The new American Express Platinum Card changes announced earlier this month are finally here but it’s looking even better than we thought. The Uber credit is officially showing up and working for Uber Eats and there’s an officially confirmed increased sign-up bonus (and an even higher sign-up bonus still showing up in Incognito). In case you need a refresher, here’s a rundown on the new perks of the Platinum Card.
Summary of new changes
Here’s a summary of the most notable new changes:
- Increase in annual fee from $450 to $550
- Increased sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards with $5,000 spend
- $15 a month in Uber credits ($35 offered for the month of December)
- Better lounge access for Priority Pass; more restricted access for Centurion Lounge
- 5X on hotel purchases made through Amextravel.com (already had 5X in airfare)
- Card will be issued in metal
- Complimentary Gold Cards
New annual fee and sign-up bonus
- Increase in annual fee from $450 to $550
The annual fee is going up but so is the sign-up bonus.
The previous publicly available sign-up bonus was a lackluster 40,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 or more within the first 3 months of opening your account. The new sign-up bonus is for 60,000 Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 or more within the first 3 months of opening your account. This is a large swing in value since it’s now offering 50% more in value (I’d tab it around $360 or more in additional value).
Yet, if you utilize Incognito you can still pull up offers for 75,000 Membership Rewards for the same amount of spend!
75,000 Membership Rewards is a lot (somewhere in the ballpark of $1,350 in value).
It’s true that there are extremely targeted offers for 100,000 that go out and the occasional leak of a 100,000 offer to the public (that quickly disappears) but both of those instances are rare and the latter often involves heightened scrutiny on your spend with weeks of your points being frozen. Thus, I’d highly consider this 75,000 offer.
Monthly Uber credit
The Platinum Card is now offering $15 a month in Uber credits ($35 offered for the month of December) which comes out to a total of $200 a year. This credit is offered in addition to the annual $200 travel credit, meaning that it effectively knocks down the annual fee to $150 for people like myself who regularly use Uber/Uber Eats.
This new perk is a bummer for those who never or hardly ever use Uber since there’s a monthly cap on the benefit that expires at the end of the month. If you have no use for Uber then it’s probably much harder to justify keeping the Platinum Card with the recent hike in the annual fee.
Lounge access changes
American Express recently changes its lounge access policies for the Platinum Card. You still get Delta SkyClub access when you fly with them and Centurion Lounge access along with Priority Pass, but there are new policies for bringing guests along.
First, they changed the guest policy for Priority Pass in order to allow 2 guests entry per cardholder. That was a big step in the right direction, since American Express lagged behind Citi and Chase with its Priority Pass guest policy (it’s now the same as Citi’ Prestige’s but the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows for all guests on an itinerary to enter subject to capacity control).
Amex used to allow Platinum cardmembers to bring in all immediate family members into the Centurion Lounge with them. In a somewhat controversial move to reduce crowding, American Express limited the immediate family policy to only two guests total, regardless of familial status.
Again, depending on your personal situation, these new changes either brought more value to the card for you or made it that much more difficult to hold on to.
5X on hotel purchases
The Platinum now offers 5X on hotel purchases made through Amextravel.com in addition to the 5X on airfare. This is not a super exciting benefit since you lose out on earning points and stay credits with hotel loyalty programs and often will not have your elite status perks honored. In addition, you can often get more value back from utilizing a combination of portals, other credit cards, and booking directly with hotels or even other OTAs.
Thus, I didn’t care too much for this benefit but the currently offered 5X on airfare is still a very nice perk.
Card is in metal
There are long waiting times to get your new metal card sent out to you but you can request it online. Also, you should be able to utilize the voice operator to request a new card and it should be issued in metal. Your card number will stay the same but the security code and expiration will change, so keep that in mind.
Complimentary Gold Cards
Finally, you’ll now be able to add Gold cards for up to 99 authorized users with no additional fee. These cards will be able to earn 5X on airfare and hotels but will not receive other major benefits like the $200 airline fee, Uber credits, or lounge access.
I personally have no interest in this somewhat bizarre benefit (99?) but perhaps this will come in handy for some others?
What’s still missing?
With the higher sign-up bonus, $200 Uber credits, better Priority Pass lounge access for guests, the Platinum Card becomes a stronger competitor to the Sapphire Reserve. You can’t forget that the card also offers Centurion Lounge access and hotel status with SPG (and therefore Marriott and Ritz-Carlton) and Hilton, all of which make obtaining top status with those programs very doable.
But still even with those perks, the Platinum Card falls short in its bonus categories. Both the Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige reward dining and a broader category of travel expenses (along with better travel credits). I could get over the the travel credits being sub-par on the Platinum Card given the Uber credit but until the Platinum Card offers something on dining or a broader range of travel expenses, it still falls short of the Reserve in my book.