Rumor: Big Amex Platinum Card Changes Coming

Filed Under: American Express

For a while there have been rumors of some major changes coming to the personal version of the Amex Platinum Card (in addition to the changes to Amex Centurion Lounge access that we are expecting to see as of 2023). These rumors keep getting stronger, so in this post I wanted to summarize what’s out there.

Let me once again emphasize that this is all rumored, and all of this is subject to change until there’s an official announcement.

Rumored Amex Platinum annual fee increase

According to the rumor, the Amex Platinum annual fee will increase from $550 to $695, but only for the personal version of the card. This change is expected to kick in for new cardmembers as of July 2021, and for existing cardmembers as of January 2022.

Rumored Amex Platinum benefits changes

With these rumored changes, the Amex Platinum will be positioned more as a lifestyle card than a travel card, and we can expect the following potential new perks:

  • A $300 annual Equinox credit
  • A $240 annual entertainment credit, broken down as a $20 monthly credit towards magazine & news subscriptions, video streaming services, and audio & music streaming services
  • A $200 annual credit for prepaid hotel bookings through Amex Travel
  • An annual CLEAR membership, potentially replacing the TSA Pre-Check credit
  • A $100 Resy credit, but only as a temporary benefit

It’s my understanding that most of the current card perks are expected to stick around as well, unless noted otherwise. So I believe this card would still offer:

  • A $200 annual airline fee credit (there are rumors that this could be cut, though only time will tell)
  • A $200 annual Uber credit, broken down as a $15 monthly credit, and a $35 credit in December
  • A $100 annual Saks credit, broken down as a $50 credit every six months
  • Centurion Lounge access, Delta SkyClub access, a Priority Pass membership, and more
  • 5x Membership Rewards points for airfare purchases

My take on these rumored changes

Assuming these rumored changes are true, what’s my take? Well, we’d essentially be seeing a $145 annual fee increase, and we’d see annual credits added to the card that are potentially worth well over $700.

If these changes are true, I actually think the math very much works out favorably for many:

  • Personally I don’t see myself using the Equinox credit, but if you are an Equinox member, that could be hugely valuable
  • The entertainment credit, prepaid hotel credit, and CLEAR membership potentially way more than justify the annual fee

So I’d ultimately view these changes as being positive, personally.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel like the Amex Platinum is kind of becoming like one of those Entertainment Coupon Books that I had to sell in middle school to raise money:

  • On the one hand, Amex is able to offer so many perks that have such a high dollar value on the surface because of how many “catches” there are associated with them — I imagine Amex isn’t actually paying much for most of these partner perks, given the affluent consumer base companies are getting access to
  • At the same time, most of these perks have significant terms associated with them, and it almost feels a bit like couponing, which is the opposite of what you’d generally expect from a luxury or premium product

I know the Amex Platinum has never really been about offering a compelling value proposition on spending, but I sure wish it had a better rewards structure, so that I’d actually want to spend money on the card. Looking at my own Amex strategy, I find the Amex Platinum to be well worth it for the perks, while I use other Amex cards for spending.

What about a new ultra premium Amex card?

In early 2020 there were rumors of Amex introducing a new ultra premium card, somewhere between the Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion. This rumor was based on a document that listed the vendors that produce American Express cards in the US, listing a new “Titanium” and “Black Charge Metal” card (it separately listed the Centurion Card, which is otherwise often referred to as the “Black Card”).

Obviously a lot has changed in the world in the past year, so I’m curious to see if there’s still a plan for a card like that to be introduced, or if we’ll instead just see an annual fee hike and new benefits on the Amex Platinum.

Bottom line

It’s being rumored that the Amex Platinum will be seeing a $145 annual fee hike in the coming months, bringing the annual fee to $695. However, the card would offer a variety of new perks, including annual Equinox, entertainment, and hotel credits.

Based on what we know it seems like these changes would be a positive for most (even if you won’t use the Equinox credit), even though there may be quite a few terms associated with each of these benefits.

What do you make of these rumored Amex Platinum changes?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

Comments
  1. Ah, man. What poor timing! I wanted to switch from the Reserve to Plat and now if these rumours are true it’s definitely not going to be in my wallet. The Plat is being diluted for all this extra, unnecessary fluff.

