The Amex Platinum “Coupon Book” Review [On my mind]

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American Express has increased the annual fee for consumer Platinum cards from $550 to a whopping $695 per year.  In exchange for the extra $145, they threw in new rebates for prepaid hotels, select digital entertainment services, Equinox, and CLEAR.  Over and over again, readers have lamented that Amex has changed the card into an expensive coupon book.  Is that a fair characterization?

Nothing taken away (sort of)

First let me point out that I had previously published the expectation that the Platinum card’s annual $200 airline incidental fee reimbursement was going away.  It turns out that was wrong.  No benefits have (yet) gone away or decreased.

That said, there are some negative changes on the horizon:

  • Starting February 1, 2023: Centurion Lounge Access will be free only for the cardholder (previously free for cardholder plus 2 guests). New: $50 fee per guest (or $30 per child). Cardmembers who spend at least $75,000 per year on the card will continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests.
  • It appears that the value of Investing with Rewards for Schwab Platinum cardholders is going down.  Starting September 1, 2021, it appears that the Invest with Rewards feature will drop from the current 1.25 cents per point to 1.1 cents per point.  Details here.

Summary of Changes

Here’s a summary of the major changes to Platinum cards that have already happened:

  • Platinum consumer card annual fees have increased to $695.  Business Platinum card annual fees remain at $595 for now. Update January 2022: The annual fee on the Business Platinum card has since increased to $695.
  • Platinum consumer cards have best ever welcome bonuses (details here).
  • Platinum consumer cards have gained the following perks:
    • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back per calendar year towards prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings
    • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Up to $20 per month in total credits for subscriptions to Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
    • $300 Equinox Credit: Get $25 per month for select Equinox subscriptions.
  • All Platinum cards (consumer and business) have gained the following perks:
    • CLEAR credit: Get up to $189 per year reimbursed for CLEAR subscriptions.
    • Premium Private Jet Program: 20% off plus one time $500 credit towards Wheels Up Connect or 40% off plus one time $2K towards Wheels Up Core memberships.
  • The Morgan Stanley Annual Engagement Bonus has increased to $695 to match the new annual fee.

Full details about Platinum card features (new and old) can be found here: Amex Platinum Complete Guide.

Are the changes a net positive?

I understand the knee jerk reaction that $695 is way too much to spend on a credit card.  Believe me, I’m right there with you.  But, I felt that way about the $550 annual fee too!  I think that a fair way to look at the changes is to look at only the changes: customers must now pay $145 more than before, but they get a bunch of new perks.  Are those perks worth $145 or more?  In other words, lets assume that the customer had previously decided (for whatever reasons) that the $550 fee was worth paying.  In that case, the only real question is whether the new benefits are worth paying an additional $145 per year.  I understand that the equation may change again in 2023 when Centurion Lounge access rules change, but that’s a calculation for another day.  By then there may be even more changes to account for.

Everyone is going to value these new perks differently.  If you’re already an Equinox customer, for example, the $25 per month credit will be worth about $300 per year straight up.  If you’re not a customer and don’t plan to be, then that perk is worth nothing.

Below is how I personally value each new perk.  I encourage readers to come up with their own value estimates.  I recommend asking yourself: if I could pay separately for a subscription to this thing, how much would I pay?  The answer should never be face value: you would never pay $300 in advance to get $300 in Equinox credits spread out $25 per month, would you? No, that would be silly.  You’d only pay in advance if you could get a substantial discount.

