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In a move that has been rumored for some time, American Express has announced a new, updated version of the American Express Platinum CardÂ® for US members. The card includes additional travel benefits, expanded lifestyle benefits in various categories and, as expected, increased annual fees.
As we take a look at the changes that have been made, it should be pretty easy for you to see if the American Express Platinum Card is still a card you want to add or keep in your wallet.
Increased annual fees
Let’s get rid of the bad news first. Then we can move on to the exciting news. If you want to take advantage of the new range of Platinum Card benefits, you will have to pay the new annual fees that come with them.
As of July 1, 2021, the American Express Platinum card has an annual fee of $ 695 (see rates and fees). If you have a Platinum Card account that was opened before that date, the increased annual fee will only take effect on the date of your annual renewal which occurs on or after January 1, 2022.
It should be noted that the Platinum Card cost $ 450 per year as recently as 2017. Calculations on the back of the envelope show that the annual card fee has increased by over 50% in just four years. Even tuition fees are not rising as quickly.
Advantages, advantages and more advantages
Why would anyone want to pay such a high annual membership fee?
The Platinum Card from American Express has more than enough benefits to offset this cost. The trick is to make sure 1) that you are capable and 2) that you remember to use as many of these perks as possible in order to get the most out of your card.
The good news is that many of the perks we’ve grown to love about the Platinum card will still be here now that the card has been refreshed. These perks were so popular that they couldn’t take them away.
- 5 Membership RewardsÂ® points per dollarâEarn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $ 500,000 per calendar year, 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible points purchases.
- $ 200 credit on annual airline feesâCardholders can select a participating airline each year and then receive up to $ 200 in credits for incidental charges paid with that airline.
- $ 200 per year in Uber CashâGet up to $ 200 in Uber Cash each year that can be used for Uber rides in the US or Uber meals when your eligible card is added to your Uber account.
- Up to $ 100 in creditâGlobal enrollment fee statement credit ($ 100) or TSA PreâÂ® ($ 85) after applying through an authorized enrollment provider
- $ 100 Saks Fifth Avenue CreditâEarn up to $ 100 in statement credits each year for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue with your Platinum card. These statement credits can be earned up to $ 50 on a semi-annual basis. Registration required.
- Beautiful Hotels + ResortsÂ®– Receive a complimentary suite of benefits at over 1,100 amazing properties around the world when you book through American Express Travel. Benefits include free breakfast, late check-out, and upgrades when available for check-in.
- Concierge Platinum CardâAmerican Express offers free concierge services to its premium card members.
- Cell Phone ProtectionâWith Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed for your repair or replacement costs resulting from damage or theft up to a maximum of $ 800 per claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12 month period, when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless network. bill and that the wireless bill for the previous month was paid by an eligible card account. A $ 50 deductible will apply to each approved claim. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG company.
- Payment flexibilityâPay It Plan It and Pay Over Time are available to eligible cardholders who want additional options for paying their balance.
New travel benefits
In addition to the features that remain from the previous version of the Platinum Card, this updated version of the card offers many new valuable benefits. Having long been a card that focuses on improving your travels, it’s no surprise that the following new travel benefits have been added.
- $ 200 resort creditâCollect $ 200 in statement credits each year on Fine Hotels + ResortÂ® or The Hotel Collection reservations using the card. Note that this means that you cannot receive loyalty benefits with your preferred hotel chain if they treat your reservation as a third party reservation.
- $ 179 CLEARÂ® creditâOnce a year, you will receive a statement credit for payment made for a CLEAR membership, a service that provides expedited security screening at participating US airports.
- More lounges in more placesâNationally, American Express will update and rename a number of escape lounges as Centurion Studios. Internationally, the former American Express International Lounge locations have now been converted to CenturionÂ® Lounges. Keep in mind that American Express is changing its guest access policy in 2023.
- Premium Private Jet AccessâCardholders will receive up to 40% off a Premium Private Jet membership with Wheels Up. In addition, members can receive up to $ 2,000 in flight credits the initial year, to be used to book private charter flights.
New benefits of daily lifestyle
Sad as it is, not all of us can travel all the time. American Express understands this and has recognized it as an opportunity to add more benefits that can be used at home. They call these lifestyle benefits and a select group of people will find them very valuable.
- $ 240 digital entertainment creditâPurchases or subscriptions from Audible, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock will be eligible for up to $ 20 per month in statement credits. These providers may also offer special benefits reserved for Platinum Card members. Registration is compulsory.
- Equinox credit of $ 300âSome Equinox subscriptions or a digital subscription to Equinox + will be eligible for up to $ 25 in statement credits each month. Cardholders must register to take advantage of this benefit.
- Exclusive access to global catering by ResyâCardholders will have access to exclusive reservations at some of the world’s finest restaurants through Resy’s The Global Dining Access program. Premium events and other perks may also be available.
Is it worth it?
People always like to complain when a credit card’s annual fee goes up, but when the increase comes with a set of new benefits like these, you’ll have to do your own cost / benefit analysis. It’s easy to look at the dollar values ââof several of the perks and determine if you’ll get over $ 695 in card value each year.
In that case, if you only look at the few most important travel benefits, you can quickly reach an annual value of $ 779 ($ 200 Airline Fee Credit, $ 200 Uber Cash, $ 200 Airline Fee Credit, $ 200 Uber Cash, $ 200 Airline Fee Credit. hotel, $ 179 CLEAR credit).
Add the $ 100 aggregate registration fee credit, the $ 100 Saks credit, the $ 240 digital entertainment credit, and the $ 300 Equinox credit, and you’ve got an additional value of $ 740. This means that if you maximize your benefits, you can easily get more than double the value of the increased annual fees.
The word “if” does a big job at the best of times. If you live in an Equinox Marketplace and want to pay for a luxury gym membership, like any of the four digital services that Amex offers credit on, if you use Uber at least once a month, if you can get $ 200 of collateral value credit on just one airline and if you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue then yes you will get a ton of value with the American Express Platinum card.
As you can see, although the updated American Express Platinum card has higher annual fees, the benefits that come with joining the card can far exceed these fees. If you can take advantage of the benefits offered, then this updated card should definitely be in your wallet. But if one or more of the above âifsâ don’t apply to you, the second fee hike in four years might give you pause for thought, and for good reason.
For pricing and fees for the American Express Platinum CardÂ®, please visit this page.