10 Oct Amex Platinum Card Increased Benefits – 5x Points on Airfare!

Calling all American Express Platinum cardholders (and potential cardholders)! You now will receive 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel!

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American Express officially announced the upgraded benefit last Tuesday which will become effective on all eligible purchases made as of October 6, 2016. The 5x benefit is a major improvement to the previous 1x spending bonus per $1 spent, and comes at a crucial moment in the world of premium credit cards! Remember how the Chase Sapphire Reserve recently rocked the premium credit card market!?

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The CSR… how lovely!

It’s been rumored for some time now that American Express would attempt to counter the Chase Sapphire Reserve success, and perhaps this is their answer…

“The change comes as the credit card giant faces some new entrants into the high-end, luxury credit card space, including JPMorgan Chase’s Sapphire Reserve card launched this summer to great interest, despite its $450 annual fee.” – Associated Press

A Value Proposition Recap – The Platinum Card from American Express

Amex Platinum

The Platinum Card from American Express currently offers 40,000 Membership Rewards upon spending $3,000 in 3 months from account opening. I value American Express Membership Rewards anywhere from 1 cent per point (for flights booked through Amex Travel portal) to greater than 2 cents per point (if transferred to American Express Travel partners – like Singapore Airlines)!

Note: Many people are targeted for higher sign-ups ranging from 50,000 to 100,000, but since 40,000 is the current public offer, we will stick with this for purposes of calculating the point value. If you are targeted, then that means the value of this card even more worth the sign-up for you!

In addition to the sign-up, you will also benefit from:

Annual $200 Airline Fee Credit

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit

Lounge Access

Gold Status at Hilton, Starwood and now Marriott (via SPG status match)!

Boingo Wi-Fi Plan & more!

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5x is a definite improvement!

And now… 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel! That means $3,000 in airfare expense earns 15,000 Membership Rewards points – which can be worth $150 or more!

Add up the existing sign-up bonus plus perks & benefits and the new 5x bonus – you have yourself value that GREATLY exceeds the premium $450 annual fee!

My Reaction to the New Benefit – Is that it? 

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5x is a great start! But relatively small change for most!

While I am pleased with the benefits improvement and will absolutely put all future airfare spend on my Platinum, I am not sure how much this really changes the overall card value…

Even if I did spend $3,000 a year in airfare (I don’t!), the value of 15,000 Membership Rewards points is only a slight improvement from the 9,000 Ultimate Rewards points I could earn with the CSR (considering the 3x travel spending category).

And remember – the 5x points only applies to airfare booked directly with the airlines and through American Express Travel (no OTA’s like Priceline or Orbitz). On the other hand, the CSR 3x points applies to ALL travel purchases!

Final Thought

The overall value of the Platinum Card from American Express is moving in the right direction, and becomes more attractive with this new 5x airfare category spending bonus!

That said, I hope American Express realizes that they need to come out with much more than a category spending improvement if they want to dethrone the newly appointed king – the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

There is only room for one premium credit card at the top!

Happy Travels

DW

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