Amex Card Refreshes Coming In Early May

Filed Under: American Express

Update: Here are the details of Amex’s card refreshes.

Earlier I wrote about how Amex is planning on cutting costs by $3 billion in 2020. Much of the spending cuts will come from marketing, but we can expect cost cuts across the company.

Something else interesting was revealed during Amex’s first quarter earnings call. I’ve written in the past about how card issuers should update the benefits on some of their travel rewards cards to reflect the current climate, and Amex has now hinted at what we can expect.

Amex will be refreshing cards in early May

American Express has revealed that in early May they’re planning “actual product refreshes to a number of products, which will infuse additional value in addition to the value that a card may have.”

It’s not known exactly which cards will be receiving refreshes, and if these will be permanent perks, or just temporary perks to reflect the current environment, where travel isn’t a thing for most.

What makes this interesting is that in the past couple of years Amex has already refreshed a majority of their popular cards, including adjusting the perks and fees on the Amex Green, Amex Gold, Amex Platinum, co-branded Delta, and co-branded Marriott cards.

One has to wonder if we’ll see these cards re-refreshed, or what exactly will happen.

Could the Amex Black or Amex Titanium be launched?

There have been rumors of Amex introducing a new ultra premium card, which could be known as the Amex Black or Amex Titanium. Based on what we know these products were supposed to launch in 2020, though I think it goes without saying that this isn’t the ideal time to launch a premium card. It remains to be seen whether that will still happen or not.

On the one hand, if the concept is ready to go, I could see them still launching it. On the other hand, if the card is focused on travel perks, I could see them holding off.

Expect changes to the Amex Platinum

It would appear that Amex may be introducing some additional perks specifically to the Amex Platinum. This is definitely needed, given that this card is primarily about travel perks, and there’s not much value to those at the moment:

  • The card currently offers perks like Fine Hotels & Resorts, Uber credits, and other travel benefits, and those aren’t valuable right now
  • Amex will add enhancements there, ranging from “wireless streaming to maybe some other types of travel credits which can be used in the future over a period of time”
  • While not terribly exciting, Amex notes that they’ve added discounts when redeeming points through Amazon, and the ability to earn double points with GrubHub and Seamless through the end of the year
  • Amex is also adding “a range of limited time offers, credits, and rewards on stay-at-home services, such as wireless, streaming, grocery, and food delivery for consumer and certain co-brand card consumers, as well as business essentials like wireless office equipment and shipping for small business consumers”

Bottom line

It sounds like we should expect some sort of card refreshes in early May from Amex. It’s unknown as this point if we’ll see temporary or permanent changes, and also remains to be seen how significant these changes will be.

I hope we see more than just double points on streaming and food delivery, and that we actually see significant changes that are compelling enough to cause people to keep travel rewards cards.

I’m also curious if we’ll see the introduction of the new rumored ultra premium card, or if that’s being put off for now.

What are you expecting from these Amex card refreshes?

Comments
  1. Did they update the American Personal Platinum as they did in canada with current double points earnings and ability to use MR at $0.02 value for any purchase?

  2. I fully expect to be underwhelmed. I also expect I’ll be a few Amex cards lighter in the not too distant future.

  3. @ Ben — It sounds like I will still be closing my card. If AMEX wants to keep Plat customers, they need to drastically reduce of just waive the annual fee right now.

  4. what will be interesting to see is how the premium card issuers change or adopt to what will surely be a different landscape in travel/leisure industry. Will this virus and it’s ongoing treat really change the way people travel, how they travel and more importantly where they go.
    Along with that will the “hype” still be there for these high end cards, I think it will be diminished for me I have taken this “time off” to go through all the cards and services I have eliminating over 50% of them. Downgrading my Sapphire Reserve tp premium for starters and dumping my Hyatt, some services/subscriptions. I am pondering my Amex PLT which I have had since 2002. What I ask myself as many I am sure are “Do I really need this?”

    What say you Ben ?

  5. I signed up for Amex for the 60000 pts when spending $3000 in
    3 months. Well booked travel got the 60000pts then had to cancel due to the virus and lost all the pts. So now hoping Amex can at least give us another opportunity to earn the Pts back.

  6. Uber Eats credits are useless. Every time I had to spend that $15 credit, $10 of it goes to service fee and delivery fee, not counting the mark up compared to in-store menus.