  • $200 Prepaid Hotel Credit: Get $200 back per calendar year towards prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings
    Greg’s estimate: $75
    Reason: I don’t usually like making prepaid hotel bookings. That said, I can think of this as getting a $200 hotel room each year for only $75.  Not bad!  Plus, when booking Fine Hotels & Resorts at a major chain, I’ll still earn hotel points and elite benefits (details here).
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Up to $20 per month in credits for subscriptions to Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, or The New York Times.
    Greg’s estimate: $192
    Reason: We already subscribe to the New York Times digital edition for $17.50 per month, so I figured that I’d be willing to prepay $16 per month ($16 x 12 = $192)
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get $25 per month for select Equinox subscriptions.
    Greg’s estimate: $0
    I don’t subscribe to Equinox, nor do I think I will.
  • CLEAR credit: Get up to $189 per year reimbursed for CLEAR subscriptions.
    Greg’s estimate: $0
    Reason: I like CLEAR, but it is included free with My Delta Diamond status.
  • Premium Private Jet Program: 20% off plus one time $500 credit towards Wheels Up Connect or 40% off plus one time $2K towards Wheels Up Core memberships.
    Greg’s estimate: $0
    Reason: I haven’t had a chance to look into this, but my bet is that the private jet service costs way more than I’m willing to spend.  For those who are interested in booking private jets, though, this could be huge!

As you can see above, the only new perks that I really value are the hotel and digital entertainment credits.  For me, the net changes for one Platinum card are a net win.  In my household, though, we have multiple Platinum cards and I won’t have good uses for the Entertainment Credit for any but the first one.  As a result, the new changes are a net loss for our secondary Platinum cards.

Is it a “coupon book”?

The Platinum card has long attracted me as a great way to get luxury travel benefits.  The card includes elite status with some programs, access to numerous airport lounges, cruise benefits, etc.  With the exception of the Centurion Lounge guest charges coming in 2023, none of that has changed.  What has changed is that they’ve raised the price twice in recent years (not so long ago it was just $450 per year) and they’ve added discounts and rebates to try to make up for it.  That’s what leaves people groaning.  If you don’t feel like the luxury benefits are worth the new annual fee then you’re left having to “redeem these coupons” in order to justify the card’s expense.  Some will easily come out way ahead with the new discounts and rebates because they already pay for these services.  Some will appreciate the changes because they’ll enjoy the new services that are now free to them (or feel free thanks to the rebates).  And some (many?) will find that the card is no longer worth the price.

Bottom Line

For me, the Platinum card changes are a net win, but only for one Platinum card in my household.  Extra Platinum cards beyond the first just have higher fees without much in corresponding extra benefits that I’m likely to take advantage of.  So, when the $695 renewal fees for these cards come around, I’m very likely to cancel.

How about you?  Are the Platinum changes a win or a loss?  Does the Platinum card easily pay for itself or are you finding yourself struggling to figure out how to “redeem these coupons”?  Please comment below.

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[…] opportunities to actually zero out the annual fee — and also come out on top. (Frequent Miler quipped that the Platinum Card is more or less a “coupon book.” And that’s a valid […]

LarryInNYC

Folks are saying the Equinox credit is worth $0 if you don’t join, but I disagree. I value this at -$100. I already know I could join a gym and get fit, I don’t need friggin’ Amex telling me every time I log on.

Ryan

with the new annual fee and the ridiculous list of “streaming” services that qualify for credits, I’m out. Question: what is the best card I should open so that when I cancel I can downgrade and keep the MR points? Or do I simply “downgrade” instead of cancel?

Nick Reyes

You want either the Blue Business Plus or the AmEx Everyday card. Both feature no annual fee and keep your membership rewards points intact and transferable to all of their partners. The Blue Business Plus is the better card of the two as it offers 2X everywhere in up to $50K spend per year (then 1x) and since it’s a business card, it won’t add to your 5/24 count. The only downgrade options from the Platinum card are the Gold ($250 AF) or the Green ($150 AF), but if you’ve never had those cards before, you would prevent yourself from getting a welcome bonus on them in the future if you downgrade to them. So you’d only want to downgrade to one of them if you’ve had it before and don’t qualify for the bonus anyway. Otherwise, just open the Blue Business Plus and cancel your Platinum card.

