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
With 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
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?