Are the New Amex Platinum Benefits Worth $100?

American Express 6

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The internet is on fire right now arguing for and against the American Express Platinum card.  Everyone is either pissed off that the fee is increasing $100 from $450 to $550.  Or people are excited about the new Amex Platinum benefits that come with the increased fee.  Either way, this is another example that the miles & points game is constantly evolving.

 

Old Amex Platinum Benefits

The Amex Platinum benefits used to be the gold (or should I say “platinum”) standard for high-end credit cards.  American Express Centurion Lounge access alone is worth the annual fee to many travelers!

But there were other pretty awesome benefits as well beyond the initial bonus of 40-100k Membership Rewards points.

  • $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
  • Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, and Airspace Lounge admission
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Platinum Card concierge
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement
  • 20% Discount on Delta Flights
  • American Express Presale for concerts and events
  • And so much more…

With all of these great Amex Platinum benefits, you can see why so many people have the American Express Platinum card despite the $450 annual fee.

 

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

Amex Platinum benefits American Express Platinum credit cardWith the Amex Platinum annual fee increase $450 to $550, the American Express Platinum will now be the most expensive of the premium credit cards that most of us use.  There are others that are more expensive, like the Amex Black card and others, but those are out of the realm of even the most eager miles and points enthusiast.

I think the Amex marketing people are just realizing the credit card world is tilting a little more in favor of the banks these days.  Everyone is familiar with the “5/24 Rule” and how that it causing plenty of credit card churners to slow or even pause their habit.  American Express limits cardholders to one bonus per lifetime.  And then there’s the Citibank rule where you can only get one bonus per family of co-branded cards every 24 months.  Even BofA is rumored to be cutting off people who perpetually cycle through the Alaska card.  Keep in mind that there is also the counterpoint that these rules are actually increasing credit card churning.

Because of the rules limiting credit card churn, Amex is betting that cardholders will just pay the extra fee because there are fewer premium card options that they can switch to if they don’t want to pay the fee.

 

New Amex Platinum Benefits effective March 30, 2017

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From the email I received from American Express today, here are the new Amex Platinum benefits effective March 30, 2017:

  • Uber Rides with Platinum. With your Platinum Card, you’ll receive $15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides every month plus a $20 bonus in December, delivered through an exclusive Uber app experience. That’s up to $200 for Uber rides annually.You’ll also become an Uber VIP, where available, without meeting minimum ride requirements and be matched with top-rated drivers so that even a 5-minute trip can be a 5-star experience.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points for prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. That’s in addition to the recently unveiled 5X points for flights when you book directly with airlines or American Express Travel.
  • An expansion of our Global Lounge Collection which unlocks access to more than 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries and counting, including future Centurion Lounge locations in Hong Kong and Philadelphia opening later this year. Our unmatched worldwide coverage, featuring over 90 domestic lounges, is made possible through our own network, including The Centurion® Lounge and The International American Express lounges, as well as our partner networks, including Delta Sky Club® and Priority PassTM Select lounges.And beginning on March 30th, find a lounge on the go with your Amex® Mobile app by visiting the Membership section of your app and selecting Find a Lounge.
  • Complimentary Additional Gold Cards. You will be able to add Additional Gold Cards on your Platinum Card Account for no annual fee and existing Additional Gold Cards will also have no annual fee. You can earn Membership Rewards points on your Additional Card Member’s purchases the same way you do for yours.

 

The Bald Thoughts

Travel hacking is all about getting the best ROI (return on investment) for your money.  And this follows my mantra of “Travel More. Spend Less. Live Better.”  Each of you will have to decide if the old Amex Platinum benefits plus the new benefits are worth the $100 increase for your situation.  I’m still figuring things out myself.  I have until August before my annual fee is due, which gives me a few months to try out the new benefits to see if they are worth an extra $100 a year.

Do you have the American Express Platinum card?  Will you keep the card or cancel it when your annual fee is due?  If you’ll cancel it, which card will you get to replace the benefits you’re losing?

