Fine Dining Events Using AmEx and Chase

I was thrilled with the success of using the AmEx Platinum Concierge for my French Laundry Adventure, I thought I would give AmEx another tough tasker, which was to get a table at another 3 Michelin Star Restaurant on the other coast. I wanted to give them the impossible feat of getting a seat for 2 at a normal time at the newly renovated Eleven Madison Park. On top of that I demanded to have this done before the restaurant was to be re-opening on 08 October 2017. At the time of writing the restaurant has been shut down for the summer for much needed renovations. They had an AmEx only pop up restaurant in the Hamptons in the meantime of which apparently Leo DiCaprio went to close up last month.

I had first asked the concierge at the Ritz Central Park and they said they had no opening date or information on how to get a seat. This was the best effort from a $1,200 a night hotel, mind you! They were not going to call or use any special hook up to get me a seat. Now if you noticed the EMP venue in the Hamptons was sponsored by AmEx so I figure this would be the better route.

I put my request in for EMP via email ( by replying to my AmEx concierge request for French Laundry on 03 July 2017. I then got a random phone call on 22 September to verify my request, and then I got an email this 02 October that they were able to fit me in! Another successful reservation made for those who plan!

Again, it is worth hitting up the concierge for the places that are listed in the Global Dining collection for Platinum. Now the $642.36 seems like an outrageous amount for two people to eat dinner. This fee for two includes 8 to 10 courses at $295 a person, then tax and tip for a 3 to 4 hour experience. As I write this I am enjoying my 6 slices of Kirkland pre-cooked bacon while sipping on a tea I pocketed at the AmEx Centurion lounge on my last visit to the airport, this dinner at EMP is not going to be a normal meal for me! Fortunately my wife and I agree that t$642.36 is an outrageous amount reserved for those very special times we have together. Dining at the number one of the 50 best restaurants in the world 2017 would be one of these special times.

Rather than dropping $300 bucks on Hamilton tickets, I rather have a dinner that is the show with my wonderful wife. They will at least allow us to talk during the entire show! Plus between the Uber credits, flights and the Ritz Carlton room on points, this will be really the only expense of our NYC adventure.

Now for the beauty of pre-pay is I already paid up for the meal, I will just have to show up, eat, then leave. This is cited as a good way to maximize happiness with spending money. Also note that the datapoint is there that AA gift cards are still being reimbursed automatically by AmEx, this could easily be used for the flight to and from NYC.

Now for those who don’t want to fly to NYC, and live in Chicago, there currently is an offer for holders of the Chase British Airways card to get 2 seats at NEXT on 07 November, 2017. It will cost you 20k Avios, that you can transfer from your MR account (too bad the 40% bonus is over).

Bon Appétit!


Back to Basic Bitch AmEx Green!

Thank you to reader Dan who shared a photo of his entire AmEx card collection in a comment to my post. In his collection I noticed an old friend from ten years ago, the AmEx Green Card! This card is what really started it all in 2006, I think I blew all the points on Lettuce Entertain You Gift Cards at Everest at 1 cent per MR point. Just n00b level churning right there! How was I to know any better 10 years ago? At least that girl I took out ended up marrying me!

Now I have had this product ten years ago and might not be eligible for the 25k points due to the life time language. Now I can be the datapoint if AmEx considers a card from 10 years ago a once in a lifetime card. I stumbled upon this incognito offer here on DOC. The direct link for the 25k MR for $1k spend can be found here. I was surprised the offer was still around a year after its original post.

Now you might be wondering if I am going for the green basic bitch card just to be ironic. Why would I care to have a card that had no benefit other then 2x MR points on AmEx travel? Simple, this card is going to be my backdoor rollover (better named “Platinum Conversion”) to get another Personal Platnium card. Right now I have had many readers reporting straight up denials for applying for duplicate already owned products. For example my O-3 reader got approved for an Ameriprise AmEx Platinum, but was then denied for a second application for the same product. They wrote him a letter saying he could not apply for a product he already owned.

