How The Big Changes To The Platinum Card Is Doing For American Express So Far

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During the American Express second quarter earnings call, CEO Steve Squeri discussed the Platinum Card® from American Express, its new benefits, and the increase in its annual fee from $550 to $695 (See rates and fees).

He suggested that,

  1. The last Platinum card refresh “doubled the customer base” for the product. The first two weeks of data after the refresh this time “outpaced…expectations” and they expect the performance of this refresh “will be no different” than the last one. I had no idea it was so effective.

  2. They’ve also moved to attract a younger demographic (more years of lifetime cardmembership and spend to feed into the model), which they succeeded at with the last refresh and seems to be consistent with adding a digital content rebate and Equinox credit.

  3. That’s also consistent with their reporting that pandemic habits and preferences continuing to be reflected in consumer spend.

American Express isn’t stopping with a Platinum card refresh. Squeri says they’ll “be refreshing other products and rolling out new digital capabilities for both consumer and commercial customers throughout the remainder of the year and beyond.”

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

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. Personally I think their card product has goner to basic crap as has most of their customer service
    I use anything but Amex and I have been card holder for many decades in the past
    Good luck to them.Best thing I ever did was tear up their cards
    They were fantastic many years ago.

  2. Speaking of the centurion logo, what have the Romans ever done for us?

    If someone actually uses the card, the annual fee is way below the noise level. If the average person captures (say) $500 of the new/old statement credits, the net cost is $195. Come on.

    FHR alone does it for me:
    – Food credit at $75 per day x 4 days = $300
    – Per stay property credit = $100
    – Room upgrade $200 per day x 4 days = $800
    – Total per stay = $1200
    Repeat

    My wife and I do about 15 stays a year via FHR. Based on the ACTUAL upgrades we receive, as opposed to the example above, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars of value.

    Then, there’s the points-earning differential on airlines and hotels as compared to that of other cards. Assuming a moderate spend of $20k per year x 2 extra points x 2 cents valuation = $800.

    Easy decision. No complaints.

  3. I highly doubt the refresh “doubled the customer base,” unless (1) the nebulous “base” referred to here has some secret CEO-spin meaning beyond the obvious; (2) it includes the many people who signed up for the Schwab Platinum in anticipation of the significant cash-out devaluation, especially during the first few days of the rumor when the date of the devaluation was speculated to be mere days away–nearly all of whom will cancel after cashing out at 1.25; (3) it includes quite a few existing customers, including those who already have one or two of the Platinum varieties, who are merely capitalizing on the large sign-up bonuses but will then never spend another penny on it after the SUB is earned. Or probably all of the above.

    Either way, if this self-reported data is based on merely the first 14 days, that seems quite premature to draw any conclusions about the long-term profitability of the card for the company or its customer retention. The fact that this was stated on an earnings call makes it suspect. What’s a CEO going to tell a group of its most highly engaged stockholders? “We saw a slew of actual and threatened cancellations because of the hefty fee increase; we anticipate many more cancellations as the new annual fees hit, at which point we’re going to have to shell out huge retention offers; not many people will hold this for many years because of the ongoing price tag; and we think we may have made a mistake and I’m the one who was in charge when that mistake was made.” Not likely.

  4. He is 100% full of shit. There is NO WAY mathematically or otherwise that this can be true. This is like Woke Dougie saying 90% of our customers have devices capable of streaming (phone) and that they just LOVE watching a 2 hour movie on a 4″ screen while their neck is bent at an 80 degree angle…..what a dumbass

  5. The last refresh refers to the one done pre-2020. I don’t know when that was. Supposedly, the latest refresh is on a similar or even better trajectory, although, we won’t know for over a year how many cancellations will occur.

    Amex was unique or is unique because it offers the chat feature with an agent. Once other banks do that, Amex isn’t very different to citi and chase. More and more I get someone with an Indian accent when calling Amex. They are nice and try to be helpful, however, some issues only can be resolved by people with a real world understanding of how credit is used in the U.S. and any IT issues or money transferring unique to the American system. Chase/Citi/Bofa are decent if you get the agents in Florida.

    The Platinum is a great card for those who use the FHR benefits/rent cars frequently/need status with M/H/fly a lot for the 5X. Everyone else probably doesn’t benefit beyond the 100K unless they have incidentals they can use the $200 credit for (I haven’t risked TB with Amex). The Equinox credit is useless as I’m not going to pay $300 a month for a gym.

  6. I mean, I think it has more to do with the 100,000 MR and 10x at restaurants and small businesses for 6 months? That was enough to get me to sign up, but I’m absolutely canceling next year when the annual fee hits.

  7. Not really sure how useful FHR is versus Virtuoso, Prive, etc, which have no fee. Maybe there is limited overlap, but I have not used FHR or Virtuoso very often.

  8. Heard through the grapevine that in the next few months they’re gonna add a Walmart+ membership and introduce 2 new custom design card styles.
    Also business plat is gonna be in for a refresh in the next 9-12 months too

  9. Amex platinum SUCKS the big one for $700 per year and no priority pass restaurants. Forget it

  10. @Sco +1, that has to be it. Seems like everyone signed up during that offer, and I am one of those folks as well (signed up for the 100k plus 10 MR points per $1 on dining/gas back in December). Thankfully I did it in December, so I have 16 months left before the higher fee will hit.

  11. Was AMEX cardholder for decades, including Platinum. Value declined, as did customer service. Moved most of my spend to Chase Sapphire Reserve. Better customer service. Got rid of all My AMEX cards. AMEX Plat is like a blackberry phone. Time has passed it by.

  12. FHR is usually a lot more $$$ then booking direct. It is a real hassle with plane tix if the flight is cancelled etc as they are NO help!!

  13. Plat Amex was a great card, but it looks like the so called new benefits aren’t the value that they once were. There are people who have a specific use case that will love the new offering, however Plat Amex will lose overall market share to Chase, Citi and other banks that issue credit cards. AMEX is an aspirational card – not as useful to a typical wage earner with a mortgage and car note. This average Joe makes out much better with a bank that can provide a variety of services (one being a credit card).

    And just to be clear, I had a Platinum card for years, recently got rid of it. I get better value (given my use case) from a Ritz Carlton Card (yes you can get them but it is a long process) a CSR and a Hyatt card.

  14. Was an AMEX member since 1995 and had the Platinum last few years. AMEX used to be far better, but as others have said, with decline in service, devaluation of points and increase in fees it was a no brainer to close it out. So glad I did – who needs gimmicks, I save so much money without it.

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