What's In Your Wallet? Maybe Not AmEx Platinum

mikesswimn's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,310

For the vast majority of people, their choice of credit card isn't likely to be a big one. Most will focus primarily on the rate attached to the card but, as you go up the income ladder, the rate becomes less important and the rewards become more important. I'm sure many of you have strong preferences on what's the best card out there, but if a recent article from Bloomberg is to be believed, it may not be American Express:

American Express Co., long the envy of the industry for its wealthy clientele, is fighting to retain its grip on affluent cardholders... Rivals including Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are courting them with enhanced perks, lower fees and more incentives. And as AmEx seeks to diversify by pursuing tech-savvy millennials and underbanked Americans, the risk of eroding its brand--and its biggest source of revenue--is rising.

Here's how AmEx Platinum stacks up against some of its competitors.

Where are people going? Chase seems to be AmEx's biggest rival and according to the article, surpassed AmEx among those with incomes exceeding $125k two years ago. However, as you can see in the above graphic, they're not the only ones gaining ground:

"I charge a lot of money on my credit card," said [Whitney Tilson], 48, who manages more than $83 million at Kase Capital Management in New York. He said the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard gives him more cash perks while rewarding him for the money he spends on travel. "The difference between getting 1 percent and 2 percent cash back is thousands of dollars and for that amount of money, Barclaycard has a better offer," he said.

What do you monkeys think? Who's going to come out on top, Centurion or Palladium?

Comments (58)

Feb 12, 2015

I just want to break this down...assuming he manages 83MM, and takes a whole 1% for himself, he is left with $830,000. Government takes half, he is left with $415,000. Assuming he spends it all, 1% is $4,150 vs 2% $8,150. That is the extreme case. Is someone walking away with close to a million dollars a year really that concerned about 4G?

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Feb 12, 2015
sevensevens:

I just want to break this down...assuming he manages 83MM, and takes a whole 1% for himself, he is left with $830,000. Government takes half, he is left with $415,000. Assuming he spends it all, 1% is $4,150 vs 2% $8,150. That is the extreme case. Is someone walking away with close to a million dollars a year really that concerned about 4G?

I just want to break this post down. A simple google will show you the numbers on whitney's hedge funds. In fact he takes 1.5% annually plus 15% of profits. His absolute returns have been very good, although the amount of risk he has taken and is taking is pretty crazy. Furthermore, there is an extremely high likelihood that he has some percentage of his own money in his funds. 15% of say an annual expectation of 10% on the NAV would be $1.245M plus $1.245M for the 1.5% expense ratio = 2.49M. We can't speculate on how much of his own capital he has invested in this, but it's likely that the guy is making at least several million from these funds.

Lastly, even if we used your substantially lower numbers, why would someone just ignore a free $4k? It takes 1 minute to compare credit cards and realize that you would have an extra $4k each year.

Feb 12, 2015

I use the Fidelity AmEx -- 2% cash back on everything and no annual fee.

    • 1
Feb 12, 2015

Nice, I wasn't aware of this card until now. Thanks for the heads up

Feb 12, 2015

I have Amex gold. Whenever I black out and lose things I report it missing/lost/stolen. If I misplace it and can't find it, report it likewise. Rewards add up to thousands.

Feb 12, 2015

I have the amex gold as well.

Feb 12, 2015

chase sapphire - 2X points on dining/travel
chase freedom - 5X points monthly rotating categories - ex groceries, Starbucks, Amazon
chase ink - 5X points on cable/cell phone
fidelity amex - 2% cb on all purchases
amex gold business - 3X on google adwords, 2X on UPS/USPS

Feb 12, 2015

Frank has this credit card reward thing figured. Multipliers for spend categories > 2% taxable cash back in many cases.

Feb 12, 2015

I've got the United Visa from Chase. I get great mileage perks, priority boarding, two free checked bags and a couple of United Club passes each year which is good as I travel a bunch for work and I live near a major United hub. I've lost a couple of cards and they've immediately canceled them and rush delivered a new one, no issues with canceling charges either.

I always heard Amex had great customer service from people I know with blue cards up to someone who had a centurion card. However, I've never understood the major appeal of Amex over other providers. Sounds like the Amex Gold has some decent rewards and a similar fee to other V/MC options, but it's accepted at less places so I really don't understand why people go with Amex over Visa/Mastercard.

Happy to be enlightened if I'm missing something big here...