  2. Amex continues to miss the forest for the trees.

    Consumers don’t want a whole host of benefits they will never use that are “valuable”.

    They want benefits they will use and gain from.

    This should be a “mix and match offering” where you get:

    $300 with Equinox, $200 streaming, $200 Uber… whatever the mix…

    … but if you don’t use Uber or Equinox, you can instead get $200 streaming, $300 airfare, $200 Saks….

    There should be a *fairly* consistent value benefit for everyone and enough choice to gain it.

    Yes, in theory, the Equinox/Uber/Saks/Streaming/Clear/willing to use their very questionable FHR deals customer can make out like a bandit here. But how narrow is that niche?

    Many AMEX Platinum customers are also high end Delta customers getting Clear for free. Many people would never, ever use Amex for prepaid hotel bookings (especially not these days). Many people here are almost angry about the Saks credit (we find ways to use it, but our “value” for it is less than half).

    Clueless as usual at AMEX.

  3. My spend on Amex Platinum has been creeping up lately due to the various credits, Covid promotions, along with existing benefits like purchase protection/warranty. But even other premium Amex cards like Delta Reserve (MQM bonuses) offer more for big spend. It seems like the only cards Amex really wants to promote spend on via bonus categories are Gold and Green. They should add bonuses at various spend thresholds ($25,000, $30,000, whatever) to make ongoing spend more attractive.

  4. I was strongly considering applying through the CardMatch offer, but I think I’ll wait a few months on that now. Not sure I care much for the added benefits, I’d prefer fewer hoops to jump through in order to get the full value out of a premium card.

  5. A friend of mine just got an offer from AMEX where he was pre-approved for the Platinum card with a 125,000 sign up bonus. Do you think he should get the card if he is considering it now or should he wait for the new benefits to kick in?

  6. Quite frankly, I was hoping that it would multiply the rewards on various categories rather than just 5x on flights. I am still on the fence post when it comes to the three premiums with an edge to Citi Prestige because of how frequent my wife and I go to restaurants. However the platinum has Centurion, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass, but that Restaurant credit, the hotel credit and the CLEAR credit, may push Platinum to the edge. Obviously, still something to think about, but AMEX is making a strong case.

  7. I actually expect that the $200 airline incidental credit will be going away, as it already has for the Gold Card. If you look at the landing pages for new Plat applications, the airline incidental credit hasn’t been mentioned (except in the T&Cs) for several months now.

  8. It’s almost like the Amex Platinum Card is a middle schooler just trying to find a clique that they fit in with these days. However, I’ll keep taking the “free” money. I’m sure I can find a nice Lulu wardrobe from Equinox for $300.

  9. Ugh, the Equinox credit is awful. They have so few locations, and even if you live in an area with one, they can be far away. I live in LA and according to Google, the closest one to me is at least 15 minutes away without traffic…yeah at that point I might as well just stick to a crappier gym close by. All the other credits are much easier to use (Uber Eats is pretty widespread, free delivery with Saks using ShopRunner, which is free with many Amex cards), but there’s no good way to use the Equinox credit.

    Fine Amex, raise the fees, but ditch the Equinox credit and make the airline credit easier to use like Chase’s travel credit. I’d be willing to make that compromise.

  10. Amex is really missing the mark. All the card needs is:

    Airport lounge access, hotel and airline perks.

    I rather pay $350 for PP, SkyClub, Centurion, Hilton and Marriott Gold with no credits than this coupon book garbage.

  11. Equinox? LOL. Worth zero. CLEAR? Already get it for free. $20.month streaming etc… PITA. Resy temporary? Useless.
    Airline ancillary credit? Maybe, but usually no since gift card use went poof.
    Uber credit? Nice benefit with two at college. I’ll certainly take it.
    Saks 2x at $50? Nope.
    Airport clubs? Yessir. Very good benefit(2020 notwithstanding).
    New fee? Ugh.
    Give me a reason besides 5X air to spend on this card and this makes far more sense.
    Thankfully my Morgan Stanley version is not only reimbursed but a free second card comes with it. Paying full $695? Doubtful.

