American Express Platinum Charge Card is often called 1712 – a reference to its princely annual fee of S$1,712. Almost S$2,000 for a credit card may seem expensive, but looking at the price tag alone does not tell you the value of an item. This post would thus try to lay out the value proposition of this card, and as complicated as it is, Trust me, I’ve had some practice with complicated cards so don’t yuu worry.
There is also a Summary section at the end of the article if 2,500 words is too much to take.
The card is in the midst of change
The card is currently going through a transformation of sorts. The first change that has happened so far is that the annual income requirement of S$200,000 is no longer published on their site. There is essentially no stated income requirement now, aside from the MAS mandated S$30,000 figure for all credit cards. While a S$120,000 yearly income is still required for having no credit limit, you can definitely try applying if you’re close to the S$100,000 range. We miss 100% of the claw machine tries we don’t take.
Amex is also changing the benefits and perks of the card quite dramatically come early 2023, and there is a small window of opportunity for new cardholders to get two sets of sign-up perks for the price of one annual fee, but more about that later.
Finally, even the card’s nickname will also have to be updated to 1728 the moment fireworks light the Singapore skyline at the end of this year to bring in our first GST increase in 15 years.
American Express Platinum Charge Card
Annual Fee: S$1,744 (inclusive of 9% GST)
Please fill in this form after application to track promo
Promo from American Express
Receive up to 140,000 Membership Rewards® points (87,500 miles) for new American Express cardholders. Up to 92,500 points for existing American Express cardholders.
|Compulsory annual fee of S$1,728
|40,000 Membership Rewards® points
|S$5,000 spending in first 3 months of Card Membership
|5,000 Membership Rewards® points
|S$6,000 spending within first 2 months of Card approval
|New to Amex: 87,500 Membership Rewards® points
Existing Amex Cardholder: 40,000 Membership Rewards®points
|Base earn rate on S$6,000 spent
|7,500 Membership Rewards®
|New to Amex: 140,000 points (87,500 miles)
Existing Amex Cardholder: 92,500 points (57,812 miles)
Receive statement credits per calendar year:
- S$200 local dining credits (participating outlets)
- S$200 overseas dining credits (participating outlets)
- S$400 lifestyle credits (participating outlets)
- S$204 entertainment credits (Netflix, Disney+, Straits Times etc.)
- S$200 airline credits (Singapore Airlines or Scoot)
- S$150 fashion credits (Mr Porter and NET-A-PORTER)
Apply card in 2024, get one set of statement credits in 2024 and another in 2025!
- One complimentary night’s stay at selected properties
- Enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 650 cities and 140+ countries for you, your one Supplementary Member and one guest each.
- Special rates and pleasant surprises worth S$800 when you stay at over 1,300 properties worldwide that are part of FINE HOTELS & RESORTS.
- Complimentary upgrades to hotel loyalty programmes.
- Access to the elite, members-only Tower Club Singapore.
Enter a world of warmer welcomes, richer experiences and special treatments.
Opportunity for two sets of sign-up credits
Update: I received a message saying that Amex will only issue the S$800 credits when the annual fee is charged, and this could lead to the 31st January 2023 deadline being missed for new cardholders.
Amex Platinum Charge has traditionally afforded card users with S$800 worth of travel credits: S$400 for plane tickets, and S$400 for accommodation. This defrays the cost of the annual fee to some extent, while other perks make up for the rest of the fee.
Amex is phasing out these credits with a deadline to use them latest 31st January 2023. In place of the travel credits, S$1,200 of statement credits would be issued in early 2023.
For existing cardholders, you should spend any unused credit you have by the deadline, and you’d be getting the new set of rewards when they launch.
For new cardholders, you have a window period to get both sets of rewards when you sign up and use the S$800 vouchers before 31st January 2023. After that, you will also receive the S$1,200 statement credits, making two sets of sign-up rewards all with one annual fee payment.
Valuing the S$800 travel credits
The S$800 credits is split equally between flights and accommodations, and you have to book through Amex’s travel portal to use the credits. Based on my cursory checks on some Scoot flights and hotel stays for my own upcoming trips, they are priced similarly to what you might find on booking sites like Expedia or the airline’s website. The prices are not inflated as far as I can tell, so booking through Amex’s portal doesn’t lose you much value. You do miss out on the chance to get some Shopback rebates, which can amount to a significant 6 to 10%.
