American Express has added some changes to the personal version of its famed Platinum card, so while I am enthusiastically and bitterly dropping the version, I am still excited about the Business version I added last week. Here’s why.
Why I Am Dropping The Personal Version
The American Express Platinum Credit Card has long been called an expensive coupon book because it continues to add benefits that require additional spending and only apply to some retailers. My need for the card has diminished over the years and I am letting it go, but here’s why.
Adding Cardholders Costs More
Rather than $175 for up to three cardholders (who do not get all of the benefits bestowed upon primary cardholders), the cost has increased to $195 per added member. I had been considering adding a family member to this card but that’s not going to happen now.
I will never spend enough on the card to allow me to bring my daughter into the Centurion airport lounges. A thousand drink-swilling bachelors just toasted this news I am sure. And I’m also not going to pay $30 to bring her in. If she was 12, I could just add her as a card member, and while I don’t think they will ask for ID from a minor, I wouldn’t put it past them.
The lounges still hold value for me, and I use them when I am traveling alone, but even that has gotten more difficult. And would it kill them to add more than a single shower?
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit
A couple of years ago, AMEX Platinum personal cardholders got an entertainment credit of up to $20/month for specific brands. Audible was a bill I was paying anyway, so that actually added the full $20/month and helped make a dent in the annual fee. However, Audible has been dropped, and as much as I like the Wall Street Journal and Hulu, I’m not able to fully get the value I was from this before. It’s not really worth $240 unless that’s what you were spending or would spend on it without the credit.
$695 Annual Fee
I don’t want to age myself too much but… was it really that long ago that the card was $450/year? It seems like it went to $595 somewhere in COVID, now it’s $695 because why not? It’s not an insignificant amount and I think it’s just gotten a little out of hand. The Global Entry credit looks great at sign-up, but the reality is that it saves me $1.66/month so it seems bigger than it actually is. Besides, I still get the benefit from other cards like my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
$200 Discount at Fine Hotels and Resorts Or The Hotel Collection
In something close to 30 months of card membership where this has been an option, I have never once found a use case for this that was better than other options available to me. I am sure many have, but for me personally, either the hotels included are so expensive that the $200 quickly evaporates against market price or other competitive options, or the availability isn’t there for my timing. It’s not worth $200 if you can’t use it.
Delta Sky Clubs
This is a great way to add extra lounges to the repertoire for American Express without building them. The only issue is that I nearly never fly Delta even though I sometimes find myself in Atlanta. Rather than a lounge I can utilize or many SkyClubs, I have no such options.
$200 Uber Credit
In yet another way to give clients a benefit solely if they perform stupid human tricks for the brand’s amusement, the Uber credit (which looks big and impressive on paper) isn’t dispersed as a $200 credit but rather $15/month and an extra $20 in December. If you own a car and or rent them when arriving into a new city, this is an Uber Eats offer only. And as Uber Eats adds fees and higher prices to items, it’s really not nearly as valuable as they suppose. For the $42 Uber ride I randomly had last week, just $15 from my account is applied. Yet in months where I don’t use it at all, it’s simply lost.
$300 Equinox Membership Credit
There are no Equinox gyms in my area and it would hardly be worth the signup costs on the off-chance I might find one near me for an upcoming trip.
Yet I Am Excited About The Business Version I Just Picked Up
I just picked up the business version of the Platinum Card from American Express and it wasn’t really about the sign-up bonus (I’d earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on the card.) I find the other perks far more useful. On both versions I was able to use the $200 airline fee credit routinely, that was a genuine saving and will be with the business version of the AMEX Platinum card.
I also think the $400/year Dell credit is far more valuable than the $100 Saks credit. I’d lose out on some of the perks above, and others I didn’t mention like earning 5x points on American Express Travel services, but I have a travel agency so I don’t buy through them anyway.
Between just those two credits, the card nearly pays for itself. In truth, I will be far more likely to use the Adobe $150 annual credit and I am far more likely to achieve the $75,000 spend required to bring my children into the lounge (men at bar snarl.)
It’s with mixed feelings that I will downgrade my Platinum card to a Gold Card or Green Card all the while taking a new one for my business. But that said, the consumer side has gotten too expensive all the while making it more difficult to use credits. I shouldn’t have to set calendar reminders to use my benefits and I won’t anymore. If AMEX changes its tune, I could be back. But I doubt it.
What do you think?