  12. The nearest Equinox is about two hours from me,not including traffic. Can I buy stuff online? Otherwise, weird.

  13. This, plus the change to no free guests in the Centurion lounges, means lots more lounge space in the coming years!

  14. I guess I’m in the minority but I get these cards because I can exploit all the benefits. While the Saks and Equinox credits are hard for most people to leverage, the rest should be doable for the motivated card holder. Throw in the extra $180 paypal credits received this year, and the $300 in credits from Home Depot, Bestbuy and Dell, $150 homechef offer, etc.. and I’ve made 3x the amount back from the annual fee. People need to recognize this isn’t a card to fit your needs, its a card you need to exploit to fit what’s being offered. I have other cards for everyday spending…

  15. I guess I’m going to dump the card, because (*gasp*) I actually want it for travel purposes. Considering they nerfed the Priority Pass to exclude restaurants last year, they’re not going to let me take my significant other into a Centurion lounge without forking out another $50 starting February 2023, I’m sure they’ll dump the $200 travel credit which I actually used, and the UBER credit designed for breakage, AMEX has made it clear I’ll be better off going with Chase’s offerings. Oh well.

  16. $695 seems crazy but, if all the existing credits stay, then the additional $20 per month on streaming / music services is money directly into my pocket and actually offsets the increase. If the air credit goes away it changes the calculus a lot.

    I kind of don’t understand why they’ve been unbelievably generous with recent sign-up bonuses and statement credits as if they’re trying to attract many more members and then switching to a model in which it seems like they’re trying to attract fewer, less money conscious members.

  17. I got the card back in January when they offered 100k bonus and 6 months of 10x gas and grocery which I’ve racked up an enormous amount of points with those. With that said, after the six months is up and my only real spend is airfare (covid has really made that spending hard) — I see it hard to keep if they increase that fee while adding those “coupons”. I don’t see me holding on for more than this year. If they matched Chase Reserve with that $300 travel credit (not this bogus fee garbage they are doing now) then I would definitely keep it around but again, the card is not adding real consumer value if the rumors are true.

  18. I like AmEx for service and customer protection but I see little value in paying $695 for a bundle of services I may not use at all. Regarding the lounge, AA Club is fine for me when I need some assistance with reservations. Typically, I come to the airport with 10 min to spare for a coffee at the club or at a Starbucks and go straight to the gate. And I would rather have Global Entry than Clear. Then I can spend $695 on something else.

  19. Isn’t an equinox membership – of which there are loads here in NYC – like a minimum of $200/month or something, for a single club?
    If it was a free membership then great, I would probably make some use of it, but for a month or maybe two months max – no doubt with hefty joining fees, a minimum contract length… I would pass.

  20. If every benefits stay, Platinum means minus AF for me. Streaming credit+prepaid hotel benefit (Assuming it works with FHR prepaid so I can double dip 5X MR and Hilton/Hyatt points) more than offset the AF hike.
    Even airline fee credit going away, it’s still more than break even for my occasional Centurion lounge usage, 5X airline purchase etc.
    Plus it’s still a stunning card, which can’t be said so for CSR or UAR.

  21. For me the devil is always in the details which we don’t yet know. A lot of these benefits are geared to large city dwellers. Those of us living in sleepy Florida beach towns have a hard time even using Uber eats. I was amused about your reference to couponing. I kind of thing the points and miles game is couponing to the extreme with the potential for great value.

  22. I’m exhausted just reading this. The point about it feeling like couponing is so true. It’s already hard to keep track of what benefits exist, how much I have used etc and to me the extra discounts are hardly worth the hassle. Plus I know it’s to make me buy stuff I otherwise wouldn’t just to say I used those credits.

    Also, I guess that $300 at Equinox is great, but for one, that covers just a little over a month of membership on average, and for two, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s simply the continuation of one of the current offers (a discount on their online workouts app subscription as opposed to some proper credit).

    If the fee really increases again, I will seriously reconsider this time. The only thing that could change my mind is if they add better point earning categories, or if they finally revamp the airline credit to be actually usable. Surely they must KNOW by now that people hate the way it works.

  23. It would be amazing if they offered say a choice of 10 great perks and each card member could choose 5 of them they really wanted. Why market crap like Equinox that most people don’t want or can’t use?!?