Feb 12, 2015

Anything over $600 and you'll get 1099'd on it if it's cash back to you or cash back via credit onto your credit card. I just chatted with Capital One today about their 2% cash back CC offer and when I asked the 1099 question that was their answer.

If instead you receive a massive amounts of airline miles or hotel points or ? there's no 1099 coming to you. So if you make good $ that 2% cash back becomes basically 1% cash into your pocket or a bit less after federal/state/local taxes and the dreaded "you're too rich" medicare surcharge thanks to our new health care "option".

I put maybe $30-40K/month on credit cards through our business, and find that I can end up with more than 1% cash equivalent back in value via miles, hotel points and status levels at those places.

One example: United Club credit card gets 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on it. At United Air miles value of appx 1.4 cents/mile that's a value of 2.1 cents / dollar spent (calc is 1.5 x 1.4), or 2.1% value back and no 1099 coming to me either. Could do the same with several Delta Amex cards hacks and end up getting miles and Platinum status too all via spend without flying (until I used said miles to get a biz class award ticket to ? ... since if I have to spend my own $ flying I'm only going to pay cash for coach...but using miles to grab a biz class seat gets you even more value than the above calc).

Summary: Cash back isn't all it's stacked up to be when a 1099 shows up in the mail with your name on it, especially compared to several other credit card options.

    • 1
Feb 14, 2015
ScrapGuru:

Anything over $600 and you'll get 1099'd on it if it's cash back to you or cash back via credit onto your credit card. I just chatted with Capital One today about their 2% cash back CC offer and when I asked the 1099 question that was their answer.

Not true. Cash back rewards are not taxable. I have gotten thousands of dollars in rewards on multiple cards. No 1099s whatsoever. Ask a CPA, he/she will tell you the same thing.

Feb 14, 2015
Sil:
ScrapGuru:

Anything over $600 and you'll get 1099'd on it if it's cash back to you or cash back via credit onto your credit card. I just chatted with Capital One today about their 2% cash back CC offer and when I asked the 1099 question that was their answer.

Not true. Cash back rewards are not taxable. I have gotten thousands of dollars in rewards on multiple cards. No 1099s whatsoever. Ask a CPA, he/she will tell you the same thing.

Maybe, but all I can tell you is that Capital One rep after checking with their manager told me 2 days ago that "any cash rebate over $600 in a given year will cause a 1099 to be sent to the cardholder". So I'd suggest staying away from Capital One's 2% cash back card at a minimum.

Feb 12, 2015

Chase sapphire preferred and Amex SPG user here, both awesome cards. Have used points earned to get airline tickets and hotel stays. No international fee on the Chase card as well.

Feb 12, 2015

chase sapphire - 2X points on dining/travel

Feb 12, 2015

ML card and Barclays... After I payoff the ML I'm getting the United card, plus I like United.

Greed is Good!

Feb 12, 2015

Chase Saphire

Feb 12, 2015

American Airlines Exec Card for Lounge Access, Fidelity Amex and Barclays Arrival+

Feb 13, 2015

Sapphire is very practical for young people in new york. 2x points on travel and restaurants

Feb 13, 2015

I have:

Amex Gold Premier
Amex SPG
Amex Everyday Premier
Amex Blue Sky

Chase Sapphire
Chase Slate
Chase Marriott
Chase United Explorer
JP Morgan Ritz-Carlton

Citi AA Executive
Citi AA Platinum
Citi Forward

US Bank Club Carlson

Fidelity Investment Reward

Discover IT

Among all those credit cards, I like Ritz-Carlton best (the one in OP's comparison table).

My "everyday" card is Sapphire and grocery card is Amex everyday. Plan to cancel Amex gold since it is not worth $160 annual fee.

Feb 13, 2015
youayou:

I have:

Amex Gold Premier

Amex SPG

Amex Everyday Premier

Amex Blue Sky

Chase Sapphire

Chase Slate

Chase Marriott

Chase United Explorer

JP Morgan Ritz-Carlton

Citi AA Executive

Citi AA Platinum

Citi Forward

US Bank Club Carlson

Fidelity Investment Reward

Discover IT

Among all those credit cards, I like Ritz-Carlton best (the one in OP's comparison table).

My "everyday" card is Sapphire and grocery card is Amex everyday. Plan to cancel Amex gold since it is not worth $160 annual fee.

Why in the bloody hell would you need 15 credit cards???

