Amex Platinum Jacks Up The Fee & Is Now The World’s Most Expensive Coupon Book

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Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase & New Benefits Announced

Rumors to the right, rumors to the left, Amex Platinum rumors everywhere.  Well, they are rumors no more! The dust has finally settled and the truth has revealed itself.  The Amex Platinum annual fee is increase and new benefits have been announced. Some people will come out way ahead and many more will finally ditch this expensive coupon book they call the Amex Platinum.  Let’s take a look at the changes and I will share my thoughts on them overall.  Let me know if you fall into the love it or hate it crowd down below in the comments.  This will be like left vs right, east vs west.  There will be lovers and there will be haters but everyone will be paying more to play very soon here!

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

First things first, lets take this hit to the solar plexus taken care of.  Okay, in one…two…three…the fee will be $695 a year.

If you opened your account prior to July 1, 2021 the increased annual fee will take effect on your next credit card anniversary.  As long as that fee bills on or after January 1, 2022.  If your next fee bills from now until the end of the year it should be at the old $550 rate.

That is a nice gesture by Amex. But it is kind of like poking a hole in a ship and then giving you a bucket to scoop out the water.  If you fall in that grace period you will likely come out ahead over the following year and will want to keep the card.

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

New Amex Platinum Benefits

Here are all of the new goodies you will get.  I have to say the entertainment credit is a slap in the face. If they had just added this and left it wide open the way the limited time credits were this would have been a positive change for most people.

Travel Related

  • $200 Hotel Credit:
    • An annual statement credit for prepaid bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection properties made through American Express Travel.
  • $179 CLEAR Credit:
    • An annual statement credit for a CLEAR membership, which offers expedited
      security screening at select airports and stadiums across the U.S.
  • More Lounges in More Places:
    • American Express offers access to more airport lounges
      compared to any other U.S. credit card program 1 , with over 1,300 airport lounges in 500+ airports and 140 countries around the world. This includes the recently expanded The Centurion® Network, with over 40 lounge locations worldwide, offering a premium airport lounge experience.
  • Premium Private Jet Program:
    • Access to a 20% discount on Wheels Up Connect and a 40% discount on Wheels Up Core memberships. Plus, get a $500 or $2,000 credit added to your Wheels Up account to use toward your initial flight within your first year depending on your
      selected Wheels Up membership. For more information, visit here.

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Everyday Benefits

  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit:
    • Limited-time statement credits on streaming services in 2020 have been one of the most popular Platinum Card offers, with 78% of Platinum Card Members having received credits. Now, the Platinum Card is offering up to $240 in annual statement credits ($20/month) on eligible purchases or subscriptions with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times.
  • $300 Equinox Credit:
    • An annual statement credit ($25/month) on purchases of select Equinox
      Fitness Club monthly memberships or a digital subscription to Equinox+ (the on-demand fitness app).
  • Global Dining Access by Resy:
    • Access to the new Global Dining Access program by Resy that gives Platinum Card Members exclusive reservations at some of the world’s top restaurants, access to premium events and other perks like priority notify and VIP status. Dining continues to be a top spending category, and nearly half of consumers surveyed * say that they’re willing to spend more on unique dining experiences than they were before the pandemic.

Link to all benefits

Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase

What Is The Amex Platinum Keeping From The Old After The Increase?

It was believed that the Amex Platinum would be losing the airline incidental credit but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  It looks like everything from the past is new once again.

  • $200 yearly airline incidental credit
  • $200 Uber Cash ($15 a month, a $20 bonus in December)
  • Up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every 5 years
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit each year ($50 from Jan-June, $50 from July-Dec)

My Thoughts On The Amex Platinum Annual Fee Increase & New Benefits

Pretty much any time an annual fee goes up it is a bad thing.  The credit companies are not raising the fee at a net loss so this will be worse for many cardholders.  We are not like most cardholders though, are we?

I think people could make more than the $145 increase from these new benefits.  But the question will be are they actually worth their face value to you? If you don’t currently pay for Clear does that credit mean a ton to you?  Same with streaming Peacock and Audible or getting the New York Times etc., what is that worth if you never really wanted it?

Then you have to consider that you can get things like Sirius XM and Clear at a discount so you need to value that differently.  If you use FHR to book hotels in Vegas or Hawaii every year then you are gonna love that $200 credit.  But if you have never used the system do you want to have to focus on trying now?

My whole thing is that the Amex Platinum has essentially become a very expensive coupon book.  When you buy a coupon book you are supposed to come out ahead, and probably will, but is it enough to be worth your time and effort?  Normally I would want to double or triple my value to make a coupon book worth the effort.  If I bought the Vegas one for $20 then I better be getting $60 for it etc.  Can you get $1400 or more out of this card easily?  Or is your required return only 50% more etc. Only you can decide where your value point is and what these perks are worth to you.

