Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 10

14,542 grads of the Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course already know why
The Platinum Card® from American Express is my #1 recommended card

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Learn more about Amex Platinum military benefits, the Charles Schwab Amex Platinum, and the best credit cards for military spouses.

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Annual fee of $695* See more details about military protections for you and your spouse 
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
  • Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
  • $200 Annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Note that The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides every year. Only available to the basic card member, Terms Apply
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • This is a MAJOR time saver–$100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®! Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection® lets you visit more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting. You can love the lounge life with more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, enrollment required
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 10 Transcript

[00:00:00] Spencer: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Military Money Manual Podcast I'm your host Spencer. 

[00:00:05] Jamie: And I'm Jamie. 

[00:00:07] Spencer: And our goal on this podcast is to help you maximize your military paycheck. Both of us are investing for financial independence, and we want to share what we've learned about financial independence with you on this podcast.

Before we get started today, I just want to mention that podcast listeners can receive a special promotional discount on my new book, The Military Money Manual a Practical Guide to Financial Freedom. It's available my website, militarymoneymanual.com/book. if you go there, you can pre-order the book. It should be released, by Thanksgiving of 2021, and you get your promotion code PODCAST it's available on my website at militarymoneymanual.com/book.

Okay, today we are going to talk about The Platinum Card from American Express, and Jamie and I are both really excited to talk about this card with you, share some of the benefits, the features, how we first learned that the annual fees were waived for military.

Before we get started, just want to mention little disclaimer that everything we talk about today is current as of September 2021. The welcome offers we mention will change and they change very frequently.

The features and benefits of the card also change often; for the latest welcome offer features and benefits of the Platinum card or of any credit cards that you hear us talk about in the show, you can go to militarymoneymanual.com/amex. Okay, with that out of the way, Jamie, let's talk about the American Express Platinum Card.

[00:01:36] Jamie: I think the Amex Platinum card is a staple of anyone who started, doing credit card, travel hacking, especially for military members like we talked about before. There is a lot of benefits that we'll get into, but I'm kind of curious of why is Amex Platinum popular? How did you first hear about it and get into the platinum card? 

[00:01:53] Spencer: I was a young lieutenant; I'd been in my first duty station for only a couple months, and I was on a TDY, and we were going through the international airport in Amsterdam. This was one of my first times outside the country on military orders. And one of the guys had a platinum card and he said, hey, do you want to go into the airport lounge? And I was like, what do you mean? We are on economy tickets, there is no way they are going to let us in there. And he was like, no, I got a platinum card. And I was like, whoa, how the heck do you have that? At the time it was, $550 a year and he was an enlisted guy, and I didn't think he had a cryptocurrency business or a marijuana farm on the side. And sure enough, he was like, no, the fees waved on it, man, come on, I can let you in as a guest into the airport lounge. And I think I said no to it. And I was like, no, I'll just get a sandwich or something and ended up paying $12 for a hamburger.

And so sure enough, he and a bunch of other guys come back a couple hours later as we are waiting for our next flight, and they are all tipsy because they were having champagne in the airport lounge, and we talked a little bit about it at the time hey the Amex Platinum card is fee waived for military. And to me it sounded too good to be true, at the time I was very much, not anti-credit cards, but trying to simplify my financial life. I was reading a lot of Dave Ramsey, cutting down my card portfolio to at the time only had one card, compared to the 40 something cards I have now and, so it took me a couple years, to go back and research it and realize that sure enough, the American Express, they waived the annual fees. At the time they were waving it under the SCRA or the service members Civil Relief Act law. And nowadays, if you open the card while you are on active duty, they wave it under the Military Lending Act or MLA so that's how I first heard about it. And I didn't, also, didn't realize at the time that military spouses also get their fees waived. That took me, again, a couple years to realize that.

And then after that, I referred my wife for a card and I got the referral bonus, she got the welcome bonus for opening the card. And that's how we first learned that the Amex Platinum was, annual fee waived. How about, how about you, Jamie? What do you remember when you first learned about it? 

[00:04:02] Jamie: I have a list of all my cards and their opening dates, mostly so I can track my Chase 5/24 that we talked about before. But I opened the Amex Platinum, my first one, at the beginning of 2016. So, coming up on six years ago, which is probably about the time that you and I were stationed together for the first time. I don't have any specific memories, but I bet you were involved in getting me signed up for my first premium card. Because looking at the list of cards I have before that, none of them were, anything special. Early 2016, I probably ran into Spencer at work in the training office or something. He's like, hey, I'm the new guy, I have this website. You want to check it out? 

[00:04:43] Spencer: You want to check out these cards?

[00:04:45] Jamie: It's like the modern-day adult version of Pokémon cards or baseball card trading.

[00:04:49] Spencer: Exactly. Another story that cracked me up was when I realized that it wasn't just me that knew about the annual fee waiver. We were on a training exercise while we were stationed together that first time, and we were down in Gulfport, Louisiana, and the base that we were on had this janky bar and it was just Coors Light and Bud Light on tap, whatever they pour down in Louisiana.

And you could open a tab and behind the bar they had all the cards up that had tabs open and probably half of them were Amex platinum cards. And it was hilarious because it was all these military guys in the bar and everybody was opening a tab and everybody was putting on their Amex platinum card- which is actually of course being a travel hacker, I was like, oh, the Amex Gold Card you are going to get more points for it, but that fell on deaf ears. 

[00:05:34] Jamie: One thing I want to come back to is you mentioned about spouses can get their own cards. And we've talked about before how that doesn't just mean an additional or authorized user, right?

Spouses can have their very own account with their very own benefits, very own signup bonus. Can you talk a little bit more about that? And it seems to be something that comes up a lot too, a little bit of confusion on that.

[00:05:52] Spencer: I think some of the biggest confusion is A: people don't know about it, they think that only the active-duty service member gets their annual fees waived, but that's not true. And then, B: it used to be a lot more complicated. In some states, because they weren't community property states, you had to add the active-duty service member to the account as an authorized user, and then the spouse could get his or her annual fees waived. But nowadays that we have the Military Lending Act, if you go to the MLA database, and I'm just going to look that up really quick, it's mla.dmdc.osd.mill, or you can Google DOD MLA database. If you go into that database and you look up your spouse by their social security number, they just pull that data out of DEERS, the system that everybody has to list their dependence in. And if they are listed properly in DEERS with a social security number, it should say, this, this social security number is eligible for MLA benefits. And so, I always encourage everyone, hey, if you are really going to get into this military travel hacking game and you want to maximize the benefits, if you got a spouse -or as we like to call them in the lingo a player two- then go confirm that they are in fact in the MLA database.

And as long as they are, then they should get their fees waved and you can send them a referral link from your account, and then you can get the bonus for referring them. And, then they can get the welcome signup bonus from the referral length. And one other thing that I'll just mention really quick is, that you don't want to just go ahead and open up the card right when you open up the card, unless your natural spend can support the welcome bonuses. Because sometimes the welcome bonuses are a little high. So, I always encourage people to just be a little bit careful, with not getting in too deep and make sure that you time the welcome bonuses, and that your natural spend can meet the minimum spends, but we'll get into that in a little bit. 