Feb 13, 2015

I work with a banker that has 21 cards with zero balances. He said when he was younger, the cooler the card the more he wanted it. Like the AMEX blue chip card, Chase card. It's unbelievable how companies give cards to people. One of my friends from school is unemployed and got a 30K limit Visa recently. Lucky dude...

Greed is Good!

Feb 13, 2015
wareagle4230:
youayou:

I have:

Amex Gold Premier

Amex SPG

Amex Everyday Premier

Amex Blue Sky

Chase Sapphire

Chase Slate

Chase Marriott

Chase United Explorer

JP Morgan Ritz-Carlton

Citi AA Executive

Citi AA Platinum

Citi Forward

US Bank Club Carlson

Fidelity Investment Reward

Discover IT

Among all those credit cards, I like Ritz-Carlton best (the one in OP's comparison table).

My "everyday" card is Sapphire and grocery card is Amex everyday. Plan to cancel Amex gold since it is not worth $160 annual fee.

Why in the bloody hell would you need 15 credit cards???

Based on some of the cards he has I'm guessing he's using each card for max point-getting depending on what type of company he's spending money with each time (ie, Chase Saph gets you 2x points for dining and travel, Amex Gold gets you 3x on all airfare, etc). As long as he pays them off in full at the end of each billing cycle then he's using the CC companies and they're not the ones using him.

Feb 15, 2015
youayou:

I have:

Amex Gold Premier

Amex SPG

Amex Everyday Premier

Amex Blue Sky

Chase Sapphire

Chase Slate

Chase Marriott

Chase United Explorer

JP Morgan Ritz-Carlton

Citi AA Executive

Citi AA Platinum

Citi Forward

US Bank Club Carlson

Fidelity Investment Reward

Discover IT

Among all those credit cards, I like Ritz-Carlton best (the one in OP's comparison table).

My "everyday" card is Sapphire and grocery card is Amex everyday. Plan to cancel Amex gold since it is not worth $160 annual fee.

Same here. I also have the Barclays arrival, amex delta, chase united explorer business, chase hyatt, Citi hilton, amex hilton, and chase ink x2. Don't have Fidelity, however.

Also have a redbird for maximum churning. I tend to get 1-2 new cards each month.

Needless to say, I never pay for hotels & traveling.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is my non-churning card.

Feb 13, 2015

people actually choose credit cards based on interest rate?

So out of touch

Feb 15, 2015
BTbanker:

people actually choose credit cards based on interest rate?

So out of touch

Same here. Wow. Doesn't help I am strict cash and carry but this kind of makes me wonder if I could be making money on cards....wow.

Feb 13, 2015

I think the most unappealing part of CCs these days is the "concierge service". I'm sure there are some people that would use it, but not me.

Feb 13, 2015

The customer service on those services is unfuckwithable. Concert/sports event/entertainment tickets, hotels, flights, etc. It's probably not worth giving up any amount of CB but those people do a great job of getting you what you ask for.

Feb 13, 2015

I know that some of the higher end cards (AE Black type) is crazy good. Like I said, it is well worth the money for those that travel a lot, or need help getting tix, but I'll probably just have to stick to getting fucked by Ticketmaster every time I go see a show here in Florida. I might pay for it if they can get me some decent tickets for cheap to the Iron Bowl this fall, but that's doubtful.

Feb 13, 2015

Barclaycard doesnt get a lot of love but its 2 points/miles on EVERYTHING. You get an additional bonus if you use the miles for travel (and said travel purchases don't have to be made through a specific rewards website). Annual fee isnt bad and I got $450 in points value to sign up. Was deciding between that and the Chase Sapphire.

    • 1
Feb 13, 2015

I love the poor person prestige of my green amex. It's like a tuxedo t shirt - I'm formal, but im here to party.

    • 2
Feb 13, 2015

I have the Barclays arrival+. I am not a big spender but I'll net $300-400 in travel rewards a year. If you pay your balance in full each month you can call them and get the annual fee waived.

Feb 13, 2015

I really enjoy the prepaid Visa from walmart.

Also, People who have worked hard for their money and climbed the ladder to get where they are at realize the value of time and money. If it took two weeks to get that extra 4000$ then obviously his time is more valuable but for a quick phone call today i want this card. Its a no brainer.

