Will I Keep The Amex Platinum Card After The Upcoming Changes?

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Yesterday we learned about some major changes being made to The Platinum Card® from American Express as of March 30, 2017. The card will be seeing a $100 annual fee increase, from $450 to $550 per year. Of course there are some positive changes to offset that as well. Here’s how they’re described:

Starting on March 30th, 2017, consumers with The Platinum Card will receive exclusive access in the Uber app to a new Uber Rides with Platinum benefit, which provides up to $200 annually in Uber credits for U.S. rides and automatic VIP status where available1. Platinum Card Members will also receive 5X Membership Rewards points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com2. This is in addition to the recently unveiled 5X Membership Rewards® points on airfare booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel3. Card Members will also get access to an expanded Global Lounge Collection4, a new Global Dining Collection5, more global events, enhanced mobile servicing options, and all of the other benefits that currently come with Platinum Card Membership.

So, what are these changes really costing Amex, and are they impacting whether or not I’ll hold onto the card?

5x points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com

Last year Amex began offering 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, which is huge. That’s a benefit that can potentially be pretty costly for Amex. Even at a conservative valuation of a penny per Membership Rewards point (which is very low), Amex is dishing out 5% rewards on these purchases, when their merchant fee is probably just a third of that. But ultimately it’s an investment in the product, and they think it will make people use the card more. Which is probably true.

So when I first saw 5x points on hotels, I was excited as well. However, the hotels have to be booked through amextravel.com, and only prepaid rates are eligible.

Amex is acting as a travel agency in this case, meaning they’re getting at least a 10% commission on bookings made through there. In other words, this new benefit isn’t costing Amex a dime — instead it’s an additional source of revenue for them. Even if they’re dishing out ~5% rewards, they’re getting a 10%+ commission on those bookings.

Add authorized user Gold cards at no cost

Amex is also letting those with the Platinum Card add authorized user Gold Cards at no extra cost. This is a card that doesn’t have many benefits, and that offers one point per dollar spent. This is a benefit that isn’t costing Amex anything. Instead it’s a way for them to get more charges, so it’s also a source of revenue for them.

Both of the above are smart changes that logically should have been made before, as they’re a source of revenue, and not a cost center.

Uber VIP status and $200 in credits

I assume Uber is giving VIP status to Platinum members for free. It doesn’t cost Uber anything, and doesn’t come with many rewards.

On top of that, you get $15 in Uber credits each month, and an additional $20 in Uber credits in December. Let’s take a look at the terms:

Only Basic Card Members on a Platinum Card account are eligible for Uber VIP and monthly ride Credits. To receive this benefit, you must have downloaded the Uber App version 3.219 or later for iOS or version 3.126 or later for Android and your eligible Platinum Card must be a method of payment in your Uber account. If you are assigned a new Card number, you must update your method of payment in your Uber account. Cards added to your Uber account through a third party such as Apple Pay or PayPal will not be eligible. A Platinum Card account may receive this benefit on one Uber account. If the same Card is added to multiple Uber accounts, only the first Uber account to which the Card is added will receive the benefit. Uber VIP is available in select cities and is governed by Uber’s terms and conditions. To redeem monthly ride Credits, you must select to use the Credit in your Uber app prior to completing the Uber ride. The discount will not apply to previous Uber rides. New and existing Uber users are eligible. Uber will apply discount at the point of sale. There is no limit to the number of rides you may apply the Credit to each month, up to a total of $15 in Credits per month. Each year in December, you may apply up to $35 in Credit. The discounted cost of a ride will be displayed on your post-ride email receipt. If you are eligible to receive additional Membership Rewards points on your ride, points will be awarded on the balance of the cost of the trip after Credits are applied. Credit may be applied to all Uber car types and cannot be applied to other Uber services. Credit may only be applied to rides within the United States. Monthly ride Credit expires at 11:59 PM local time on the last day of each month. Unused Credit will not carry over to the following month. Credit will be applied for the month in which the ride is completed. If ride is eligible for another promotion that you have added to your Uber account, the promotion will be applied before the Credit. Certain Uber-branded credits may be applied to your ride balance prior to this Credit.