I am probably being a stickler here, but I would personally value the S$800 credits at a true S$640 to S$680 value, or 15% to 20% knock off the face value. S$800 in the form of credits or vouchers is never as good as S$800 cash, so the discount off the stated value takes into account things like the loss of Shopback rebates and an inability to use a “better” card for rewards (like 6% cashback or 4 miles per dollar). In a way, you are also “forced” to travel to spend these credits.
Valuing the S$1,200 statement credits
Earlier in November, Amex sent out a media statement announcing that the S$800 travel credits will be replaced with a new set of benefits worth up to S$1,200 of statement credits come early 2023. They include:
- S$200 Dining Credits at participating local restaurants
- S$200 Dining Credits at participating overseas restaurants
- S$400 Lifestyle Credits with a minimum spend at participating lifestyle retail partners
- S$204 in Entertainment Credits for monthly news or music streaming services
- S$200 in Airline Credits for ticket purchases with a minimum spending at Singapore Air
Details are scant at the moment, and without specific terms and conditions it’s very difficult to price something, so I can only guesstimate:
|Local Dining Credits
|Probably easy to use
|Overseas Dining Credits
|Probably difficult to use
|Depends on specific terms and conditions. S$400 credit with minimum spend of S$1,000 at Apple? Seems like it’s worth something. Something like 8 x S$50 credits each with a minimum spend of $500 at Courts? Yucks. Value: unknown
|Probably easy to use, depending on streaming services available. Value: I’m going with S$150
|I can’t remember the last time I took Singapore Air, and without know the specific minimum spend, the value of this is still unknown.
In my opinion, I would round up the value of these credits to a very conservative S$300. Even when the terms and conditions are published early next year, the value of these credits would vary wildly from person to person given how subjective value can be. It should be fairly easy for most people to get S$400 or even S$500 worth of value out of this depending on their ability to use these credits, but the current lack of information makes me reluctant to price these items higher.
Valuing the other vouchers
The Platinum Charge card comes with a nice box, and within the box is an envelope with lots of vouchers. A few are notably more useful than others, and the one you shouldn’t misplace would be the voucher for complimentary hotel stay at one of the following:
- The Ritz-Carlton
- The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
- Mandarin Oriental Singapore
- The St. Regis Singapore
- Other overseas hotels
I would value this at about S$300, and some may raise their eyebrows at this valuation, thinking these are hotels that go for S$500 to S$900 per night. This perk would indeed be worth S$900 if you were already eyeing a room for S$900 and about to put money on it, but for people who don’t normally spend on staycations, this perk may well be $0. It is probably quite easy to sell this voucher for S$300 to S$400 so I think we can place this at S$300.
There are also useful vouchers that get you free wine, dining vouchers (the one without minimum spend is more useful), and even a 90-min massage voucher (which does not come with minimum spend). Others seem to be there just to make the envelope look thick, such as supposedly preferential rates at hotels and S$100 spa vouchers with a S$180 minimum spend. I’ll just put this as S$0.
Let’s take a breather here for a while
That was a whole bunch of info, so let’s do a recap first:
|S$800 travel credits
|S$640 to S$680
|Apply and use before 31st January 2023
|S$1,200 travel credits
|Coming in early 2023
|Free hotel stay & other vouchers
I would say the applicants who get their card before 31st January 2023 would be able to shave at least S$1,200 of real value off their S$1,728 annual fee, but we don’t pay an annual fee just to get some of our money back. Fortunately – and at the risk of sounding like an informercial – there’s more.
A miles-buying opportunity
The remaining S$500+ of the annual fee can be justified by the opportunity to buy miles. The current promo gives you 135,000 points or 84,375 miles when converted. This is broken down into:
- 25,000 points for spending S$5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- Additional 10,000 points for signing up through the link
- 75,000 points for spending additional S$15,000 in the same first 3 months of card membership
- 25,000 points for the S$20,000 spend above
Given that there is a spending requirement, we cannot just take S$500 ÷ 84,375 (which is, just for fun, an impressive 0.59 cents per mile). The S$20,000 spend could be placed on 4 mpd cards for 80,000 miles, making the sign-up bonus a lot less impressive. However, that’s not possible in reality, and even theoretically it’s difficult to do so because 4 mpd cards all come with caps of 4,000 to 8,000 miles earned per month.
Also, the spending can be accomplished with CardUp, which means you can put plenty of non-retail spending towards meeting the spend requirement. That’d be things like insurance, contractor invoices, or anything else that typically don’t accept credit cards.
