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It’s a busy day in the credit card world! A little earlier I wrote about how the majority of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards issued by Chase and American Express will earn 6 points/dollar on grocery spending, that was followed by a post detailing how Chase is offering bonus points for grocery spending on a further 21 of its credit cards, and now American Express has announced that it is improving benefits and earning rates on cards across its portfolio.
Here’s what’s changing…
American Express Membership Rewards Cards
- Platinum Cardholders will receive a statement credit of up to $20/month for spending on select U.S. streaming services from May through December 2020.
- Platinum Cardholders will receive a statement credit of up to $20/month for spending made directly with U.S. wireless telephone service providers from May through December 2020.
- Amex Green Cardholders will receive a statement credit of up to $10/month when they use their Green Card to pay for U.S wireless telephone services purchased directly from service providers from May through December 2020.
- Business Platinum Cardholders will receive a statement credit of up to $20/month for spending on select U.S. shipping purchases from May through December 2020.
- Business Platinum Cardholders will receive a statement credit of up to $20/month for spending made directly with U.S. wireless telephone service providers from May through December 2020.
- Business Platinum Cardholders will receive up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies, for a total of up to $400 in statement credits in 2020 when added to the existing Shop Dell with Business Platinum benefit ($100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020 and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and December 31, 2020).
American Express Cobranded Cards
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Platinum, Gold, and Blue Consumer Card Members will now earn 4 miles/dollar at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.
- Marriott Bonvoy and Brilliant Consumer Card Members will now earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases from May through July 2020 (discussed here).
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $300 Marriott Bonvoy Statement Credit benefit from June through August 2020.
- Hilton Surpass and Aspire Consumer Card Members will now earn 12 Hilton Honors Points/dollar at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.
- All bonus Points earned through eligible purchases on all Hilton American Express Cards, that post to the Card Member’s Hilton Honors account between 1 May and 31 December 2020 will be considered Base Points and will count towards Elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond Status.
- Hilton Aspire Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $250 Hilton resort credit benefit from June through August 2020.
Wow. There’s actually quite a lot to take in here.
The two new statement credits on the personal Platinum Card will offer up to $320 back to cardholders and, coming on top of the monthly Uber statement credits (which can be used for Uber Eats) cardholders are now able to earn back up to $505 of their $550 annual fee. If you’re ina position to use even a portion of the $200 airline credit that this card also offers the Platinum Card is essentially paying for itself over the next few months.
The $10/month statement credit for spending with U.S. wireless telephone service providers that the Amex Green Card now offers is effectively an $80 rebate of the $150 annual fee so anyone in a position to use all of this new perk and the card’s $100 LoungeBuddy credit this year will actually come out ahead.
Business Platinum Cardholders pay a higher annual fee than personal Platinum Cardholders so it’s only reasonable that they get offered the chance to earn more statement credits…but unless you’re a Business Platinum Cardholder who happens to needs to make some purchases from Dell you probably won’t be doing any better than personal Platinum Cardholders are out of these improvements (Note: there are a couple of good targeted Dell Amex offers running right now).
From a cobranded card point of view here are a few key takeaways:
- Be careful! Some of these deals are valid for spending for May – July while others are valid for spending June – August.
- The 4 miles/dollar on offer at U.S supermarkets by the Delta cards isn’t as rewarding as either the current offer on Marriott Bonvoy cobranded cards or the offer that Chase is running on its travel cards so this isn’t a particularly exciting development.
- The fact that the $300 Marriott credit that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card and the $250 Hilton resort credit that comes with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card will now be triggered by U.S restaurant dining (including takeout and delivery) is excellent news. The longer the travel world remains at a standstill the harder it would have been to use these credits this year whereas now it should be simple…I just wish it wasn’t restricted to the US.
- Having all bonus points count as base points for Hilton Surpass & Hilton Aspire cardholders probably won’t mean all that much in terms of elite status for this year (if you have the Aspire card you already get top-tier status) but it will be a welcome boost for anyone looking to move closer to Hilton Lifetime Diamond Status.
On the whole, these are some very nice improvements being made to the American Express credit card portfolio and they’re going to make it a lot easier for some cardholders to justify keeping hold of their more premium Amex cards while the world is locked down.
It’s a little disappointing that Amex continues to insist on restricting so many of its bonus categories to US providers but considering a large percentage of cardholders are supposed to be “sheltering in place” I guess this won’t be affecting too many people.
From a personal perspective, the key change for me is that I now have a way of minimizing my Platinum Card’s annual fee so I’m going to be seeking out the most economical ways of maximizing the new statement credits that the card offers (i.e not spending money that I wouldn’t have otherwise spent). I suspect that I’ll be doing my best to use the statement credits to pre-pay for future expenses (buying gift cards where possible) but I may also finally cave in and sign-up to the new HBO Max service that launches later this month.
What do you think of these changes by American Express? Have any of them make you feel differently about the card(s) you hold?