American Express Platinum 50,000 Point Membership Rewards Sign-up Bonus: New Mercedes-Benz Card

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Platinum card from American Express offer has changed. Please go here for current offer.

Today Amex released two co-branded cards with Mercedes Benz.  Obviously they are worth checking out if your family is a Mercedes-Benz kind of family (we are Honda folks ourselves, but The Man does like Mercedes…).  However, the Platinum Mercedes Benz Amex offer caught my eye even for families that don’t drive Mercedes.  Mainly, because it comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up.

I called Amex to see if existing Gold and/or Platinum card members could get these cards and the representative I spoke with emphatically said “yes”, however if you look into the terms and conditions of the offer it says that the offer is not available for existing Platinum card holders.  The terms and conditions probably trump the rep that answered my question over the phone, but if you find a way for an existing Plat cardholder to take advantage of this offer let me know!  Just be careful and not over-do it with Amex or any other issuer for that matter.  Everything in moderation.  😉

This card does come with an annual fee of $475, so this card isn’t for everyone, but I will outline some of the reasons why my family has loved our Platinum card.  That may help you decide if it might work well for your family as well!

I have had my Platinum American Express card now for about six months.  It has been a great card thus far.  I got it mainly due to being targeted for 100,000 Membership Rewards points, but it comes with many other great benefits that my family has enjoyed.  Those benefits have come with a hefty annual fee for the primary card, but justifying the $450 fee (note the Mercedes version is $475) has been pretty simple this year when you consider all that the card gives you.  Here is a quick rundown of the main benefits that the Platinum Amex has brought our family.

$200 annual airline fee allowance on the airline of your choice

Update: Some sources (such as here) report the $200 airline allowance as included with the Mercedes Benz Platinum card, but when I go over the application and benefits myself, I can’t find it listed.  Hopefully it is included, but I can’t verify it right now.  If that is a make or break deal for you applying for this version of the Platinum card, I would call in and get Amex to verify one way or another.  It is a benefit on the “traditional” Platinum card.    

Update #2: The Amex Facebook page says that the MB Platinum Amex comes with all of the benefits that the regular Platinum card has, including the $200 airline fee.  So, who knows!  I would get something from Amex directly in writing about this, if I were looking to apply for this card.

This $200 can go towards incidental fees such as: baggage fees, change fees, lounge access, food and drinks on-board the plane, etc…. You can only select one airline per year, so choose wisely.  You may want to choose the airline that you fly on a regular basis to maximize the value of the $200.  Or, you may want to choose an airline that you fly with fairly frequently, but don’t have a credit card or elite status that waives your baggage fees.  We choose the airline we fly the most with, even though we already have baggage fees waived through an airline-branded credit card.  We have used the $200 for an award ticket change fee and for snacks and drinks on-board the flight.  For the most part, this is $200 we would have spent anyway, so that brings the real cost per year for this card down significantly.

Airport Lounge Access

An airport lounge is a great place for a family to grab a snack, a drink, and have a little extra space to spread out in.  This is about to get much less beneficial for my family as Continental and United lounges will no longer be included in the program as of 9/30.  However, Delta lounges continue to participate in the program.  You must possess a same-day ticket on that airline to access their lounge.  The fact that it is usually Continental/United lounge access that we want, may make us turn to another premium card next year.  The Continental Presidential Plus card is a real consideration for us next year.  It will be hard to give up the Platinum Amex though, so we are still undecided.  Read more here about why airline lounges really are great for families.

Fine Hotel & Resort Collection

When you book a hotel with the Fine Hotel & Resort Collection you get a host of benefits.  These are often: free breakfast, late check-out, upgraded room (if available), and an additional amenity that may be a dining credit, spa credit, or something unique to that property.  We used this at The Bellagio in Las Vegas a few months ago.  On a $150 per night rate, we received free breakfast valued at about $30, an upgraded room valued at about $40 above what we paid, late check-out, and a lunch dining credit valued at $85.  When you take into account what we paid for the room, the values of the benefits just about made the room free! Our family loves this program and try to use it whenever we can.

Membership Rewards

The Membership Rewards program has been very good to our family.  If you read this blog often, you see me mention Membership Rewards codes and bonuses frequently.  Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a very large number of other frequent flyer and hotel programs, and sometimes there are bonuses run that give up to a 50% bonus on transferring to certain programs.  This makes your points stretch even further!  You can also use your points to pay as cash.  This isn’t usually the best value for your points, but it is sometimes a good option.  My family recently used this option to book some flights.  Read more here.

You can also shop via the American Express shopping portal and get 4x points for your purchases.  I have recently received 6x points for a purchase I was going to make anyway.  Things like this really help increase your account total quickly!

There are many, many other fantastic benefits that come attached to the Amex Platinum card, but these are the ones that my family has utilized most frequently.

If you wanted to, you could immediately cash out 50,000 Membership Rewards points for $500 in gift cards or “pay with points” purchases.  If you are a little more selective about your redemptions, that number of points is easily worth close to $1000.  That makes this deal at least worth considering.  Click here to get more info or to apply.

