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?
- $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).
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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?
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Source of Info
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.
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.