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The Case to Apply for AmEx Platinum & Citi Prestige

Some people avoid signing up now for premium credit cards due to their benefits being centered on travel, something most of us are doing little these days. We can hope that as the year progresses travel will become something more and more feasible.

There were recent card enhancements on the AmEx Platinum card and Citi Prestige card which caught my eye from a purely cash perspective.

  • The American Express Platinum consumer card released a new offer to get $30 per month on Paypal transactions, and the offer is valid through June 30. If you signup now, you should be able to get six $30 credits. That’s an easy $180 to help increase the value of the Platinum card, or you can think of it as offsetting the $550 annual fee. The case for the Platinum card is especially compelling given the amazing signup bonus, still ongoing, of 100,000 points with $5,000 spend + 10x at grocery/gas for 6 months (or even 125,000).
    • Of course you’ll also get the $200 airline incidental credit twice, and the Uber & Saks credits as well.
    • (There are also free money AmEx Offers on the personal Platinum for $100 at Best Buy, $100 at Home Depot, $60 at Wine Insiders, $50 at Home Chef. However, from what I understand, it’s stated clearly that all of these offers are only for cardholders who had their cards before 11/1/2020, so probably won’t work for new cardmembers.)
  • The Citi Prestige $250 annual travel credit will be able to be used at grocery and restaurants through December 31, 2021. Most people consider these categories to be almost as good as cash versus the typical travel category where some might struggle to use. Interestingly, the Prestige card resets the $250 based on your December statement date, not based on December 31. If you signup for the Prestige anytime throughout this year, you should be able to get in both your 2021 and 2022 credits under the grocery/restaurants categories by spending $250 there before your December cutoff date and $250 between your December statement close and December 31, 2021. The $500 in credits during the first year more-than-covers the annual fee of $495.

(Some of the above thinking could have applied in prior months as well due to the streaming credits, etc. I’m writing this simply from a forward-looking standpoint.)

A lot of people will want to go for the Platinum due to increased signup bonus + $180 in credits, and to leave the Prestige for the time being until you’d be able to make better use of the benefits.

Someone who struggles to use the $250 Prestige travel credit might want to signup for that card as well. There’s no rush on that as we now know the credit categories are expanded through December 31. So you can wait a while to see if any better signup offer comes throughout the year and apply then. The Prestige card comes with a signup bonus of 50,000 points. (Note: the Premier card has a higher bonus of 60,000 points.)

Likewise, it could be an interesting time now to upgrade your Green/Gold card to Platinum. And later this year it’s worth contemplating an upgrade on your Preferred/Premier card to Prestige.


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