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:
$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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