[00:07:40] Jamie: You have heard us say before, and you will hear us say it probably every time we talk about the benefits of credit cards and travel hacking is that if you are going to not play this game by the rules and you are going to have credit card debt, high interest, credit card debt, then it's not worth even starting. If you make $25,000 a year and they are asking you to spend $6,000 in the first three months to get the 100,000 points or whatever the bonus might be at the time, you probably are not going to be able to do that without credit card debt unless you have something else going on in the background. So, just be careful with that. Like Spencer said, all the benefits are great, but if it pushes you outside of your current, spending level and your current, income of where you are spending, then it's not worth it. 

[00:08:21] Spencer: Right now, the American Express Platinum Card is offering a huge welcome bonus. But the spending minimum is pretty high, but you have a few months to meet it. To get into the details here on my website, you can get a 100,000 Amex membership reward points when you spend $6,000 in the first six months. So, if you break that down, that's $1,000 a month that you have to put on the card. For a lot of people that is sustainable. If you have a lifestyle where, you are spending maybe, $500 a month on groceries, you have some gas expenses that come up to a $100 $200 a month. For a lot of families and even for a lot of single people, $1,000 a month is a pretty easy bar to clear. I know for myself personally; I like to usually meet the minimum spend a month in advance. And so that way I'm not getting down to the wire and I don't have to figure out spending. Does the cutoff start when you open the account, when you apply for the account, when the card's delivered, when you activate the account? You don't have to mess with all that, you can just say, okay, from my application date, add six months to that and then subtract a month, and so I'm going to meet the minimum spend in five months. That's how I approach it. Do you have any tactics on, on meeting the minimum expense?

[00:09:37] Jamie: We just go all out on what we do; a lot of our stuff, including our charitable donations, is done via credit card. For example, we recently PCS like we mentioned before, so I had a backlog of donations to do, once we got settled in our new place. So, the last card we opened was a Schwab Platinum, for my wife. And we met the spending before the card was even delivered because they give you the temporary card number as soon as you are approved. So, it varies, but everything goes on that card, we both add it to our Apple Pay and whoever's card it is, carries it and we put as much as we can on there between groceries with three kids, gas bills, traveling or whatever else goes on, plus charitable donations. We have never had any problems, meeting them, as bad as that sounds. 

[00:10:22] Spencer: I know, but I think that's a really good point. Charitable donations, a lot of people don't think about that, but that's a way that you can support causes and religious organizations and you can support organizations financially, but you can still meet the minimum spend on your card and gain some benefit from your support. So, that's, I think that's an often-overlooked avenue of meeting the minimum spend. But again, I really want to encourage people don't get into this military travel hacking thing if credit card debt is an issue for you, if overspending is a problem that you have, this is not the place for you. Please turn off the podcast and go listen to one of our, nine principles of achieving financial independence that I, we covered earlier in the year. But the benefits, I think the benefits of military travel hacking outweigh the slight amount of work it takes just to keep track of the different bills and meeting the different minimum spends. I keep a spreadsheet to keep track of it, I know you do as well, and I think that's really the easiest way to do it. 

[00:11:19] Jamie: So, you mentioned right now the current bonus is a 100,000 membership reward points. Can you clarify a little bit, what is a membership reward point, that you get with this card and what's its value? How good is that a 100,000 membership reward points compared to pennies or dollars? 

[00:11:35] Spencer: American Express membership reward points is the currency that American Express issues, to encourage you to spend money on your credit card, if you want to get into the nitty gritty behind it, they will charge the merchant, say Target or Walmart, wherever you are going shopping, every time you swipe that credit card, depending on the rate that they've negotiated, 1%-3% of the total price you pay is going to the credit card company. Over billions and trillions of dollars of transactions, that adds up to a lot of money. To encourage you to swipe your Amex Platinum Card versus your Visa or MasterCard, the credit card companies have points. So, Chase has the ultimate reward points. Citi, thank you points, and for American Express, it's called membership reward points. There are a couple ways you can think about it, but typically, for Amex membership reward points, one Amex point is worth 2 cents. And if you use that conversion in your head, then you can pretty quickly see that a lot of these welcome bonuses are extremely valuable. For instance, 100,000 points, multiple a times 0.02 carry the one slide the decimal, over it's a 100,000 Amex membership reward points becomes worth $2,000 and that's a lot. 

[00:12:55] Jamie: For free, right?

[00:12:56] Spencer: For free. So, even if you were paying the annual fee of $695 in the civilian world, people still go and open up Amex Platinum cards because they are getting so many benefits from the card, especially in the first year. That's where you really get a lot of benefits, when you open up the card and you maximize the welcome bonus and the various spending categories and some of the benefits and features of the card is that first year. So, I would say 2 cents per Amex point, and the same for Chase ultimate rewards.

The other thing that I want people to think about is the credit card points, so the Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Amex membership reward points, they are the most flexible points. So, you can cash them out. From Chase, you can literally ask for a check and they will mail you a check for the value of your points. Now they value them at only 1 cent if you cash them out, whereas if you transfer them to a travel partner, say Hyatt or United, you could get more per point of value. So, on American Express, I think the lowest tier that I like to think about is using the points on Amazon. And I know that we have a good friend who will remain nameless-

[00:14:12] Jamie: We are going to just throw them under the bus.

[00:14:14] Spencer: He's under the bus, we are driving the bus -anonymously at least. – It'll be interesting to see if he listens to the podcast and notice, because he'll know who we are talking about. But on Amazon, you are going to get 0.70 cents per Amex point. So, if you think about it, if you had 100,000 Amex points and you are only getting 0.70 cents per point, then all of a sudden that bonus value drops a $700. That's a big difference from two, from $2,000. Two other valuations that I'll mention really quick are, if you use Amextravel.com, you can pay for the travel with points and you can get a penny per point. So, that's a pretty good value, all of a sudden that 100,000 points becomes worth $1,000. And that's something that you and I have done before to go stay at like the Four Seasons Lanai. I've used it for airfare and for hotels as well when it makes sense. On the Schwab Platinum card, which you mentioned earlier and is a different product -or in the lingo, in the biz, we like to say flavor of card- on the Schwab Platinum card, you can actually cash out your Amex membership reward points and put them into your Roth IRA or put them into your checking account or put them into a taxable brokerage account.

I know a lot of people who, they earn Amex membership reward points, and then they just deposit them straight into their Roth IRA and that's how they maximize their Roth IRA contributions every year. That's a great use of points right there. And it's not the optimal use of points, to be super optimal, you'd want to use points for travel and then just contribute your cash. Because you want to think of these points as currency and there is an exchange rate that's always going on in the background. And if you can get a better exchange rate, if you have a little bit of arbitrage and use these points in the most maximal faction, you can get a ton of value out of them. So, on Schwab, it's 1.10 cent per point. It used to be 1.25 cents, until just a couple weeks ago. And that was a really good deal. But now it's 1.10 cent. So, again, the 100,000 Amex membership award points would become worth $1,100, which is not insignificant.

