Rumored Changes To Amex Platinum Coming July 2021

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Doctor of Credit commenter Work4Amex shared several changes to the American Express Platinum card in mid-March.

One of those changes has trickled out, but was then removed from the American Express website, that Platinum cards would no longer come with free guest access to Centurion lounges without $75,000 in annual card spend.

Here’s the rest of what does remain a rumor,

Personal Platinum AF is planned to increase to $695 for new card holders starting July, existing card holders fee increase will come into effect Jan 2022 . There are other planned changes, keep in mind that it is all subject to change. Many of these changes should start July 2021

The 2 free Priority Guest passes will now be free only if you have $75,000 spend in a calendar year with the platinum.

$300 equinox credit
$240 entertainment credit
$200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings
$100 temp Resy credit

Everything else should stay the same

This information does not come from American Express. It is not official. But it is an interesting rumor of an increase in annual fee in exchange for streaming and other entertainment credits greater than the fee increase. I do not value the Equinox or prepaid hotel booking credits at nearly face value (though I will try to book one hotel night per year at a non-chain property to take advantage of the hotel credit).

Doctor of Credit further clarifies the rumored entertainment credit as “$20 monthly (magazine/news subscriptions, video streaming services and audio/music streaming services)” and suggests “Annual CLEAR membership will replace TSA Precheck, but Global Entry seems like it’ll stay.”

Covering my annual cost for CLEAR even instead of Global Entry every four years will mean a lot more value and combined with the entertainment credit would make me happy with this change overall – if and only if the February 2023 change to Centurion guest access reduces crowding because traveling with a four year old who annot be an authorized user on my card means Centurion lounge visits won’t happen on leisure trips.

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. If nothing else is reduced this is likely a win (or at least a wash) for most as the entertainment credits exceed the fee increase and most will consider that pretty close to face value. And unlike the Uber credit, spreading it out in monthly installments actually makes sense.

    Of course the $300 equinox credit is basically 1.5 months there. Not sure if they have a way to buy individual passes (maybe good when traveling?) or could be used for spa-type services.

  2. Thank you Gary. I just renewed one more year due to Paypal $30 per month, $15 Uber Eats per month, Centurion admittance, $200 airline fee reimbursement, Home Chef reimbursement, best Buy reimbursement, Home Depot Reimbursement. Great info. I will keep Amex Delta Reserve. This one will bite the dust

  3. I cancelled my Platinum exactly a year ago after carrying it as my primary card for 25 years and there hasn’t been a single moment that I wished I had kept it. Amex Platinum was certainly the best card when it was laser focussed on luxury travel benefits. Today they have it positioned as a modern version of S&H Greenstamps for coupon clippers trying to earn back pennies with random spending items to make back the increasingly unjustifiable annual fee. Incredibly confused marketing strategy that fails to understand their customers’ needs, and now flailing to stay relevant.

  4. Through June 30 the Amex Plat has an offer of $25 back a month against the monthly $39.99 Equinox+ app membership. Sure sounds like this is what is being offered through the rumored $300 a year Equinox credit.

  5. Lets remember, actual travelers of DL and UA get clear for free or at a large discount depending on travel level. This is a HUGE devaluation for the general traveler.

  6. @Daniel, being able to buy equinox passes would make the credit usable without otherwise bankrupting yourself. @DWT just getting a “discount” on an overpriced app would be a real bummer.

    I just bought a grill at Home Depot and the credit processed automatically. I’m at $270 in credits so far this year.

  7. Basically agree with @Mak – AmEx has turned a corner and is now trying to LOOK impressive with “all these benefits” while also trying to minimize costs with “all these restrictions” (often not written, such as spending ‘categories’). Their genuinely excellent customer service does not make up for their product management team’s missteps.

    Remember when you could use airline credits on gift cards? Remember when gift card purchases at retailers earned points? Remember when it was rare for people to have their accounts shutdown? Remember when you didn’t care that AmEx categorized grocery spend as “general merchandise”?