What do you love about your Amex Platinum?  Do you think 50,000 Membership Rewards points is a good sign-up offer?  Are you considering applying for this card?

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Comments

  1. Don’t forget the free Priority Pass membership! That comes in handy, mostly when traveling internationally though.

    The saddest part about Amex is the soon-to-be discontinued relationship with Continental. Since I mainly fly CO domestically, the lounge access would help.

    The FHR program is good but not great because Chase will now be offering their equivalent program to their United MileagePlus Explorer cardholders.

    As long as I travel internationally and Amex continues transfer bonuses to Delta & British Airways, I will continue to pay the high annual fee.

    • infamousdx, I left the Priority Pass off, because I haven’t read where this specific Platinum card comes with it. I have also had good success with the Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection on my Onepass Plus card, but I have enjoyed Amex’s just a little bit more. 🙂 I couldn’t agree more about the sadness about Amex and Continental “breaking up”!

  2. I already have the Amex Platinum but what caught my eye is the Amex Mercedes non-Platinum card in that same link. It is 3x points for gas and 2x for dining, making it the best card that I know of in those categories (with possible exception of SPG, the legacy 4% Travelocity Amex, and maybe the Sapphire if you fly primarily Continental). I wonder if I can “downgrade” from my Amex Platinum to this card now that I have acquired all of the Platinum sign-up bonuses.

    Also, do you think it’s possible to get the 50k sign-up bonus for the Mercedes Platinum Amex if we’ve already gotten the bonus for the regular Platinum Amex? I can’t tell if they’ll be treated as the same card or two different Amexes, with two different bonuses that can be obtained.

    • bluto, I agree that those 3x and 2x bonuses are quite interesting as well! If only they would include a better sign-up bonus I would be VERY interested. Maybe in time they will up the bonus.

      I just called the Amex “apply by phone” number and asked if you can get these cards if you already have the regular Gold and Platinum cards and they said yes, that these are new cards. The rep I talked to seemed very confident that these were to be treated as entirely separate and new cards.

  3. When you book hotels through the Fine Hotel and Resort Collection, do you still get hotel points? Or only Amex points? Thanks!

    • Jenny, in my experience, I have not had any problem getting the hotel points credited to my various hotel accounts.

  4. MP are you sure that the Platinum MB AMEX comes with the $200 annual airline fee allowance? And the FHR benefit? I do not see these benefits specifically listed on the links you provided. Thanks!

    • Steven, great catch! I can verify that the FHR benefits are spelled out on the Platinum Mercedes application “review card benefits” link, so that one is 100%. The The $200 airline credit I read from multiple sources this morning (here for example), but I can’t find specifically spelled out on the application, so that one I can’t swear to 100%. I’ll amend the post to reflect the current uncertainty of that benefit.

  5. Fascinating. As an MB owner I am surprised there is nothing more MB specific such as $200 credit towards say servicing rather than airlines. I am thinking I could get the plat for 1 year to “buy” the 50k sign up then downgrade but keep the lower card for the 5x spend at MB.

    THe 3x 2x 1x is equivalent to the Premier Rewards Gold card

    • sorry i am incorrect there.

      premier rewards gold is

      3x airline
      2x gas groceries

      this one is

      3x gas
      2x restaurants

      wow these guys have been really rifled by chase new sapphire! love these wars!

    • I think that sounds like a great plan! I agree that for MB owners, a more specific benefit as you mentioned would have been a neat future.

  6. Any pointers on how to get the 50K bonus miles if you are currently a Plat card holder? I just got off the phone with Amex, and the normal rep said there was no promotion note in my file for the switch the MBZ Plat card from the normal Plat and that I would have to call membership miles. Are there magic words to say to them when I call tomorrow?

    TIA,
    Rick

    • Rick, the day the offer came out I called and spoke to an Amex rep by calling the “application” phone number. He very enthusiastically said that I was eligible to apply for this offer even though I had a Platinum card. He said they considered it an entirely new card, so you could try calling the application line number at 1-800-223-2670 and see what they say. However, Carl is correct that if you dig into the Terms and Conditions, it does seem to say that existing Plats are ineligible, so quite possible that the rep I talked to was incorrect. Rats!

    • Carl, thanks for pointing that out. While I had called in to Amex to see what they said, seems they were incorrect. Those nasty details! 🙂

  7. MP In case you haven’t spent the whole $200 annual airline benefit yet, Amex allows you to buy Continental online gift certificates with (nearly) immediate reimbursement, and they start @ $25. I spent my entire $200 on them. United doesn’t sell gift certificates (even via phone, despite what their Web site says) so this is a limited opportunity until the CO/UA merger happens. Continental GCs are good for 5 years.

    • Dean, thanks for the tip. I knew about the gift card purchase trick (though didn’t want to “officially” post about it since I know it is technically not supposed to be reimburse), but wasn’t aware that United doesn’t sell gift cards. I plan to take advantage with CO if I have any of my $200 left at the end of the year. United needs to step it up with gift cards – that is crazy!

  8. @MP, you’ve probably posted this elsewhere but did you end up keeping the AMEX Plat? If not, did you trade for another Lounge/Status card?

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