Throughout last year, we have had the opportunity to maximize the different credit cards in our wallets. There are too many good credit cards out there right now to truly be able to place one above the rest. Our favorite credit card of the year, however, is not one that is just simply better than every other credit card. It’s one that, for our needs, was great. For others, a better value might be found with a different credit card.
My favorite credit card this year is the American Express Platinum Card for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I love the benefit of 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airlines. Although I do not use the 5x points for hotels booked through American Express, due to direct booking with hotels, that is still a great benefit. The amazing Membership Rewards points (MR points) are easy to use and transfer. By transferring to their partners, I can regularly get at least two cents per MR point, so on airline bookings I am essentially getting 10% back. Although the card only earns 1x point on all other purchases, the 5x on airfare is enough reason to keep the card in and of itself.
Even though the card was not used significantly for non-airfare purchases, I definitely came out of our wallet when we were using an Amex offer. For holiday shopping this year, I managed to get 5x points on Amazon purchases, which is quite a rebate.
Just make sure to apply the offer to your card.
Amex offers have allowed us to get cash back, not just additional points. We have used a number of Amex offers for hotel stays, which have really added to the value of the card. A couple of months ago, we were able to split the bill at a hotel my mom stayed at by using two cards to get twice the rewards. The bill was over $600, so when we used two cards (spend $300 get $60 back Amex offers),we got $120 off the cost of the stay. We have also used this benefit to get cash back for different restaurants we have gone to this year. These are a few of the Hilton property Amex offers that we have used.
On top of that, we manage to use all of the statement credits that come with the card. This includes $200 in free Uber rides, $200 in airline incidental fees, and $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue. That is $500 in benefits that we took full advantage of this year.
The American Express Platinum Card has allowed us to get great value out of adding authorized users. This year we added two authorized users and got 10,000 MR points. In addition, we got to use three free credits for Global Entry, which comes with TSA PreCheck and is worth $300. The authorized user cards also allowed us into more airport lounges than before.
One of my favorite benefits of the Platinum Card is the lounge access it comes with. I love the lounges in the program, including Priority Pass Lounges, Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs, and more. With the addition of the authorized user, instead of only getting three total people into most lounges, we now can get nine, which is more than enough for our family of four. We get three passes into the Delta SkyClubs, so we effectively only have to pay $29 any time our entire family wants to enter the Delta lounge. This year, I have loved the lounge access the Platinum Card comes with, despite losing the Priority Pass restaurant option.
My family and I have not been able to use all of the benefits that come with the Platinum Card, particularly the loyalty status, due to already separately having generally higher status.
The Platinum Card was my favorite credit card of 2019, and I cannot wait to see how I use the benefits in 2020, especially the new travel insurance options it comes with.
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