Topher

I think one thing most people are missing with the Clear membership which I was pleasantly surprised to discover this AM is that if you go via Delta the $179 reimbursement will cover you and a family member ($119 + $60)

I have heard several takes of “this benefit is only worth $119. . . I was thinking about having to charge twice and hope for partial reimbursement on the second until I saw the option to add family members.

david

just new reason to drop it

ffI

Greg
The Morgan Stanley card – seems a better value now with a larger bonus
Do you get the 550 – now $695 bonus for opening a cash Premium Plus account even after having the Amex Plat card?
In 1 article you said that premium plus must be before card to get bonus
In article 2 you say that you can get the bonus even without the Plat card

GemGal

Just used the FHR credit, it makes sense for a business trip I already had planned in Sept to Denver.
2 nights at The Art Hotel came to $553.72.
+I can write off the total as a business expense.
+Less $200 makes it $353.72 out of pocket.
+Free breakfast for two each day (can bring a guest).
+$100 food and beverage credit will cover dinner both nights for me.
FHR value comes to about $320 including the meals.
Also am using NYT credit which was an existing expense ($240/year). Probably won’t use any of the other new credits.
The airline credit ($200), NYT subscription ($240), Uber food ($200), and FHR ($200+), Saks ($100) and Centurion lounges (I value at $150), come to at least $1090 so for me it’s worth keeping the consumer plat. However will probably cancel P2’s business plat at renewal as credits don’t add up.

Adam

Looks like it’s time for another Premium card worksheet!

NK3

Couple thoughts:

  1. I know this will be controversial, but for some, the upcoming restrictions on Centurion Lounge access on 2/1/2023 are actually a potential benefit. I love the Centurion Lounge at my home airport (SEA), but I usually need to put my name on a 30 minute waitlist to get in. This drives down the benefit of carrying the card. While I get these restrictions could be terrible for families, for solo travelers (or couples where both have the Amex Platinum) the restrictions may be a benefit.
  2. The value of CLEAR is probably a fraction of the listed price for most travelers. I have had complimentary CLEAR access for a few years courtesy of my Delta status. My SO also has that option, but he has declined to sign up due to concerns of giving biometric data to a third party. As a result, we have put TSA Precheck with or without CLEAR to a head to head, semi-scientific test a few dozen times. The result: on average it saves me about 1-2 minutes. It is a little of YMMV situation depending upon the airport you are at; with SFO I got through 10 minutes faster than my SO, while at SEA it is not uncommon for me to take longer to use CLEAR than just going through the regular Precheck line. I often hear people say that CLEAR saves them time, but putting it to a somewhat controlled test, the time savings are minimal. If I was paying out of pocket, I would not spend more than $20 a year for that benefit.
Josh

I think I’m just over the complications with this card at this point. All the charts and reminders I have to look at and set to justify this card is getting ridiculous. Im at the point where I’m stressing to make sure I use every last credit. That effort and energy can be focused elsewhere. Chase fits my simplistic and minimalist lifestyle much better.

Cmorgan

My wife has the card. We both prev had the Ameriprise version ( No AF for first year). Of course that promo ended several years ago. I may try and get my own card again but most likely will get the pop up message. If not we will definitely cancel her card after the AF posts next February (2022). This card simply no longer meets our needs. Main use was regarding Centurion lounge access which was recently degraded and the airline / Uber credits. Travel spend will go on the Gold card unless we decide to go with Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve.

whocares

I’ve had a NY Times sub for a few months last year then stopped reading. I’ll sign up just cause it’s free w/Plat, but the way MSM has been about C19 since about middle of last year, my opinion of most of major MSM is in the gutter. Never was high to begin with, but I liked NYT early coverage.

I’ll value the Entertainment credit at $0. Don’t pay for any other streaming services apart from Amazon Prime, but I’ll discontinue that soon anyway. If that is covered in future…then I would value that yes.

As I already have most, if not all of the car/hotel statuses from the card, and Priority Pass, the value is about a wash – if I use all the credits. I don’t fly Delta enough to value SkyClub access that much.

Not interested in CLEAR per se with the vax passport initiative – lots of big brother/privacy issues. Don’t want to support them. I’ll sign up for it because it’s free (only cost to them, though that’s marginal, close to 0) and maybe try it out or use in a pinch, but otherwise no. Lines aren’t that long and already have TSA Pre & Global entry. Waiting 5-10 minutes in a line so a TSA guy can check your ID is no big deal. CLEAR = $0

Equinox = $0
Private Jet = $0. If you can afford it, great.

I’ll renew at the current $550 rate later this year…but when it goes to $695, unless there is big retention offer or other bonuses, I will be cancelling in all probability.