  24. I think Amex is conceptually right in that they’re trying to differentiate their card enough to make it useful to people who already have another premium travel card like the CSR, but I don’t think these are necessarily the best options.

    Regarding the proposed options, for a city-dweller like me, the breakdown goes:
    $300 annual Equinox credit: Useless to me. Maybe I could get some value out of stuff from the shop, but none of it is stuff I’d otherwise buy.
    $240 annual entertainment credit: If this covers newspapers, that’d be good. Otherwise, the only streaming service I pay for is Amazon Prime, which usually isn’t considered a media subscription.
    $200 Amex Travel credit: I would need to see more about how this works and what’s covered.
    Annual CLEAR membership: Useful to me, as I don’t get it free from Delta and CSR already gives me a Global Entry credit. But at the same time, I don’t quite travel enough to really make it hugely valuable to me in general.
    $100 Resy credit: Nice, but if it’s not permanent, it’s not part of my long-term calculus.

    On the whole, the entertainment credit and CLEAR membership could make the price hike worth it. But it still creates the awkward feeling of paying for additional benefits that I just wouldn’t use, like the Equinox credit.

  25. I can’t believe how much life blogs continue to breathe into these rumors that are sourced from a single user on the FlyerTalk forums with fewer than five posts…

  26. So i am paying $145 for my Hulu+, Peacock and Netflix. That seems a fair trade-off im paying more than 145 for those services each year.

  27. Isn’t the point of a credit/charge card to encourage CHARGING spend to it? Amex is creating Frankenstein with this thing, where the annual fee is expected to bring in revenue rather than encouraging the cardmember to SPEND with it. Simplicity sometimes really is just the better way to go, so someone get the memo to Amex…

  28. It’s becoming a challenge to keep track of all of the perks, restrictions, conditions, and offers of the Platinum card. If AMEX wants to raise the annual fee, then the value of the card is questionable to me.

  29. This just goes to show that most of the country does not need an Amex Plat card. Exactly why they are cutting lounge access, everyone and their mother has the card and it’s watering down the product/benefit.

  30. “Garbage coupon book” is the phrase I’ve been looking for to describe my last 2-3 years with Amex.

    Thank you, John!

  31. @Chase “Isn’t the point of a credit/charge card to encourage CHARGING spend to it?”

    AMEX Platinum hasn’t been about encouraging charging spend to it in my memory (ever?). The only thing that’s a big spending bonus is airline tickets, and pre-paid hotel reservations on their website.

    It’s ALWAYS been about the perks.

    You can disagree with that strategy, but that’s always been the strategy.

  32. Equinox could not more useless to me. Now, if they gave $300 in gyms that would be different. I work out everyday but there is no Equinox here. I get CLEAR for free from Delta so zero use for me. I like your analogy to a coupon book which forces me to sign up for a bunch of offers that I don’t use or need.

  33. The math may work out and users can come out ahead by taking advantage of most of them, but at a certain point that doesn’t matter. This increased fee is going to cause a lot of people to close their accounts. Eventually it’s just too much to fork out in one go, even if you do get more value out of it over time.

  34. Man, as a 30 year old millennial I’m all for the changes. These are good perks that I’d use living in SoCal.

    However, as a holder of 15 credit cards, I hate it… just more reasons to own a credit card that I have to set reminders for so I don’t “miss my money’s worth”

  35. I’m in the same boat as Tom above. Got the card for the 100k bonus, groceries went on it till the end of my 6 months before going back on the Gold. Was thinking of getting the Green as well for the travel x3 and clear, but not sure if I’m going to keep the platinum at this rate.
    I suppose it’ll depend on what the CSR looks like in 6 more months since I downgraded the CSR to the CSP so I wouldn’t lose my UR while I put my spending on the Platinum.
    Might just go back to the Gold+BBP and CSR+CFU combos if the Platinum doesn’t look appealing at the end of 1 year.

  36. Some minor trivia for those who haven’t thought about it lately: I explicitly carry AX Gold rather than Platinum because I use CSR for travel. My AX Gold is my “food” (restaurants *and* supermarkets) card. I would have done Platinum, but AX has been screwing around with all the Centurion Lounges, so the extra (soon to be) $500 annual fee for Platinum is definitely pointless, for me anyway. The one thing that AX cards (even Blue varieties) are useful for is “Premium Rental Protection” ($18 per rental, not *per day*) which gets you the firepower of AX Customer Service if/when Rental agencies try to play games. This is valuable enough that I rent cars using an AX card rather than use CSR even though CSR offers “free” Primary CDW. PRP has no specific annual fee or other cost when not renting cars.

