Now that banks are able to issue American Express cards, some interesting offers may be coming down the pike.
The first one that I’ve noticed is from MBNA, which is offering the American Express Platinum card free the first year and $195 after that.
The card comes with MBNA Worldpoints as its rewards program rather than Membership Rewards. As far as proprietary rewards programs go, this one is pretty good but I still don’t like it as much as the various airline and hotel programs. So I wouldn’t put much spending on the card.
Instead, I’d use the card for its benefits like airline lounge access. Amex Platinum cards come with access to Delta, Continental, and Northwest lounges when flying on the respective airline.
The Platinum card is usually more expensive than straight lounge access, but this is a free way (for a year) to receive unlimited lounge access without joining the airline lounge program.
Update: Turns out that the lounge access is via Priority Pass. The card waives the basic $99 Priority Pass membership fee, but each time you use a lounge you have to pay a per-use fee of $24. A decent benefit, but not as rich as the standard Amex Platinum. Interesting that MBNA is trying to mirror the Amex benefits in their own proprietary way.