American Express has retooled its Platinum card. Let’s walk through the changes and then I will explain why I am keeping it.
Here’s what changes, effective 30 March 2017–
- Two complimentary lounge guests when using Priority Pass benefit
- $15/month Uber credit ($35 in December)
- 5x points on hotel bookings via amextravel.com
- Complimentary American Express Gold cards for up to 99 authorized users
- Metal card
- Anual fee rises $100, from $450 to $550
Why I Can Live With These Changes
In January, I wrote about my American Express strategy for 2017. There, I calculated that $250 annual fee (I subtracted the $200 airline credit) meant that my 42 lounge visits in 2016 cost $5.95 each.
> Read More: My American Express Strategy for 2017
Even if I do not use any of the new benefits, that means each lounge visit will cost $8.33 each ($350/42). I can live with that.
I don’t care about the metal card. In fact, I prefer to keep my card with raised numerals because my favorite steakhouse in Frankfurt still has an old credit card imprint machine that cannot process these new cards.
I also do not care about the complimentary gold cards: my employees use my card and the Gold card has little going for it now that the Platinum card earns 5x per dollar on travel and the Platinum Business card earns 1.5x points on purchases over $5,000 and 50% back using Membership Rewards Pay with Points (in any cabin for your chosen airline or in business/first for all airlines).
I do not care about the 5x hotel benefit since I would never book a hotel through amextravel.com. Why? Because these third-party bookings do not count as qualifying stays and under World of Hyatt I am not even entitled to my elite benefits. Furthermore, the 5x bonus does not apply to the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resort program.
While I appreciate that two guests will now be permitted as part of the Priority Pass Select benefit, my Chase Sapphire Reserve card already has me covered.
So that leaves the Uber benefit. Sure, I’ll use it, though if I get $15/month that means I have to pay for the other direction. In looking at my ride history, the majority of my rides are outside of the USA. In LA, I’m just used to my car and rarely use Uber. Washington DC is another story…
I neither celebrate nor condemn these changes. This is still a card worthy of my wallet and a card I will charge all my airline travel on. I simply note that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still a much more valuable card and now $100/year cheaper.