The good news is that the Uber credit can be used towards multiple rides, and it will be applied after all other promotions are applied (so I’m not sure if it can be applied to rides where others promotions are being used, or not).

It’s one thing if they were adding $200 in Uber credits to your account at the beginning of the year to use as you please, but instead we’re seeing them add it in small increments. The goal of course is to get more people using Uber more consistently. Keep in mind that the average person with the Amex Platinum Card is older than the average consumer, so I suspect not as many are using Uber (since it’s most popular with young people).

So I suspect this benefit is costing Amex a small fraction of the $200 “face value,” given that Uber is hoping to get new, consistent riders out of this. That being said, I think many of us will still get value out of this. I certainly know that $200 in Uber credits as awarded by the Amex Platinum Card are worth at least $100 to me.

The Priority Pass benefit is being improved

The other cool change is that the Priority Pass membership now allows you to take in two guests, which wasn’t previously the case. This is an area where Amex was lagging, as both the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve allowed guesting privileges. This is a positive change, though I suspect for many of us there won’t be much value in it, since we already have a Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges.

Will I keep the Amex Platinum Card?

Amex is describing these changes as providing “a new generation of benefits for its iconic Platinum Card.” I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit disappointed.

5x points on hotels? Amazing. 5x points only on hotels booked through Amex? Not so great… especially when you consider that the Amex Platinum Card offers SPG Gold (and by connection Marriott Gold) and Hilton Gold, so it’s ironic that you can’t get your benefits and earn points on stays booked with Amex Travel.

$200 in Uber credits? Great. Them being split into $15 increments per month (with $20 in December)? Still good, but slightly less great.

But personally I absolutely plan on keeping the card. For me the math is easy. There’s a $550 annual fee, and for that:

  • I get $200 in Uber credits, which I conservatively value at $100 (which offsets the annual fee increase)
  • I get $200 in airline fee credits, which I more or less value at face value
  • I get Delta SkyClub access, Centurion Lounge access, access to Fine Hotels & Resorts, etc. (let’s not even put a value to that right now)
  • I get 5x points on airfare, which I value at an ~8.5% return on airfare spend; to me that alone more than justifies the balance of the annual fee

So while I would have liked to see richer benefits and more creativity, I do still think this card is a keeper, at least based on the amount I spend on airfare.

How about you — do these changes to The Platinum Card® from American Express impact whether or not you’ll hold onto the card?

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Comments

  1. I dislike the new benefits so much that I am cancelling my Platinum card and using my Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. I favor travel insurance over an extra 2 MR points per dollar.

  2. Why do folks think there isn’t travel insurance on the Amex plat card? Easy to find it if you google.

  3. I was already considering dropping the card at $450. I have no interest in using Uber, so a $100 rise in the annual charge has made the decision easy. So I just cancelled the card. Good riddance.

  4. The card pays for itself no matter what. The worst possible outcome for anyone that travels even moderately is break even. I will keep it.

  5. Does the priority pass benefit update automatically? As in, if I continue to use the priority pass card which I received from Amex, will I automatically not be charged for bringing in two guests or do I need to request a new card?

    Also, does this priority pass benefit apply to authorized users or just the primary cardholder?

  6. I knew the fee would go up since many folks complain about Centurion Lounges being overcrowded. Having said that, I’m disappointed with the small increment credit in Uber. Even as a city dweller, sometimes I can go a month or 2 without using Uber. I wish it could be 200$ to use when you want, but maybe this feedback can get to the folks making the benefits decision and it can be changed (wishful thinking) I don’t plan on cancelling the card, but I might consider dropping the Amex EDP for the no fee card to offset that cost and make the most of Chase Freedom supermarkets categories.

  7. Is their marketing team run by Borat? You could see how someone told them that they need to improve the perks that come with the card because of the Chase Reserve competition, but that they also got guidance that they couldn’t afford to lose more money on the benefits. So they give you this smoke and mirror improvements that are opaque in nature and that no one would really love. The nice thing about the Reserve card is that the benefits are very clear cut. The AmEx Platinum benefits read more like a tax code.

  8. Definitely cancelling. $450 was borderline, but I got break-even value out of the card at that point. I refuse to use Uber and already have lounge guesting privileges through other cards, so the extra $100 fee is simply an increase.

