The Revised Amex Platinum Card – Details and Review

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Rumors have circulated for a while now that Amex was planning to increase the Platinum card’s annual fee and change up some of the card’s benefits.  We haven’t reported these rumors previously because so little was known.  This week, though, accidentally released info about changes to the Platinum card’s Centurion Lounge benefit gave great credibility to some of the rumors.  So, in this post, I’ll tell you everything I think we know about the Revised Platinum card and I’ll attempt to answer the question: Is it worth the revised annual fee?

If rumors and my educated guesses prove true, below are the details about the Revised Platinum card.  I expect that the changes reported here will affect not just the regular consumer Platinum Card from American Express, but also the Morgan Stanley Platinum Card and Schwab Platinum Card (except maybe the Resy credit won’t apply to the latter two).  As to the Business Platinum Card, I expect that the Centurion Lounge guest policy changes will apply, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect any of the other changes.  Amex will most likely revise the Business Platinum card, but probably not in the same time frame as the consumer card.
Best guess details of the Revised Platinum card (I’m 85% sure that about 90% of this is true):
  • $695 annual fee (up from $550) [New annual fee begins July for new cardholders and at renewal in 2022 for existing cardholders]
  • Centurion Lounge Access is free only for cardholder (previously free for cardholder plus 2 guests).  New: $50 fee per guest.  Cardmembers who spend at least $75,000 per year on the card will continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests.  [This new policy begins February 1, 2023.]
  • Repeating credits:
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit to be eliminated [discontinued benefit]
    • $200 in Uber / Uber Eats Credits: $15 per month ($35 in December) of Uber Cash which is lost if not spent within the month. [continued benefit]
    • $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December. [continued benefit]
    • $100 CLEAR credit: Up to $100 per year of CLEAR charges reimbursed. [new benefit – may begin July 2021]
    • $300 Equinox credit: $25 per month. Can be used towards $39.99 monthly fee for Equinox+  fitness app (previously named Variis by Equinox). [new benefit – may begin July 2021]
    • $240 Entertainment credit: $20 per month.  Can be used for magazine/news subscriptions, video streaming services and audio/music streaming services. [new benefit – may begin July 2021]
    • $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings [new benefit – may begin July 2021]
  • One-time or infrequent credits:
    • $100 Resy credit: No details known. [new benefit – may begin July 2021]
    • $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement: Get reimbursed once every 5 years. [TSA-Precheck enrollment no longer reimbursed]
  • Card perks not mentioned above stay the same, including:
    • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines
    • Airport Lounge Access at Airspace Lounges and Escape Lounges: Cardholder plus two guests are allowed free.
    • Delta SkyClub Access: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day.  Extra guests are charged a fee.
    • Priority Pass Select Lounges: Priority Pass Select member plus two guests are allowed free entrance.  This membership does not include Priority Pass restaurants.
    • Cell Phone Protection: Max $800 per claim, $50 deductible.
    • Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance
    • Hilton and Marriott Gold status
    • And more.  See: Amex Platinum Complete Guide.

Is the Revised Platinum Card worth the revised annual fee?

If the annual fee increases by $149 and we lose the annual $200 Airline Incidental Fee credits, then the revised card is up to $349 less valuable than the current card.  On the other hand, the changes introduce up to $840 in new credits annually:

  • $100 CLEAR credit
  • $300 Equinox credit: $25 per month.
  • $240 Entertainment credit: $20 per month.
  • $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings

In some weird world in which it makes sense to take all of the credits at face value, the new card is obviously a big win.  That’s extremely unrealistic, though.  It would only be true for people who would pay for CLEAR, Equinox, entertainment, and prepaid hotels anyway and who would not receive rebates on those purchases from other cards.

Whether or not the $695 fee is worth paying annually is an individual case by case decision.  I recommend looking at each of the annual credits and major perks and 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 $240 in advance to get $240 in entertainment credits spread out $20 per month, would you?  I hope not.  You’d only pay in advance if you could get a substantial discount.

Revised Platinum Value Worksheet

I will eventually update the “Which Premium Cards are Keepers? Worksheet,” but for now let’s do this manually.  Estimate how much you would be willing to pay for each of the following:

  • $100 CLEAR credit: _______________
  • $300 Equinox credit – $25 per month: _______________
  • $240 Entertainment credit – $20 per month: _________________
  • $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings: ________________
  • $200 Uber / Uber Eats Credits: $15 per month ($35 in December): _____________
  • $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits – $50 per half year: ________________
  • Airport Lounge Access: _____________
  • Other Platinum perks you value: _____________

Add up all of your estimates.  If your estimates total $695 or more, then the Revised Platinum Card is worth keeping.