[00:16:12] Jamie: Let the power of compound interest do its thing in your Schwab account. And we mentioned before, sometimes you can get really good redemptions. You mentioned, transferring your points Amex has certain travel partners and airlines, hotels you are allowed to transfer your points to. The best redemption I think you have seen was about 11 cents per point, when you transferred to ANA.

[00:16:33] Spencer: That was a crazy redemption. It was a round-trip, first-class ticket, two of them for me and my wife, from Honolulu to Tokyo. And, the cash value of the ticket was $27,000, but the Amex points I transferred to Ana was 240,000 Amex points. And so, if you do the math there, $27,000 divided by 240,000 Amex membership reward points. And then there was like $400 and $80 of taxes and fees. But the conversion comes out to 11 cents per point. So, all of a sudden, a 100,000 membership reward points is now worth $11,000 in travel. And that's just insane, you are spend, you are spending $6,000 on the card and you could earn $11,000 worth of travel. 

[00:17:19] Jamie: But it takes a little bit of work to find those really good deals. But when you hear that you could get 11%, or I'm sure someone's done better, but when you hear 11 cents per point, it makes it a little harder to justify using Amazon at 0.7 cents per point.

[00:17:37] Spencer: Definitely, and then one other thing I'll just mention really quick with the annual fee right now is $695 and the Military Lending Act, the way was written- this is just getting back to one of our earlier points- it was written specifically for military spouses and for the service member. So, I just want to make that clear that you are not cheating the system at all, the MLA specifically covers military spouses. And that was just a note I had here that I wanted to make sure that I got through. So, getting back to the membership award points. Have you had any good redemptions on those? Do you transfer to travel partners? I know the other thing too is, I think they've got 13 or 20 something travel partners.

[00:18:15] Jamie: There is a lot. I think the best value I've ever had was actually Chase transferring to Chris Flyer Singapore Airlines. And we flew out some friends of ours. So, I got three round trip tickets from Newark to Honolulu on United. And I don't remember the specific numbers, but it was dirt cheap compared to the cash price, of transferring to Chase. And in the future episode, we'll have to talk about that transferring because I had some lessons learned on that one, from transferring because that was the first time I really did a big transfer to an international, partner airline. 

[00:18:47] Spencer: You definitely want to do your research ahead of time. The first time I did it, I actually hired a company to help walk me through it and it cost $150 per traveler. So, there is a little bit of money there, but it helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my points and how I wanted to transfer them. 

[00:19:03] Jamie: It takes a little bit of research for sure. You want to start going into more of the benefits here. So, I'll just start going down the list and just interrupt or wave if you want me to stop and highlight any of those, if that works. When we are talking about Amex benefits, we are going to go into some of the point earning benefits, so if you book a flight on Amextravel.com, like Spencer mentioned that before, you are going to get 5x points. Another way to get 5x points. So, that's five membership rewards points per dollar is on Amex travel's prepaid hotels. Anything you want to add on those two? Those are pretty good earning potentials. 

[00:19:35] Spencer: The other one is not only on Amextravel.com, but also if you book directly through the airline’s website. You go to aa.com for American Airlines or united.com, and you book directly through them and not through Priceline or Kayak or any of those sites, then you can earn the 5x points. And for a long time, that's been the way that I booked all my flights is going directly. I'll use Google Flights to find the flight and then I'll go directly to the airlines website and then I'll book directly through the airline and use my American Express Platinum card. That's how I've run that.

[00:20:10] Jamie: I think 5x of membership reward points is probably the best card to use for airfare and travel that's my go to for travel some of them may come close at least, any thoughts on that?

[00:20:22] Spencer: On the Chase Sapphire Reserve now I believe that they've introduced 5x points if you book through the Chase travel portal with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I'll have to look into that on airfare. And then I think it's even 10x points on hotels book through the travel portal. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, we'll cover that in a later episode, but that's another powerhouse card that every military travel hacker should have in their wallet.

[00:20:43] Jamie: For sure. One other quick note about, Amex Travel, the website is, it's hit or miss on whether it's worth your time. Recently, the last five or six tickets I've bought, not just for myself but for other relatives traveling, have been a little bit cheaper on the Amex Travel website. Last night I booked two tickets, for cousins, who don't have an Amex card. And it was $30 per ticket cheaper than what American Airlines website was showing. Same ticket, same class of seats, economy seats and everything. And they saved $60 just because I booked it on Amextravel.com versus aa.com or Priceline. So, you might save a little bit of money on the website too, so don't rule it out, do your research.

[00:21:23] Spencer: $60 on a round-trip, cross-country ticket, that could be 10%, 20% of the total price of the ticket. The other thing I learned about recently was, insider fairs on Amextravel.com, I don't know if you have seen any of these, but I think you have to use your Amex membership reward points to book the fair. But a lot of times the fairs are heavily discounted, 10%, 20%, 30% off what you'd find on Google Flights. I was always of the opinion use Google Flights and then book directly through the airline. But I'm finding now that there are some little tips and tricks, especially to Amextravel.com and the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal as well, that you can end up saving a lot of money. 

[00:22:01] Jamie: The generic earnings on the card are just one point per dollar on pretty much everything else that we haven't mentioned yet. So, you go to the grocery store, you go to a restaurant, you spend 50 or a hundred bucks, you are going to get one membership reward point per dollar that you spend unless it's in one of those special categories that we talked about before. Also, right now on the welcome bonus, one of the things that they are currently offering is for your first six months, you can get 10x points at restaurants, in your first six months. That can be a big benefit as well. And I think that one's up to $25,000. And if you are spending $25,000 or more in a restaurant in six months, please be my friend, I would like to hang out with you more. 

[00:22:39] Spencer: Don't tempt me with a good time, I'll try it.

[00:22:43] Jamie: All right. The Amex, platinum card also has a bunch of benefits that have an actual dollar amount assigned. So, start getting into those now. The first one is a $200 annual hotel credit for the fine hotel and resorts, or the hotel collection. That's wordy there, but $200 hotel credit, how can we use that and take advantage of that free $200?

[00:23:02] Spencer: So, the, big caveat on that one is it has to be booked through Amextravel.com, it has to be booked through the Amex Travel portal. But the nice thing with the fine hotels and resorts is that as an Amex Platinum card holder, you usually get a lot of really nice benefits. We are talking about early check-in, 4:00 PM late checkout, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, which is, whatever. There is a lot of things that you get by being an Amex Platinum card holder and then staying at a fine hotel and resort. Or FHR as you will see sometimes written online now. So, you get $200 per one night stay at an FHR, but it's $100 per one night at a hotel collection. So, you'd have to actually end up booking, I think two nights at a hotel collection property to get the full $200 credit. But I think this is a great benefit we actually just used it. My wife and I are going back to the Sensei Lanai once again, it'll be our fourth time in a year. 

