amex platinum changes

Last October we saw some AMEX Platinum changes that were mostly positive. Both the Personal and Business versions of the Platinum card saw changes.

  • With the Platinum Card from American Express; you now earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • With the Business Platinum Card; you now earn 1.5X points per dollar on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more. And get 50% back when you use Membership Rewards ® Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible flight fare.

amex platinum changes

Now American Express went ahead and made additional changes to the Platinum Card from American Express that will take effect on March 30th 2017. Let’s take a look at the highlights of these changes.

  • Uber Rides with Platinum. With your Platinum Card, you’ll receive $15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides every month plus a $20 bonus in December, delivered through an exclusive Uber app experience. That’s up to $200 for Uber rides annually. You’ll also become an Uber VIP, where available, without meeting minimum ride requirements and be matched with top-rated drivers, so that even a 5-minute trip can be a 5-star experience.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points for prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. That’s in addition to the recently unveiled 5X points for flights when you book directly with airlines or American Express Travel.
  • An expansion of our Global Lounge Collection which unlocks access to more than 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries and counting, including future Centurion Lounge locations in Hong Kong and Philadelphia opening later this year. Our unmatched worldwide coverage, featuring over 90 domestic lounges, is made possible through our own network, including The Centurion®Lounge and The International American Express lounges, as well as our partner networks, including Delta Sky Club® and Priority PassTM Select lounges. And beginning on March 30th, find a lounge on the go with your Amex® Mobile app by visiting the Membershipsection of your app and selecting Find a Lounge.
  • Complimentary Additional Gold Cards. You will be able to add Additional Gold Cards on your Platinum Card Account for no annual fee and existing Additional Gold Cards will also have no annual fee. You can earn Membership Rewards points on your Additional Card Member’s purchases the same way you do for yours.
  • The Platinum Card will have a new annual fee of $550 and your annual fee will not change until your annual renewal date on or after September 1st, 2017. If you apply between now and before March 30, you’ll be charged the lower rate of $450 for the first year and still get all the new benefits.
  • Bring 2 guests to a Priority Pass Lounge. This is a subtle new change that is found in the terms and conditions of the card. Before, only primary card holder was able to use Priority Pass lounges for free. Guests were allowed but charged $27 per guest.
  • The card will have a new metal design.

amex platinum changes

AMEX Platinum Changes Bottom Line:

Let me start by saying that personally, I’m not too happy with these changes. Here’s why:

The Uber credits are very limiting since they’re not a total of $200 per year. They’re $15 ($35 for December) monthly credits that expire if not used by the end of each month. This benefit is useless for me since I rarely use Uber. However, if you’re a regular Uber customer this can effectively offset the annual fee by $200.

The 5X points on hotels would’ve been a game changer if not limited to booking through Amextravel. Bookings made through Amextravel are considered third party bookings which means you won’t earn stay or point credits from the hotel chain you’re staying at. You also won’t receive elite status benefits you have with that hotel chain.

The expansion of the lounge network might be interesting if they plan on opening more Centurion Lounges within the U.S.

The Gold cards for authorized users is useless since they won’t receive any of the Platinum benefits. Also, not to be confused with the Premier Rewards card, the regular Gold cards don’t earn as much bonus on certain bonus categories.

The benefit of bringing 2 guests to a Priority Pass lounge is not an additional benefit for me. First of all this is a long overdue benefit from American Express. Secondly, I have a Priority Pass Card through my Citi Prestige which allows immediate family or 2 guests free anyway. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also gives Priority Pass Lounge access with unlimited guests!!

The new stainless steel design is probably the only thing I’m taking as a positive from these changes. It looks like it will be a cool looking card with good quality metal that is heavier than the Sapphire Reserve.

To conclude, the higher annual fee might not be much of an issue for those who use Uber regularly. With the $200 Airline credit and the $200 Uber credit, you can effectively lower the annual fee from $550 to $150. If you’re not an Uber customer, the $550 annual fee might not be something you’re wiling to spend for the other benefits. I think I’m going to keep the card as long as I can use Uber a couple of times a year especially in December when the credit is $35 instead of $15.

 

What do you think of these new AMEX Platinum Changes?

If you have any questions please comment below, tweet me @pointspointers or email me at pointspointers@gmail.com

 

 

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