    If the personal version offered the 50% MR refund on premium cabin airfare that the business version did, I’d keep it in a minute.

  9. @Kevin That’s not the point. The point is the CSR and Citi Prestige offer benefits for travelers worth even more than what the Platinum card offers for the annual fee. To use your words ‘anyone that travels even modestly’ only pays $150 a year out of pocket for the CSR because you get a $300 credit good for any type of travel purchase with no futzing around with picking and airline and having to buy gift cards like you do with the Platinum.

    That being said, with a Centurion Lounge coming to my home airport, PHL, we’re keeping the card. We also use Uber frequently so we’ll definitely use most if not all of our $200 dollars in credits. We also used PP lounges somewhat regularly so no longer having to pay $27 for my wife will save us some money.

    This whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth though. After they introduced the 5x MR on direct airfare I really thought Amex was going to step up and compete. Had they offered these new benefits without the annual fee increase I might feel differently. Amex makes the point that they haven’t raised the AF in years. However, since that last AF increase we have lost a ton of valuable benefits.

    I’ll give it a year or two and see how much we use the new Centurion Lounge in PHL once it opens. If I find we’re not actually using it very much I’m canceling the card I’ve had for 12 years and getting a CSR.

  10. Have you ever met a fees or charges you didn’t like? Let’s face it, if you can spend $300+ for someone to handhold you through a terminal or $3000+ on speculative miles or $550 on a dubious dating site deal, you will absolutely spend $550 on this also.

    The fact that you even pretended to ponder this question is laughable. We all knew the answer.

  11. Hm, I do not see how this language means other uber promos can’t be used. It only says other promos will apply before this credit, that’s all

  12. I am only keeping the card because of access to Delta lounges. Most of Amex benefits are difficult to use. The $200 airline credit is only for one airline and only on incidentals. Uber benefit is useless for me since I only use Uber for business so the $200 discount applied to the ride will benefit my company and not me (I cannot expense a $0 ride). Booking hotels using amextravel.com is a pain, etc…. Keeping this card will cost me $55 more than buying lounge access from Delta directly so I believe I can get $55 back by using some of the other benefits. Citi and Chase make it way easier to use their $$ benefits than Amex.

  13. Surprised I am in the minority here… As someone who uses Uber very regurally both for personal and business use, I see this as a net $100 decrease to the cost of the card. There was not a single month going back the last 15 months, at which point I stopped checking, I did not use Uber. Sure it would be nice if the credits were all up front or were bankable but I don’t see myself not taking full advantage of this new perk. As is, my card is up for renewal next month which means I get a full year of this card at a net $50 annual fee and then I can reassess in 2018 if I am really taking full advantage.

  14. The issue with the Uber credit I have is, why won’t they let it apply for overseas use? That’s what so disappointing about this Uber credit.

  15. Honest question here. How on earth are you valuing the $200 “fee credit” at face value? I fly business class with Delta and Singapore AIrlines all the time, and I can’t figure out a way to use that $200 fee. Sure, you can randomly get lucky with a gift card purchase, but I already have lounge access. How are you getting the most out of these fees, and how should your average user be taking advantage of this? I never need extra bags because I always get 2 checked free (and who regularly checks two full bags anyway). All my food and drink are ‘free’ in the lounge and in the air. Someone help!

  16. I have both the Biz and Personal Platinums and I’m waiting to see if changes are coming to the Biz Platinum as well, however I don’t see a great benefit in keeping the Personal Platinum as it stands as the core benefits remain the same and I’ll take the 50% Pay with Points rebate over 5x on Airfare any day.

  17. Lucky, for what it’s worth I noticed in the email that Amex sent out this morning that the Global Entry credit is stated as valid once every 4 years instead of 5.

  18. …Amex doesn’t count as an OTA it counts as an IATA agency so I believe you still get your benefits.

  19. $100 = 22% (of $450) increase is huge! the cost to AMEX is between nothing and breakeven.

    AMEX is thinking they are the only premier issue so these are “a new generation of benefits”, ignoring the existence of CSR & Prestige. Only thing can be remotely considered as “unique” is the $200 Uber, but even CSR has it covered with $300 (travel).

