2018 AmEx Strategy

Thank You Readers for another amazing year! we were able to hit 60,000+ page views in 2017 which was simply amazing! I do ask for your continued support in using my referral links for the many products I currently have. If you sign up for a product with out using some one else link, you are throwing points away for someone! Might as well support my site that has given you all these terrible and brilliant ideas all in one place.

Offers for you are listed below as “Each Friend Can Earn:” for the sake of full disclosure you can clearly see what you would be tossing towards me in support of the site. Go ahead and send you referrals out to your friends and get your bonus. I would like to be the first to get you the card, keep in mind all the annual fees are waived for active duty (listed as “You Can Earn:”)!

In general AmEx will never give you the bonus again for any product once you get it in a lifetime. This frees you up in converting lower products to higher ones to get multiple annual bonuses. AmEx also limits you to 5 credit cards (biz and personal combined) and unlimited charge cards. AmEx is also very wary of you applying for products you already have. It is better to constantly upgrade lower products to the max.

AmEx has been very good to us by waiving all fees for all products for all active duty and reservists! These cards do not ban based on having more than 5 other cards in a 24 month period. If you are a Churning Virgin and have a clear application record, you might want to hit up Chase first in this order.

Get AmEx To Pay You $400 in Airfare and $200 Uber Every Year

Hands down the best product that is fee for Active Duty Military is the AmEx Personal Platinum card. The waiver of the $550 for both the active duty member and another %550 for their spouse’s own primary account (as long as the AD member is a Authorized User) means $200 per card per year to use on Airline Incidentals and currently American Airline, and Southwest Gift Cards. Looks line United and Delta are hit or miss, with United completely shut down  until “early 2018”.

On top of no foreign transaction fees, free car towing, multiple status upgrades, and lounge access (at airports and convention centers) this card is a no brainer for the active duty member! It should be applied for at ODS/OCS as part of the check in process! Now true synergy comes from getting both the Personal and Business versions of the Platinum, because you can get both 5x points as well as 35% points back when booking with points! You also get 10 Go-Go WiFi passes to use in flight with the Business version. Please use the many links below to toss some points to both myself and fellow readers:

Multiple Reader Links: Link 1, Link2, Link 3, Link 4

Multiple Reader Links: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

SPG Merger with Marriott

Because of the upcoming merger of points systems for SPGMarriottRitzCarlton we see an end to all the basic SPG AmEx products. If you are under 5/24 please consider getting the Personal Marriott Card or other 5/24 restricted products Using this link. As for the business and personal SPG, THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE TO GET THE SPG POINTS. The card is rumored to become a Chase card, either the current Marriott Card or an entirely new product. Please use the picture links below if interested:

Worth 75,000 Marriott

75,000 Marriott with Sheraton Lounge access

Get Delta Status, 3 Companion Passes a Year, Without Flying

Delta is nice because the Reserve card gives you a companion pass for any class of travel including Delta One for domestic flights. You can theoretically get the Gold, Platinum and Reserve and then upgrade the Gold and Plat after a year to reserve for 3 companion passes a year! The Platinum gives an annual companion pass but only for coach (main cabin). The Plat and Reserve earns MQM that you can level up without flying, all cards give Sky Miles good for free flights. Please use the links below for the Delta cards:

This will give you an annual companion pass in all cabins

Plat gets you a Main Cabin companion pass per year

The 60K Sky Miles are worth it, then convert this one to a Reserve or Plat in a year for the companion pass

To trigger the Plat $200 statement credit and the $50 Gold credit just follow this guide. You don’t even have to fly to get the $150 from this card. If you hit all three cards we are looking at 160,000 Sky miles, $150 credit, and 20,000 MQM which is almost silver medallion. Keep in mind you always have Sky Club access with your AmEx Platinum and free luggage with military!


Hilton Surpass will be replaced by two new products called Aspire and Ascend. Lots of good strategy here on ask Sebby. This includes applying for the Surpass to get the 85,000 and letting it ride to become the Aspire. This would of course make you ineligible for whatever sign up bonus for Ascend that will be offered by the end of January 2018. I just hope it’s better than 85K HHonors points. There might even be a provision that would allow you to get a new bonus despite the upgrade form Surpass to  Ascend. The way I see it is since I already have the product for two years, I will cancel it in order to get the new bonus when Ascend is offered. The whole goal is also upgrade everything to Aspire to get the $250 annual credit that will work much the way of the AmEx Plat!

The upside to getting the Surpass is the 85k and lack of another application hit when the product changes.

Get 85K before it goes away 18 Jan 2018!

Use the link here for my soon to be canceled card.

Cool Looking Category cards

The Everyday Preferred and Blue Cash are the only good everyday category cash back cards from AmEx. If you have the Schwab Platinum Card  you can cash out each MR point at 1.25 cents per point. Assuming you use the Everyday Preferred card more than 30 times a month you can get the 50% bonus points per each category. Lets look at the cash back with these valuation.

  • AmEx Everyday preferred conjoined with Schwab Plat at 1.25 cents per MR:
    • 4.5 MR at Super Markets (3 MR plus 1.5MR bonus with 30 uses) for 5.625% Cashback (via Schwab)
    • 3 MR at gas stations (2 MR plus 1 MR bonus with 30 uses) for 3.75% Cashback (via Schwab)
    • 1.5 MR on everything (1 MR plus 0.5 bonus wit 30 uses) for 1.875% Cashback (via Schwab)

Now if you have the Biz Platinum card you can get 1.5 cents per point on travel. We can recalculate the same categories with this new valuation of 1.5 cents.

  • AmEx Everyday preferred conjoined with Biz Plat at 1.5 cents per MR:
    • 4.5 MR at Super Markets (3 MR plus 1.5MR bonus with 30 uses) for 6.75% Cashback (via Schwab)
    • 3 MR at gas stations (2 MR plus 1 MR bonus with 30 uses) for 4.5% Cashback (via Schwab)
    • 1.5 MR on everything (1 MR plus 0.5 bonus wit 30 uses) for 2.25% Cashback (via Schwab)

20K is worth $250 cash or $300 in travel. Not bad for $1k spend

On the flipside the Blue Preferred is cashback only and has three categories: 6% Supermarkets (including overseas on base commissaries), 3% Gas, and 1% everything.

The $250 credit for $1k spend is in line with the Everyday preferred, might as well get both!


3 thoughts on “2018 AmEx Strategy

  1. Jay says:


    Do I have to be an AU on my wife’s Platinum account to get the annual fees waived? Thank you in advance!

  2. uiucderp2011 says:

    Well my wife is active duty, but other datapoints have shown yes for SCRA waivers. You need to have the spouse be primary and the AD member be an AU. Amex May treat MLA waivers differently. Please be the datapoint you want to see! Report back on what you find out please!

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