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Not just another platinum card

It is clear that the American Express Platinum Card which was introduced in Malaysia is aimed at big spenders - one of the perks is that you get a RM2,000 Longines watch if you spend RM60,000 in six months on the card.

While there are platinum cards, the American Express card, a part of the company's Centurion line of cards, stands out because it promises you the moon, and has the means to deliver it.

According to the label on the tin, this credit card sets an international benchmark of world class card privileges and unparallelled value to card-members. Some of these impressive value comes in the form of frequent flyer redemption on more than 40 airlines, access to members-only golf clubs in the region, as well as ten times the rewards points on every ringgit charged.

The American Express Platinum card is the first in Malaysia to offer complimentary golf privileges to some of Malaysia's top golf courses as well as access to members-only clubs at five golf courses in the region in Singapore, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The Platinum is probably best suited for business travellers not only because of the high rewards points that can be redeemed from four frequent flyer programmes, but also for the American Express Global Assist service and free stay or upgrades at more than 5,000 top class hotels worldwide.

With the introduction of the Centurion card here, Malaysians are now on the radar screen of American Express marketers.

The card is targeted squarely at "affluent customers seeking a card that reflects their lifestyle" that also rewards their usage of the card. The card was launched last month at the Kuala Lumpur Shangri-La, which incidentally is a Platinum Partner of the card and offers hefty discounts (up to 50 per cent off) on food and services.

With Maybank as the sole issuer of the American Express Centurion-line credit card, customers would be well served by the bank's extensive support service.

Maybank acquired the American Express cards business in 2007 and has since introduced rewards ranging from payment at its 400 branches and as well as zero-interest repayment for up to six months. Where do we sign up, please?

AMEX Platinum Golf Perks

The Seletar Country Club, in Singapore has the Seletar Base Golf Course. At Royal Gems, Bangkok, designer Garry Roger Baird has built a course equal to his other masterpieces; the famed Shuzu course of the Shishido Kokusai Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, and the Hermitage Course, a permanent LPGA tournament site in the United States. The Secret Harbour Golf Links, in Perth has to be on the must-play list of courses for any golfer worth his salt. Don't take our word for it-ask Lee Trevino and Gary Player, who played at Secret Harbour with course designer Graham Marsh in January 1999 and were extremely impressed. Klub Golf Senayan, in Jakarta is situated on the edge of Jakarta's business district and is not only a part of Indonesia's golfing tradition, but also a significant part of Jakarta's sport and business culture. The Orchard Golf Club in Manila was the venue for the 1995 Johnnie Walker Classic and the 1996 Johnnie Walker Super Tour.

Types of Credit Cards

Since each consumer's financial needs are different, it makes sense that there are different types of credit cards. Before you apply for a credit card, become familiar with the various kinds of credit cards to make sure you're choosing the best credit card for you.

Standard Credit Cards

The most common type of credit card like the Maybank Mastercard Classic allows you to have a revolving balance up to a certain credit limit. Credit is used up when you make a purchase and made available again once you've made a payment. A finance charge is applied to outstanding balances at the end of each month. Credit cards have a minimum payment that must be paid by a certain due date to avoid latepayment penalties.

Premium Credit Cards

These cards offer incentives and benefits beyond that of a regular credit card. Examples of premium credit cards are Maybank Visa Gold cards and American Express Platinum cards that offer cash back, reward points, travel upgrades, and other rewards to cardholders. Premium cards can have higher fees and usually have minimum income and credit score requirements. Both standard credit cards and premium credit cards have specific types of credit cards. Student credit cards, zero percent interest cards, and travel cards are just a few types available.

Charge Cards

Charge cards do not have a credit limit. The balance on a charge card must be paid in full at the end of each month. Charge cards like the American Express Personal Card typically do not have a finance charge or minimum payment since the balance is to be paid in full. Late payments are subject to a fee, charge restrictions, or card cancellation depending on your card agreement.

Limited Purpose Cards

Limited purpose credit cards can only be used at specific locations. Limited purpose cards are used like credit cards with a minimum payment and finance charge. Store credit cards and Petrol credit cards like the Petronas Maybankard Visa are examples of limited purpose credit cards.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards are an option for those without a credit history or those with blemished credit. Secured cards require a security deposit to be placed on the card.

The credit limit on a secured credit card is equal to the amount of the deposit made. Secured credit cards have revolving balances depending on the purchases and payments made.

Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid credit cards require the cardholder to load money onto the card before the card can be used. Purchases are withdrawn from the card's balance. The credit limit does not renew until more money is loaded onto the card. Prepaid cards do not have finance charges or minimum payments since the balance is withdrawn from the deposit. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards, but are not tied to a bank account.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are designed specifically for business use. They provide business owners with an easy method of keeping business and personal transactions separate.
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