The American Express Platinum card is one of my all time favorites, Period! I know this is easy to say because I don’t pay the annual fee due to my military benefits, but it truly is. In fact, when I leave the military, I plan on keeping this card regardless of the annual fee, simply because it’s worth every dime in my opinion. Well, American Express announced this week that the Platinum card will be completely overhauled on 30 March 2017. This will be a game changer for many, because not only will the benefits and the material of the card itself change, but also the annual fee.
New American Express Platinum Benefits
American Express has truly been creative with its new benefits and the results are very… unique. Here are the new benefits of the Amex Platinum card:
- All metal design, with card number printed on back
- $15 monthly Uber credits (domestic only), plus an additional $20 bonus in December
- minimum ride requirement waived for Uber VIP status
- 5x points for prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- 5x points on airfare when booked with airline or Amex Travel (not new, but worth mentioning)
- Find a Lounge feature in Amex App (beginning 30 March)
These benefits are in addition to the hallmark American Express Platinum benefits, such as the incredible airport lounge collection, $200 Airline Fee Credit, FINE HOTEL & RESORTS benefits, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry refund and many more.
The most notable new benefit is the Uber ride credit, by far. $15 per month may not seem like much, but it adds up to $180 annually. Combine that with the $20 bonus in the month of December, and you have yourself a $200 Uber credit. Of course, this is a very specific benefit and Uber isn’t even available everywhere, not to mention the Uber VIP status. So this benefit will be a hit or miss for sure.
Next, we have the 5x points on prepaid hotel stays. This sounds really good at first glance, but getting a prepaid hotel room through the Amex Travel portal, just like through any other travel portal, means you are essentially forfeiting any potential loyalty points with that particular hotel. This is no big deal when staying at some local hotel, but for those seeking Diamond status with “McBigChain Hotel”, this new “benefit” is all but useless.
New American Express Platinum Fees
They say that nothing in life comes free, and that is especially true for premium credit cards. The new annual fee for this card will be $550 – that’s $100 more than before. Fortunately, American Express gives us a little time to decide whether the new benefits justify the fee increase or not. The new annual fee will go into effect on 01 September 2017. If your annual fee due date is before that date, you will still be charged the old $450. Regardless of the case however, everyone will be able to take advantage of the new benefits starting 30 March.
Another new benefit that is actually fee related is that you can now add additional Gold cards to the account for no additional annual fee. Existing Gold cards will also lose their annual fee.
No word yet on SCRA benefits, but I assume that No News = Good News in this case.
Last year’s introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve really shook up the credit card industry. Since then, competing premium credit card issuers, American Express in particular, have been scrambling to adjust their own benefits to redirect some of attention towards themselves. In my opinion, the 5x point introduction for airline tickets has pretty much accomplished this. But a complete overhaul wasn’t far fetched and, for better or worse, completely changes everything again. I’m a huge fan of the all metal design and the added security feature of printing the card number on the back. The Uber benefit, same as the 5x points for prepaid hotel stays, will be a hit or miss.
I suspect that a lot of customers have just been waiting on an event like this to “jump ship” and switch to Chase, but there will be plenty of new customers who find the Uber credit particularly interesting. If you are currently an American Express Platinum cardholder, make sure to crunch some numbers and see if the new benefits and annual fee still make sense for you.
What do you think about the new American Express Platinum card?