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Amex Platinum Changes: Why the $550 Annual Fee Is Worth It

American Express is making some changes to the Amex Platinum card that has some cardholders ready to cut up their cards. I, on the other hand, applaud the changes…though I could do without the fee hike. That’s right, on March 30 the annual fee for the American Express Platinum card is increasing to $550. Before you start rioting, here’s what you’ll get in exchange for the higher annual fee: 

Amex Platinum Card Fee Increase and Changes 2017

$200 Uber Credits and VIP Status

I’m not convinced Uber VIP Status is anything other than a marketing gimmick, but the $200 Uber credits offered as part of the new Amex Platinum card benefits is pretty great for most frequent travelers. Uber is great for airport transportation or really any other ride you’d normally hail a cab or bus for.

The $200 Uber credit from Amex is issued monthly in $15 increments (with the last one increasing to $35). They do expire every month, which sucks because it means you can’t roll them over and apply them to a couple of high-priced rides. Still, I know plenty of people who use Uber for their daily commute and will not let this credit go to waste. For the rest of us, we’ll have to make full use of the Uber credit at least 7 months out of the year (excluding December) to off-set the $100 annual fee increase on the Amex Platinum card.

5X Membership Rewards Points 

Amex Platinum cardholders already earn 5X Membership Rewards points on airfare booked through American Express Travel. Starting March 30, this bonus will apply to hotel bookings as well. The hotel rates on the Amex Travel website aren’t always the best, but sometimes you might find a good deal – or one that’s the same as what the hotel website offers. If you’re booking a non-chain hotel, it might make sense to book through American Express Travel in order to earn 5X Membership Rewards points. At least with the Amex Platinum card, you have that option.

99 Complimentary Additional GOLD Cards

If I wanted to add authorized users to my Amex Gold card, I would get an Amex Gold card. Instead of offering 99 complimentary authorized users but excluding the benefits of the actual card, how about allowing cardholders to add one or two authorized users free of charge and extending Platinum card benefits to them? It’s like saying, “Here’s a really awesome credit card. You can share it with people you trust, but they can’t get any of the benefits.” Yes, it’s so weird that I can’t even find another scenario to compare it to.

This one really bugs me, though I imagine if you’re trying to save money on annual fees, it might actually work out. For example, say you have an Amex Platinum card and your significant other has an Amex Gold card. He/she can get rid of the Gold card and retain the 5X on travel spend by becoming an authorized user on your Amex Platinum card.

New Metal Card Design

Amex is taking a page out of Chase’s book by issuing their Amex Platinum cards in metal form. So now when you pull out your Amex Platinum card, it’s a little more impressive. I have to say, as someone who misses the heavy feel of the Sapphire Preferred card, this is a welcome change. And long overdue.

Access to Global Lounge Collection

In another move meant to compete with Chase, Amex will be allowing two free guests into Priority Pass lounge.

Global Dining Collection

When you Googled Global Dining Collection, chances are you got a furniture manufacturer listed on Wayfair. I finally stumbled on Platinum Dining, which I think is supposed to be the Global Dining Collection. Basically, it’s part of the Amex concierge service, which Amex Platinum cardholders can use to make reservations at over 1,000 participation restaurants. This is by far the least exciting of the new Amex Platinum benefits.

Overall, I think the changes to the Amex Platinum Card are positive, though ideally they should have kept the fee at $450 to better compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The $200 Uber credit, in particular, will more than off-set the $100 annual fee increase. Those who don’t use Uber will see this as one more reason to ditch the Amex Platinum card in favor of the Sapphire Reserve. 

What do you think of the changes coming to the Amex Platinum card? Will you be keeping your card after the fee increase?

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Ariana Arghandewal

10 Comments

  1. This is not true. CUrrent Platinum card holders have access to the lounges that you mention today. They will now be able to bring another 2 guests to the Priority Club lounges.

  2. In my opinion these are pretty worthless benefits. But then I have no use for Uber. So $100 increase for benefits I don’t care about.

  3. I’ve been keeping this card mostly for Centurion and Delta lounges, With Global entry and airline reimbursement the price of the card was barely but reasonable. I am saying “barely” because (unlike with Chase Reserve) you had to be “creative” to get your airline reimbursement.
    But now I will be cancelling this card when my renewal is due. The new changes are not worth it.

    Uber thing would be good and worth it if it were a reimbursement that you could use whenever within the calendar year (like Reserve’s travel credit). But increments of $15 a month? What a joke! They are definitely and very obviously counting on majority of their cardholders missing claiming this credit. I know I would forget switch cards (since Reserve is my default card for Uber since unlike Amex it’s giving you 3 points/dollar).

    Metal design I really don’t care about – I don’t need to impress anyone, and it just makes my wallet heavier without adding any value (not to mention – have you tried to get rid of an expired/cancelled metal card? it’s a pain).

    Amex Travel (for 5x points benefit) does not include Amex Fine Hotel and Resorts, so hardly worth it. The rest of the benefits are just some nonsense.

  4. If they increased the airline reimbursement to $300 and you didn’t have to restrict to one airline maybe, but the Uber deal is a joke. Too bad I’m waay over 5/24 and always will be. Maybe I’ll keep Prestige after all. Too bad, so sad. See ya later Plat.

  5. If one can add AU users free of charge, I do see potential value for taking advantage of more Amex Offers. No one’s mentioned this on any of the blogs. Am I missing something!?

    • I think it’s slipped most people’s minds because they are a little too focused on the increased fee and Uber benefit. It can certainly help with making the annual fee worth it – especially if you don’t already have another Amex card with no annual fee or AU fees.

  6. I have kept this card for the Amex Lounge access – but overcrowding at my main airport in Dallas has me skipping that lounge in favor of the AA lounges lately. Since I just paid my AF, I’ll keep it until the end of the year and then I think it’s time to go. The Uber credits are certainly not worth the extra $100, and since 90% of my travel is booked by my company, the airfare and hotel 5x isn’t doing it for me either.

    They could possibly change my mind if they made the new metal cards from actual Platinum:-)

    • Overall, I think this attempt fell flat at making customers happy. They should have just kept the annual fee at $450 and maybe extended the airline fee credit to all travel.

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