In late 2016, American Express announced some changes to their Platinum Card (both the personal and business versions). Then in March 2017 we saw even further changes made to the personal version of the card.
With these changes, Amex increased the annual fee on the personal version of the card from $450 to $550, though introduced a $200 annual Uber credit, offer 5x points on airfare, 5x points on hotel bookings through amextravel.com, and more. Meanwhile on the business version of the card they added 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more, among other perks.
I considered these changes to be a net positive, and I continue to have the Amex Platinum Personal Card, while Ford has the Amex Platinum Business Card. There have been rumors of American Express adding more perks to the cards over the coming years, and it looks like we have a hint of what one of the next benefits may be.
Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program
I’m a big fan of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which is available to those with the Amex Platinum Card. Through this program you receive additional benefits at over 975 luxury hotels around the world. These benefits include the following:
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- A unique property amenity (usually a $100 property credit, free massage, car transfer, etc.)
- Guaranteed 4PM check-out
- Noon check-in, subject to availability
- Complimentary in-room wifi (exclusions apply)
Typically Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings are an especially good deal for short stays, since you get the ~$100 credit once per stay, including for a one night stay. So it’s tough to beat a cheap rate at a hotel while getting an upgrade, free breakfast, guaranteed late check-out, and a $100 credit of some sort.
On top of that, Fine Hotels & Resorts often has third or fourth night free offers, so you can combine the above benefits with that to really get a lot of value. The rate available through Fine Hotels & Resorts is typically the same as the best available/flexible rate through the hotel. So you can’t get these benefits in conjunction with promotional rates, AAA rates, points bookings, etc.
The awesome thing about Fine Hotels & Resorts is that you still earn points in your preferred loyalty program when making one of these bookings, unlike other hotel bookings through amextravel.com.
The rumored new Amex Platinum benefit
Presently the Amex Platinum Card offers 5x points on hotels booked through amextravel.com. This only includes prepaid hotel bookings, and not Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings.
A reader who works at a hotel that belongs to Fine Hotels & Resorts reports that Amex is getting backend and billing information from hotels participating in this program so that they can introduce two benefits:
- Offering 5x points on Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings with the Amex Platinum Card
- Allowing Pay With Points to be used for Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings; on the personal version of the card you can only get at most one cent per point, while on the business version they offer up to a 35% on points redeemed through this method, though we’d have to see if this is extended to hotel bookings
Apparently the timeline for this is “early 2018,” though it might take a bit longer than that for them to get everything up and running. Once again, this is just a rumor at this point, and if it happens I’m sure there will be an official announcement soon.
While I wouldn’t consider this benefit to be a game changer, I’d certainly welcome it, as I’d finally get some value out of earning 5x points on hotel bookings, given that I’ve never made a prepaid hotel booking through amextravel.com.
Would you find value if the Amex Platinum Card added the above benefits?