 

The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed or endorsed by any company or third-party, unless clearly stated otherwise. The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the advertiser. It is not the advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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About the author / 

Lee Huffman

Lee grew up loving to travel with his parents. Now he explores the world with his wife, Anna and his two children Timothy and Scarlett. He enjoys being spoiled as a Kimpton Inner Circle Member and taking full advantage of Southwest's Companion Pass. Lee wants to teach his readers how to 'Travel More. Spend Less. Live Better.' using miles, points, tips and tricks.

6 Comments

  1. Shea March 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm -  Reply

    Like you, I’m still deciding how I feel about things, but there are a couple things that I find particularly odd about the new “perks.” First off, Amex Platinum gives you Starwood and Hilton Gold Status, but you can only take advantages of the benefits of those statuses when you book directly with the hotel website (i.e.NOT Amex Travel). So the new “perk” makes me choose between taking advantage of the new 5x bonus category or the very statuses they tout as a benefit to the card. That makes zero sense. The hotel bonus category should include hotels booked directly, just like the airfare category. I would gladly take a reduced earning rate (say 3x or even 2x) for that.

    Also, how is there no bonus category for dining? I mean this is the ONLY premium card (CSR and Citi Prestige) that does NOT include dining. Even the Amex PRG card includes a dining bonus category. Including this would have definitely encouraged current card holders to start spending more on their care along with the 5x airfare and 5x hotel categories. While I like some of the new “perks,” overall I feel like Amex really missed the mark here and gave up a golden opportunity to really compete with Chase and Citi. Despite my love of my Amex Platinum, I’m seriously starting to rethink of this card is worth it anymore with the new fee.

    • Lee Huffman March 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm -  Reply

      You make some excellent points Shea. My thinking is that Amex realizes that the opportunity to most people in the luxury card market is limited given 5/24, Citi 2-yr rule, and Amex lifetime rule that they are betting enough people will pay vs. cancel to come out ahead.

  2. woooo March 3, 2017 at 11:33 pm -  Reply

    wow..

    amex plat card is their premium product.. next to the centurion of course…

    if you cant afford a $100 increase for getting $200 uber credits, or even no extra benefits at all, i think your shouldnt even hold the card!

    it is premium card but everyone who holds one or is thinking of getting one seems to be penniless…

    100 bucks is nothing!

    LOL

    • Lee Huffman March 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm -  Reply

      I agree. I just think that everyone is focused on the takeaway. If this was a brand-new card, just released, most people would still get it. They would grumble about how the fee is higher than CSP or Citi Prestige and not all of the benefits stack up 1:1, but they’d still love the card for all of its perks.

  3. Levy Flight March 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm -  Reply

    I think the 5/24 idea is a red herring. Yes, I am frustrated that I can’t apply for the new Chase Sapphire a Reserve Card for a few months, causing me to put spend on my Amex Plat (is that really what you intended Chase?). However, the 5/24 barrier will pass, I will have the card. I don’t think people who are 5/24ers are so impatient to maintain an Amex card longer rather than wait on the Reserve, if that’s what they want.

    • Lee Huffman March 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm -  Reply

      It all depends on your strategy Levy. I’m way over 5/24… like 10+/24, so I have no ability to get CSP for at least another year if I a) don’t get any more cards or b) focus only on business cards that won’t show up on my credit report. There are a lot of miles and point bonuses to miss out on if you sit on the sideline for too long just for one card.

      As with anything, the rules will change, and we have to change our strategies and approach along with the new reality. Sometimes that means keeping a card a little longer than we’d like. Or doing without certain perks until we can qualify. Banks will change their approach if it doesn’t fit their business case. If enough people cancel the Amex Plat due to the fee high, they’ll adjust.

      But, I’m fairly certain their simple math went like this… 1000 cards * $450 = 450,000 —> $450k / $550 = 818 cards. 1000 – 818 = 182 / 1000 = 18.2%. As long as the card attrition rate (aka cancellation rate) is less than 18% due to the fee increase, it’s a net gain for them. The numbers will vary somewhat based on usage of new benefits and loss of interchange income from card purchases, but you get the idea.

      Banks have smart people analyzing product changes constantly. They have assumptions that justified the increase. If reality is worse than the assumptions, then they’ll make a change. If equal to or better than assumptions, someone is getting a nice bonus come December.

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