    The Harvard MBAs, aka “ketchup” vendor”, at AMEX headquarter toasted scored an egg again.

  20. I was actually planning to KEEP the AMEX Plat as it currently was, but to me this is all negatives. I’m not a UBER user…maybe 2 or 3 times a year while traveling and I always book hotels through their site (and try and do BRG) to get low rates and points / elite credit. So essentially this is just a $100 increase in fees for me…no thanks. I already have AMEX Plat Biz so I can still access the Centurion lounges and also I much prefer the 50% Pay w/ points benefit.

  21. After years of deciding the Platinum wasn’t worth the cost I finally pulled the trigger recently when they added the 5x for airline bookings.
    Since the value was already iffy for me and the Uber credits do nothing for me I highly doubt I’ll keep the card when the AF comes due unless they make some improvements between now and then.

  22. No Centurion lounge at LAX for me to use so the card has very little use. Even should they open a Centurion lounge at LAX, the design of the airport does not favor me moving through the tunnels just for one lounge. Outside of my SPG cards, I do not see any AMEX cards in my future. AMEX will probably be on the outside looking in with Marriott already partnering with Chase.

    I’m all in with Chase with the CSR, Ink and Freedom products. As I’m an AA EXP flyer, I will hang onto my Citi Exec card for Admiral Club access and use One World partner lounges when flying international.

  23. I currently have both personal Platinum and small business Platinum. I’m downgrading one of them – I’ve not yet figured out which one.

    Amex is really flubbing this – they’ve made it so difficult to parse out the benefits for the different cards that it’s almost made me abandon them both, after almost 20 years of Platinum membership. If I weren’t based in SFO and a frequent user of the Centurion Lounge, I’d definitely consider canceling both of them.

  24. “$200 in Uber credits? Great. Them being split into $15 increments per month (with $20 in December)? Still good, but slightly less great.”

    It’s $35 in December: $15 for the regular month and an additional $20 in December equalling $35 in December.

  25. I think the major differences between benefits for the personal and business Platinum cards is a misstep that will ultimately cause customer confusion.

  26. I’ve seen it reported elsewhere that the Gold cards earn the same bonuses as the Platinum card, so the 5x on airfare. Though that is not super valuable since for most people, if you are close enough to someone to make them an authorized user (and for them to be charging things to your account), you’d be just as happy to just put their airfare spend on your Platinum card anyway, especially since airfare purchases almost never require a physical card.

  27. How do all of you NeverUseUbers get to the airport??? Isn’t this a blog for people who fly on planes?

    1. If you’re taking mass transit, stop doing that and take an Uber. Boom I just saved you half an hour per trip. Is your time worth anything? Boom time is money and the Amex fee went down.

    2. If you’re getting a ride from a friend, stop doing that. You’re bothering your friends and the car is leaving the airport empty, which is on net worse for the environment.

    3. If you’re parking a car, stop doing that. That’s crazy expensive, and parking shuttles are annoying.

    *takes a bow*

  28. Stvr – For a day trip, to/from my home or office to the airport is far more expensive by Uber than the cost of the drive+parking.

    Also, on work trips, my firm reimburses my Uber costs, so getting a discount doesn’t help mitigate the increased cost of the card (which my company doesn’t reimburse for).

  29. You’re forgetting the worst part about the Uber credit – the fact that it can only be used domestically, not overseas. Frankly the whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I probably do spend $200 on Uber over the course of a year, but it’s hit-or-miss. Sometimes I’ll use one 3-4 times in a month. Other times, I’ll go several months without needing one. It strikes me as one of those “enhancements” that AMEX’s consultants deliberately made difficult to use so that money would be left on the table. I was debating whether or not to get the Plat card, but after these changes, I’m taking a pass.

  30. I’m not sure I agree with “Keep in mind that the average person with the Amex Platinum Card is older than the average consumer, so I suspect not as many are using Uber (since it’s most popular with young people).”

    Most everyone I know that does travel for work uses Uber extensively, even those who are older and since the Plat card is really nothing more than wallet candy if you don’t travel I’d suspect that a good deal of Amex customers who travel do use Uber regardless of age.