[00:23:58] Jamie: Think you are getting a little addicted. You might have an intervention coming your way. 

[00:24:04] Spencer: Maybe a little excessive, but it's a great escape from the bustling metropolis of Oahu. We love hopping over there, we just use her annex platinum card to book since Alon I in February next year. And because it's a fine hotel and resort, we got the $200 credit was applied within three or four days of booking. Right there, $200 a year essentially of value from holding Amex Platinum Card, yes, you have to buy something to get the value. But a lot of these hotels, FHR are really nice hotels and, staying there for a night can be a really special, vacation or really special treat for you, your family or you and your spouse.

[00:24:41] Jamie: One other “got you” on this credit is it has to be prepaid bookings as well. So, they might still have a cancellation policy like one or two days prior to check in. You have to pay the Amex travel website. It can't be something you reserve and then pay at the front desk at check in. So, a couple “got you” there again, do your research, review the terms and conditions. But there are some really nice hotels in that collection. We recently booked a hotel that we end up having to cancel, but we used our Amex travel credit, and they'd given us the $200 back and refunded our stay. So, I'm curious of what they are going to do, if they are then going to recognize that it, it was just this week, are they going to claw back the $200 or we just apply that to our next trip? There has been kind of a huge sway online. All right, the next dollar amount, benefit here is a $240 per year, digital entertainment credit, that covers things like a Peacock TV app subscription, audible subscriptions, New York Times, or serious satellite radio. And that's broken down into $20 per month credit. We both take advantage of this, my wife and I, and these benefits as well as are per card, so if I have a card, my wife has a card, I have Schwab Platinum or a different flavor, she has Schwab platinum of different flavor. Each card comes with these benefits, so I have Audible, my wife has Audible, hers also has Peacock on it. How do you guys use this benefit? 

[00:25:58] Spencer: So, I actually, subscribe to the New York Times primarily for their crossword puzzle. They have a really good crossword puzzle app I, but my wife loves it as well, it's something that we work on together. One thing you have really have to be careful about with the subscription model of service is for years, the New York Times has been $14 a month for me. And just last month they emailed me, and they were like, we are increasing it to $30 a month. And it's like, are you kidding me, you are doubling it overnight? I was going to go in and cancel it and try to get a discount, and then I realized it's on my Amex platinum card and I'm getting the $20 credit. So, really, I'm only paying $10 a month for it. 

[00:26:36] Jamie: So, that's probably why they did it.

[00:26:37] Spencer: I know. I'm probably still going to shoot them a message and see if I can get a discounted rate. But I think that's a great benefit right there. And then the other one, which I totally forgot about was Audible and I haven't put my platinum card on there, so I need to go do that after this podcast.

[00:26:52] Jamie: Well, you are welcome for that. 

[00:26:54] Spencer: Yes, thank you. You just saved me $14.99.

[00:26:56] Jamie: So, I'll take my, commission check next time I see you.

[00:26:59] Spencer: I will send it straight through. 

[00:27:02] Jamie: Another great benefit is $200 in Uber Credit it also comes with Uber VIP status. This one comes in $15 per month that you can use for either Uber rides or in the Uber Eats app. And it also in December goes up to $35 only in December. So, it's $15 a month every month, except for December's $35. So, do you guys use this benefit, how do you use this one? This one's pretty good, I think. 

[00:27:26] Spencer: This is a great one and, it's per account. So, between my wife and I think we have eight Amex platinum cards now. All of them, annual fee waived, none of them with credit card debt on them. And we are getting $15 a month of, of benefit off that. So, that's $120 every month of Uber credit. It's just me and my wife, so when we go out to eat, it's not that expensive, but if we do pick up -we'll order ahead on Uber Eats and then go pick it up- which has become really popular during these COVID times. We can get three or four solid good meals out of it. And that's almost 10% of our dinner budget right there. And if we are traveling it's so nice, we went to, Atlanta back in June, we landed at, Atlanta International Airport, Hartsfield Jackson there, opened up the Uber app and I was like, oh, shoot, I got $100 of Uber credits. We are not going to train to the hotel, we are just going to Uber and it's free. In December, it's crazy, we are getting $35 per car times eight cards, that's $280. A lot of times when we were overseas as well, – this is a little trick- like when we were in, Abu Dhabi stationed over in the United Arab Emirates, we used to, just text family and friends back home and say, hey, can we send you some food from Uber? And especially the poor college students in my family were like, yes, please I'll take a burrito. And that was a great way to connect with family, while my wife and I were stationed overseas.

 And so, I encourage people to not let those credits go to waste. But how about you, Jamie? You guys use it for food primarily or for the travel primarily? 

[00:28:58] Jamie: Primarily food right now. When I was actively flying, a lot of times we'd land, somewhere and need, an Uber to the airport or to the hotel. So, I would find myself using it a lot for that. But now mostly Uber Eats, we'll grab something. I like doing the pickup, I love that, and just run in and grab it. We use it primarily for free pickup and to-go meals. All right, the next one is a little more nuanced. The $200 airline fee credit per year, -and all these benefits, unless we mention otherwise, by the way, are calendar year, so January to December. I don't believe anything with Amex is per card anniversary, but if you think of something, correct me, but I think they are all January to December. 

[00:29:37] Spencer: That's correct. Everything that we mentioned on the Amex platinum card is that way. So, many of the hotel cards are, account anniversary to account anniversary, but all the benefits we've mentioned so far in the Amex platinum card are calendar year based. So, the $200 airline fee credit, this is a tricky one sometimes to use. It's not supposed to be for tickets, it's supposed to be for incidentals or, sometimes upgrades count. So, if you are in economy and you go to up to a premium economy, they might, you might get a refund for that, but it's hit or miss, and you have to dig into the data points online and see what's going to be actually reimbursed and what's not. One thing -we are living in Hawaii right now- that's been really good for us, and I think this was a trick that you taught me, was you can book Southwest tickets and as long as they are under $100 and that's $100 for the ticket, so you can add the $15 early bird check-in, if it's under $100. It reimburses on the Amex Platinum card. 

[00:30:31] Jamie: As of now. And it's not like I'm going in and saying, I'm disputing this charge. The system is just saying, this must be a fee from an airline, and so we are going to reimburse it. There is lots of data points out there on this one, this is definitely one you want to do a little bit of research. You may accept a little bit of risk if you push the boundaries like Spencer mentioned. It's intended for things like baggage fees, seat assignment fees, and those incidental expenses, things like that. It's not intended to cover an upgrade to first class, a portion of your ticket, and charges such as that. There are tricks where you will find data points online of people tricking the system into doing that. If you do that, recognize. If the system doesn't pay you for it, then you are on your own, you can't call them and complain and say, well, my buddy got upgraded to first class and you covered that, it doesn't work like that. You have to understand that there are boundaries there, and some people get lucky when they push the boundaries, other people don't.

