Charles Schwab is most popular for its investment products, and is a common house for rollover individual retirement accounts, and more. With over 300 locations, these brick and mortar storefronts provide a wide array of services and a convenient opportunity to interact with a human being when you need one.
If you have an existing Schwab brokerage account, you are eligible to apply for the AMEX Platinum Card for Schwab. This card offers all of the same benefits as the “vanilla” AMEX Platinum card including a signup bonus, $200 back in Uber/Uber Eats reimbursement, $200 back in airline incidentals, 10% back on airfare purchases (5X membership reward points) and Gold Status with Hilton and Marriott/SPG, among other things.
While card holders of the AMEX Platinum Card for Schwab don’t miss out on any of the traditional benefits, they receive two additional benefits from Schwab that allow them to grow their brokerage account: The ability to invest membership reward (MR) points as cash in their brokerage account; and annual statement credits based on total Schwab holdings.
Transferring Membership Reward Points to Schwab Brokerage
When looking at point valuations, the AMEX MR points are valued at $0.02 each; or 2% back in value. Generally speaking, you will always receive the highest redemption value on point transfers associated with travel to airline partners, and you will always receive the lowest redemption value on options such as cash back, gift cards and shopping portals.
During the pandemic, when travel is on hold and financial security is at the forefront of your mind, you may decide that you’d rather have some more cash invested than a pile of points. By holding the AMEX Platinum Card for Schwab, you’re afforded an additional opportunity for redemption in the form of a 1 MR point -> $0.0125 cash transfer into your brokerage account.
Though not quite the redemption you would receive with an airline point transfer, this redemption provides a happy medium between convenience and value. In fact, using the 60,000 MR point signup bonus, you can redeem a $750 deposit into your brokerage account straight away; more than compensating for the $550 annual fee in the first year.
Annual Statement Credits
In addition to the added transfer opportunity between your points and your brokerage account, Schwab also offers an annual statement credit to the card holder. The amount of this statement credit is determined by the total holdings within your Schwab investment accounts. Cardholders receive a $100 card statement credit if their qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000; or receive a $200 card statement credit if their qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000. These credits are determined by the value in the accounts the day you are approved for the card; and then annually thereafter.
Depending on the value of your accounts, you could potentially reduce your annual fee by 36% with this statement credit alone.
Clarifying Details for Existing AMEX Cardholders
So, if you already have an AMEX Platinum Card, can you just convert it to a Schwab one? Unfortunately, you cannot. You’ll need to complete a separate application for the card for Schwab, and if approved, reach a decision based on your assessment of the fees and credits as to whether or not you should cancel the “vanilla” card or keep both. The good news is that you will be eligible for that Schwab signup bonus even if you have already earned one from the original card.
Another detail you may be wondering about, is whether or not you can convert all of your MR points to brokerage deposits, even if you earned them with a different card (i.e., AMEX Gold, Green). The answer is yes! All MR points that you earn can be transferred to your brokerage account once you have the Platinum Card for Schwab in your arsenal.
The Checking Account
While we’re talking about Schwab, it is worth mentioning their checking account too. Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking account charges absolutely no fees, provides unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, and does not charge foreign transaction fees when withdrawing cash abroad. These features make it one of the best, if not the best, checking account on the market; you may find moving your assets and consolidating storefronts with Schwab is worth your while.
Getting Started with Schwab
If you are not currently a Schwab customer, but are now considering it, you can use this referral link to earn up to $500 as a signup bonus depending on the size of your account. Though not a referral link, I am including a direct link here to learn more about and apply for the AMEX Platinum Card for Schwab.
Whether for account consolidation, or the additional perks, I hope you find these resources as helpful as I did. Stay well.