  31. I was borderline with the card before, all these changes are negatives to me. Uber is a waste for me, I can’t stand them. The travel credits are a pain to use, especially when you have the ease of use with CSR. I just can’t justify paying an extra $100. The five points on hotels would be fine if you didn’t have to book through their website, which doesn’t always have the cheapest prices.

    Now if their personal card had the same benefit of their business card of redeeming points for half the cost, I would have been all over it and would gladly pay $550 for that benefit and the 5x points.

    I was really hoping Amex would step up their game with something amazing so Chase had to keep the benefits on the CSR amazing. But I assume now in the next year or two, Chase will roll back the travel credit and some other things on their card, and why not. No one is competing with it now really.

  32. @Stvr we choose to drive and park due to traveling with kids and requiring car seats. Uber doesn’t always have the car seat option available.

  33. Different values for different customers – but my 2 cents to make the card simple and more “generally” competitive:

    For it being a travel card the Uber credits should be good for International use at the very least. Also agree the $200 Uber credit should not be limited to so much a month. Make it simple like the CSR.

    Again the $200 airline credit is not as simple as the CSR or Citi Prestige. Plus the CSR pays 3% on airbnb and VRBO stays (all travel is 3%). Plus CSR lets you book yourself.

    Plus the A/E card with my travels thru Europe and Latin America is NOT accepted at nearly as many places as MC or Visa.

    With the way I travel, I don’t want to have to manage how I maximize the value of the card. Travel is tough enough to manage on your own and I don’t want to manage my card …. make it simple like the CSR.

    Again not for me as a full time traveller …. but I see the value for the Centurion Lounge access over what the Priority Pass only access of the CSR.

  34. First,

    It would seem that the amex execs are trying to position themselves more to the millennial generation hence the uber credit and sleak new design however I think they’re drastically short sided. IMO, amex has become the 60 year old actress. One a Hollywood star who is now placed in supporting roles due to age.

    It was once the trend setter and the innovator. No longer I’m afraid. Likely from old stale leadership. heres what I would propose: a tiered annual fee. I think we’d all argue the centurion lounges, while awesome, are wayyyy too crowded. Do away with them and for 450 get all the benefits plus 2 points per dollar dining and no lounge centurion access. For a 550 fee, centurion lounge access is included. the skys the limit, for 650 add a category of your choice for 2 points per dollar or add guests for delta skyclub access (if they could get that through delta).

    The bottom line…the marketing is as stale as the ideas they come up with. It doesn’t take a genius.

    Shawn

  35. 23% of Amex cards are co-brands overall, including Delta, Starwood, Hilton, etc. 10% of American Express cards were co-brand Costco products.

    Someone has to pay up to make up the 10% customer bass loss from Costco.

    I can tell you it wont be me when the time comes.

  36. @Beachfan CSR and Cit offer Trip cancellation, misconnection and/or delay insurance. I was hoping that Amex, which has been a leader in introducing insurance programs would at least match the competition. In particular, I would really like goo misconnection insurances when using multiple carriers.

    @Stvr I once was sitting comfortably on a plane after visiting the lounge when someone barely made it on the plane and he was sweating profusely. I asked him why and he said he got caught in traffic. He was coming from the same area of New York I came from and left at the same time, but I took mass transit on a Friday night and was there in plenty of time. Not only that but Uber would cost around $80. The $15 discount is somewhat lame at that point. If I need a ride in New York (which is rare), I just raise my hand and the taxis aim for me (most of the time). If I put it on my CSR, it can even come out of my $300 yearly credit without any action on my part.

  37. If it was lyft instead of uber then I could make it work. But no way I’m supporting a company this young and already so full of a** Hat upper management types.

  38. Nice post. When do the Amex changes take effect? Regarding Uber, the monthly allocation sucks. Also, lack of international coverage for this benefit.

  39. Lucky, these changes are bad, as most people are saying!

    First and foremost because it is clear to everyone that Amex spent a lot of time thinking how to make it more difficult to make the most out of them, rather than make it straightforward to use them. I am busy enough: I want benefits from an expensive card, I dont want to spend time thinking and planning how to use them!

