AMEX Platinum Charge switches welcome gift from 75,000 MR points to massage chair

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For those in need of a massage chair, the latest AMEX Platinum Charge welcome gift will be right up your alley. For everyone else, well...

The AMEX Platinum Charge Card has launched a new welcome gift, and I have to say, it’s kind of unexpected.

When the card got rebooted back in August 2018, new cardmembers received a 2-night stay at selected Banyan Tree/Mandarin Oriental hotels across Asia. This was switched to 75,000 MR points in September 2020, owing to the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. And now, effective 1 April 2021 (cue the jokes), the welcome gift has become an OTO Quantum Advanced Full Body Massage Chair.

Yes, a massage chair.

AMEX Platinum Charge new welcome gift

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First, the brass tacks. To be eligible for this gift, cardholders must apply and and receive approval for the AMEX Platinum Charge between 1 April and 30 June 2021. They must pay their full annual fee of S$1,712 in the first statement, and cannot have cancelled an AMEX Platinum Charge card in the past 24 months (it’s fine if they hold/held other AMEX cards; there’s no “new-to-bank” requirement). 

Eligible cardholders will receive a redemption letter within 12 weeks after payment of the annual fee, and the massage chair must be redeemed within two months from the date of the redemption letter. 

It’s important to separate the welcome gift (which has changed) from the sign-up bonus (which hasn’t):

  • The welcome gift is given upon paying the S$1,712 annual fee. No spending is required
  • The sign-up bonus is given upon paying the S$1,712 annual fee and meeting a certain minimum spend

The sign-up bonus remains unchanged at 75,000 MR points with S$20,000 spent in the first 6 months. 

In addition to this, applicants who apply through the MGM program will receive a further bonus of 40,000 MR points with S$5,000 spent in the first 3 months. This S$5,000 will double count towards the fulfillment of the S$20,000 spend for the sign-up bonus. 

In other words, new cardholders who spend S$20,000 in the first 6 months will receive:

  • OTO Quantum Advanced Full Body Massage Chair
  • 75,000 MR points (sign-up bonus)
  • 40,000 MR points (MGM bonus)
  • 25,000 MR points (base points @ 2 MR per S$1.60)

Why a massage chair?

Now, I know absolutely nothing about massage chairs, so I really couldn’t tell you whether the Quantum is a premium model, or how reputable a brand like OTO is. AMEX pegs the value of the gift at S$3,480 (based on list price; it may be cheaper during a sale), which would make it the most expensive welcome gift offered yet. 

And yet, I still find the decision puzzling. I get that the indefinite suspension on travel meant the 2-night Banyan Tree/Mandarin Oriental gift wasn’t as attractive anymore (even if there was an option to redeem it for a single night at the Capella Singapore), but I thought that 75,000 MR points was a good compromise. 

75,000 MR points could be converted to 46,875 airline miles with nine different airline partners, for those still holding out hope for travel. Alternatively, it could be exchanged for 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy or 93,750 Hilton Honors points, enough for a couple of nights at a high-end hotel.

Or if none of that floats your boat, 75,000 MR points could be redeemed for S$450 of credit at Pay with Points+ merchants like Audi, Challenger, Grand Cru Harvey Norman, Lee Hwa Jewelry and more. Heck, you could select something else from the Membership Rewards catalogue– it probably wouldn’t be good value, but you’d at least be able to pick. 

The thing with electronics and lifestyle gadget is that they’re highly personal. I may have no use for a massage chair at all, or maybe I already have one. Even if I’m in the market, I may not like this particular brand, model, or color. Unless it’s something with mass appeal (and resale value) like the latest iPhone, offering this kind of gift is a tricky proposition because it’s hard to hit the nail on the head.

I would have thought that AMEX learned this with their recent “work-from-home” sign-up offers on the AMEX Platinum Credit Card (Samsung monitor and webcam) and AMEX KrisFlyer cards (Acer monitor, B&O earbuds). From what I’ve seen in the Milelion community, the response to these gifts was a big “meh”, and thankfully, they were recently replaced.

But perhaps I’m looking at this the wrong way. The attractiveness of the massage chair could all boil down to how easy it is to liquidate it for cash. Assuming you valued miles at 1.8 cents each, the former gift of 75,000 MR points would be worth ~S$845; surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to flog off a brand new S$3,480 massage chair for more than that? 

Conclusion

Like it or not, this is going to be the new sign-up gift on the AMEX Platinum Charge till at least 30 June 2021. Assuming you value the massage chair at list price, it’s certainly better than a 2-night hotel stay or 75,000 MR points- but that’s a big assumption. 

I wonder if we’ll see some of these flooding Carousell soon…

Massage chair- yay or nay?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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ZYX

One thing – 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy or 93,750 Hilton Honors points is only enough for at most one night at “high-end” hotels.

CY Lee

I plan to replace my Ultima card with the Amex plat card, and due to expiry date of the Ultimate card, I delayed my application for the Amex Plat. This message chair is a disappointment, but I may take up your idea of flipping it on Carousell.🤣

You indicated on your link the earn rate for miles to be 1.54mpd. I can’t get there. Can you explain?

CY Lee

Under the “See all offers”, “More info” of the Amex Plat offer

https://milelion.com/credit-cards/current-credit-card-sign-up-bonuses/

Ben

Already cancelled the card – just doesn’t make sense post-Covid

lolol

good. better to cull the masses before travel resumes.

FrequentFlyer

Right call – card is completely useless with Covid travel restrictions – don’t understand why people are holding on to it – not worth the $1.7k price tag

Jay Dub

Do you know if it possible to stack the rewards from the first 20k spend by spending it on the 10x/20x merchants?

cannot go holiday liao

At least it’s not a suitcase

Why not give options

Sharing one data point here: I called to ask if they would give me the previous sign-up bonus (75k points) instead and the answer is a firm no… I get that they want to find the most Covid-friendly sign-up gift but has it never occurred to them they could actually give prospective card holders several OPTIONS to CHOOSE from? They can only test 4 gifts in 1 year assuming they refresh every quarter, with an option list they could test 4 in 1 Q…

Edm

Most likely they already bought the chairs and have to give it out either way…

Mile Hunter

Sigh… I was thinking of signing up, then this shitty change happens, I don’t need a freakin massage chair 🙁 really sucks that they don’t even allow the option to choose

noob

If we can pay annual fees as a “cheap way” to buy miles, isn’t this the same logic?

S$1760 to get a S$3480 chair and other free perks? Sounds like a deal. Amex is well known for their great customer service and customer centricity. I’m sure they interviewed many potential Amex Plat users and asked them if they owned or would like to own a high end massage chair.

I’m very convinced the folks at massagechairlion forum are going crazy over this offer.

I don't massage

The massage chair can only be said to be worth $3480 if you were going to buy it for full retail anyway.

To others, it’s a bulky item to get rid of.

value

love the sarcasm. massagechairlion and the “logic” and the “great customer centricity” You even sound like some people who write articles! 😉 I don’t think the other replies (sic) understood you well though.

Alf

Is Amex strict on the min 200k income requirement?

Ken

Unfortunately, no. They’ve been handing out the card to many bargain hunters.

D K

Managed to sell my chair – applying for the card now. Thanks Aaron for all the articles so far.

D K

I sold it for $1100 as my wife prefers an OSIM.

Apparently, someone showed me that he can get it with free gifts for $1280 to $1380 at lazada or OTO. The offer may over but I suspect it may resurface. Since I need the card to make my $20k spend, might as well just bite the bullet.

Effectively I am paying $612 – for the miles, travel credit etc… think it’s a fair deal.

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