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Is there an alternative to the new $550 Platinum Card fee?

by on Thu March 2, 2017 • 1 Comment
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American Express is increasing the annual fee on The Platinum Card to $550 a year, up from $450.

It takes effect March 30 for new applicants, and for existing cardholders, the new $550 will appear starting with renewal dates September 1, 2017 and later.

For this extra $100 fee a year, Amex is adding:

  • amexplat1702 free guests per visit when using the Priority Pass lounge card
  • 5x points on select hotels booked using AmexTravel.com (but not Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings that get upgrades and freebies)
  • A $15 per month Uber ride credit (plus an extra $20 in December) – for up to $200 a year in Uber credit

If you use Uber every month, this is a win for you, and Amex loves affluent urban cardholders, so it’s a win for them.

If you don’t, it’s hard to say you’re coming out well ahead with this fee increase compared to the $450.

If the combo of Centurion lounges and Delta SkyClub access isn’t vital to you, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve starts looking more attractive.

If you really get use out of both Centurion lounges and the SkyClub access, it’s hard to replicate that with other cards, and you’ll have to think hard whether an extra $100 a year justifies having access to both. If you don’t value those, and don’t ride Uber, then it’s even harder to swallow.

One way around it is if you have a small business (it doesn’t even have to be up and running yet, or have any revenue yet), you can get The Business Platinum Card and stay at the $450 annual fee. That’s not changing.

You lose the 5x points on airfare of The Platinum Card, which is a hit, and there’s no Uber credit, but you gain a 50% bonus when you use the Amex site to book flights with your points in first class, or a single airline you choose each year in economy class, and 10 Gogo Wifi flight passes each year.

While you’re supposed to only use small business cards for small business expenses, The Platinum Card isn’t a valuable card to use for spending anyway, unless you were taking advantage of the 5x points on airfare.

It’s a card to keep and hold for the benefits.

Amex is pretty aggressive about wanting new small businesses to use its cards, so if you already have a Platinum Card, switching is a decent way to avoid more out of pocket fees. You have to hassle with a new credit card application, and the sign on bonus, while lucrative, has a pretty high spending requirement to hit, so this isn’t ideal. But you can apply using your own social security number – there’s no need for your business to be formally registered.

A $100 a year annual fee increase is hard to sugarcoat, but the reality is The Platinum Card is still palatable at an extra $100 a year for a lot of travelers who value SkyClub and Centurion Lounge access even without the benefits increase.

Delta has steadily increased SkyClub membership fees over the last few years, and clubs are as crowded as ever. The Platinum Card is basically a Centurion + SkyClub membership card for a lot of travelers.

With the new fee, Amex will have more ammunition to justify higher intro signon bonuses and build more Centurion lounges to attract new customers who do want to pay $550 a year.

But if you’ve been a loyal cardholder who doesn’t ride Uber, it’s a sting, so set a reminder for when your annual fee comes due and think hard about it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

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