The Amex Trifecta is any combination of three high-earning American Express credit cards. Using all three credit cards in tandem for the right purchases is an excellent way to earn Membership Rewards (MR) Points quickly. The most popular version of the Amex Trifecta consists of the Platinum Card, the Gold Card, and the Blue Business Plus Card. These three cards will be the focus of this post.
However, you can substitute one of these cards for another MR point-earning card. Popular alternatives include the Green Card, and 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 acquiring the Amex Trifecta is the fantastic sign-up bonuses. The bonuses offered with the Platinum and Gold Cards are two of Amex’s biggest among their core personal cards. However, American Express has a Once Per Lifetime Rule that prohibits current and former cardholders from receiving sign-up bonuses more than once.
In turn, the first card you should apply for is the Platinum Card. This is because you might be targeted for a bonus worth at least 100,000 MR points. Otherwise, Amex is offering a public bonus worth 60,000 MR points. The public bonus can be earned by spending $5,000 within the first three months. Next, you should apply for is the Gold Card. Amex is currently offering a public bonus worth 35,000 MR points. It can be earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months. 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 95,000 MR points from 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). However, there are higher bonuses that can bring your points total to over six figures.
Earning is the main reason why many travelers love the Amex Trifecta so much. All three cards have excellent structures that let you 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 spend within its specific bonus categories. But travel outside of those parameters earns 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 dining, groceries, and other food-related expenses. Plus, the Gold Card earns 3x MR points for flights booked directly with the airline and one point per dollar for non-bonus spend. The former category is superseded by the Platinum Card.
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.
The American Express Platinum Card is one of the best cards in the industry for perks if you can use them. It also offers the vast majority of the perks that come with the Amex Trifecta.
Most Platinum cardholders can realize at least $550 in value from their Platinum card because there are so many benefits. Some of the most popular perks include Marriott and Hilton Gold Elite Status, Centurion Lounge Access, and access to the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Plus, the Platinum Card comes with a set of credits that can offset its annual fee. The Platinum Card offers with $200 in airline incidental credits, $200 in Uber Credits, and $100 in Saks 5th Avenue Credits each year.
Furthermore, the Gold Card offers three nice credits of its own. The three credits are the $100 in airline incidental credits, $120 in Uber Eats credits, and $120 in dining credits. The airline incidental credits will be discontinued in January 2022.
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 airline incidental credits. These limitations can be repelling for some travelers, especially those who want simplicity.
While the featured version of the Amex Trifecta is fantastic for many travelers, it does not cover certain bonus categories like Gas Stations. Alternatively, 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 or quartet.
Business Gold Card – Personal Gold Card – Blue Business Plus
This alternate Amex Trifecta replaces the Platinum Card with 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)
- Airfare (booked directly with the airline)
- US Gas Stations
- US Restaurants
- Select Computing Merchants
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.
However, you will be losing out on the Platinum Card’s benefits. But they might not be worth the hassle if you want simplicity. You will still be getting the personal Gold Card’s multiple dining credits while saving $255 in annual fees. In fact, the total annual fee for this trifecta is just $545, which is $5 less than the Platinum Card alone. That’s $295 for the Business Gold, $250 for the Personal Gold Card, and $0 for the Blue Business Plus.
Furthermore, Amex is offering a public sign-up bonus worth 35,000 MR points for the Business Gold Card. It can be earned by spending $5,000 within the first three months. 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 has the better combination of sign-up bonuses. But the Business Gold Card version can be better in the long-term.
Platinum Card – Green Card – Blue Business Plus
Alternatively, this trifecta replaces the Gold Card with the Green Card. This trifecta is best for travelers who do not shop at grocery stores often and prefer to earn points on general travel purchases. The Green Card earns 3x MR points on dining and general travel purchases.
Plus, the Green Card has a $150 annual fee, which is $100 less than that of the Gold Card. This reduces your total annual fees to $700.
In the way of benefits, the Green Card offers a different set of credits than the Gold Card. The Green Card offers a $100 Lounge Buddy credit and a $100 CLEAR credit. These credits are redundant to those of the Platinum Card, which offers more lounge access than any other credit or charge card on the market. The Platinum Card also offers a Pre-TSA / Global Entry credit, which is superior to CLEAR for many travelers.
Furthermore, Amex is offering a public sign-up bonus worth 30,000 MR points for the Green Card. It can be earned by spending $2,000 within the first three months. This is half the minimum spend of the Gold Card and the number of points that can be earned is not much less. The traditional Amex Trifecta has the better combination of sign-up bonuses. But the Green 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. However, prospective cardholders need to choose their cards wisely because of Amex’s Once Per Lifetime Rule and their spending habits.
The popular Platinum-Gold-Blue Business Plus trifecta might not be for everyone. But there are alternative trifectas that work for less frequent travelers.