    Second, Amex wishes to target high spenders who are often on a plane? Well, I dont care about Amex lounges because I get into pretty good lounges as a Star Alliance Gold member. Besides, it is a lot more valuable to have a good lounge where to rest on a long international trip, than a phenomenal lounge domestically. Do I care about fees for checked bags? No, just like all frequent fliers who have status or whose companies pay for business class tickets. I can even bring a golf bag for free! Do I care about 5 points on hotels? No, because my company does not book through Amex portal. And I book through the hotel app on my iPhone, not on a portal! What about Uber credits? As others said, why do they have to come in as bits every month? The month I have to travel I can easily spend $150 in Uber rides to and from the airport. But when I do not travel, I dont need Uber.

    I like to have Amex in my wallet, but this is a big step backward for them. Will stick to my Preferred Cashback and consider dropping the PRG.

    Big hope. Big fail.

  40. The new $100 fee increased from $450 to $550 annually is insanely absurd with those little to none useful new benefits that Amex Platinum is about roll out vs CSR and Citi Prestige. Amex is heading to a wrong direction with the roll outs.
    The $200 Uber credit is given in $15 increment for 11 months and only $35 for December, feeling like hand-out to me, IMHO. Why not given it as an all outright credit like the annual $300 CSR travel credit to match Chase or $250 from Citi Prestige? Don’t get me started with the pre-selected airline for that $200 annual credit for Amex.
    If one does not lived in place where Uber have a strong presence or used Uber for a particular month or at all, he or she’s at a loss. Uber’s VIP status is a joke.
    5x point hotel booking only applied with CERTAIN HOTELS and you have to book it via Amex Travel (The price is substantially higher in comparison to 3rd party sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, etc.) or else you will not get the 5x points at all. With the other twos, any booking via 3rd party sites are $1 for 3 pt vs $1 for 1 with Amex.

    To me, the new $550 annual is not worth it at all given how competitive the credit market and perks given by Chase and Citi. The overcrowd Centurion Lounge collection, Boingo, etc.. are all good but not that great at all.
    Unrestricted annual credits $300 and $250 from Chase and Citi are way to go, not mentioning Chase’s $2500 Travel Health Insurance / 3x for dining and let’s alone Citi’s 4th night hotel for free beat Amex’s $200 Uber at every level.

  41. I was already on the fence. Burning my points today preparing for saying good bye. No added value to me at all. Oh, but impressing random cashiers with a metal card holds some sway with me.

  42. These changes are bad, as most people are saying!

    First and foremost because it is clear to everyone that Amex spent a lot of time thinking how to make it more difficult to make the most out of them, rather than make it straightforward to use them. I am busy enough: I want benefits from an expensive card, I dont want to spend time thinking and planning how to use them!

    Second, Amex wishes to target high spenders who are often on a plane? Well, I dont care about Amex lounges because I get into pretty good lounges as a Star Alliance Gold member. Besides, it is a lot more valuable to have a good lounge where to rest on a long international trip, than a phenomenal lounge domestically. Do I care about fees for checked bags? No, just like all frequent fliers who have status or whose companies pay for business class tickets. I can even bring a golf bag for free! Do I care about 5 points on hotels? No, because my company does not book through Amex portal. And I book through the hotel app on my iPhone, not on a portal! What about Uber credits? As others said, why do they have to come in as bits every month? The month I have to travel I can easily spend $150 in Uber rides to and from the airport. But when I do not travel, I dont need Uber.

    I like to have Amex in my wallet, but this is a big step backward for them. Will stick to my Preferred Cashback and consider dropping the PRG.

    Big hope. Big fail.

  43. What a load of malarkey. Few should bother with the Plat. These so-called enhancememts are a joke and anyone suggesting otherwise is spewing garbage.

  44. It’s all about the new metal card, it is made from titanium just like the black centurion version.

  45. @ Stvr – You are making the same faulty assumption that Amex is making.

    Not everyone, even one who travels a lot, lives in a major metropolitan area and can or wishes to use Uber, or one of its competitors, for airport transport or other type of transport.

    I, for one, never use Uber or any of its competitors. Given where I reside, the distance from my home to the airport, and the nature of my business travel, I have no need for it.

    It MIGHT come in handy for a small fraction of my domestic leisure travel. Unfortunately, the credit is not valid for international travel, where it might find it more useful.

