06 Mar Business Platinum Benefit Changes – Amex Doesn’t “Get” it

American Express is at it again – this time with benefit changes to the Business Platinum Card! Last week American Express announced MAJOR, Yet Not-So Rewarding Changes to their Platinum Card coming March 30th, including:

  • $200 annual Uber credit
  • 5x earning on eligible hotel bookings (i.e. via amextravel.com)
  • Improved Priority Pass guest access (2 free guests privileges)
  • Plus come other junk like: Complimentary Additional Gold Cards, Expansion of the Global Lounge Collection, Access to a new Global Dining Collection

Oh and a $100 increase in the annual fee! Making it a staggering $550 per year!

DID I MENTION THE CARD WILL BE METAL!?

I was not a fan of the changes to the Personal Platinum Card…

AND now they are introducing the following changes to the Business Platinum effective March 30th:

According to View from the Wing…

5X Membership Rewards Points on eligible flights and prepaid hotels

By eligible, Amex means booked through amextravel.com. I have never booked a paid flight or hotel stay through amextravel.com and I am not sure 5x points is enough to get me there. About 90% of my flights and hotel stays are booked with points or somehow discounted with gift cards, so unless there is an Amex offer that comes out in conjunction with this – this has little value to me.

Does anyone ever book through amextravel.com?  Will this be enough incentive for you to start?

Side note – I am a fan of the 5x earning airfare announced in 2016, considering that multiple applies both via amextravel.com and directly with airlines!

Personal Platinum Card offers 5x on airfare booked direct – though that will soon come at a price – to the tune of $550 in annual fees!

Improved Priority Pass guest access (2 free guests privileges)

Definitely an improvement here, but if you have either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Citi Prestige, then this is another non-factor additional benefit.

The last additional benefit…

Similar to the personal Platinum Card, the Busi Platinum will offer access to a new Global Dining Collection, Global Lounge Collection and the Global By Invitation Only Events… Not exactly sure what value this will provide at this point, but it doesn’t seem like a game changer…

OH! AND THE CARD WILL BE METAL!

Some Good News?

Gary at View from the Wing did confirm that the annual fee will remain $450:

The annual fee is not going up on the Business Platinum card. According to a spokesperson, “the fee on OPEN Business Platinum will remain at $450 annually.”

It’s nice that they came out and said it, but I have my doubts. It seems likely to me that American Express will eventually align the annual fees on the Personal and Business Platinum. Some will point to the Uber credits as reasoning for the $100 increase to the Personal Card, and while the Business Platinum did not receive this benefit, it does offer something much more rewarding… 50% rebate on airline redemptions when using points to buy paid tickets!

In my opinion, post March 30th, the Personal and Business versions of the Platinum Card will offer substantially equivalent benefits, yet the Business Platinum will cost $100 less in annual fees!

Once Amex has some time to realize how how valuable the 50% rebate becomes, a fee increase will most likely follow…

Final Thought – Amex Doesn’t “Get” It

While American Express is making headlines with these recent changes to the Personal and Business versions of the Platinum Card, I have yet to see a truly rewarding improvement to either of the card offerings.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of additional benefits on the Business Platinum, but they provide little additional value to cardholders.

If American Express is attempting to gain/retain cardholders (which I assume that they are) and compete with the competitors like Chase’s Sapphire Reserve and Ink Preferred, there needs to be a focus on offering incremental benefits. Offering new unrewarding benefits or additional benefits offset by a corresponding fee hike is not going to get you where you want to be!

I will stay with the Business Platinum for now, considering the 50% rebate on airline redemptions when using points to buy paid tickets can be an extremely valuable benefit! That said, I have a funny feeling that the $450 annual fee may still creep up to that $550.

We shall see…

What are your thoughts on all the new changes Amex is throwing down on the Personal and Business Platinum Cards!?

Happy Travels!

DW

 

4 Comments
  • Golf Sync
    Posted at 12:42h, 06 March Reply

    1. Terrible time to align themselves with Uber.
    2. Book my hotel thru Amex? Who does this?
    3. Priority Pass? Who doesn’t have this already? – Citi Prestige/CSR
    4. I’ll run my year out and move on.
    I haven’t bothered visiting a Centurion Lounge since I stuck my head into the one in Houston and saw the line to check-in stretched 10 feet.

    • DW
      Posted at 12:47h, 06 March Reply

      Agreed on all points! I love the concept and idea behind the Centurion… but so does everyone else! Which leads to massive overcrowding and an overall stressful experience! The opposite of what a premium lounge should be offering…

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