  37. I was thinking of switching my Delta Amex Reserve to Amex Plat but will not given these changes. I’ve always hated the “couponing” aspect of the Amex Plat — why don’t they just give whatever credits come with it as 1 annual bucket that you can use whenever like CSR does? I have enough stress in my life without this card adding to it! It’s exactly the opposite of what I would expect a premium financial product to provide with the monthly limits, airline credits most elite fliers cannot use, and niche discount categories.

  38. I don’t see how throwing on some random credits makes it a “lifestyle card”. It’s only bonus category is for flights and its primary benefit is lounge access…that sounds like a travel card to me. The Green card would make more sense to me as a general lifestyle card.

  39. As they say the devil is in the details. I already have plat, gold, everyday preferred, brilliant , and aspire.
    If the math doesn’t work I can easily get the delta reserve and dump the plat. I will have equal or better status in hotels with the cobranded cards and will get an annual companion certificate with the reserve plus lounge access when flying delta for a lower annual fee.
    I never pull the platinum out of my wallet unless I go to a centurion lounge as it is. I would love some more bonus categories to compel spending on the card – don’t see it happening because it would cannibalize the other cards

  40. Hard pass for me. Too much fluff and things I don’t need or want. I gave up my Amex platinum a few years ago after I tried using the $50.00 Saks credit online. I went to the Saks on 5th Ave. in Manhattan, spoke with a manager who informed me that contractily they can’t sell every item online. So Amex is forcing me into Saks twice a year to use the $50.00. Please, don’t waste my time.

    And Uber, what a scam. I stopped using them due to surge pricing, now use Via and Lyft. I feel better dealing with honest companies.

  41. These changes seem implausible.

    The current card has a $550 af and, Amex offers aside, gives at most $500 in value for annual credits, meaning that the best case is $50 net payment to Amex.

    Can’t see Amex adding $200 on hotel bookings for Amex Travel in addition to a $20/monthly streaming credit. Maybe the airline incidental credit goes away (I’d gladly swap with Amex travel bookings), but even then, that’s $740 in value for a $695 af, not counting an equinox membership that many members won’t use. Amex is rarely that generous.

  42. Can the Equinox credit be more niche? That is ridiculous. Might as well just give a $300 to a store that only exists in one city in the US. It’d be basically the same thing. And, sure, doing it during a pandemic or shortly after, when I’m sure attendance to gyms is not going to be great. Maybe a $300 credit to go to a crowded concert once a year? RIDICULOUS

  43. Just cancelled my Amex card. They want to play political games, it’s going to cost them.

  44. I’m not a fan of the Amex Plat compared to Chase Reserve or even the Citi Prestige. I only picked it up this year for the 100K bonus and Delta lounge access. The ridiculous $50/guest access to centurion and now the rumored annual fee increase to $695 makes the decision really easy. No way will I renew at that amount.

  45. I’ve had a platinum card for some years and have appreciated the points. As an expat for the last seven years, however, I have almost no use for the shopping benefits old or new. To add more such benefits as a way to salve the pain of raising the price is a remedy that doesn’t work for me. Since I’m nearing 1 million points, I’ll hang onto the card until I can engage in long haul international travel again. Then I’ll seriously contemplate a change.

  46. IMO it is extremely unlikely they will add a general Amex travel credit and keep the existing airline fee credit.

  47. I’m going to need to write software for myself to keep track of all the benefits I need to utilize each month for the cards to be worth it. Though I suspect that is what Amex is counting on that you forget to use them. If I already use equinox it would be a much easier sell but I think I would struggle to use $700 worth of benefits that I really want VS I mind as well use before I lose it.

  48. While my savings reflect my Diamond status c/o hilton Aspire, this year has been stupid with the benefits. $1180 in 4 months thus far.

    I booked at the Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria in New Orleans three times over the last few months. Amex portal accepted my Hilton Honors # when booking. My booking at the hotel reflects my Diamond status.

