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Rumor: Big changes coming to the Amex Platinum

Million Mile Secrets logo Million Mile Secrets 4/10/2021 Joseph Hostetler
letter: 20210408_171726_2 © Provided by Million Mile Secrets 20210408_171726_2

The Platinum Card® from American Express may soon be under the surgical knife, as it receives a number of benefits changes and an annual fee adjustment. Many people may view these changes as a net positive, and just as many canceling their cards over it. Let’s find out which one you are.

letter © Provided by Million Mile Secrets (Image by Joseph Hostetler / Million Mile Secrets) © Provided by Million Mile Secrets

Amex Platinum rumored changes

As it stands, the following potential changes are not a deal-breaker for me. As long as there are no more negative changes (i.e. any of the current benefits being stripped away), I’ll likely keep my card. You can read about the current Amex Platinum benefits here if you need a refresher.

I reached out to American Express about these changes, and they had no comment. In other words, none of this is verified — but a supposed reliable source has leaked the information.

The good

The Amex Platinum may be getting a number of new statement credits:

  • Up to $240 in statement credits towards “entertainment” – This will likely be distributed monthly in increments of $20, and cover expenses such as streaming services, news subscriptions, etc. This is a win, as I think most of us spend $20+ on streaming services of some sort.
  • Up to $200 in statement credits towards prepaid hotels – Honestly, I think many of us in the points and miles community rarely ever make prepaid hotel bookings. If you find yourself spending $200 on prepaid hotels every year, your annual fee is effectively reduced by $200 from this credit. I’ll use this benefit, but it’s not worth the full $200 to me, because I’ll probably have to go out of my way to do so. I’d rather book direct with the hotel since I earn hotel points, elite credits and will enjoy my elite perks.
  • Up to $100 in Resy credit (temporary benefit) – Resy is a restaurant reservation website. Not quite sure how this benefit will work, but if it equates to $100 in food, it’s a win. It may work similarly to current Resy credits on other American Express cards by giving you a 20% refund on your restaurant spending (capped at $100 total). Or, you may have to dine at a restaurant registered with Resy — in which case those who don’t live near a big city will have a much harder time using the credit.
  • CLEAR membership ($179 value) – CLEAR allows you to skip TSA lines altogether — you don’t even have to give your ID or boarding pass to the TSA officer at the security checkpoint! And Amex Platinum cardholders may receive CLEAR membership for free. This will, however, replace the current benefit of free TSA PreCheck membership — though you’ll still receive a credit of up to $100 towards Global Entry, which comes with TSA PreCheck.

The impractical

The Amex Platinum may also come with a $300 Equinox fitness credit. This is… not useful to most of us. If you’re not familiar with Equinox, it’s a super high-end gym (think a giant Amex Centurion Lounge with free weights). A gym membership can run well over $200 per month, depending on where you go — that means a $300 credit won’t even get you two free months of gym membership. On top of that, there are very few locations worldwide (currently 106), and as you’d expect, they’re almost exclusively in the biggest cities in the U.S.

There are a couple of saving graces, however:

  • This credit would be valid toward the Equinox app workouts, which costs $40 per month (still a lot for a fitness app)
  • Equinox also sells clothing and beauty products

If you can use this credit to get a few hundred dollars in free clothing or fancy soaps and conditioners every year, perhaps you’ll view this benefit as a positive.

The awful

The annual fee is alleged to rise to $695, up from $550 (see rates and fees). WOW. That would be one of the highest non-invite-only card annual fees ever. Imagine paying $700 per year for a card!!

Again, no matter what the annual fee, you’ve got to do the math yourself in order to decide if it’s actually saving you money. Depending on your lifestyle, you may find that it’s still worthwhile to keep the card.

One confirmed change: Reduced airport lounge access

Another upcoming change that has actually been confirmed by Amex is that they are changing who receives access to their proprietary airport lounges, called The Centurion Lounge. Amex Centurion Lounges are considered by many of us to be the best domestic airport experience (you can read my review of Centurion lounges here — I just experienced them for the first time a few months ago).

When you’ve got an Amex Platinum card, you’re able to bring two guests into the lounge with you for free. But beginning Feb. 1, 2023, anyone with a U.S.-issued Amex Platinum card, personal or business, will lose their guest privileges unless they spend $75,000 on their card per calendar year. If you don’t meet this requirement, you’ll have to pay $50 per guest.

That is tough to achieve. But a known issue with Centurion Lounges is their tendency to be overcrowded. This could be Amex’s way of guaranteeing more room in the lounges — though I don’t like it one bit. Still, if you find yourself bringing guests into the Centurion Lounges with any regularity, you can add up to three authorized users to your Amex Platinum for a total of $175 annually (see rates and fees). This will give each authorized user the ability to enter the Centurion Lounge for free. If you’re a family of four, paying the $175 fee is a no-brainer, and would nearly pay for itself after a single visit.

Bottom line

There are a number of rumored changes coming to the Amex Platinum Card, such as:

  • Up to $240 in entertainment credits
  • Up to $200 in prepaid hotel bookings
  • Up to $100 in Resy credits (temporary benefit)
  • Up to $300 in Equinox fitness credit
  • $179 CLEAR membership

And as a quick reminder, these are some of the current benefits that come with the card:

  • Up to $200 in airline credit
  • Up to $200 in Uber credit
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry credit
  • Up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credit
  • Comprehensive airport lounge access
  • Terms Apply

You can read our post on the best Amex Platinum benefits to see how valuable the card can be. If the card were repackaged under a $695 fee — with no current benefits disappearing — would it be worth it to you? Adding up all the statement credits alone means you could potentially save over $1,600 in useful statement credits (though the Saks and Equinox credits aren’t very helpful to many of us).

Let us know what you think of these rumors! Would all these new benefits justify the $695 annual fee for you? For me, I’m going to say yes — and never in a hundred thousand years would I have considered paying such an astronomical annual fee.

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For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

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