[00:31:26] Spencer: I think the biggest thing there is just go into it with the expectation that you are not going to get it reimbursed. And flyer talk forum is a really good one for some data points. There is some subreddits where people talk about, hey, I charged this to the card I was flying on United. The other thing that's tricky with the airline fee credit is you have to select the airline; I think in the first 30 days of the year.

[00:31:48] Jamie: In January. 

[00:31:49] Spencer: And then you are allowed to switch. I'll give props to Amex customer service department because maybe last year I had American Airlines and then this year I want to switch the car to Southwest and I just forgot to do it in January, well, junior July rolls around it and especially as long as you haven't used any of the credit yet, it's much easier to switch And, I just go to Americanexpress.com, start a little chat with the customer service rep in the bottom right hand corner there and I say, it's this card ending in these five digits, can I please switch it to Southwest? And, they say just a moment and they say, Yep, we are happy to help, and then they do it. Little bit more of a pain in the bud and a little bit trickier than maybe it should be. But the airline fee credit -especially compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit, which is just so easy to use. And basically, anything travels related accounts. And this year because of COVID, gas and groceries count. This is one of those benefits that I think is just too much of a pain to use and I really hope Amex thinks about how they can improve this benefit.

[00:32:48] Jamie: Another important point you mentioned there is some of these benefits that we are talking about require enrollment on your account before you use them so be sure when you activate your account and you are on there, you go under the benefits tab and there may be an enroll button. If you don't enroll before you use the benefit, you are not going to get the credit for the benefit. So, pay attention to that. And some of these do require enrollment. Alright, the next benefit, I think is one of your favorites, so I'm just going to pass it to you and let you talk about Saks fifth Avenue. 

[00:33:19] Spencer: All right, Saks Fifth Avenue. So, I thought this was the dumbest benefit when I first heard about it, I was like, there is no way I'm going to be able to use any of that. But essentially what it is, it's $100 a year and you get $50 from January to June, $50 from July to December. And you can go into any Saks Fifth Avenue, not Saks off Fifth, it has to be a flagship Saks Fifth Avenue or I'm pretty sure Saks.com works as well, but you can't go Saksofffith.com, and you can buy anything you want with your Amex Platinum card and $50 of it will be refunded to you as a credit. So, this is the $100 Saks Fifth Avenue Amex Platinum benefit. And now that I've got eight of these Amex Platinum cards, every, six months, I get to go to Saks Fifth Avenue in Honolulu and get a $400 gift card. So, the ladies in the perfume department pretty much know me by name now. And I just walk up with my -and it's not just me, I know there is a couple of other travel hackers on the island of Oahu who also go there, Military guys with a stack of platinum cards. And at first, I used to buy $50 gift cards one on each card and then it would reimburse, so I would get $400 of Saks gift cards in eight different $50 gift cards. But then learned that you can just get one big gift card and they can do a split transaction and they swipe eight different cards, and they hand you a $400 gift card. It really has become a look forward to tradition in the Reese family household where I go in early, January or early July, I go to Saks with my stack of Amex Platinum cards.

I get a $400 gift card and I hand it to my wife, and she loves it, and she gets to go to Saks.com and shop for her high fashion. And a lot of times she'll buy something and because the Amex card also has Shop Runner benefit. And so, she'll get like free two-day shipping and then if she doesn't like the thing, it's a free return. So, that $400 goes a long way. And a lot of times she doesn't even spend all of it by the time the next one rolls around. You can get some great soaps and shampoos and candles-

[00:35:33] Jamie: More cashmere sweaters. 

[00:35:35] Spencer: Oh, that's true. We can talk about my cashmere sweater as well, but, no, that I do really enjoy my Saks Fifth avenue credit. And first I thought it was the silliest thing and now I'm fully a believer, and I get some really nice stuff, new cashmere product every year. 

[00:35:50] Jamie: So, I think if you gave me $800 a year at pretty much any store, I could become a fan of shopping there. But this is another one where you have to learn the hard way is one time, we bought this, it was like $27 for some face sunscreen. We've gone a little bit the opposite. We don't have quite the same number of platinum cards. So, we will typically go and filter the website by cheapest items, and they will have, a pair of socks for $17. And eventually we'll find something that we can get the kids for birthday or Christmas gift. But we got this sunscreen one time, I think it was like $27.99, and we are like, we use sunscreen all the time. We lived in Hawaii at the time, and it came, and it was like 0.5 ounces of this little, tiny thing, I was like, man, I'm so glad this is free. Saks sells Dyson hair blow dryers, which are incredible. Which my wife first got hooked on at the Four Seasons Lanai that we mentioned earlier. And then there is lots of makeup and clothing and so there is a little bit of everything there, but again, this credit is $50 between January and June and then $50 between July and December. So, $100 a year just split up in that six-month increment. Alright, you were really excited about that one got me fired up. Just feeding off your emotions of talking about Saks now. The next benefit is the Centurion lounge access. Amex has a network of lounges, that you can use and there are two lounge benefits on this card.

The Amex lounges, the Centurion lounges are Amex basically branded and operated lounges in airports. And then there is also a Priority pass benefit, which is a network of lounges that Amex basically subscribes to that you can use. So, talk a little bit about Centurion lounges and then priority pass benefits as well. 

[00:37:29] Spencer: The Centurion Lounge primarily in the States. I think they have a couple overseas now, like maybe Hong Kong.

[00:37:35] Jamie: I think there is one like Cancun.

[00:37:36] Spencer: But unfortunately, because everybody and their mother is an Amex platinum card holder in the military, a lot of them are oversubscribed I would say, so the centurion lounges, I that I've seen, especially just before the COVID travel slow down. And I'll be honest, I haven't been in a Centurion lounge in two or three years now, but a lot of them you can't enter it until three hours before your flight. If they have a massage service, you have to book in advance, if they have hot food, the options aren't that great. Honestly, if you can find an empty or a pretty quiet Centurion Lounge, they are really nice. It's so nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a big airport, and just step into a more quiet, refined environment, with some comfy chairs accessible power outlets so you can charge your devices. If you are traveling with kids, sometimes there is a little play area that they can go run around in, which is nice. So, Centurion Lounge is a great benefit and a lot of times they got free food, free drinks. Depending on if you are traveling for vacation and you want to have a cocktail or if you are traveling for work and you want to have a cocktail as you go.

But it is a really nice benefit and I think they are doing a lot of things to improve the network and improve the lounges. For Priority Pass, especially overseas I've had a lot of good luck with Priority Pass. It's pretty expensive, the way that the Amex Platinum works, I think it's a $300 or $400 a year the priority pass level that you get with the Amex Platinum. That's what you'd have to pay if you went out and just bought it. And you get access to, I think right now the network is like 1,200 or 1,300 lounges across the world. And a lot of them are the business class or the first-class lounge of either smaller airlines that, just need to drum up some more business, or they are just specific branded Priority Pass lounge – they are not branded Priority Pass, but they have different brands. Another great benefit too that they are doing a lot of airports is you can use the past to get food. So, there was this restaurant in, I think Gatwick or London Heathrow that when we lived In the Middle East, we always ended up connecting through London somehow. And there was this one like Burger Shack and it was a $30 or $40 credit that you could get. I had a priority pass, and my wife had a priority pass because we both have Amex platinum cards and we would get a complete lunch for free with a main meal, a drink, a side, dessert. And you just hand them the priority pass and they swipe it; they hand you the check and the balance is zero. So, it can really save you a lot of money if you are traveling frequently, or if you are overseas like I said, the Priority Pass network was a really nice benefit of the Amex Platinum card. Have you used any of the priority pass lounges?