    I received the $200 credit for booking, $100 for hotel food each time, was upgraded one out of three times (requested an upgrade none of the times), and free breakfast each morning.

    * $300 food/bev (100 x3)
    * $200 fine hotel credit
    * $200 samsung
    * $100 best buy (50 x2)
    * $100 home depot (50 x2)
    * $50 instacart
    * $50 saks
    * $120 paypal (30 x4)
    * $60 uber (15 x4)

    Combining the $695 Plat and the $450 Aspire, I’m still coming out ahead of the supposed rate hike. Not to mention the Hilton certificate for a free night and the travel credit. My GOES isn’t up for renewal yet, but the CLEAR credit will be useful.

  49. This card seems to be made for me, given the new benefits…may be time to finally get one

  50. Amex is banking on most people not using these credits to make more money or canceling to free up Centurion lounge for those who only value lounge access. I feel you all but these benefits are very useful to me and I’ll 100% renew even if they remove all existing benefits (and adding the new).

  51. Amex charges a $1,000 annual fee for the platinum card in Thailand while offering less than 1/3 of the privileges US cardholders enjoy — stop complaining

  52. Any other gym, seriously–Planet Fitness, even 24 Hour Fitness. Equinox is a cesspool of entitlement, the living breathing definition of concentrated douchebaggery. I say this as someone who actually enjoyed SportsClub LA back in the day.

    If this is the target demographic, I’m out. Equinox parent company majority investor is straight up MAGAt trash.

  53. I think it sucks.
    1. They give the credits broken down into bits over time (e.g. Uber credit) and sometimes this makes it difficult to use or useless (Saks for example)
    2. There are always so many catches with it. Peg your airline credit to a specific airline. Only for certain kinds of expenses, etc.
    3. They don’t generalize. (e.g. They don’t call it a gym credit. It’s an Equinox credit or you have almost everything in the list of streaming except for cell phone bills).
    Many people will prefer the reserve card then.

  54. Honestly the membership fee is getting harder to be justified.
    Monthly fee for Equinox is about $250 (access to all locations in US) and this $300 credit only covers little more than one month.
    All these so-called benefits are not easy to use and they are not like Chase Sapphire.
    I think if this fee is becoming reality, I have to say goodbye to it. I love the Centurion lounge but if it doesn’t work out, it is okay. I rarely need to use lounges anyway.
    $695 is just obnoxious.

  55. I understand that some credits might not be as useful as others (if at all) to some but why do people think the credits should be easy to use? If it should be easy to use, then why don’t banks just give out the credit or just reduce the annual fee? CSR’s travel credit is so easy to use that AF is essentially $150/$250 (DD doesn’t count since it’s “temporary”) and there’s no other opportunity for dollar-by-dollar credit back. You are basically paying $150/$250 for earning rates, PP and auxiliary benefits. Meanwhile with Plat, there are more opportunity (or useless to some) credits to offset AF ($500 in credits), not to mention the millions of offer credits Amex has given out. Some people just sound so entitled here.

  56. In Belgium, changes have already been announced.

    I recently received a fancy brochure with all the benefits and the fact that they’re calling it “Platinum Metal”. As of January 2022 card holders will receive a metal version of the card.

    They also included a letter saying that the price for AMEX Platinum cards will be €720 as of January 2022.

    In terms of added benefits, they only recently added Marriott, Hilton & Radisson status.

    They also announced that the Priority Pass membership allows you to invite a guest for free. And since the free additional cardholder also gets a Priority Pass membership, they market this as “access to lounges for 4 people”.

    All the extra credit you get in the US doesn’t apply to me in Belgium unfortunately.

  57. So in summary: Amex will be adding s bunch of s*** things to the already sh**** Platinum card.
    Good job

  58. Ben has an affiliate link to AMEX, so of course, he is going to sugar coat this terrible move by Amex. A bunch of perks that most people won’t be able to use, at a HUGE annual fee.

  59. Equinox sells Kheil’s products, clothing and smoothies at their gift shop. If you live in so cal, there are a lot of equinox. I hope credit works at these shops.

    Otherwise, this card still seems great if they keep all the old credits, like Saks and Uber. I doubt it. I think it will be just the streaming credit, $200 travel credit and priority pass.

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