Keeping track of using credits is becoming a pain, though I have it all on a s/s. It takes time/mental energy though. Is that worth some modest savings/win to “justify” the card annual fee?

And if you are rich enough, don’t care about tracking credits/justifying value…well..I guess you could pay even more than $695. As a “lifestyle” card, I guess that works for that segment.

The hotel credit will be useful, found a couple places that I could use it. But that level of luxury is not something I would normally go for – unless using points. Learning about FHR and high-end hotels is interesting. Using often overpriced Ubereats (Don’t use Uber car) is not normal for me – which can often be bought at a discount anyway.

Trip delay/cancel are nice, but since I often use points for flights, not that much value in that. Maybe it will be useful someday.

Sco

The hotel credit is the only thing that might mean something to me. I’m normally pretty no-frills for hotels so I’ve never looked at FHR before. But I took a quick look for a few of my upcoming trips and it looks like once you take into account the $200 credit, then I’d be getting a nicer hotel than I’d usually stay at for about the same net cost. So I’ll use it, but not worth much to me.

I was already on the fence about canceling the next time my annual fee came due, so with these changes I dont really see how i could justify keeping the card.

Albert

Question regarding the CLEAR credit. Since it claims to cover up to $179, then is it safe to assume that it will cover myself ($119) as well as a single add on ($60) which comes out to $179? Thanks in advance.

Aaron

Don’t forget about the Corporate Advantage program for holders of an AmEx Corporate card. That $150 credit toward the annual fee completely covers the increase and then some.

Angela

I see no added value for either of us. Sure, I might use the Fine Hotel credit but a quick look at the hotels on there didn’t do much to excite me. In most locations I am interested in traveling to the rates were crazy high and only a hand full to choose from. Right now I have more free night certificates than I know what to do with. Had it been any prepaid hotel through Amex Travel, I would like have liked that. For us, I see zero value in anything else added. Sure I can get Clear but do we need it? We rarely run into long lines in precheck. Would I pay for it otherwise? No, so that isn’t really valuable to me. I already don’t get much from the Uber credit and I wish it was not doled out monthly – then I could make better use of it.

Mr. Unicorn

I must be the unicorn most folks claim you need to be to be excited about the changes.

I’m a long time Audible listener. My job is fairly boring at times and I have plenty of time to listen to books. I’ve had Peacock since they debuted, and now I essentially get it for free. Would I have liked a wider net? Sure, who wouldn’t, but those 2 services alone make the entertainment credits a winner for me.

About once a year, I pay cash for a hotel stay. The hotel credit is something I have already used this year, and I foresee using year over year. Between my job and other family commitments etc, I can’t always find the award availability for the specific room/hotel I want and I’m willing to pay cash to lock in exactly what I want/need. Obviously I wouldn’t pay $200 in advance for a $200 credit, but certainly an addition that is valuable to me.

Like many others, I find no value in the Equinox and private jet credits. My home airport does not have Clear at this time, so I’m not signing up today. However, if Clear comes to my airport, I would sign up and hopefully value year over year.

My story is that I have had the Platinum Card since December of 2019. At the time, I was really only interested in the card for the SUB and to milk the credits for 2019/2020/2021, and then bolt. Between the PayPal credit, all of the other Platinum Card offers they dropped in early 2021, and the retention offer; it made sense to keep it through 2021.

Based on the new additions, I would prepay $695 for the new benefit suite and get over $900 in “value” of stuff I’d be purchasing anyways. It’s not a no brainer/HUGE win, but it’s certainly a much better value proposition for me than it was with $550 AF and benefit set.

So that’s it. I’m a unicorn. I guess that means I can abandon the travel blogs and head on over to the Brony Blogs (self high five).

Lrdx

The hotel credit is not any hotel, but FHR or THC hotels. Just did a search towards my next 3 travel destinations, one destination doesn’t have anything nearby, rest the cheapest are more than $200 expensive than the hotels I’d chosen otherwise, so that credit would have a negative value for me..

