Are American Express surcharges worth it, and what are the considerations in Amex Velocity Platinum vs Platinum Edge?

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Hi Keith

Total newby to all of this and working my way through – I didn’t realise what you could do.  Thanks for all the great info!

I’ve never had AMEX and am considering getting one based on the current offers and I use my CC all the time, but need some help with a few things please.

  1. Surcharges on AMEX – is there usually a surcharge to use AMEX?  Is it worth using AMEX if there is a surcharge?
  2. Velocity Platinum Amex card with 100,000 sign on bonus.  Can you only transfer points to Velocity with this card (this is my understanding but wanted to check)?
  3. Also, the points you earn per $ spent (Velocity Platinum) is low compared to the AMEX Platinum Edge – in terms of what I use my CC for the Platinum Edge would be a better option day to day I think, however, the 100,000 is a huge bonus.  Any thoughts how to figure this one out?

Can my partner and I combine points or contribute to the same rewards program?

Thank you!

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I’ll have a stab at some answers! 🙂
(Also, if you use a referral on this site, you’ll get 110k points for the Velocity Platinum! Happy to provide my link in the next few days if you want to gift me some points too! 😛 You can also look for links in the forum as well.)

  1. A lot of places don’t take Amex, but a surprising number now do. It’s a bit mixed with respect to surcharges – I’ve seen no surcharge (Coles, Woolies, lots of others), and up to 3% at other places. Whether you pay it or not is up to you, and how much you value “buying” your points at. This is not always a simple calculation as it changes a bit with the different ratios on offer i.e. Platinum Edge’s 3:1/2:1 shopping and petrol spend. I would suggest you start here – Keith’s email series explains a lot of this in great detail.
  2. The Velocity Platinum is linked to your Velocity Frequent Flyer account, and points are swept to your account monthly (automatically). So yes, points only go to Velocity. However, Virgin does let you transfer your points (at a slight loss) to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program or you can use them with any of Virgin’s partner airlines, which is a big bonus! See this article for some good tips on how to use these bonus points.
  3. Need to be careful with any “financial advice” on this site, so I don’t think anyone will be able to give you a straight answer. It’s entirely up to you. Depends on which points are more valuable to you, and which services you’re more likely to use.
  4. You can contribute to the same “rewards program”, but not the same “rewards account” if you go with separate sign-ups (separate primary card-holders). However, Velocity does let you do some cool stuff with family pooling, and Qantas does let you do one or more transfers between family members as well. I’m not sure if Amex Membership Rewards lets you transfer points between accounts.

Hope that helps!

  • Thanks Darren! Only thing I’d add is that you can add supplementary cardholders to your card account for all your points to be earned into one Velocity or Membership Rewards account.

    On your 3rd question – only real way to consider that is to whack your spending at different types of retailers into a spreadsheet and see how long it would take to offset the large Velocity bonus vs using the Edge.

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Thanks Darren and Keith!  Very much appreciate the info.

I’ve done/read some of the things you suggested Darren.  Still to read the post about the value of points and “buying” points (had never thought of it this way) – will read up and get informed.

I’m not a Krisflyer member and see the merits in becoming one.

One final question/s – for now anyway ;-):

  • My short term goal is a trip to Europe in May/June 2016 (2  adults) – am I being ambitious trying to accrue enough points to use for this trip?  Looking at Krisflyer I thought it may be doable but I’m not currently a member (not sure if there are restrictions on becoming one?).  I have 7000 points in my Velocity account so I’m basically starting from scratch.  My partner and I could both get a credit card but we’d  need to be able to pool the points (he’s not a Velocity member but I’m sure we can fix that).  I’m reading up on the tips to earn more points without increasing my day to day spend.  I had no idea.

Totally understand about no financial advice (and I don’t take it that way).

Thanks for the spreadsheet idea Keith.

  • Happy to help out!

    I’d never really though about the difference between an “earn” value and a “redemption” value until I went through the email course. But once you have your own value in mind, it certainly makes it easier to know when you should/shouldn’t pay surcharges (or even buy miles outright)!

    KrisFlyer is easy to sign up for and FREE! Worth it just as another way of using your points from Velocity (via linked-account transfer).

    I’m no expert on booking trips with points (still very much a white-belt here), but I would think your time-frame might get you a bit stuck. The earlier you can lock in points, the better, and booking 6 months to a year ahead is not uncommon. So I would say you probably don’t have enough time to earn those points through spend alone.

    If both of you sign up for the Platinum Velocity card and are accepted, then you can pool the points together in the one Velocity account using Family Pooling. It has some quirks (and I don’t use it), but it may suit you. However, that may still not be enough for return flights. Others here can advise you on that.

    There are SO many ways to earn points, it’s unbelievable! The only rule I’ve learned is that you should only spend money on what you were going to spend money on anyway. Don’t ever spend money just for the points! :)

    Keith loves his spreadsheets (as do I)!

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