In a few days on September 1, 2021 American Express will change the cash transfer ratio for their Charles Schwab Amex Platinum customers from 1.25 cents per point to 1.10 cents.
Those members who currently have the Schwab Platinum card and a substantial points balance might want to think about moving the points out to their brokerage account under the current ratio.
The Schwab card has been a favorite among many Amex Platinum members and anyone is able to apply as long as they’re an active Schwab customer with a brokerage account that can be opened free of charge.
Schwab even provides discounts for those customers who have a high amount of money invested with them. You receive a $100 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000.
The entire portfolio can be found on the Schwab website (see here) or Amex itself.
Pretty much the main reason why the Schwab card was so popular rather than the plain “Vanilla Platinum” as it’s often called is that you can – at least for a few more days – move the Membership Rewards points in the account to your Schwab brokerage account at a ratio of 1 point to 1.25 cents.
This is considered pretty good as it’s a clean cash out (you can send the money immediately to your checking account or spend it with the Schwab debit card).
Effective September 1, 2021 this ratio will change:
Starting Wednesday Amex will only give 1.10 cents per 1 Membership Rewards point for transfers, effectively de-valuing the points for this specific purpose.
Now you will always be able to argue from a perspective saying that even 1.25 cents per point isn’t a great redemption as you can do a lot better by redeeming points to airline miles and then book First & Business Class tickets. This might be true but then again this would be cash. Many Amex Platinum members already have full mileage accounts and no need to convert even more.
It was always a nice choice and it will remain a choice for the time to come just not as attractive anymore after this devaluation.
Generally speaking with the regular Amex cards the only way to redeem Amex MR points for cash is through a statement credit or maybe a gift card. Both options are bad because the ration is horrible, below 0.75 cent per point. That’s why the Schwab card is still a sweet spot, especially if you have substantial assets to invest and can profit from the annual discount.
Cardholders with the Schwab Platinum card and sufficient points might want to consider moving the points out to their brokerage account under the current 1 MR : 1.25 cpp ratio in the next couple days.
I’ve grown more and more into a fan of cashing out points if the ratio is right such as under the Chase Pay Yourself Back promotion with 1.5 cents per point. It’s very hard to beat that even with great redemptions at luxury hotels and with that I’m talking realistic prices one would actually pay. Not “$20,000 First Class Tickets” fantasy tickets hardly anyone buys.