    Also, I don’t think they’re going to lower/waive the annual fee. Those who cannot afford a $550 fee in this situation is not their target customer. I think they would give people more incentive to actually spend money on their cards vs putting it in the drawer.

  7. Unfortunately I’m prepared to be underwhelmed. Guessing it will be a $10 a month streaming credit or something like that. While better than nothing it still won’t make people want to continue to pay the fee. I hope I’m wrong. But Amex is known for not being very generous with their credits.

  8. I called up to see if they’ll adjust the annual fee because they’re not offering the full benefit of the card especially with the closure of their clubs and they said “no” have a nice day

  9. I am keeping my Amex premium cards for now – they do deliver a good amount of long term value in the form of decent spending categories (grocery, dining, MQM bonus for Delta cards), worthwhile spending credits (Uber, Saks, Grubhub), and various certs (Delta and Marriott) that will be useful into 2021 and beyond. Hopefully these refreshes will be additive. Amex Gold / Delta Reserve continue to get the vast majority of my spending. Amex Platinum and the Bonvoy cards need some more juice.

    I am aggressively trying to cut down on fees on secondary/midrange cards. CSR will be downgraded come September most likely, various mid range Amex credit cards cancelled. Citi and Capital One cards will be downgraded as well. No fee is the new premium.

    On a separate note, I applied for and received the Apple Card recently. Decent way to earn 2-3% on all spend with no fee. Could be a good card to pick up this year.

  10. I just cancelled my Platinum Card after 25 years as its of little value at the moment and Amex offered only a $40 credit off of my $600 annual fee. I filled out a Green Card application (they wouldn’t let me simply downgrade and made it as bothersome as possible to preserve my MR) to pick up the sign up bonus and then thought to myself that at the current moment, with few flights anywhere, few countries I can enter, and no assurance as to when these things will change, that those bonus miles aren’t really worth even the small annual fee and spend at the moment. Just got a free Blue Card (just to preserve my MRs) and if travel resumes I’ll rethink my present view about the value of Amex cards – though I don’t imagine I’ll rethink my view of doing business with a company like American Express which was, at best, ungenerous with regard to Covid (and at worst sought to take advantage of Covid by eliminating their costs (i.e., lounges) while trying to force their cardholders to pay the same price, all while holding the cardholders accrued MR balance hostage.

  11. My business has become American Express customers for life and doesn’t mind paying their annual fees.

    Here’s why: After the PPP program launched, our main bank was so overwhelmed and frankly incompetent, that they didn’t even have an application for the program available until money ran out. This bank is horrific to deal with generally and is one of the big credit card issuers touted on another travel blog (and sometimes here).

    We tried to apply through seven (7!) other banks and none of them would even take our application. American Express not only took our application, but we spoke with a real person throughout the process and have gotten to the point where we have signed documents in hand. Once this closes, I will pay that annual fee forever now, whether I can take advantage of the travel benefits or not.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not an Amex employee, even though it might sound like it. Just a small business owner.

  12. Hopefully they have some good offers when they refresh it too. I’m actually still interested in picking up a Platinum, as I am eligible for a $150 statement credit through their Corporate Advantage Program. Even now, I’m pretty sure I can wring out most of the benefits for the net $400 fee.

  13. I have been considering giving up Plat card. I had a Green card for a long time (you paid an extra fee of about $50 to participate in the Rewards progra) – so around $100. I upgraded to the Plat (kept same number) about 6 years ago. Someone points out that the would not let you downgrade to Green – but I will check – since my Plat was an upgrade from Green.

    But all this a side, I have gotten tired of the Centurion lounges – food degraded (mostly Chicken thighs), crowded, have to go on wait list to enter many times. Don’t drink so no benefit. I found it was better to be in the Airline clubs – food Ok, counter support, etc.

    Only thing on the Plat I use is the Hilton Gold and CDW for card rentals (I think AmEx still does the CDW) – but not worth the fee. Can’t get the $200 AA credit any more.

  14. Uber is a disgusting company and I wish Amex would stop tying the credits to one company. Not everyone lives in a major city. I agree, the $15 credit is useless toward Uber Eats since by the time I pay the fees, there isn’t much left.

  15. From the people that brought you the $550 fee, airline credits that you cannot redeem, only a single category (airline tickets) with a decent earn rate, Priority Pass cuts, high authorized user fees and exclusive overcrowded lounges that will not permit you in a minute before 3 prior to your flight departure, comes a “refresh.”

    Hahahaha. Perhaps another $25 towards Saks will make the difference.

