At times I’m really impressed with the suite of offerings companies provide. Amazon started with books and look where they’re at. American Express started as an express mail service in Albany, New York (by the same founders of Wells Fargo nonetheless); they too have come a long way.
Most of us know American Express as the credit card giant. They provide also provide travel and insurance services and even spun off Ameriprise (who I happen to use for management of my financial portfolio). Another thing American Express does is provide wire transfer services (as a part of their travel service division nonetheless). For most of us, the only time we’re likely to ever perform a wire transfer is at the closing of a house. It’s also a great way to securely send money to a foreign country for family / friends. Identity is verified on both ends; think of it as sending a package Registered Mail with USPS.
In my last round of card applications I picked up The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN with a targeted 100,000 sign-up bonus… and here come the points:
The 5,000 points is for signing up for the pay over time option (10,000 point option may be out there too). There is no fee for signing up for this; free 5,000 MR points, TYVM. American Express Charge Cards typically have to be paid in full every month. It doesn’t work for every purchase; but American Express identifies which ones you can pay over time (and of course pay interest on like a credit card). It’s a nice add-on to give some extra flexibility on a charge card.
… Back to the wire transfers. I *just* signed up, and this program isn’t for everyone. You need to either be incorporated or be a sole proprietorship licensed in your county / state … but for 30,000 points I got off my butt, formed an S-Corp (for my consulting I do on the side … which I needed to do anyway), and will rack up the points after making 3 payments within 90 days. Full details on the program.
Here’s how I’ll use the program and get my points:
- Sign-up/get approved – 15,000 points
- I’ve contacted a vendor I use in New Zealand and was completely transparent about my intentions. They offer payment via wire transfer with a minimum payment of $300. Conveniently my monthly bill is just over $300 NZD ($307 as of today).
- I’ll pay for three months of service in unique transactions (no transaction fee for the first 6 months) – 15,000 points (I’ll also get 30 additional points for the actual dollar amount of the transaction)
- Any American Express OPEN card holder is eligible for the points, however you must additionally meet the requirements of the FX International Payments program
- Business Platinum Card® members and Business Centurion Card® members receive preferred fee pricing (however all are eligible for the 6 month fee-free promo
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening - redeemable for $500 in gift cards, $625 for airfare, or other great rewards.
- Earn 3X ThankYou Points on Travel including Gas, 2X ThankYou Points on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1X ThankYou Points on Other Purchases
- ThankYou® Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through thankyou.com, as compared to gift cards
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points
- Annual Fee: $95 (fee waived for the first 12 months)