[00:40:18] Jamie: There is a couple in the Honolulu airport. They are not great there, but we've used them just to have somewhere to sit and to hang out for a little bit, in Honolulu specifically, its trinkets, but we've used several of the priority passes over the years as well. One more recent change, I think this was maybe a year or so ago, Amex Priority Pass membership stopped providing the meal options at most of the lounges, if not all of them. So, now your Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass still covers those. So, if you are like us, we probably have 19 different Priority Pass memberships. So, make sure you have the one that's linked to your Chase Sapphire Reserve, that one's going to give you a little bit more bang for your buck because Amex cut the benefit about a year ago or so. 

[00:41:00] Spencer: I screwed that up, I remember I opened up a priority pass, account through my Hilton Honors Aspire card, and it was one of the tiers that you didn't get some lounge access or some food benefit or something. And I used it accidentally at a priority pass once, and I ended up getting like a $30 charge. And I was like, what is this? And it was because I used the wrong priority pass. So, one of my techniques for Priority Pass is I don't sign up. Any of the benefits on any of the cards except whichever one is offering the best benefits. And I think you are right. I think right now it's the Chase Sapphire Reserve has the highest tier Priority Pass membership that you get for free. And so, I've signed up my wife and I through the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but we are not doing the Amex Platinum because like you said, they removed the food credit.

[00:41:47] Jamie: And another quick, note about lounge access is as a Platinum Card member, say you are flying on a Delta flight, you can get into the Delta Lounge, the Delta Sky Clubs, if you are a Platinum Card member on a Delta ticket, if you go into your Amex app and you look under membership in the middle, and then there is a find an airport lounge button, Amex, in the last year or two, bought the company Lounge buddy. So, they basically use that lounge buddy service to show you what lounges you can get into, and it has guest policies. Centurion lounge is clamping down on guests like you mentioned Spencer, because the lounges are so busy and overcrowded. So, I think in 2023 you are going to see a big clamp down on guest policy. But if you look in the app, it'll tell you, what the lounge availability is, their hours and their guest policy. Okay, so lounge benefits. The next one I want to hit on briefly is the Clear credit. This is a new one that just came out a few months ago and you can get reimbursed for Clear $179 subscription with your Amex Platinum card.

Clear is not like TSA precheck. All that it does is it validates who you are and brings you to the front of the security line. Anything to add on that one?

[00:42:59] Spencer: No, I haven't used it, but it is a good benefit, especially if you are going through an airport that has clear-

[00:43:04] Jamie: Only some of them do.

[00:43:05] Spencer: That's right. But like you said, I think you just get to skip to the front of the line, and you still have to go through TSA. But it's in addition to, TSA pre-check or global entry, -which, good Segway right there. So, let's talk about that next. I actually just re-upped my global entry, it was going to expire next year, I was eligible to re-up it and I had a card where I hadn't used the credit. You can just Google Customs and Border Protection or USCIS global entry and fill out the little application on their website there and then when you go to -this one confused me a little bit. So, I want to get the word out there, but you don't have to enroll for the benefit. So, all you have to do is charge it to your Amex Platinum card, and as long as you haven't used the benefit in the last four years, then it will automatically reimburse. And sure enough, three days later I got $100 credit for US custom support of protection. And what it allows you to do with the global entry is you get a known traveler number. 

You have to fill out this application, say what jobs you have had, where you have lived and stuff, and they run a quick background check on you and, you pay $100 and then you get a little card, with your face on it. And it has a known traveler number on the back. And when you fly internationally, back into the United States, you can add the known traveler number to your ticket, and then you just go to the global entry line at the airport you come back through and you get to skip a lot of the reentry process, and it's a really great benefit. When we lived overseas, we used it all the time. And I'll tell you what, sometimes coming back into JFK, middle of the day, in New York City the customs line might be three or four hours long. And if you are global entry though, you are out there in 20 minutes. So, it's huge benefit a lot of it is computerized too, so you just tap, no, no, no, I'm not carrying drugs. I'm not carrying weapons on the screen. And then you get this little ticket that prints out, you bring it to the customs agent, and they stamp your passport, and you are away.

And green card holders can get it to, you don't need to be a US citizen, so you can be a permanent resident of the US and get global entry as well. And what that also allows you to do is get the TSA pre-check, and that's $85 -so you can also get that credit as well, but it's an either or, so you either get the global entry or the TSA precheck, but for military service members, you get TSA precheck with your DODID number. So, if you are going to sign up and you are going to use the benefit, I highly recommend that you do the global entry. 

[00:45:24] Jamie: Nice. And TSA pre-check, just if anyone doesn't know that does help expedite your security, you don't have to take off your shoes, you don't have to take your laptop out of your bag. So, if you are only doing domestic travel, TSA, pre-check, or for a spouse or someone else, relative, or kid that doesn't have a known travel ID from the DOID number, TSA precheck may be a good benefit. The next one is weird. Neither of us can really take advantage of this, maybe a little bit of a niche, benefit, $300 towards Equinox, which is a high-end gym, in New York City and places like that. I have no data points of anyone that I know using this benefit. It can't be redeemed for clothing or anything like that. It's straight for your membership, which is way more expensive than this would be. So, even if you were in New York City for one day, it's probably not worth taking advantage of this one, for the average military member, have you heard anyone using it?

[00:46:14] Spencer: No. No data points on the Equinox credit. Even people who live in New York and use Equinox, they say it's pretty useless.

[00:46:20] Jamie: And this is brand new too, maybe they will reevaluate the benefit that maybe they have enough people that are using it. I don't know.

[00:46:27] Spencer: It'd be nice if it was just a general fitness credit, and you could use it towards Peloton membership or maybe Strava, there is tons of fitness apps out there. They just made it more generic, kind of like the entertainment credit. And made it a $20 a month fitness credit that would be really good marketing too, because they could be promoting health and wellness. So, there is an idea for you Amex.

[00:46:45] Jamie: For all the Amex top corner suite executives, listen to our podcast. Make sure you write something down. All right, another couple unique benefits of the Amex, platinum card. It does have cell phone protection, on the card, which is a newer benefit as well. If you pay your cell phone bill with your Amex card, if your phone is damaged or stolen up to $800 with a $50 deductible, and that's up to two times per 12-month period. So, that's pretty straightforward. And that's kind nice to save you some money from Apple Care or buying it through Verizon or wherever else you do it. You just have to pay with your Amex Platinum.

