is usually limited to 2 visits a year with most eligible American Express Cards. However, those holding The Platinum Card are able to access American Express and Centurion lounges on an unlimited basis, regardless of which airline you are flying.

Weve written about the other American Express Lounges, mainly located in the US as well as one in Hong Kong, in our guide to the American Express Lounge network.

Youll also receive a Priority Pass lounge membership for you and an Additional Platinum Card Member, with each being able to bring a guest to join them when travelling on the same flight.

Additionally, when travelling with Delta, a Platinum Card Member can access Delta SkyClub lounges.

American Express Hilton Honors Card

Hilton Honors unfortunately doesnt issue any co-branded credit cards in Canada, so the only way for Canadians to rack up Hilton points quickly is by doing an American Express Global Transfer to one of three Amex Hilton co-branded cards in the US.

The Hilton Honors Card, caters to the entry-level segment of Amexs customer base, and I think its a standout choice for Canadians hoping to obtain their first American credit card.

The card has no annual fee, which means itll be a card that you can hold onto for the long term without having to worry about whether you find value in keeping it. Even if you never use the card and no longer get any value out of it, theres no harm in keeping it around, since itll continue to help you steadily build your US credit history.

Moreover, as a signup bonus, youll earn at least 75,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$1,000 in the first three months. US$1,000 is one of the easier spending requirements among Amexs US card products, so it should be a comfortable way for you to test drive your first-ever minimum spend on a US card.

Redeem 72,000 Hilton Honors points for a night at the Hilton Paris Opéra

Once youve done the spending, 75,000 points will be good for one night at a higher-end Hilton property or several nights at a lower-tier hotel. Unfortunately, Hilton Honors doesnt publish an award chart like does instead, the only way to figure out how many points per night is required is to search for your desired hotel stay.

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People Who Are Over Chases 5/24 Rule

When people come to me looking for starter card recommendations, Ill almost always suggest either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are just as valuable as Amex Membership Rewards points TPG values both currencies at 2 cents each and Chases 5/24 rule gives me plenty of reason to recommend getting your Chase cards first. If you arent familiar with this rule, it means that applicants whove opened five or more cards in the last 24 months across all issuers will be automatically rejected for most Chase cards. This is why you should usually prioritize Chase cards as you start to build up your wallet with our best rewards credit cards.

However, after you max out your five Chase slots, what comes next? The Amex Platinum is a perfect answer, and it can even help you get more value out of your Chase points. Say you want to fly in EVAs incredibly refined business class from the U.S. to Singapore . You could transfer 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to United , or you could transfer 78,000 Amex Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles or Aeroplan and book the exact same award, saving your Chase points for another more valuable use. Gaining access to new transfer partners within the same alliance can help you pick and choose your redemption options and get more value out of all of your points.

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