What is the Revised Platinum card worth to Greg?

As I wrote above, each person should come up with their own numbers for how much they’d be willing to pay for each card benefit.  That said, it might be helpful to see how I think about each of these items…

  • $100 CLEAR credit: $0
    Reason: I like CLEAR, but it is included free with My Delta Diamond status.
  • $300 Equinox credit – $25 per month: $0
    Reason: If this fitness app was completely free after credits, I’d assign some value to this, but as it is I would have to pay $15 per month after this rebate (e.g. pay about $40 and get $25 back).  It’s possible that I’ll try Equinox and like it enough to pay for it, but it’s equally like that I won’t.  I definitely wouldn’t prepay for this Equinox discount.
  • $240 Entertainment credit – $20 per month: $180
    Reason: I already pay well over $240 a year on streaming services (I pay $65/month for Youtube TV alone!) and so I’d happily pay 75% of the $240 in advance to lock in the discount.
  • $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings: $75
    Reason: I don’t usually like making prepaid hotel bookings (especially since these bookings don’t earn hotel points or elite credits and elite status doesn’t usually apply). That said, I can think of this as getting a $200 hotel room each year for only $75.  Not bad — especially if I use it at independent hotels that don’t offer points or elite perks anyway.
  • $200 Uber / Uber Eats Credits: $15 per month ($35 in December): $100
    I use Uber and Uber Eats often enough that I’ll probably use the full $200 in credit each year, but I don’t like how the credits dribble out monthly and must be used entirely within each month.
  • $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue Credits – $50 per half year: $50
    I kind of like being “forced” to buy $50 worth of things at Saks twice a year. Still, I wouldn’t pay more than $50 for this benefit.
  • Airport Lounge Access: $200
    This one is really hard to set a price to.  Once travel returns to some kind of normal, it’s likely that I’ll use the card to access Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, or Centurion Lounges often enough to get a lot of value from this perk.  I don’t currently have a Delta Reserve card and so I already use this card often to access Delta SkyClubs.  That said, I’m hoping to get the same 60K upgrade offer to the Reserve card that my wife got.  If that happens, I’ll probably revise my estimate downwards.
  • My total: $605

Since the amount I’d be willing to pay is less than the expected new $695 annual fee, the Platinum card is not a long-term keeper for me unless things change.  When my annual fee increases in 2022, I expect to call to cancel.  If Amex offers a decent retention bonus, I’ll keep the card.  If not, I’ll say goodbye to it.

Should you sign up for the Platinum card before July 2021?

Yes.  Right now you can get in on an all-time high welcome bonus and you can lock in the lower $550 annual fee for a year.  Plus, the enhanced benefits should kick in starting in July.  And I expect that the $200 airline fee credit will be valid through the end of 2022 for cardholders who sign up before July.  For additional reasons as to why you should consider signing up now, see: Sign up now for the Platinum 100K + 10X offer (here’s why).

Card Offer and Details
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100K points + 10x US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets
100K after $5K spend in first 6 months plus 10x on eligible purchases at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$550 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more.


Card Type: Amex Pay Over Time Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline ⚬ Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status for Basic Member only ⚬ Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21) ⚬ Up to $100 in credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 in credits semi-annually, enrollment required) ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement ⚬ Airport lounge benefits ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ Marriott Gold status ⚬ Hilton HHonors Gold status ⚬ Free Gold card AUs. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)

See also: Amex Platinum Guide

Should you sign up for the Schwab or Morgan Stanley Platinum card before July 2021?

The co-branded consumer Platinum cards have long had 60K welcome bonuses.  That hasn’t changed and I don’t expect it to change. Additionally, Amex has always kept the annual fees for these cards in lock step with the annual fee for the generic Platinum card.  So, I do believe that the annual fees for these cards will also go up to $695.  If you’re interested in either of these cards, I think it’s a great idea to sign up before July so as to lock in a year with the old annual fee.