[00:47:21] Spencer: That's a real nice benefit. 

[00:47:23] Jamie: The next one, the platinum concierge. This is one that can be really awesome but is a little bit overwhelmed. Like the lounge system right now, they are just struggling to keep up with the demand. Recently it has switched to only being available over the phone. And there has been lots of data points of really, really long wait times, like several hours to get ahold of someone. I'm going to a new city I want the nicest restaurant for my wife's anniversary or birthday, and the concierge will go find that for you. What you can still do is if you are patient in enough, if say there is a restaurant you really want or some show that you really want to get into, sometimes just by them calling and saying they are from the platinum concierge, they may be able to get you to the top of the wait list or cancellation list. I've used concierge a couple times, but they didn't do anything groundbreaking for me and I had to wait so long to get ahold of them and then get a resolution that I'd rather just take care of it myself has been my experience. Have you had any stories for concierge? 

[00:48:17] Spencer: No, I've never used it personally. I like going out and booking things myself anyways. But I have seen some data points online that it was a great benefit 10 or 20 years ago, especially before we had ubiquitous cell phones everywhere. But now it's, like you said, it's been overwhelmed and it's not as good as a benefit as it used to be. One benefit that is pretty valuable though is, the various statuses that you get at some, travel partner companies. So, let's, let's talk about those real quick with, the Marriott, Hilton, and some rental car companies. 

[00:48:51] Jamie: So, like you mentioned, just by being a platinum cardholder, once you get your account set up, you just have to link your account. For example, with Marriott, by being a platinum cardholder, you get Marriott's Gold Elite status. And you just have to basically go in and give Amex your Marriott, Bonvoy account number, and then your Bonvoy account will get updated to Gold Elite. At Hilton, if you get the Hilton Aspire card, you can get the diamond status for free, which is their top tier. So, gold is better than nothing. And if you only have one card, it's, there is still benefits, you get extra points, you get potential upgrades, some properties will give you free breakfast or meal credits at gold level. So, it's definitely worth your time to link your accounts just to get these benefits if nothing else, is there for you. And then with the rental car companies for Hertz, you can get Gold plus rewards for Avis, you can get preferred status and national, you can get the Emerald Club executive. For those I'd say, now that I have a Hilton Aspire card and a Marriott card, the one that I use the most of these personally is Hertz, so I've gotten up to Hertz five star in President's Circle, the last few years. Nice. Which is literally walk in and get any of the top cars you want and just drive off in five minutes and no lines. So, that's been a really nice one for me. Any of these stand out to you or that you guys have used a lot?

[00:50:04] Spencer: No, with the Hilton Aspire card you get Diamond, that one's a pretty easy kill right there. With the Marriott, I've been silver or higher status there for over five years now, so I'm only 50 nights away from getting lifetime silver status. And some of that was, with the Marriott and the SPG card when that used to be a thing, but now with the Marriott Bonvoy card, I must have gold elite status through that. And then, but if you didn't have that card, then you'd have the gold lease status or the platinum card. So, for the Hilton, I recommend you get the Aspire card and for the Marriott, there is definitely advantages to getting the Marriott card. But in the meantime, you can start building your status with these companies by adding your bonvoy number, your Hilton number to your Amex account.

[00:50:48] Jamie: I think the first time you get, an upgrade, even if it's from a city view to a partial ocean view or whatever, the first time that happens is you are like, Ooh, I'm like a grownup, now I have to upgrade. I had booked a twin bed and they gave me a double bed instead. Ooh, exotic. The first of many hopefully upgrades in your future. 

[00:51:10] Spencer: Once you start seeing like sweet level though, or you start staying at some, even like TDY sometimes you stay overseas, you will stay at some pretty swanky Hilton or Marriott’s and a lot of times overseas, like they don't get, a lot of diamond members. So, you do get those sweet upgrades. I love staying at hotels overseas, in the States it's always hit or miss, is the place going to be a dump or is it going to be nice? But usually if they are carrying a US brand overseas, it just seems like the staff cares about a little bit more and the quality of the hotel resort is definitely up there.

[00:51:43] Jamie: For sure, I would agree. The status seems to mean a little bit more overseas. So, another interesting point where the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a little bit better than the Amex Platinum is the rental car insurance. So, if you book a rental car, reservation with your Amex Platinum card, the Amex Platinum comes with secondary rental car insurance coverage, and they charge you extra. You can subscribe to a primary rental car coverage with Amex. So,, what that means is if you have your insured by Geico or USAA, that insurance is going to take over primary and Amex would only step in to cover anything that's not covered by your policy, so if your policy was for $30,000 and you were renting a $50,000 car, then Amex could come in and cover the rest, whereas the Chase Sapphire reserve has primary rental car insurance. So, that's going to be really nice is you could use your credit card Chase benefit as the primary on your rental car. So, if you are renting a car, pay attention to that. I would recommend if you have the Sapphire Reserve, just use a Sapphire Reserve for all rental car reservations. Anything to add on rental cars? 

[00:52:44] Spencer: No, just like you said, the CSR is definitely -I think even the CSP the Chase Sapphire preferred has primary rental car insurance- so this is one area where Amex falls a little bit short. It's not nothing. If you don't have, any of the Chase cards, you can use your Amex Platinum card and at least get that secondary rental car insurance and that should cover you in the event that anything happens. But a couple other things, a couple other insurance policies that the Amex Platinum offers is for travel insurance. So, they have a trip delay, benefit, trip cancellation, lost luggage. You want to go into details about those? 

[00:53:21] Jamie: So, I would definitely recommend reviewing the terms and conditions on these, but you have to put all the expenses of your trip on this card. For example, trip delay, lost luggage obviously your airfare in this case or whatever ticket would need to be on the Amex Platinum card. And they have different nuances, some cards, I forget exactly what the platinum is, some are 90 days, some are 120 days. So, me of these benefits, some are six hours, some are 12 hours of delay. It's for covered reasons, so the Amex platinum isn't going to cover if you change your mind about going to the beach next weekend. It would have to be like things like the airline cancels because of a strike, or something weird like that, not just you are choosing not to go on your trip. But trip delay, trip cancellation, lost luggage. Another one that I've used se several times is a weird benefit, is the return protection. So, within 90 days of purchase, again, if you put the purchase on your Amex platinum card. If the store will not accept a return, you can submit a claim to Amex, and they will give you the money back. It's just a page or two. You turn in the receipt; you explain why they won't take it back. This store has a 14-day return policy or 30-day return policy, things like that.

They do say, it has to be in new unused condition, so you can't go get a kayak and then Dick's Sporting Goods won't let me return it anymore. So, again, there is boundaries, for all these benefits that you have to play within. And similar with purchase protection as well. And that's also 90 days, so loss, broken or stolen, you get a new iPhone and within 90 days of purchase it gets stolen, lost, broken. They will provide coverage for that if the purchase was done on your Amex Platinum card.