  16. @Alan – same here. Unless they make some material changes between now and October when my AFs hit, I’m out as well.

  17. Quite frankly, I’d love to see 4x dining and supermarkets like the AMEX Gold. That’s what we are spending money on right now. Free Netflix would be nice but I’d rather have the dining and supermarkets.

  18. I may close my gold care account. Perks aren’t that great and fees continue to climb.

  19. I cancelled my Platinum card, and they actually offered me the downgrade to the Green keeping the same number, but I passed on the offer.

  20. I don’t see how they limit customer bleed without cutting the Platinum annual fee by at least 50% in 2020. Screw “enhancements.”

  21. Just received an email from AMEX that the Australian platinum card now has double points for the next three months:

    “We understand that these are challenging times and we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. As our travel plans have halted and we are adapting to our new lifestyles, we are committed to ensuring you continue to get the most out of your Platinum Membership, starting with double points across your Membership Rewards program. For the next three months you’ll earn double points across your spend. From daily essentials, to online shopping and even when ordering in. That’s 4.5 points for every dollar spent, except for government spend where you will earn 2 points, up until 20 July 2020.”

  22. Chase added the Dashpass subscription to the Sapphire Reserve just before all the stay-at-home stuff started (though they did up the annual fee too). I bet Amex will add something similar for either food or grocery delivery services. They already had that deal with Uber so they may add Uber Eats.

  23. If you do Uber eats as a pickup, you can basically spend the whole credit on food..in my neighborhood, it is available at bakeries and donut shops too. No delivery charge, just a quick snack on the Amex.

  24. I HAVE BEEN A GOLD CARD CUSTOMER FOR 39 YEARS AND I THINK WHEN CUSTOMERS REACH 30, 40 PLUS YEARS AS MEMBERS THEY SHOULD BE CHARGED ONLY HALF FOR ANNUAL FEES ON ANY AMERICAN EXPRESS CARDS….THEY SHOULD REWARD THEM WITH THIS PERK…

  25. I have a Plat card, and keep it simply for the lounge pass, travel insurance, and points accrual. The recent sharp increase in the cost to £48 a month was very very hard for me to justify even before the virus. The taxi credits are useless if you dont use the firm in the deal. If there were some real tangible credits, like an extra 20,000/30,000 points a year on membership renewal, or £300 voucer for an airline, or similar, I would accept it. But as things stand, I was preparing to go down to gold or green even before this. It is hard to see how they can keep people like me on board.

  26. I will be dumping my Amex Gold card and exchanging it for another Amex with points and no (or a much lower) annual fee. The annual fee is just not worth it in this economy. Which Amex card should I change it for?

  27. In reading this, and other reports, it seems likely that the Amex Platinum will be repositioned more similarly to the CSR in terms of points-earning, and AmEx’s supposed new “Titanium” card will replace the Platinum in terms of perks (Centurion lounge access included). Currently, the Centurion access is providing outsized value given the fee and so my guess is that many people have it simply for the access, and don’t necessarily put all their spend on it (and instead spend on card with higher points earning). AmEx needs to lure that spend back over to their network, and so they’ll give people the points they want at the expense of some of the lounge access. AmEx will allow plats a handful of lounge passes per year and more bonus categories. Meanwhile, “Titanium” members will get unlimited lounge access and more perks/benefits (similar to what Plat has now, but increased value and more luxe). Bottom line, if you only want lounge access, you’re going to have to pay more for it.

  28. It is a sad reflection on the Platinum Card that I hold it for free but I still want to cancel it because it does not give me much value. Benefits are better on other Amex cards (I don’t pay fees on those either, but if I did they are cheaper).

    Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs Is about all I get from this card. No one will be using those for quite some time.

  29. I am most interested in whether they will be taking travel hackers off their bonus black list… For the last two years I have been unable to signup with any Amex with a bonus. When I click submit I get a popup… ‘Due to your past history… you are ineligible for a bonus’.

    Over 10 years I doubt I have had more than 6 new signup bonuses. I also held my costco card for all 10 of those years, along with my Hilton and Delta amex’s.

    If you check forums I am not the only one who appears to be blacklisted.

  30. Honestly, if they just made the credits easier to collect, I’d be happy. Just automatically apply the airline credit (regardless of airline) until its depleted, and same for Uber, that would be great. If they bring back Priority Pass restaurants, that would be even better. If they do that, I would drop CSR in a heartbeat.

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