Robert Jones

I think tawdry fits what this card has become better. It doesn’t earn any points, requires maximizing fringe inane monthly credits to piece back some of the annual fee and offers no simple way of extracting good value from the points. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers full priority pass including restaurants, simple travel credit, earns 3x on travel and dining, let’s you use their travel portal or PYP for 1.5cpp. I can’t think of anyone I know whom I would recommend this card to at $695 given the alternatives.

Darren

how much longer does the $15 ubereats credit last

Nick Reyes

Nothing is going away. You’ll keep getting that credit.

SamBam

I’m guessing everyone is gonna be playing the retention bonus game!!!

Andrew R.

No doubt that’s true. I’m not keeping it unless I get a juicy retention bonus.

Ryan

what do you all consider a good retention bonus? Do you just call and say i’m downgrading without a sig retention bonus?

Josh

Worth keeping in mind that the FHR credit has to be used for a booking of at least 2 nights per the T&C. That means more of an investment for those of us who usually use hotel points rather than pay high cash rates.

Nick Reyes

No, only The Hotel Collection requires 2 nights. That’s not a restriction of the credit, The Hotel Collection only works on bookings of 2 nights or more.

It’s confusing because Amex has two different hotels-with-benefits booking programs:

1) Fine Hotels & Resorts (you must have a Platinum card to book these, you get breakfast for 2 and a $100 hotel credit and 4pm late checkout, etc): No minimum stay

2) The Hotel Collection (you can book these if you have a Gold or Platinum card. You get a $100 credit and 2x points if you have a Gold card or 5x with a Platinum card.). These hotels typically aren’t as high-end as the FHR properties. *Two night minimum stay*. The minimum stay always applies and always has, whether or not you’re using this new credit.

So you can use the $200 credit on either type of booking, it’s just the “The Hotel Collection” type has always had a 2-night minimum.

Josh

oops and appreciate the correction!

Brian

You can also book the hotel collection with a one night stay you just won’t get the $100 property credit. So if that’s not something you care about then you can definitely use on one night bookings.

Royal

The reasoning here is good and the “Coupon Book” comparison is now quite apt. However, thinking along those lines, I’d expect the coupon book to give me likely much more outsized value compared to the upfront cost. Maybe an exaggerated advertisement for 30X value with real value of perhaps 3X isn’t quite as valid with these bigger starting numbers, but I’d still want to want to see at least 2X value and that isn’t the case for most people after these changes.

The wild card is the AMEX offers and if they continue throwing a couple hundred dollars (HD,BB) of free money at us the equation looks better. Clearly this is a great offer if you can get the sign-up bonus. I think extra family cards will be an auto cancel for us and I’m on the fence with our main card. Luckily have almost 6 months to chew on that one.

YoniPDX

Pretty sure that gravy train is over and was a pivot for COVID.

I am glad that the $20 food credit and $10/$15 credits for Cell bills run through December.

Even the Shop small ~ small as it is – is YMMV on zero of any of our cards and AU cards.

5.2020~6.2021 was pure gravy with all the credits and offers.

But moving forward it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Amex to freak out over the attrition rate and switch gears.

Lrdx

I have gotten the exact same AmEx offers on no-fee cards as on any of the $95-$250-$450 cards. Counting them as a benefit of the $695 Platinum is just plain dumb.

Tim M

I get NYTimes app only access for 4$ a month. 16-17$ per month seems high to be paying to begin with.

Andrew R.

As always, great take from the FM. Thanks Greg. But for me, even at $550 the card was difficult to justify. Here’s my brief breakdown: 1) $200 prepaid credit is worth virtually $0. I’ve never even considered FHR when booking, and I collect points and free night certs to avoid paying cash for a hotel room. And I’m not interested in booking my vacation around getting exactly $200 in value for this credit. 2) Entertainment credit? I currently have a digital NYT sub as well, but would I prepay a whole year’s sub to cash in on the monthly credit? No. My value, maybe $60 total. 3) Equinox? Never heard of it, value = $0. 4) CLEAR? Only one airport around me has CLEAR and I’ve never found it more useful than PreCheck. Value = $50. 5) Jet Program? Yeah, sure AMEX. Value = $0. Keeping my sanity by not having to try and maximize every nickel and dime from Amex? PRICELESS!