Final Thoughts

I think there will be a lot of people out there that will like this change.  You are getting over $600 in credits (I don’t count Equinox as any value) for $145.  That is a win on the surface, but only if you already used those programs.  If you are forced into using them solely to get the credit what is that really worth to you?  If the answer is more than $145 then you come out ahead. But if it is breakeven or worse you are pretty salty this morning. This also sets the market for other premium cards. Will they look to increase their annual fees like they did with Amex went to $550?

You also have to consider the hoops you need to jump through and the effort required to claim all of these coupons as used.  What is that worth to you?  Because if you are simply breaking even you are actually losing.

You need to figure out your hourly rate and then guess how long these hoops will take to jump through each year. Multiply those two things (hourly wage X how many hours these coupons will take) and keep the total. Then add up the valuation you put on all of these credits (Clear worth $125 to you etc.) and write down that total. The total value of each credit minus the total cost of your time to use them will tell you if this is worth it to you.  If that total is well above $695 then you are good to go!

Share your thoughts below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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16 COMMENTS

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I do not know if it will work but I have 2 x Platinum cards. I signed up for clear using the 3 month free trial code JULY3MONTH. My 1st Plat card was charged (maybe it will trigger the credit) my cc charges were also when the 3 month trial was applied. Then I updated my clear account with my 2nd Plat card so it will trigger the Clear credit again after my 3 month free trial is over. In addition I’m do not have any travel planned in near future, you can also pause your membership for up to 2 months.
    I do not have high hopes that card #1 will receive the refund & credit but worth a try. If you have more then 1 Plat card and mutiple family members you can maximize by paying for 1-2 family members then update billing info before adding the additional family members and the additional $60 charges.

  2. I just canceled my DirecTV after they raised the bill to $100 a month for basic channels so I cut the cord. I guess it’s a good time for me to take advantage of the streaming credits as I just purchased a fire stick after cutting the cable.

    • Should work out perfect! I started the Yellowstone show on Peacock tonight and I am enjoying it so far.

  3. Amex seems to have only one play in the playbook: add benefits with high breakage while increasing AF. Learn a new trick, Amex, this one is played out. Pre-Covid the news of an AF increase raised hopes of decreasing crowding at Centurions, though it never really did. This time it might actually work.

    I’ll predict very disappointing signups and renewals, and Amex responding with higher SUBs of 150-200k MR commonplace, and 50k retention thrown out like candy, but it will be a while before these idiots figure out a new model.

  4. I wish Amex would come out with a charge card with multipliers and no credits. For the person who has a job, with no time to track spending and posting of credits. I basically want the original platinum card.

    • I would have preferred lower credits that are easier to use as well. Make it a travel credit and add 3X on hotels, basic travel and gas etc. Call it a day. But these companies are likely paying for these credits and it is a profit machine for Amex.

  5. If they would improve the earning structure, similar to the green or gold card and allowed guests in the lounge, I wild actually consider this card. But, until then … it is nothing more than a fancy “coupon book”.

  6. I am a strong fan of AMEX, have 4 cards and P2 cards. Was hardly interested in the plain Platinum card before, now the savings is I’ll no longer read any SUB or similar news pushed for this particular card. Time saved is priceless, so I guess the changes are high value to me.

  7. I don’t get much value from Clear since I have pre-check and Clear isn’t even available at many airports. I can typically get through security at pre-check, even with the largest crowds, in 15 minutes or less (and I live in an AA hub city so we get crowds) so adding Clear, even when available, won’t do much for me.

    I do get full value from the entertainment credit since I have Sirius/XM on 3 cars (all set up on monthly payment plan so this will be $240 to the bottom line for me which more than offsets the increase.

    The hotel credit is a maybe since I have status (and tons of points) on a number of hotel programs however, I will use it most likely somewhere. I would have preferred the $200 credit for anything booked through Amex travel that was provided as a 1 time benefit earlier this year (used it for r/t CLT-PHX which was $208 so after the credit my flight was $8).

    I know I’m not the norm but I have been a member since 1986 and value the overall Amex relationship. In addition to things that directly contribute to offsetting the AF I value things like their offers (much better than Chase), International Airline Program and the responsiveness I’ve always gotten from Amex reps in resolving any issue that came up.

    As I have stated before I wouldn’t cancel for the $145 increase even if there were no benefits but I realize I’m in the minority (certainly on this blog).

  8. Good for those that are paying for Sirius XM at the $20 per month but that seems to be the only new value add really (or if you pay for Audible or NYT). My wife will get another year at the lower rate but will still be borderline. We might keep it to help us stay out of pop up jail since my wife and I are both in and out of the pop ups. Of course there’s not much left to apply for that we haven’t : ) They want me to get a second business platinum card but won’t let me get the personal right now lol.

      • Yes, it’s a game with Sirius. They like customers who auto renew with their card for 3x the lower rate. If you say “cancel” unless they bring it down to a normal price, they will do it. I do music and traffic for like $50 for 6 months, I think music alone is about $35 for a 6 month subscription for your car but you do have to call every 6 months and threaten to cancel to get the low rate.

    • My 3 lifetime Sirius subscriptions have been paying off since 2009. No value there. I’d like to see an OnStar discount/rebate some day on an AMEX card.

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