The Amex Trifecta is a combination of American Express’ three best earning cards. Using them in tandem for the right purchases is one of the best ways to earn more Membership Rewards (MR) Points quickly.
This version of the Amex Trifecta includes the Platinum Card, the Gold Card, and the Blue Business Plus Card. However, you can substitute one of these cards for another MR point-earning card like the Everyday Preferred Card or the Business Gold Card. But these three cards have been chosen because they earn the most points for most travelers.
All three featured cards have a total annual fee of $800. That’s $550 for the Platinum Card, $250 for the Gold Card, and $0 for the Blue Business Plus. However, you can justify this high combined fee with perks and enough spending.
One of the best parts about Amex Trifecta is the fantastic sign-up bonuses on the Platinum and Gold Cards. These bonuses are two of Amex’s biggest among their personal cards that earn MR points.
The first card you should apply for is the Platinum Card, especially if you have never had an Amex card before. This is because you might be targeted for a bonus worth 100,000 MR points. Otherwise, the bonus is worth a nice 60,000 MR points. Either bonus can be earned by spending $5,000 within the first three months.
Next comes the Gold Card, which comes with a bonus worth 35,000 points. However, the minimum spend is $4,000. This is a decent bonus considering the lower minimum spend relative to how many points you can earn. But the minimum spend is very high for just 35,000 points.
Finally, the Blue Business Plus does not have a sign-up bonus because of its high earning structure. But you can refer a friend and receive extra points after getting the card.
You can earn up to 135,000 MR points between the Gold and Platinum Cards if you hit both spend thresholds. That’s enough points to get you traveling almost anywhere if you transfer to the right partner(s).
Earning is the main reason why many travelers love the Amex Trifecta so much. All three cards have the best earning structures that Amex offers so you can maximize the amount of points earned. However, you must be aware of Amex’s rules and limitations for each category.
The Platinum Card earns 5x MR points per dollar for flights booked directly with the airline or through amextravel.com. It also earns 5x points for prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. The Platinum Card is a great earner if you like to purchase travel through Amex’s travel website or flights directly from the airline. But travel outside of those parameters earns you just one point per dollar. These parameters are one of the biggest weaknesses of the Platinum Card and not knowing about them could ruin the Amex Trifecta for you.
Furthermore, the Gold Card earns 4x points at Restaurants worldwide and at Grocery Stores stateside. Use this card for your dining, groceries, and other food-related expenses.
And finally, the Blue Business Plus earns 2x points on the first $50,000 in purchases every year. Thereafter, it earns just one point per dollar. Use this card for all non-bonus category spend up to $50,000 per year.
American Express announced that they are revamping the benefits on many of their cards. But that does not mean you should not get the Amex Trifecta. In fact, the Platinum Card is one of the best cards in the industry for perks if you can use them.
Most Platinum cardholders can realize at least $550 in value from their Platinum card because there are so many benefits. Some of my favorites include Marriott and Hilton Gold Elite Status, Centurion Lounge Access, and access to the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
Furthermore, the Platinum and Gold Cards each come with a set of credits that can offset their annual fees. The Platinum Card comes with $200 in Airline Incidental Credits, $200 in Uber Credits, and $100 in Saks 5th Avenue Credits each year. And the Gold Card comes with $100 in Airline Incidental Credits and $120 in dining credits. That’s a total of $720 if you can use all the credits in full each year.
Just remember that Amex also has a plethora of limitations and restrictions for their credits that make them harder to use. For example, you cannot purchase gift cards with the $300 in Airline Incidental Credits between both cards. These limitations can be repelling for some travelers, especially those who want simplicity.
An Alternate Trifecta
While this version of the Amex Trifecta is fantastic for many travelers, it does not cover certain other bonus categories like Gas Stations. Fortunately, you can add a fourth card or substitute one of the three featured cards if your spending patterns warrant it. In this way, you can make your own Amex trifecta / quartet.
One nice alternate Amex Trifecta is to substitute the Platinum Card for the Business Gold Card. The Business Gold Card earns 4x MR points in your choice of two of the following categories:
- Advertising (TV, radio, and online only)
- Select Computing Merchants
- US Gas Stations
- Airfare (booked directly with the airline)
- US Restaurants
The other four categories earn 2x points, making them equal to the Blue Business Plus for earning. Nonetheless, the Business Gold Card combined with the personal Gold Card and the Blue Business Plus could earn you a plethora of points. Plus, you can earn more points in categories not covered by the personal Gold or Platinum Cards.
You will be losing out on the Platinum Card’s benefits. But they might not be worth the hassle for some travelers, especially if they want simplicity. You will still be getting the personal Gold Card’s dining credits and saving hundreds in annual fees. In fact, the total annual fee for this trifecta is just $545, which is $5 less than just the Platinum Card. That’s $295 for the Business Gold, $250 for the Personal Gold Card, and $0 for the Blue Business Plus.
Furthermore, the Business Gold Card comes with a sign-up bonus worth 35,000 MR points. You must spend $5,000 within the first three months to earn this bonus. This is the same minimum spend as the Platinum Card but the number of points that can be earned is much less. The traditional Amex Trifecta wins in this regard. But the Business Gold Card version can be better in the long-term.
The Amex Trifecta is a great way to earn Membership Rewards Points quickly. It’s also a great way to get traveling faster and access a plethora of perks.