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The AMEX Gold Card

Amex Gold Card Review for Military

The old Gold Card actually looked gold, I swear.

This card is the middle tier charge card from Amex at a $250 annual fee. Much like the Green card, it’s benefits are covered by the Platinum Card you should already have, except for a 4x bump in points earning for restaurants and supermarkets and a $120 dining credit at restaurants you probably don’t eat at.  The difference is that it comes with a nice $100/year airline credit, paying you to own it if you’re active duty.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus varies from 25k to 50k for $2k spend in 3 months. Not a bad chunk of membership rewards points change for your spending efforts. I really do enjoy the smaller, but easier to obtain sign-up points.

Future Platinum Card

Notably, as with the green card, this can be upgraded to a platinum card as well after a year of ownership. I won’t be doing so though, as the 4x spend categories on everything you put in your mouth (restaurants and groceries) make this a very solid daily spend card when you’re in between other minimum spends. It has even replaced my Chase Sapphire Reserve as the go-to card. But, you can still do future you a solid and snag a gold card to start your account timer and upgrade later for those sweet sweet Platinum bennies.

As always, please consider using our referral link to get yours.

Other Gold Card Flavors

-(Discontinued) Ameriprise Financial Gold Card: $160 annual fee (waived the first year).  Was an easy 25k point sign up bonus for $1k spend. This did not have the airline credit. Technically required a relationship with Ameriprise Financial, but this, like the Ameriprise Platinum, was not enforced.

The AMEX Green Card

Amex Green Card Review for Military

Even the basic AMEX charge card looks like a class act

The Green Card is your entry-level card into AMEX charge cards. At a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) you get some of the basic Amex coverages that your Amex Platinum already gives you and the ability to earn membership rewards points that your Amex platinum already gives you. It’s really just paying for the privilege of earning Membership Rewards points at the bare minimum rate.

Sign-Up Bonus

The churning magic of the Amex green card is twofold. The upfront purpose is for an easy signup bonus.  I found mine with a decent 25k points for $1k spend.  Not a huge bump but after a run of 4-5 cards that had $4-5k min spends I was getting antsy for a quick credit high. This signup bonus offer comes and goes so maybe wait until you find one or the TDWise link shows it.

Future Platinum Card

Or don’t. The other purpose is more forward-thinking for the astute TDWise reader. This card’s more lucrative attribute is that after having the green card for a year you can call Amex and have it upgraded to a Platinum card. That’s another $200/year in airline and Uber credit.

So set yourself up for success and snag a quick Green card today! One year older you will thank you.

As always, please consider using our referral link to get yours.

The AMEX Platinum Card

Amex Platinum Review for Military

Are you active duty?  If so, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have an Amex Platinum card right now.  Not one.  It should be part of in-processing at your initial entry school of choice.  Why?  Free money, that’s why.

This is probably the best picture I’ve ever taken, thanks iPhone X

The Amex Platinum was the first ultra-premium card to hit the market and Amex did it well.  Recently it was updated to a solid metal card with embossed laminate and a great in-the-hand feel.  The barrier to entry is currently $550 per year annual fee but you, the avid TDWise reader, already know that doesn’t apply to you.  So with the annual fee waived, this card pays you to own it by way of 60k AMEX Membership Rewards Points, $200/year airline incidental reimbursement, $200/year Uber reimbursement, $100/year Saks 5th Avenue reimbursement, access to Amex’s Centurion airport lounges, gold status with Hilton and SPG, and your access to the AMEX concierge line, among other things.  Let’s break all of this down for the credit newbie:

Amex Platinum Sign-Up Bonus

60k Membership Rewards points are your initial sign up bonus when you spend $5k in the first 3 months of card ownership.  This may seem like a lot but you would be surprised how much you actually spend month to month.  Just follow my advice in the how-to section and divert all your natural day to day spending to this card until you hit the $5k, get your 60k rewards points, and bask in your newfound rush of easy money.  60k AMEX points are directly worth $750 if you also own the Charles Schwab Platinum card (see below) but can be much more using transfer partners (we go over this in the how-to as well).

Amex Platinum Airline Incidental Reimbursement

$200/year airline incidental reimbursement is a feature that will automatically reimburse any incidental charge you make on an airline of your choosing.  During January of each year, you pick an airline (I like United), and for the rest of the year you can charge things like seat upgrades, lounge access fees, and in-flight drinks from United to your AMEX platinum card and within a few days, AMEX will reimburse you for those charges up to $200/year.  It’s a great benefit that gives travel an added level of comfort and you a feeling of elevated status.

A wooden cell phone stand might seem gimmicky, but I use mine at work every day

Amex Platinum Uber Credit

$200/year Uber credit is even easier.  All you have to do is add your AMEX Platinum to your uber payment methods and each month a $15 credit will appear in your Uber account.  The month of December gets a bump to $35.  Yes, you can stack credits with multiple AMEX Platinum cards.

Amex Platinum Lounge Access

Amex Centurion lounges are some of, if not the top airport lounges out there.  The bar is completely free, the food is artisanal, and space is usually abundant with access to showers, beds, and all the phone charging you’ll need.  I like to purposefully book long layovers when I travel just to hang out and drink for free at Centurion lounges. The card also comes with Delta Lounge, Escape Lounge, and Priority Pass Lounge accesses.

Amex Platinum Hotel Statuses

Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy is great for upgraded rooms on check-in, free water/snacks, and boosts to hotel points earning with every stay.  The other great part comes from the current business relationship Marriott has with SPG and Ritz Carlton, in that they are all owned by the same company and now share the same rewards program (Bonvoy).  That means your Gold Marriott is now Gold SPG and Gold Ritz Carlton.  Just by owning the AMEX Platinum, you have serious traveler status at almost half the major hotel chains in America.  Now that’s TDWise (just like the Amex plat, these puns are free for the taking).

Amex Concierge

The AMEX concierge line is a little-used thing of beauty that comes with this card.  This is a number you can call and basically request anything you want as long as it isn’t illegal.  Typically used to secure hard to get dining reservations, event tickets, or travel accommodations, the limit is your imagination.  I once asked them to find me a keg of Saranac Pumpkin Ale within driving distance of Colorado Springs.  They contacted every distributor in the surrounding states for a month before learning it wasn’t available this side of the Mississippi.  It’s an extremely powerful tool in the traveler’s knapsack.

As always, please consider using our referral link to get yours.

AMEX making promo picture taking easy

The Other Amex Platinum Flavors

The AMEX Platinum has other co-branded versions of itself that all share the same benefits listed above with the following companies:

-Charles Schwab: Must open a Charles Schwab brokerage account to be eligible (easy, plus load $1k for a free $100 welcome offer).  Unique benefits include 1.25 cents per point redemption into your brokerage account.

-Morgan Stanley: Must be a Morgan Stanley client to be eligible.  Many data points suggest that a Morgan Stanley Access Investing online brokerage account counts for MS Platinum eligibility.  It requires $5k to fund upon opening.

-Goldman Sachs: Technically an option, practically impossible to qualify for.  If you do, you don’t have time to read a travel hacking blog.

-Ameriprise (Discontinued): Was technically only available to Ameriprise clients, however, this was not enforced and it is considered a personal Platinum for all intents and purposes.  They still exist as Ameriprise branded products (unlike the Mercedes) but application links are gone.

-Mercedes Benz (Discontinued): Was available to anyone that wanted an MB logo on their platinum.  Unique benefits included a $100 gift certificate to MB dealers every year and $1k off the purchase or lease of an MB every year.  Unfortunately, this card is discontinued and in Jan 2019 they all converted to regular personal platinums.