With the spend requirement, you’d likely be looking to pay off large transactions that 4 mpd cards struggle with, so I would say that the opportunity cost is closer to the earn rates of cards that do not have maximum limits. For that, we are looking at 1.2 to 1.5 mpd cards such as Citi PremierMiles, UOB PRVI, DBS Vantage and the like. On S$20,000 of spend, the miles earned can be as much as 30,000.
The true marginal amount of miles you’ll get from the current promo is hence 54,375 (84,375 – 30,000 of competing cards), and less if you are confident of putting more spend on higher earning miles cards. At a cost of under 1 cent per mile, S$500+ to buy 54,375 is a good valuation in my books. 54,375 miles is worth at least S$543.75 in my books, at a conservative 1 cent per mile valuation.
This post is coming to an end, but there’re still many benefits to cover, and tangible ones include things like unlimited Priority Pass access for you and a guest, free upgrades to Hotel Loyalty programmes, Tower Club access, and the laundry list goes on.
There are also other benefits like Paragon lounge access, which lets you get access to a nice area within the mall to rest your legs and get some free beverages. Such perks are hard to price – I certainly wouldn’t pay any amount just to use this lounge, but now that I have such an access, it’s a really nice perk to have when I find myself needing some place quiet to sit down for a while.
Amex has also recently opened a pop-up lounge at Raffles City Shopping Centre, and until 14th February 2023, Platinum and Centurion cardholders can drop by to grab free drinks and lounge. Spend enough (S$250 across three receipts paid by the Amex card) and there’s also champagne and bottled coffee to take home (but try to come earlier in the day before the champagne runs out). There’s even a free photobooth, and a Pong machine that is a lot more fun than it looks.
For Christmas, Amex also put up a Christmas booth at Raffles City, providing complimentary gift wrapping, and chances to win prizes if you meet a mininmum spend in the mall. It’s good fun as long as you’re not terrible at claw machines like I am (the score is now 2/14).
By now, it should be clear the Platinum Charge Card is not a miles card; it’s a lifestyle card and I won’t be able to cover everything it offers in detail. It’s not just because the list is long with perks that would vary in appeal to different people, but also because Amex switches things up just to keep things fresh.
I’ve been critical of some cards for being overly complex, but I can’t really hold that against the Platinum Charge Card because in the short period of time I’ve had it, it’s been a rather enjoyable experience so far. It’s one thing to try figure out what the earn rate of a particular card is, and another to discover that “oh my card has this nice perk!”
People who have read/watched my content for a longer time would know that I have a penchant for breaking down things into dollars versus benefits. Niceness, however, is not something you can quantitively measure. It is something you feel, and the Amex Platinum Charge Card – both its various perks and hefty metal card – feels nice.
Now, the tl;dr is this – for your S$1,712/1,728, you are getting the following:
|S$800 travel credits
|S$640 to S$680
|Apply and use before 31st January 2023
|S$1,200 statement credits
|To be credited in early 2023
|Free hotel stay & other vouchers
|Bonus 54,375 miles (min spend of S$20,000 required)
|Until 31st January 2023
|Nice lifestyle benefits
|It’s not 0, but I’m not even going to try
|Valid only until 31st January 2023
The long and short of it is that if you use most of the major benefits of the card like the free hotel stay, travel credits, and various statement credits, you will likely breakeven on the card and then some, enjoying all the lifestyle perks for free. This is based on Seth’s mathematics – someone who is primarily concerned about costs and benefits, and haven’t really been all that willing to pay for nicer experiences.
For people who are indeed willing to pay for the finer things in life, the valuation of each item is likely to be significantly higher.
Whom is this card for?
In my opinion, the current Amex Platinum card caters to a specific group of people: those who want to experience a few nicer things in life without breaking the bank. I believe that the current promo with the transitionary two-sets-of-credits situation provides great value for the annual fee paid, and it is very much worth the price of admission if you want to enjoy some lifestyle and travel perks.
For reward optimisers, and I consider myself one, the value proposition of this card is a lot stranger as nice does not come with a dollar value. My personal take is that I am getting tangible benefits at a reasonable cost, and then the nice perks for free. That’s sufficient value for me to pay for this card.
Finally, I think it’s also worth mentioning that there is also Citi Prestige to consider. The value proposition is clearer – or at least doesn’t take almost 3,000 words to describe – and it comes with a less intimidating annual fee of S$535 (soon to be S$540).
But then again, you don’t have to choose when you can get both, and I did just that. More is more.
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