The AMEX Platinum Charge card has historically offered a first year welcome gift of a two night stay at selected Banyan Tree/Mandarin Oriental hotels across Asia (or a one night stay at the Capella/Mandarin Oriental Singapore). I personally used this at the Banyan Tree Bali, and what a stay it was.
Going forward, the welcome gift will be changed to 75,000 Membership Rewards points instead. When stacked with the points from the MGM program and regular sign-up bonus, you’re looking at a total of 215,000 Membership Rewards points (134,375 miles) for spending S$20,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.
New Welcome Offer: 75,000 Membership Rewards points
AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders who apply and receive approval from 1 September to 31 October 2020 will receive 75,000 Membership Rewards points. These will be deposited into your account within 8 weeks of paying the S$1,712 annual fee (which will be billed in the first statement).
This offer is available to all applicants, except those who have cancelled a Platinum Charge card in the past 24 months (it’s fine if you’ve cancelled other Platinum credit cards, or AMEX cards for that matter).
On top of this, Platinum Charge members will be eligible for further Membership Rewards points upon meeting the following spending thresholds:
|Base MR Points
|Bonus MR Points
|MGM Bonus: Spend S$5,000 in first 3 months
|Sign-up Bonus: Spend a further S$15,000 in first 6 months
These 215,000 Membership Rewards points would be worth:
- 134,375 miles with Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates, EVA Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, or THAI Airways
- 134,375 Marriott Bonvoy Points
- 161,250 Hilton Honors Points
- S$1,032 of statement credit (based on 1,000 points= S$4.80)
How does this compare to the old offer?
The new offer is worth at least S$360, based on the value you’d get if you converted the 75,000 points to statement credit.
That’s a terrible option, however, and you’d get much better value using it for miles. If we take a 1.8 cent per mile valuation (your personal value may be higher/lower), that comes up to ~S$842.
The value of the old offer depends on where you use your voucher:
There are some hotels which represent poor value (e.g Pavilion Hotel in Kuala Lumpur regularly goes for ~S$120 a night), but there are others which would yield amazing returns (e.g Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, where rooms cost upwards of S$770 a night).
AMEX has presumably made the switch because the COVID-19 pandemic is making leisure travel nigh on impossible. However, the Singapore hotels could still be valid options for those wanting to take a staycation.
If you really want the hotel voucher instead, there’s always the option of calling up AMEX after your card is approved. They’re known to be very flexible about things like this, and the worst they can say is no.
The new welcome offer of Membership Rewards points has a very short validity period of just two months- perhaps they’re testing the waters to see what the customer response is like.
In any case, American Express has also announced a raft of benefits to help its Platinum Charge members during the current period. So far we’ve seen double points, a S$500 statement credit, and an upsized rate for paying the annual fee with Membership Rewards points.
Those are some of the reasons I’ve decided to keep my Platinum Charge for a further year, and I’ll probably do another year in review post shortly. It should be an interesting one, given more than half my membership period was during COVID-19.