Nick Reyes

Just an opinion, but if you’ve never considered an FHR booking, it might be worth taking a look now and then. Sure, lots of them are outrageously expensive. But in other situations, I’ve been able to book a room for around $100 for a night that came with a $100 hotel credit, free breakfast for 2, and guaranteed 4pm late checkout. Whether or not that’s possible will totally depend on your travel patterns, and I only end up using FHR or a similar service a couple of times each year, but I almost always take a look. Otherwise, I’d just be using points without regard as to what my other best options may be, which might be accepting very poor value for my points.

Andrew R.

I see your point Nick, but my travel patterns just don’t work for FHR. I take perhaps 2-3 trips per year and bending those around trying to find an FHR where I’m not inducing spend just to use the credit is both difficult and frustrating. I’ve dropped several cards with free night certs just because I would find myself booking trips and spending money unnecessarily just so I don’t “lose” my free night cert. I found myself spending way more on my travel budget than I intended just to cash in these certs. I look at this FHR credit the same way. But one thing is for sure, all these Platinum changes sure have made cardholders really consider what they ultimately value in a credit card which is a good thing overall.

HPN-HRL

I have to ask Andrew R: if you only take 2 or 3 trips per year, why do you keep an AMEX plat card? (I’m genuinely asking, not trying to be snarky.) The main reason I got/keep my AMEX Plat is for Centurion Lounge access, but I was using those 10 or more times per year before Covid; I could justify the AF counting $250 or so for my CL visits and by making good use of the $200 airline credit and occasional airline ticket purchases via IAP. I understand getting a Plat card for the bonus, but if I were only taking 3 trips per year I would never have kept my Plat card.

Andrew R.

This is my second Platinum (had the Ameriprise version prior to). I picked it up for me and P2 purely for the 100k + 10x bonus back in November. So, am I the ideal customer for this card? Probably not. Would I at least CONSIDER keeping it with the existing benefits at $550? Yes, I’d consider it. But, more power to those who can fit the benefits into their travel habits while simultaneously taking advantage of all the credits and programs. But I can’t see that pool of people being particularly large. I’ve basically decided not to bend my travel habits around taking advantage of credit card perks. It’s just too complicated and usually ends up costing more cash out of pocket in the end. To your point, consistent access to a Centurion Lounge would make the card worthwhile. I just don’t live where that benefit holds any weight for me…and that goes for a huge portion of the general population.

HPN-HRL

That makes sense to me – thanks for the reply. I agree that this card is “keep for a year or so and then cancel/downgrade” for most people, especially those with little to no expectation to use CLs or IAP.

Derek

Do you have a post you can link for reference? If not, can you write a post regarding this?

BW3

It could just be the properties I’ve looked at, but I haven’t found a FHR offer that’s much different than Virtuoso or other similar services that don’t require a specific card. If you’re going to keep the card anyway then absolutely use the new discount, but I guess this is a long way for me to say I don’t find FHR a particularly unique benefit.

Nick Reyes

@BW3: Totally true that the vast majority of hotels on FHR are also available on Virtuoso (or Visa Infinite hotels or possibly Chase Luxury Hotel Collection or programs like Hyatt Prive, Marriott STARS, etc). It isn’t the only way to book with those benefits — though now it’s the only way to do so with a $200 credit.

@Derek: Two posts you may want to check out:

https://frequentmiler.com/getting-the-elite-experience-without-elite-status-via-luxury-partner-programs/
https://frequentmiler.com/chase-luxury-hotel-resort-collection-vs-amex-fine-hotels-resorts/

david

I currently value the entertainment credits at zero:

NYT – I have an extension to get around paywalls.
Audible – Plenty of free apps for this. Also torrents if you’re into that.
Sirius XM – I have Spotify premium.
Peacock – Hulu/HBO/Netflix is better.

I also think CLEAR is the biggest ripoff ever. The whole concept of skipping the Precheck line is pointless when the line is rarely congested. I would happily pay $15/year for this.