Now once I do my $1k spend for 25k MR points on the Green, I intend to upgrade this to a Platinum to capture another $200 for flights, and another $200 for Uber. According to Ask Sebby this will work since they are all personal charge cards. I called today and upgraded my existing PRG to a Platinum of which was no problem. The customer service rep said you can upgrade Green to Platinum or PRG, but you could not swap branded product lines. He also said you had to have a card for at least one year to do a product change. Now what was interesting in the Ask Sebby article is the ability to change the MB Credit card into the MB AmEx Plat Charge for another sweet $100 for MB merch. This can come later, since it’s worth doing for the MB YETI cups that the dealership sells for $59 a pop!

I am going to take it slow and see how it goes. Be sure to check back to see if this crazy plan works out!


Journey To GS AmEx Plat

I don’t think I will have $10 million anytime soon to get invited to invest with Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management. I will need this relationship to get the GS AmEx Platinum to compete my collection of every Co-Branded AmEx Platinum card. Currently I have the: Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, Mercedes-Benz, and Ameriprise. This in addition to my Personal and Business Platnum Cards each of which get $200 on an airline, and the $550 ($450 biz) annual fee waived for each. All the personal Plat cards also come with $200 Uber credit a year each!

So here is the plan, what if I could own a share of GS and exploit the shareholder services to get an invite to GS AmEx Plat? I have several readers sign up for a personal GS Bank Saving account, but none have reported any success in getting the GS Platinum Card invite.

Not to repeat their strategy, I decided to go my own way which is that of the GS shareholder relationship. Now what would be an even better churn is to use MR points from my other churns to get that one share for free. Right now for $440 you can go to buy one share framed online:

Another company called unique stock has the audacity to ask for another $40 on top of share price and a $49 transfer fee just to get a genuine certificate produced. Apparently the SEC forces these companies to charge twice the value of stock to make sure they don’t act as a brokerage firm. This $440 seems pretty steep since GS is trading for around $230 right now.

To save a few bucks, I thought about using Robinhood to buy the stock, but their brokerage house will not allow external transfers. I decided to transfer some MR points with Charles Schwab, and getting the certificate issued for $25 via transfer to Computershare as the holding company. I just used the invest with rewards option on my Schwab account.

I moved enough MR for the $4.95 commission fee as well as one share of the GS ($229.90 at the time), each MR is worth 1.25 cents.

I then put the order in and the one share was mine!

In this case it cost me $234.85 for the one share plus trade fee or 18,788 MR points at 1.25 cents per point, which is what I earned for adding 4 AU accounts and have each spend $500 in a 90 day period. Essentially the share was free on my end. Once the stock was bought I went ahead and submitted a signed and dated letter of instruction to Schwab via their secure messaging service. In the letter I wrote out:

1. Schwab account name and number
2. Stock name(s) or symbols
3. exact number of shares to be transferred
4. any control # or reference number at the receiving firm
5. Contact name and phone number at the transfer agent (if available)
6. Any DTC number provided
I am still awaiting the stocks to transfer since the transition has not settled yet. I had an existing account with Computershare, and the shares from other companies I have done this with show up in about two weeks. I can then request a stock certificate for $25 (payable by credit card) which will take another week to show via USPS. Here is the one share of WW Granger I had done the same way:
Now it is not required to get a physical certificate to be a registered shareholder, but why the hell not? It makes for a nice piece of artwork, and I see this technique equivalent to the old credit card in the ice block trick to prevent panic moves. A physical certificate forces me to become a literal buy and hold investor. Just to sell the damn thing I would have to sign the back, get a medallion stamp, and deposit it to a brokerage house just to sell it a week later. The intentional barriers to selling it on a whim as if it was on Robinhood will mean I can hold on to this for many years and forget about it. Hopefully my grandkids can sell it to buy a 6 pack of beer when they go through my old junk and find it.
As of today that one share is up $7.29 far exceeding the $4.95 commission paid! I am pretty happy with my use of 20k MR points.
Next step, calling shareholder services to get the invite!
The stock got moved to Computershare and it was only $25 to get a paper certificate. The closing price of GS on Friday 06 October was $246.02. I paid $229.90 on 19 Sept 2017, so it only cost me $8.80 to get a fancy paper cert of GS! I went ahead and put the order in today (10 October 2017).
Will let you know once it get framed!