In 2016, Chase completely shook up the premium card game by releasing the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which basically created interest in premium credit cards to the larger audience. People who would never have though to open a credit card with a high annual fee (to the tune of $450+) were suddenly signing up for the card.
It looks like American Express has rebutted – American Express announced today a revamped Platinum Card, which will over a slew of additional benefits, effective March 30, 2017. Here’s what they have in store for us:
- Uber Rides with Platinum – Card members will receive automatic Uber VIP status, plus $200 in annual Uber credit. The benefit is issued as a $15 credit to the card member’s uber account, plus an addition $20 bonus in December, when they add their Platinum card as a payment method to the account.
- Complimentary Additional Gold Cards – Platinum card members can now add Gold Cards to their Platinum account with no annual fee.
- 5X Membership Rewards on Hotels –Earn 5 membership rewards per dollar spent booking eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. This benefit comes in addition to the previously announced 5X point benefit when booking airline tickets through Amex Travel.
- Access to a new Global Dining Collection – Through partnerships with world class chefs, Platinum Card members are granted access to exclusive dining events (such as EMPT Summer House, the Hamptons pop-up of the popular Eleven Madison Park restaurant in Manhattan).
- New Card Design – Members will receive a new metal card
These benefits come along with the existing perks that come with being a Platinum card holder, such as the annual $200 Airline Fee credit, complimentary access to Boingo Wireless, fee credit for Global Entry or the TSA Pre✓® program, gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors, and access to the Global Lounge Collection (including Centurion Lounges).
These new benefits come at a cost – the card fee (previously $450 annually) will jump to $550, effective on the Card Members’ annual renewal date on or after September 1, 2017.
I’ve long been waiting to see an update on the Platinum Card. Sure, we got that extra 5X points on airfare booked through Amex Travel last year, but I’m glad they’ve offered up more substantial benefits.
Though there’s an increase in fee – at $550, this is the most expensive card in its class – it does come with the Uber credits ($200) plus the airline fee ($200) – which actually leaves the card member better off, essentially paying only $150 per year. Before the change, Platinum card members were only receiving the $200 airline credit – meaning the cost of the card was $250.
It’s worth mentioning not everyone should value the airline fee at face value since the $200 credit is for incidentals rather than any airline charge. While I have no trouble getting the $200 credit every year, not every card holder gets the same value that I do out of this benefit
Is it worth it? Well, I’d say it depends. For the frequent traveler, these benefits definitely make it worth holding on to the card. But for someone who doesn’t ride Uber very much, I’d say the new benefits may not provide you a ton more benefits (unless you’re looking to land a reservation at EMP Summer house that is).
I’ll admit I was hoping for more – either bonus spending categories (not just those with American Express) or points worth more when booking through Amex Travel. I also almost always book directly with the hotel, so I don’t think I’ll be getting much value out of th 5X bonus on hotels booked with Amex Travel. However, as a frequent flyer (and Uber user) I’ll admit I can’t complain about the new benefits. It certainly makes it worth keeping given my lifestyle and travel habits.
Wonder what changes Citi has for their Prestige card to make the competition more interesting. Of course I can’t help but wonder if the $550 price tag is the new $450 (likely story).
Anyone planning on applying for an American Express Platinum Card? Platinum Card Members – are these the changes you were hoping to see?
Featured image credit: American Express