Kevin

If you are going to consider not paying and illegally pirating, please keep that to yourself. I would assume most adults can afford to pay, we aren’t 15 anymore, so keep that to yourself.

I say this as a developer who has worked on and has friends who maintain these and develop these services so you are doing them and their family’s a disservice.

david

If I can’t get these things for free I’d happily just live without it or use my library card, whereas I actually value my streaming subscriptions so I pay for that. You’re using the same logic movie studio execs use to argue that they lose billions to piracy every year. You never would’ve gotten my money to begin with, so you’re delusional to think you’ve been robbed.

Also I think I’ll say what I want. Do you often scold people on the internet and get your way?

Last edited 10 months ago by david
Nologic

That doesn’t really make sense. Just because you wouldn’t have paid for it doesn’t mean your consumption of said thing isn’t theft. I’d never buy Louboutin heels, but if I walked out the store with them I’d be stealing. I’d never pay for McDonalds, but if I used a backdoor to enter and consume the food… it’s theft.

That said, policing comments is certainly a choice lol.

anonymous

Technically, in david’s example, the item wasn’t “consumed;” it’s still there for others after he used it. In your examples, the items were taken away forever and others were unable to “consume” them afterwards.

Not that there isn’t ethical value in paying for a service, of course. 🙂

The Feds

We are issuing a subpoena to this site for your name, address, phone number, and orange jumpsuit size.

david

I’ll take a medium jumpsuit, thanks officer. While you’re at it take a look at Nick’s Roth IRA, I think he’s been skirting contribution limits.

Lonnell

Reason: We already subscribe to the New York Times digital edition for $17.50 per month, so I figured that I’d be willing to prepay $16 per month ($16 x 12 = $192)”
I would think somewhat the opposite here for someone who already maintains a subscription.
if I am already a customer, I should definitely give full value to to this credit. If I have been paying $20 a month for a service, and someone walks up randomly and says, I will pay that $20 for you from now on, you don’t have to pay it anymore, I am literally keeping that whole $20 in my pocket now.
On the other hand, if I had not been a subscriber because I felt the price was a bit high, then I may have to evaluate what I think the true value would be.

Ben

This is addressed in the article and refers to what is he willing to ‘prepay’ for that service.

The correct analogy is if you are paying $20/month for a service and I, a fully trustworthy individual, say “Give me $240 now and I’ll pay your service for the year”. There is no reason to do so as you gain nothing but could lose if you decide to cancel that service in the next 12 months. But If I said “Give me $200 now and I’ll pay your service for the year”, you’d be more likely to take that offer.

That’s what Greg is referring to with the “prepay” language.

Lonnell

I fully understand that, but I have the card, I have the membership, the card says hey, I’ll pay the membership for you. Prepay, postpay, or otherwise, it is a win win.
Any of those factors removed, it could very well change the mental calculation. All of these calculations have changing variables, but it sounds like he has the card, and the membership so the prepay factor is somewhat removed for him because he already has the card, and the other benefits. This would be a layered benefit that I would calculate at full value under the circumstances.

Ben

It’s discounting a prepayment to account for assumed risk when determining whether to pay the annual fee. In this case, the risk that Greg will want to keep NYT for the next 12 months. They could raise their price and Greg is on the hook for everything above $20/month. They could write a front page article that says “Frequent Miler most wrong blog that’s ever blogged” and he wants to cancel. Maybe he discovers a new publication like ProPublica and would prefer to subscribe to them instead. He doesn’t know 100% that he will want to stay subbed to NYT for the next 12 months, so he needs to discount the amount he is prepaying by what he thinks the risk is that he would want to cancel part way through the year.