    For me, it’s a useless “benefit” for which I’m being asked to pay an additional $100 per year.

    As for lounge access, how often do I travel with someone where we will access a lounge and I can get them in for free? Rarely.

  46. @Jeremy buy a $200 Delta eGift Card. It won’t post automatically, but at least you have 1 $200 instead of 4 x $50 which you can only use 3 at a time. 14 days after the transaction date CALL AMEX and tell them your credit didn’t post, and it is for a “change fee” which is precisely $200. It will post the next day. Boom. I have done this for 3 years since I am tired of using 4 x $50 even though the $50 post automatically. That’s face value for you. United, just deposit a full $200 into your gift registry and it posts automatically.

  47. The Uber benefit is a bust for people that can’t use it monthly.

    Doesn’t really have anything to do with being “older”. It has to do with where you live and what your travel patterns are.

    The new benefits announced today are pretty much all a bust for me. If you have CSR or Citi Prestige, the new PP benefits already exist for us.

    5x on airline bookings was a great addition. I assumed they were doing it to try to remain a little bit competitive with CSR and Citi Presitge.

    Will reevaluate Amex Plat card at renewal time. Perhaps there will be a retention offer. If not …

    -David

  48. I don’t use Uber so the complicated Uber credit does nothing for me. My annual fee is up in April so I was dumping the card even before the annual fee hike. Also, their failure to commit to a centurion lounge in LAX is rather sad and pathetic. Bye bye Platinum paperweight.

  49. It looks like the same Amex people who blew the Costco deal are still at the helm… This isn’t 2012. The worst part is that these changes were made with Amex being fully aware of what the Citi & CSR cards were and having many months to think of a response. This could have a big win for Amex…but by sitting on their once-grand reputation has left them behind, again.

    Priority Pass: 2x guests. Good, about time considering the Ritz, Citi, and CSR cards have had this for some time. This would have been a great time to bring back the Delta guest passes as well. BUT Amex didn’t.

    Uber: Could have been a great promo, but limiting it by month & domestically killed it.

    Airline credit: Why the hassle Amex? Just make it a straight automatic credit. If Chase & Citi can do it, you can too!

    Travel insurance: Where is it? I

    Customer Service: You were good at one time, but that time has passed. Now I get better service from Wells-Fargo than I did Amex, and that’s just sad.

    @Stvr: Uber doesn’t pick up from any of the 3 closest “home” airports I use and taxis are so expensive that it’s cheaper to park on-site. Public transit takes 3-6 hours to get from my home to the airport, so screw that. My friends aren’t millennials, so they have something called jobs which preclude them from taking me to the airport. On the environmental factor, I tried to get the US gov’t to allow the importation of a full-size sedan which got a legitimate 75MPG. I was shot down, saying the car wouldn’t meet US environmental standards. The US-spec version of that car gets about 30 MPG and puts out far more soot. Go figure.

  50. These changes are a joke. I got rid of my platinum in favor of Citi Prestige (kept Starwood Amex) and those two cards give me all of the perks I’m looking for and more for the same price. As long as Citi Prestige has 4th night free, that will be my primary high fee credit card.

  51. It’s specious to make a big deal of 5x travel bonus without mentioning a high-quality competitor in the premium card space. The chase sapphire reserve, leaving aside its ridiculous off promo thats about to be reduced from 100k to 50K points, costs 100 less per year on paper.

    It has 300 in travel credits, very literally applied to everything from Uber to subways to air travel, as opposed to the 200 in specific airline-linked fee credits (which don’t apply to all the things you’d want, like say tax and fuel surcharges), or the 15/mo +20/yr Uber-linked credits that force amex users to calculate whether they’re really getting the full benefit for their bigger annual fee.

    And it, too, gives 5x for *all* travel (not just airlines), plus 3x for dining while at it. UR points and amex MR points are roughly equally transferable to partners, but if you’re lazy to do that, UR points are redeemed at 1.5 cents a point if you book through chase with a CSR. So basically what you have in the csr is a card with an effective 150 annual fee after credits, a monstrous points bonus for mild spending requirement (4000 in 3 months), and a minimum discount of 7.5% on all the traveling in your life if you refuse to put any effort into seeking even better redemptions.