[00:54:51] Spencer: Those are some great benefits that a lot of people often overlook. And I think it can definitely be worth your while to look at the full benefits package when you receive your card in the mail and see what things that are going to protect you while you are traveling or while you are purchasing things online.

[00:55:08] Jamie: Nice. So, I have a couple questions here. We talked about a few, things before we close out. It's been a while, I know, so we don't want to lose too many people. Just two quick questions for you. What's one thing that you wish Amex would change about the benefits or the stuff on the card, is the first question. The second question is, what do you think is the most underrated or underused, benefit of the card? What's one thing you want changed? 

[00:55:31] Spencer: I would say the airline fee credit, I think if they could change that to a travel credit there would be no question that it's superior to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Whenever somebody asks me hey, which card like Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve? I'm always like, why not both? If you could only pick one, even only picking one is tough. But the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great travel credit card and it's just so easy to use. And the Amex Platinum Card really dominated the market for years and years, and now they have some competition, so I think they added a lot more benefits, but like the $300 Equinox credit, most military people can't use that. So, I think if they could simplify the airline fee credit and maybe even roll it into the hotel credit. So, make it a $400 travel credit and right there you are smashing the Chase Sapphire reserve. So, that would be the one thing, I would change there. In terms of the most overlooked benefit, -and I'm going to turn it over to you to an answer both these questions as well- I think it's the Saks credit, I'm always going on and on about it.

People at work think I'm crazy, but, especially once you start stacking the cards up, if you get four or five Amex platinum cards and now you are getting $500 a year of Saks credit, man, you can buy a really nice cash from your sweater for $500. I think the Saks credit is definitely underused. And a lot of single guys are like, why would I ever use a Saks credit? Dude, you still need to buy underwear and socks. And I'll tell you where they have really nice underwear and socks, is Saks, so even if you are single, if you are listened to this and you are like, I would never use that benefit, I urge you to not let it slide by. Go to Saks, take your girlfriend, take your mom. But you can really max that benefit. And even if you don't like any of the stuff, buy gifts or give people gift cards. And I will say that I think the terms and conditions do prohibit buying Saks gift cards. Right now, I know as of, September 2021 that trick is still working, but it may turn off sometime in the future. So, just check for recent data points on my website, militarymoneymanual.com or just Google, for the Amex Saks data points, Reddit or flyer are usually pretty good. So, turn it over to you to, to answer these questions. 

[00:57:35] Jamie: Just really quick, I'll answer them in a second. For Saks it definitely will not work if you try to buy gift cards online, so don't even bother. A hundred percent data points say that won't work, so don't even bother trying that online. Okay. So, my answer is I would agree the airline credit needs to be a more generic travel credit. But I have two other ones, I wish -you mentioned before on Chase you can redeem for 1.5 cents per point on Chasetravel.com. I wish Amex had another benefit like that on Amextravel.com, where you got a little bit more incentive to book at their website. Second thing is, I wish that they are entertainment credit for $20 a month, was a little less restrictive. I think it should include Netflix or Spotify or something like that, versus just Peacock, Audible New York Times in Sirius XM. And then for the most underrated benefit, I like using some of the shopping benefits, like the return projection, extended warranty, and stuff like that. But I think I will have to agree with you as much as it pains me that Saks is probably the most undervalued, underrated benefit of the card. Because at first, I was like, I'm never going to need anything from this fancy swanky store, I've never shopped at Saks my life before getting the platinum card. 

[00:58:44] Spencer: I think one day we should have a military money manual conference, somewhere and all of us can, show up wearing our cashmere sweaters that we purchase at Saks with our $100 Amex platinum credit. That's how we'll know that you are going to the conference if you are dressed to the Tee in Saks Fifth Avenue. That was a really good review of all the benefits of the Amex Platinum card. Anything else? You want me to wrap it up? 

[00:59:07] Jamie: No, let's to wrap it up. 

[00:59:10] Spencer: All right. I just want to share really quick on my website. I broke the news really, 2012, 2013, right after I learned that the Amex platinum card was annual fee waived. I put a post-up on my website and the points guy didn't have it, upgradedpoints.com didn't exist, none of the big credit card blogs even, some of them existed, but nobody ever covered the military fee benefits. And I put the post up well before anybody else. And because of that, I got a lot of Google traffic people come into my site and a lot of people shared, success stories. And at the time because of SCRA people had cards that they'd opened up years ago and they were just now, applying for SCRA. And then Amex was not only. Waving their annual fees, but they were refunding them all the fees that they had paid for years.

So, I got, so many emails and comments and I just want to share a couple of them here. I want to thank you for your post about American Express's unique support for SCRA in the military. I called Amex last month, this was a November 2013, and applied to have my account associated with SCRA and last week I received $2,500 in return fees. So, that was Brian from the Army, he sent me an email on Christmas Eve 2013 and then, Kevin in 2016, I received refunds of varying amounts ranging from $50 all the way up to $5,382. The total amount I received back was $8,604. So, these were guys paying interest, they were paying annual fees, and, once they had SCRA benefits applied to their accounts, American Expressionist went ahead and refunded them all that money. 

And I think that's just awesome. But you don't have to pay now with MLA as long as you are good and you are in database, go check your status in the MLA database and then you can go ahead and apply for these cards, you and your spouse. It used to be not as well known. I think we are getting the word out now about this benefit. And with that, we'll wrap it up. So, thanks for joining us today on the Military Money Manual podcast. I hope you enjoyed the show, learned something about the Amex Platinum card and you can take that away to your military traveling hacking journey. And then, you can also use those savings from travel hacking and use them to invest so you can get to, financial independence that much faster. If you find a podcast useful, please subscribe and whatever platform you use. So, we are on Spotify, Audible, Apple, what other ones are we on?

[01:01:36] Jamie: Stitcher. 

[01:01:36] Spencer: Stitcher, yep. And I think just on the website, you go to militarymoneymanual.com/podcast. You can listen to the latest episode there and then subscribe on there as well. If you find it useful, a five-star rating goes a long way, and it helps other people find the podcast as well.

 I know the last episode that we released, we finally cracked the top 25% of Worldwide podcast, which is pretty crazy that we got there after just seven episodes. So, pretty excited about that and there is definitely a lot of people out there that need to get this information and need to hear this, from fellow active-duty military service members, like me and Jamie. So, always remember, you can find out the latest and greatest, offers, all these offers were current as of September 2021, militarymoneymanual.com. And I've got the free Ultimate Military Credit Cards course on there. That's militarymoneymanual.com/umc3. And finally, check out my new book that's coming out, very soon, probably in the next, month after this podcast drops. It's the Military Money Manual of Practical Guide to Financial Freedom. It's available at militarymoneymanual.com/book, and you can use promo code PODCAST and get a special discount. And with that, Jamie, anything else for the listeners?

[01:02:48] Jamie: No. Thanks for sticking with us. Amex Platinum's a great card. Hope you take advantage of it.

[01:02:52] Spencer: All right, thanks guys. We'll see you next time.

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