Lonnell

Again, I do not get lost on all of the ifs. There are a lot of ifs in that that statement. If and when any of that happens, it would make sense to reevaluate.
I am more focused on the current knowns. I have this card, I have this subscription. Someone else is now paying the subscription. For the foreseeable future, the knowns are I am getting full value reimbursement of a 17.50 membership.
most companies give you a heads up before increasing prices, but that would also be an if.
I am not necessarily arguing that Greg should change his mind if he is set on using the ifs, but if there are others that are using the two l own variables, all of a sudden I am not paying $17.50 based on factors that are currently a reality on my financial life.
I currently have SiriusXM, but none of the other services. I also have the Platinum card. I know for sure that, for the immediate future someone else is going to pay my 12.96 subscription for my two vehicles.
Now, the new consideration of value would happen if I decide to add my third car to SirusXM since it is my work car.
There is some new consideration that I need to put into the equation to add completely new variables. Will I get the subscription for the same price. Will AMEX continue to offer this credit. I mean I guess there are always a ton of unknowns I could add to reduce value, but that would also make it hard to give any credit any value.
Everyone is definitely going to use their own calculations, and considerations of variables. I am just offering another point of view for someone already holding the card, and various subscriptions since the post says he already holds the subscription.

Nick Reyes

I think what you’re missing is that it isn’t someone else paying the $17.50. It’s *you* paying it. If the New York Times offered it monthly for $17.50 or annually for $17.50 x 12, nobody would buy the annual subscription. Your job is in determining how much they would charge if they offered an annual subscription since you are effectively buying one.

Ben

To add on, it’s even worse than getting an annual subsription directly. With that, you get locked in for a year. With this, you’re buying an annual subscription to a maximum $20 payment. If the month after you pay your annual fee, the price goes up to $25, you either pay an additional $5/month or cancel and lose the benefit.

DeLynn

I’m actually relieved Amex threw in a bunch of worthless to me categories- when our AFs post next year I won’t have any hestitatation when cancelling. That will be easier than the mental gymnastics of trying to justify keeping them open after ensuring every credit is used. I’ll just shift my spend to Chase and move on.

kathy (willrunformiles)

do existing plat amex holders get the new perks (such as the hotel credit and CLEAR) now or do the new perks only kick in for new enrollees or renewals?

KC_Queso

I was never a big fan of the card, really just liked the lucrative signup bonuses and 10x categories, plus the idea it gives you some hotel/car elite status and some lounge access beyond my Chase Priority Pass. I have enjoyed the Uber Eats credits more than I thought, too. But they’ve sure surprised me over the last year and a half with all the extras they throw in without warning that sweeten the deal. Getting $100 in free stuff from Best Buy, $100 in free stuff from Home Depot, several hundred off at Dell, so many wireless/streaming/PayPal credits I’ve lost count, and now the new referral offer. Fingers crossed that it’s all the surprise perks that’ll end up justifying the two we have. Rewarding their highest paying customers has kept us attached, and frankly excited. If they don’t keep those going strong, then I agree it likely doesn’t make sense to have two for us.

One point, though, even if you don’t value Clear for yourself, if there’s someone else who doesn’t have it, you could use this credit to gift them with Clear. With my United MileagePlus card I get Clear for $109 + $60 for P2. Our other Platinum could get Clear for my in-laws.

Kevin

Agree. I know we shouldn’t consider the other coupon/rebates but I also use those on a regular basis so recent ones like the Samsung, BestBuy, HomeDepot, Goldbelly, and other I was able to use this year alone saved well over $1000, so the card is still worth it to me.

CericRushmore

This wasn’t obvious to me since I had never used FHR before, but some of the FHR rates are refundable even when you do the prepaid option. We just went ahead and booked ours last night at the Tysons Ritz since it was around $200 and they were all refundable rates. Greg, I’m taking your advice from earlier in the year to burn certs before people start to travel. I was thinking the same thing, FHR is going to get hit hard over the next 6 months as people try to burn these credits. The Hotel Collection requires a 2 night stay which killed it from a value proposition from our end.

Ben

1) The math is making-ish sense to me, in that I can potentially use the $200 credit at FHR and a decent amount of the $20 digital credit (I don’t use any of the services today, but would probably sub to NYT and potentially Peacock). Combined I’d probably value those around $150ish/year. Luckily my annual fee is due in November so I get 16 months of the streaming credit and 2 years of the FHR credit at no additional fee

2) Centurion removing guest access will undoubtedly change the calculus. Will probably cancel P2’s card and maybe Mom’s card and just make them + my brother authorized users on mine so they have access there.

3) Heads up that it is $145 more, not $149 which you have throughout the post