    So, if you already have a 5x travel rewards card in one, paying another huge annual fee (now huger and less easily reduced unless you truly use your chosen airline and pay 200 in incidentals each year, and use Uber for over 15 a month and 200 a year, in which case they’re both effectively 150), another card with the same 5x bonus for a similar points program is a redundant reason to pay more fees. You need a better reason to have both- in best scenario you’re paying another 150 in fees after credits for a 5x bonus you already had on the superior card.

    The simple answer most amex platinum holders will give you for keeping that card, is that the customer service differential is worth it. After cost benefit analysis the rewards simply don’t justify holding onto both, but rewards aren’t the only thing that distinguishes a premium credit card. Very frankly, amex treats its customers better than chase does. Maybe not on paper with money-losing points bonanzas like the CSR, but when you have a problem with a canceled flight, a dishonest merchant, an emergency related to an amex purchase, they are accessible and they come through. I’ve seen it firsthand many times, not just with me. And that customer service ethos is worth paying for, for some. But don’t pretend the rewards alone still justify amex platinum for people holding the CSR ; the math just doesn’t agree.

  52. Let me just start by saying that IMO, this is the most ridiculous comeback/benefits I’ve ever heard. Hundreds of people (if not more) are already planning on canceling this card. $450 was borderline but somehow doable…but $550?? Oh no! I’m out.

    I’m just wondering how many Platinum card holders will keep or apply for the AMEX Platinum Card now that annual fee will be $550 all because some worthless benefits addition.

    Wow! i don’t understand how adding Uber VIP status to Platinum card holders will be a benefit; VIP option here in San Diego does not exist. $200 in Uber credits is nice but not when you can only get $15 in credits per month. You should have the option to use as much credit as you want until you run out of your $200….AMEX should also throw 5 points/$1 spent on Uber??

    Uber has so many lawsuits against them at the moment, that i don’t understand how AMEX (being so conservative) got a contract with such company. Definitely will not be keeping mine. Would be more temping to keep/apply for such card if the fee stays the same ($450) with the new added benefits, now THAT would be competition.

    It’s cool that AMEX added the 5x on hotels…but why does it always have to be only at amextravel.com? You should be able to get 5x on flights and hotels (and uber), regarding of what travel website you use, now THAT would be a card you want to have and keep…flexibility flexibility!! You can’t always find the best deals at amextravel.com

    Oh yeah, almost forgot about the metal part…that card should had been metal from the beginning of its creation. Come on AMEX! I would keep this card if:

    1. $450 remains
    2. New benefits remain
    3. Use Uber credit amount as desire (not just $15/month) until you run out of your $200
    4. 5 points per dollar spent on Uber (no VIP status in San Diego and other cities) this will make up for people who cant get VIP and don’t use Uber often
    5. 5 points per dollar spend on Car Rentals when using your card ANYWHERE
    6. 5 points per dollar spend on Hotels and Flights when using your card ANYWHERE
    7. Automatically send metal card to all card members
    8. Include Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings to the 5x points – Come on AMEX, really?!
    9. Complimentary Gold card user should get $100/year in Uber credits AND it should be on the PRG Gold, not that standard Gold card

    Do this and I assure you AMEX will get so much more customers…they should also start working on lowering their fees so AMEX is accepted in more places. VISA still at #1 of places accepted, would be nice if AMEX works on this more.

  53. Definitely keeping it. I have 4 AMX Platinum cards (different brands). Active duty military all fees are waived…WINNING!

  54. Only reason to keep this card is if you’re in the military and the annual fee is 0. Otherwise Chase Reserve has much better ROI for paying members. It paid my $300 bar tab at the Ritz, acted as primary insurance for rentals (Amex only does secondary), offered trip delay insurance (No Amex coverage), provides price protection (different from purchase protection and not offered by Amex), let me bring in more than 2 guests to lounges (Amex limit is 2), and paid 3x on dining (Amex on,y does 1x). All perks that are missing from Amex Plat. The 3x points alone allowed me to accumulate 250,000 UR points in 6 months. Would have been only 80,000 points on Amex. This blog lost all credibility.

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