|by Jason Steele|
It feels like it has been some time, months perhaps, since we have seen a new product emerge from American Express. Finally, the company has treated us to a pair of new cards co-branded with Mercedes Benz. Let’s take a look at what they are offering:
Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
Unlike other cards co-branded with automobile manufacturers, this card does not simply offer credit towards a new car or accessory purchases. Cardholders will earn Membership Rewards points for using this product, as well as other benefits from the car maker. One Membership Rewards point is earned for each dollar spent on most transactions plus 3 points for gas purchases and two points at restaurants. Cardholders can also earn 5 points per dollar spent at a Mercedes dealership. Other benefits include a $500 discount on the purchase or lease of a new car after spending $5,000. Those who lease will get an additional 1,000 excess miles waived at lease end. There is also a $50 reward certificate good for any Mercedes accessories when the cardholder renews each year. There is an annual fee of $95 for this card.
Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz
This is an interesting offering that is the first branded version of American Express’s flagship Platinum card that I am aware of. This is not like the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, this is an actual American Express Platinum card with all its exclusive benefits that happens to be co-branded with Mercedes. It features the same Membership Rewards plan of one point per dollar with five points per dollar spent at a Mercedes dealership. Oddly, it omits the extra points for gas and dining. It offers many, if not all of the benefits of their normal platinum card including the $200 annual airline credit and all of the airline lounge and hotel status programs. Cardholders get double the benefits of the standard Mercedes card; a $1,000 certificate towards the purchase or lease of a new Mercedes after spending $5,000 and 2,000 extra miles waived at lease end. The annual renewal certificate is also doubled to $100. Unfortunately, this card also has an annual fee similar to the Platinum card, $475.
Who Should Get This Card?
This card doesn’t offer much to people who do not own or aren’t planning on buying a new Mercedes. In fact, most benefits are best for people who will be buying one in the near term. In fact, if I was so un-frugal to buy a new Mercedes, yet frugal enough to want to get the best price, the Platinum card would be a no-brainer. I would get $1,000 off of the car for the $475 annual fee, plus enjoy all the perks of the Amex Platinum, which are significant. Of course, the coolest thing I could possibly do is to charge as much as possible of my new car purchase to this card. Let’s say a dealer let me put $10,000 of the price on this card. I would walk away with 50,000 Membership Rewards points. Those would be worth a minimum of $500 in cash back, or as much as two free domestic flights, or even more if I took advantage of one the bonus mileage promotions they are always running.
Mercedes Benz makes some nice cars, and if you have to have a new one, you should probably get this card first.