Amex Adding Mostly Useless Benefits to Business Platinum Card to Justify Higher Annual Fee

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The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is a fantastic card and a comparable bargain at its current $450 annual fee.

There’s an initial bonus offer of up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 & an additional 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

The card earns 1.5 points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more up to 1 million additional points per year and 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the card on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.

But where it really shines is benefits: Hilton Honors Gold status and Starwood Gold status (which becomes Marriott status) along with National Car Rental status; access to American Express Centurion lounges, Delta lounges when flying Delta same day, Aspire, Escape and Plaza Premium lounge access, and a Priority Pass Select card for lounge access as well. It comes with a $200 annual travel credit and 10 annual gogo inflight wifi passes too.

American Express increased the annual fee on the personal Platinum Card® from American Express — which has monthly Uber credits but not Gogo passes — to $550 but had not yet adjusted the annual fee on the Business Platinum Card. We now have notice of that changing:

  • Annual fee will go up to $595
  • This will occur on your next membership renewal date that happens “on or after your February 2019 billing cycle.”

Along with that increase they are introducing the following card changes.

  • One year of complimentary Platinum Global Access from WeWork. The annual fee will be higher every year, but WeWork spaces are available only for a year. They say this is ‘valued at $2700.’ Information about enrollment will follow in February.

  • Up to $200 in statement credits annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Information about this benefit will also follow in February.

  • Hotel Collection reservations get a $100 property credit, up from $75.

Co-working spaces around the world will have value to some people. Personally I never used the free Regus office benefit that I signed up for over and over via myriad travel partners. Clearly though this is American Express offering valuable customers to WeWork, giving them a one-time trial, on the bet that some will find it useful and pay for continued access or for higher-level memberships.

We’ll see how the Dell statement credits work. If there’s an ability to buy low value items that cost no more than the statement credit some people will get value out of it, possibly reselling those items online. However this again appears to be American Express offering their valuable cardmember audience to another company — not investing $200 a year in members (with some breakage) in exchange for a $145 higher annual fee.

Don’t get me wrong. The card continues to be useful and will remain so in my view at this higher price point. And the annual fee is lower than several comparable Platinum products offered around the world. I’m just not overly excited about the new benefits they’ve paired with the entirely predictable and in my view reasonable increase in fee.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I knew it was coming. And I’m still most pleased that there are so many other business cards that offer far more value. Amex is on a downward spiral trying to get more customers while screwing the ones they already have. Both Plat cards are essentially overpriced status symbols that do not provide enough benefits to warrant even half the annual fee already charged.

  2. Just got the email this morning. This card is dead to me come renewal. I’m not even going to bother with a retention call. Even $450 was pushing it.

  3. Absolutely love the direction AMEX is headed. Tons of benefits with this card already and now WeWork access plus a Dell credit. I’m an Apple user myself but Dell sells a ton of things like monitors and drones. WeWork will be great for the side hustlers out there. I think it’s a great move to get a new generation loving the Business Plat card.

  4. Maybe AMEX could add a free subscription to the Huffpost and Breitbart, and then crank the annual fee to $666!

  5. I’m done with the card.They are on drugs
    American Express went from world class outstanding for many years to pure evil & greed
    It was great to be with them through the glory years
    The annual fee has less to do with my decision to leave and more to do with their horrible overseas customer service
    Added insult to injury there is no phone for escalated issues
    One can only write in to speak to an executive liaison

    The only reason I kept the card was 5 mpd on airline tickets and Centurion Lounge access
    With Cap 1 and Citi Prestige around its a no brainer
    I finally will be Amex free after 30 plus years with them
    Citibank typically has great customer service and are better at disputes and offer broader insurance and far more helpful protection when traveling
    Appreciate the post on their corporate spin fake good news!

  6. The thing that bothers me about the Wework membership is that it is only valid for one year. This means that after the first year,l the customer does not get any extra value from this card.

    Also, I have liked the Gogo wifi passes, but the main airlines that I have used them on (American and United) seem to have been switching to other wifi systems such as Viasat. This gives me a lot less opportunity to use them, which makes the card benefit even less valuable.

    I like the 5x the point airfare benefit when it is booked through American Express travel, but some of the time, I find that the price through American Express is more expensive enough that I cannot justify purchasing it through American Express travel for the extra points.

    I have thought about switching from business to the customer card, but because it is once in a lifetime, have wanted to do it while there is a 100000 point signup bonus which I keep having trouble finding for myself.

  7. I will not renew my card, and I just got it a few months ago. Raising the fee and justifying it by adding crap that I will never use is not the way to retain me. Keep the fee at $450 and dump the extra benefits that I will never use. Sorry – good bye Amex Biz Plat.

  8. The dangled $200 airline credit can be hard to realize since it only applies on a handful of U.S. carriers, and a carrier must be selected in advance and can’t easily be changed. It’s likely of limited use on the carrier you fly most given that you’ll have status and common costs will be waived.

  9. I was going to keep the plat at $450 but with this increase maybe I will keep the card for one year depending on the terms of the benefits but beyond that this card is going in the garbage can. Way to drive me right back to the chase sapphire reserve amex. No idea what you are thinking with this nonsense.

  10. > With Cap 1 and Citi Prestige around its a no brainer

    I don’t have any experience with the Capital One card, but the Prestige is less clear with the fee going up to $495 and the fourth night free benefit getting limited to two nights with online booking only.

    The travel credit is easier to use, but you need to get $245 of value out of it or $122/stay to make it worthwhile, which is probably doable, but a little annoying.

    Whether or not I’d rather have MR or TYP though is up in the air for me. MR has more transfer partners, even though TYP is easier to redeem travel through their portal. Since I like having the Centurion lounge access through the Platinum card and every airline takes Amex, it makes the 5X not as useful. The Uber card gets 4% on dining without any hoops.

    > Both Plat cards are essentially overpriced status symbols that do not provide enough benefits

    The business one doesn’t look like that great of a deal to me, but the personal one isn’t bad. I don’t have any trouble using the airline credit, the Uber credit, or the Saks credit, and effectively paying $50 for lounge access and hotel elite status is worth it to me.

  11. The only reason I got this card was for the Global Assist benefit after you published a story about a man having a heart attack and getting $250,000 worth of medical attention/transportation back to the States. I regard it as medical transportation insurance since we no longer can get travel insurance because of my husband’s age.

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