Did Amex Just Devalue The New Platinum “Perks” Mere Days After Launching Them?

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Amex Platinum Devaluation

A De Facto Amex Platinum Devaluation, Thanks to New Benefits and Offers

Many of us are still coming up for air after recent Amex news, but they have struck again with more card benefits and offers.  While few have argued that the Amex Platinum changes were positive overall, I thought they weren’t that big a deal.  And many others thought the Platinum changes couldn’t be worse.  Even more recently, general Amex customers got some weird news.  Not necessarily good or bad, but odd.  Some may consider this an Amex Platinum devaluation, though.  Let’s dive in.

What’s Happened

Amex just announced a new additional benefit and / or offer for many cardholders:

  • Clear Amex Offer – Get 100% back on a single purchase, up to $179.  Many cardholders are receiving this offer; I received it on a Gold card account.
  • Equinox Benefit – Get up to $10 back in statement credits each month when you use your eligible card to pay for your Equinox+ membership.  I received this benefit on my Blue Cash Preferred card account.

Amex Platinum Devaluation

Good, Bad, or Meh?

First of all, for anyone who holds an eligible card but who wasn’t previously been able to obtain these credits, this is potentially good news.  Indeed, this is more good stuff included on card(s) you already hold!  Of course, these perks need to matter for you to come up positive.  If you don’t need them, oh well.

This is effectively bad news for Platinum cardholders who have just received these newer offers on other cards and who already value these benefits to justify the new $695 annual fee.  What were more exclusive benefits to the Platinum a couple weeks ago are now available on other cards, decreasing (or zeroing out) their values to the Platinum.  For this group of cardholders, this is basically a Platinum card devaluation.

For others, though, including me, this news is a firm “meh.”  Since I valued the Platinum card’s Clear and Equinox benefits at $0 each, these new offers don’t change my Platinum valuation calculations at all. Side note: Equinox must be paying out some nice fees to get Amex to push it so hard.

I feel the same way now about the Platinum that I did a few days ago.  I will give a tepid thumbs up to these new offers in general, though, since I always appreciate banks bringing more perks to more cards, even if I don’t use them.

Amex Platinum Devaluation – Conclusion

Indeed, this news is a bit of a head-scratcher.  Why would Amex weaken a few of the Platinum card’s new benefits so soon?  With these actions, is Amex telling us what they think of these benefits on the Platinum?  Will we next see the limited Digital Entertainment credit carried over to other Amex cards, further triggering frugal Platinum cardholders?  Probably not, but what do I know?  I still feel Amex is the most entertaining, unpredictable card issuer out there.  Wacky news like this continues to validate my opinion.  What do you think of these latest Amex changes?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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14 COMMENTS

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Make one four-day booking on FHR.
    – $75 / day food credit = $300
    – $100 / stay property credit = $100
    – $300 / day room upgrade = $1200
    Total = $1600
    Repeat.
    ==========
    $20k annual airfare and hotel spend at 5X versus 3X = 40k more points.
    40k point x 2 cents per point = $800 greater value relative to most other cards.
    ==========
    Anyone still complaining raise their hand.
    ==========
    Anyone who truly uses the card is capturing value . . . for my wife and I, substantial value.
    A discussion of whether one who truly uses the card is up or down $100 or $200 relative to the annual fee change is below the noise level.
    A discussion of the value of Clear is best its own post. Of course, there is a means to TSA front-of-line that none of these posts ever seem to bring up. Hmmm.

  2. I don’t consider this a Platinum devaluation. Unlike the Platinum benefit, which is per calendar year, the Gold card offer is a one time credit. I can think of a few reasons that this makes sense for Amex.
    1) Per the T&Cs, the Clear membership will auto-renew after a year with no notice to the cardholder. How many gold card members will forget about it and get charged in year two?
    2) As mentioned by others, after a year, some gold card holders will become accustomed to using Clear, and after the first year will have to either continue to pay, or… upgrade to Platinum.
    3) The gold card credit for this will not post until up to 90 days after 30-Oct (30-Jan-22), so if you cancel the card before then (6 months from now), you aren’t getting the credit.

    Amex’s offer of a free full year membership may entice some folks who are currently getting a discounted membership (e.g., through United’s MileagePlus), but those same folks may not be fully aware of the aforementioned hooks.

  3. Clear gives me the option of using the shorter of two lines – TSA PreCheck or Clear. Adding it as a benefit to my Platinum Card has no value for me. I get it for free as a Delta Diamond.

  4. Why? My guess is give clear to Gold cardholders now, then push them to upgrade to Platinum next year to keep it.

    • YES – it’s so obvioius. But they also did talk about doing things to encourage upgrading in a press release back in January 2021 or so.

  5. And on a slightly different topic… what’s the actual point of having CLEAR? I still need to go through TSA checkpoints whether I have CLEAR or TSA PRE. And PRE is a lot cheaper.
    Please enlighten me.
    Thanks

    • Patrick,
      I don’t use either of them. But from what I’ve heard, certain TSA Precheck locations can get substantially backed up, while CLEAR lines are remarkably short.

    • At my airport clear line is non existent, and after verifying your identity you basically cut to the front of the precheck line. I’m not sure how it is at other airports.

    • It walks you to the front of any TSA line you would normally use (precheck or regular). It is also used at stadiums to cut lines and that can be big at some spots.

      • I’m received the CLEAR offer on both my hold and platinum cards, am I able to use the credit once on each (twice in total) or does that mean I can only to use the credit on one of my cards? Thinking if I can get the credit twice, to use to pay for another family member…

        • Gregory,

          Based on your description, that sounds like two different credits you can use however you’d like. Read the terms, of course.

    • Clear verifies your identify via biometrics (iris or fingerprint) and your boarding pass (and your TSA Precheck eligiblity). Then you are accompanied directly to the front of the security screening line you qualify for (TSA Precheck or regular). Even with TSA Precheck, the agent has to have you scan your boarding pass, visually check your ID against the UV light, match the ID to the boarding pass, scribble and circle your paper boarding pass if you presented one, ask your children their names, how old they are where they’re going, etc. Now repeat this for EVERYONE IN LINE. Clear streamlines this part of the process by having multiple ID screeners instead of the one or two TSA agents checking IDs.

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