    Remember when they briefly didn’t offer any trip cancellation or delay coverage? (Chase’s Reserve hasn’t yet fallen into this hole.)

    I sound bitter, but I’ve actually not really been bitten particularly hard by any of this. It’s more the slow clampdown has gradually eroded the value of a once wonderful, albeit expensive, product. I don’t plan on renewing my card.

  8. @ Gary — $695 is a joke. Come 2022, I expect a 75,000 point retention for my $695, or I will cancel. Keeping track of AMEX credits is a waste of time. To me, AMEX is simply a vessel to purchase cheap MR points. When I actually have to pay up, the party will be over.

  9. Gary – please clarify if you are saying that Amex Centurion Lounge access will require a $75k spend or only the Priority Pass membership piece of the lounge program? It seems that your first paragraph conflicts with the quoted rumor.

  10. If AMEX is to go this route, I wish they would provide a menu of options from which to choose.

    The rumored benefits noted in this post are of little to no value to me. As a result, I’ll likely cancel the card should this come to fruition.

  11. Gary, as I read it – you lose Priority PASS (not Guest) access. I assume you would keep Centurion Lounge access since this is an Amex-owned product.

  12. Boo, I hope not. Amex needs to make additions to the earnings bonus categories on the Platinum, to make it attractive to spend on anything except airfare, not change the benefits.

  13. Do you know if this is US only, or will impact international card programs? (Different benefits and fees abroad).

  14. I don’t mind any of the rumored or confirmed changes. I wanted to comment on Amex trying to incent more spend on the card.

    Amex Platinum could theoretically get $75,000 in annual spend from me – but only if they made it more rewarding. You spend 75,000 on Delta Reserve, you get 30,000 Delta MQM. You spend that amount on Bonvoy Brilliant, you get Marriott Platinum status. You spend $75,000 on Citi Double Cash, you get 150,000 miles. etc. Make spend more rewarding, and people will spend. Otherwise it will be a benefit card that people occasionally use for spend (like myself).

  15. Does this mean the Uber credits are going away, as well as the airline credits and Saks credits? It seems likely to me this is the case, simply because they know the airline credits are unpopular and want to move away from them, as they already have with the Gold card. That is not a surprise. The loss of Uber and Saks are more surprising though. I assume they get a great deal on these so it doesn’t cost Amex much. It will be a relief not to have to deal with the airline fee work-arounds and the Saks credit was pretty minor (give the high prices there), but the Uber/Eats credit was much easier to use and that will hurt. The above changes are better than Saks and the airline fee but they would not make up for the loss of those plus Uber. Assuming there is no Uber credit then this is an easy decision to cancel. Although I’ll miss Centurion lounges, especially their future one at my home DCA airport, it will be a relief not to have to spend so much time managing all the credits on this card. The evac insurance is valuable to me as is the return protection, but I get those same benefits with my Aspire card anyway. Will be happy to lose this card.

  16. I cancelled last year after 10 years of having the Platinum card. I am also a former AmEx employee who truly appreciates the culture that AmEx promotes for their workforce.

    That being said, it’s just gotten too complicated to track the value and I agree it’s becoming “couponing” where you are using things that you probably normally wouldn’t just to feel like you are getting value from it.

  17. @Anthony – +1. Ding ding ding.

    I don’t know one single rich person, myself included, who doesn’t love value. Most use the platinum as a primary card because of ignorance, like we all used to before we understood the value of points. The whole they just don’t care is bull crap. I’ve never met a rich person who doesn’t love money. I CAN choose to just spend on the platinum but why bother? Same spend on BBP would likely earn double the MRs.

  18. dammit.. I’m probably going to cancel my Equinox membership this year after 8 years since the kids are older and Equinox has a terrible kids’ area. That credit would’ve been good though

  19. I keep this card only for the the Centurion Club and Priority Pass. They already devalued the priority pass benefit by removing the previous $28 at PP restaurants option. If they eliminate the guest option in Centurion clubs I will cancel the card for sure. I would be ok if they limited the 2 guests to 2-3 times a year or just gave some guest passes to use to eliminate serial users and allow you to use the lounge when travelling with family.