Do not go gently into that good night

Feb 13, 2015

Agree with you here. The whole "it's just a few grand and you make hundreds of thousands" is crap. Even if my income gets ultra high, 4 or 5 major decisions that can have a 4k impact on my net worth would be worth the quick back of the napkin calculations that this guy did.

Feb 13, 2015

Hit it right on the head.

Do not go gently into that good night

Feb 13, 2015

I am really impressed with the Barclaycard.. easy online interface as well

Feb 13, 2015

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is pretty nice as it has a metal core that makes it heavy. If you're in a small town it'll impress... But I do appreciate the 2% cash back on travel and dining - two of my biggest CC categories.

Feb 13, 2015

Doesn't make sense to have over 20 cards, it just lowers the average age of credit accounts held under your name and lowers your credit score. Just get a rewards card, travel card, and an emergency card and stick with it.

Feb 14, 2015

I use the Fidelity Amex for 2% cashback, but that's not the only card I use. Barclays gives me 5% cashback on groceries, gas, and Amazon, and Chase gives me 5% cashback on a series of rotating categories. Between those three cards, I average about 2.5-3% rewards on total spend. I did a post on this a few months ago:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/personal-fin...

I'm too lazy to sign up for a new card every few months, but I'm perfectly happy to use one card at the grocery store, another at Chipotle, and another for everything else.

Feb 15, 2015

I have Chase Sapphire Preferred and AmEx Platinum, would be interested in getting a couple more (Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards, AmEx Everyday, Citi DoubleCash, Chase Freedom) but I need to hit my min spend first.

If your looking for your first card, I would go with Chase Sapphire or a 2% cash back. AmEx Platinum is great as they have a 100,000 mile signup bonus (worth $1500+) and if you fly out of an airport with a Centurion Lounge (LAS,Laguardia, SFO, DAL) you have access to free top shelf drinks and incredible food along with Delta lounges. You also get $200 in airline credits - which you can use to buy vouchers for flights. Downside of this card is a $450 Annual Fee.

Im all about getting Credit Cards for free stuff, but once you get to a certain point(12-15) it gets annoying having to keep up with all the payments every month.

If your looking to start learning about CCs thepointsguy is a great place to start.

Feb 15, 2015

Amex Platinum is still one of the best cards to carry if you value the travel benefits. The new Centurion lounges are better than any of the airline lounges, and hopefully they will keep building up the network of these. The annual fee is a net $250 if you use the airline fee credit. I'm always flying Delta so the use of their lounges is worth the fee alone. There is also the fine hotel and resort program which is not always a good deal but can be helpful if you don't have hotel status everywhere. The Amex reward points can transfer to a ton of programs so they are good if you value flexibility.

Feb 15, 2015
mk1275:

Amex Platinum is still one of the best cards to carry if you value the travel benefits. The new Centurion lounges are better than any of the airline lounges, and hopefully they will keep building up the network of these. The annual fee is a net $250 if you use the airline fee credit. I'm always flying Delta so the use of their lounges is worth the fee alone. There is also the fine hotel and resort program which is not always a good deal but can be helpful if you don't have hotel status everywhere. The Amex reward points can transfer to a ton of programs so they are good if you value flexibility.

Fine Hotels & Resorts seems great if you stay at hotels of that caliber. Usually when im travelling im staying at a friends place in that city, so I left that out which is a solid perk. It basically gives you 4th night free after staying three nights or even 3rd night free after staying two. Also get free breakfast for two people and a $100 hotel credit for food at most places.

Typically these benefits are only available at places like Ritz, Waldolf Astoria, Park Hyatt, etc.

Feb 15, 2015

Higher unused unsecured revolving credit availability is always good - especially if you are looking at a mortgage. Just need to tone down the new applications about 6mo-1yr in advance.

Even with 20 applications or so a year, my credit score at all 3 are in the low to mid 700s.

Feb 17, 2015

I have:

Amex Plat
Amex SPG
Amex Gold

Barclays Arrival

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Ink
Chase Freedom
Chase United
Chase BA

Citi Executive AA
Citi Plat AA

These are current cards.

The purpose of so many cards is to maximize on the point benefits.

Feb 17, 2015

I have:

Amex Plat
Amex SPG
Amex Gold

Barclays Arrival

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Ink
Chase Freedom
Chase United
Chase BA

Citi Executive AA
Citi Plat AA

These are current cards.

The purpose of so many cards is to maximize on the point benefits.

Feb 17, 2015
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Feb 19, 2015
Comment

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.