In addition to the perks offered by the regular consumer Platinum card, the Morgan Stanley Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • First authorized user free: Add one Platinum authorized user for free. Add up to 3 more for $175.
  • Invest with rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1 cent each when deposited to your Morgan Stanley brokerage account.
  • $500 anniversary spend award: Spend $100K in a cardmember year to get $500.  If you spend exactly $100K per year, that amounts to a bonus of half of 1 cent per dollar spent.
  • $550 Annual Engagement Bonus: You can qualify for this bonus by opening a Morgan Stanley Platinum CashPlus Account before opening the Platinum card account.  Details can be found here: Morgan Stanley Platinum Card Fee Free (how to earn the $550 Annual Engagement Bonus)
    Note: It’s possible that Morgan Stanley will increase this bonus to $695 to match the expected new annual fee.  We’ll see.

In addition to the perks offered by the regular consumer Platinum card, the Schwab Platinum card adds the following benefits:

  • $100 to $200 statement credit: Receive a $100 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000, when measured following Card account approval and annually thereafter.
  • Invest with Rewards: Liquidate Membership Rewards points for 1.25 cents each when deposited to your eligible Schwab account.

For additional details, including how to qualify for each card, see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

Card Offer and Details
The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

FM Mini Review: In my opinion, this is the best of the consumer Amex Platinum cards when you need two cards thanks to Morgan Stanley offering one free authorized user. Unfortunately you do need to have a Morgan Stanley account to apply.


Card Type: Amex Pay Over Time Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

Big spend bonus: $500 after $100K cardmember year spend

Noteworthy perks: This card includes all of the great perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card, plus: ⚬ 1 Free Authorized User ⚬ Redeem points for 1 cent each into your Morgage Stanley account ⚬ $550 Annual Engagement Bonus for Reserved Clients

See also: Amex Platinum Guide

The Platinum Card® from American Express for Schwab

Card Type: Amex Pay Over Time Card

Base
Travel

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

Noteworthy perks: This card includes all of the great perks that come with the American Express Platinum Card, plus: ⚬ Use Membership Rewards® points for deposits by Schwab to your eligible brokerage account. (For example, 10,000 points = $125) ⚬ $100 credit with Schwab holdings of $250,000+ or $200 credit with holdings of $1,000,000+ on approval & each year.

See also: Amex Platinum Guide

Source of Info

Work4Amex

After Amex accidentally leaked their plans to reduce access to Centurion Lounges, Doctor of Credit noted that a reader who had previously reported expected changes was nearly dead-on correct.  Specifically, on March 18th, Work4Amex had written: “The 2 free Priority Guest passes will now be free only if you have $75,000 spend in a calendar year with the platinum.”  While Work4Amex didn’t state that this was for Centurion Lounges, the detail about $75K spend was dead-on correct.  That couldn’t have been by accident.  Thanks to this confirmation, Work4Amex’s intel became credible.

Here is the full text of Work4Amex’s comment:

Can confirm through my Intel that the 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

In follow-up comments, Work4Amex added the following details:

The $300 equinox credit can also be used towards the Equinox+ app subscription which is a $40/mo subscription

Entertainment credit is broken up monthly and can be used for magazine/news subscriptions, video streaming services and audio/music streaming services.  I’m not confident if it’ll be a catch all for any service that codes for the credit or if it’ll be based on companies that partner with amex.

Annual CLEAR membership will replace TSA Precheck, but Global Entry seems like it’ll stay

Greg’s Educated Guesses

CLEAR

It’s unclear (pun intended) whether CLEAR will be automatically free to cardholders or provided as a statement credit against CLEAR charges (as is the case with the Green Card).  If membership is completely free then this can be considered worth up to $119 per year (the cost for non-elite Delta and United members to enroll in CLEAR).  My bet, though, is that Amex will mimic the Green Card benefit and reimburse $100 of CLEAR spend annually.  For details about CLEAR pricing, see: 5 ways to get CLEAR for less.

Airline Fee Credits

Work4Amex claimed that “Everything else should stay the same,” but I think that’s unlikely.  Separately, there were rumors that Amex would remove the $200 airline incidental fee credit.  Given that they did the same with the Amex Gold card, I think that’s very likely.  My bet is that Amex will phase out the credit in a way similar to what they did with the Amex Gold Card.  In this case, I’m guessing that those who open their Platinum card before July 2021 will be able to get the $200 in credits both in 2021 and 2022.  It’s possible, though, that they’ll discontinue the credits for all cardholders in 2022.

$300 Equinox Credit

Work4Amex wrote that “The $300 equinox credit can also be used towards the Equinox+ app subscription which is a $40/mo subscription.”  Given that Amex previously temporarily offered Platinum cardholders $25 monthly credits towards Variis by Equinox (now named Equinox+ ), I’m extremely confident that the $300 credit will also be doled out $25 per month.  $25 x 12 months = $300 per year.

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