  20. It’s like the card will become a Swiss Army knife of plastic tools. Looks good from a distance, but when you actually try to use it…

  21. Card member since 85. My wallet will lighten up when I ditch the Plat. The loss of the Centurion lounge guest privileges is a no go. I am not too upset as I usually have to wait to get into the lounges anyway. Will keep my CITI AA Exec MC and HH Aspire card for lounge access and my gold AX for Travel, Rest, Groc spend

  22. Been hearing these rumors for awhile. It isn’t new and honestly such an increase in the AF, which had already been increased previously doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I currently hold the plat but I won’t be paying that much in an AF especially for these lackluster perks. Maybe it works for someone who would be using equinox anyway but the rates at that gym are a massive ripoff for most people.

  23. I got Amex Plat for the travel benefits, not all the other stuff. Those have just kept me from cancelling it during the pandemic. Once (if) travel returns, if they drop too much of those advantages and become more of a complicated “use it here and save” type card, I don’t think I would keep it. I value the Centurion lounges (I was often traveling alone for work, so losing the guest privileges may not affect me much), PP (which I used a lot), Uber and the airline credit. Free Clear would be nice, too, since I was UA 1K and don’t have it any more.

  24. Will the 4-year old be coming into the Centurion lounge on business trips?

    So the plan is to do a blog report that includes how it goes for/with kids using Amex lounge and thus deduct the guest entrance fee for tax purposes as a business expense?

    Are your leisure trips to become business trips by blogging about them? The upside of a hobby not being classified as a hobby? Congrats on a successful business arising out your passion for a hobby.

  25. I have a platinum Amex and a platinum Optima. I’ve had the cards since 1972 (I sorta fudged the truth when I was in college to get the green card.) The Amex was a great credo and was the first card I’d pay off in full every month. But I’ve used the card less and less in the past 10 years. A few years ago I got a Citi black card which gives me entry to the AA clubs AND 10,000 miles in status earnings. However, since I’ve been Lifetime platinum for 15 years, I really don’t have to earn status anymore (unless, of course, AA changes it’s AAdvantage rules, which is always possible.)

    Anyway, I looked into getting rid of my Amex platinum card and just keep my Optima. I was sick of paying the increasing yearly fee for services I really never used. But, I ended up not canceling the card because… But I’m now thinking of getting rid of the card.

    What would you all do? I sure would like to save $695 but is there any reason to keep the card? There was a certain cache in having the platinum card but that may have been superseded by the Black card.

  26. So Amex is going to try to hike the fee and cut its card benefits (by way of cutting the costs it faces from providing the card benefits)? The question is in what order it does those things, especially with this leak having taken place: raising the annual fees for the Plat cards while reducing the benefits; cutting the benefits first and then later raising the fee; or raising the fee first and then cutting the benefits? Which of those scheduling possibilities alienates the fewest Platinum
    accounts?

    Or maybe this whole thing shows that Amex has a willingness to make up for the alienation of Platinum accounts by motivating the remaining accounts to run up the merchant transaction/discount related fees that come from increased transactions in dollar terms on the remaining Platinum accounts? Certainly.

  27. Why is everything about whats happening in the U.S.
    ?!. there are other markets, and travellers in other continents too.

  28. My major reason for keeping Amex Plat is one no one has mentioned — Delta Sky Club access when flying DL (my airline of choice). The day that is dropped, I will drop Amex Plat like the proverbial hot potato.

    I have no knowledge of what equinox is — so it’s a non-starter here. Nor have I had occasion to use the travel credit. Resy is only occasionally useful, and I have no idea what an “entertainment credit” is. Most of these seem to me to be useful in major cities, not where I live or normally travel to.

    But, the PayPal credit has really bloomed for me, so it’s a winner

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