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Things are starting to get a little silly in the premium credit/charge card sphere and it really needs to stop before it goes any further.
Citi has already announced that it is increasing the annual fee on the Citi Prestige card to $495 while, at the same time, cutting back on a lot of benefits that attracted people to the card in the first place and now American Express has announced that it will be increasing the annual fee on the Business Platinum card by over 30%.
Anyone paying their American Express Business Platinum Card annual fee on or after the February 2019 billing cycle will see their fee increase from $450 to $595.
As a recap these are the benefits that currently come with the Business Platinum Card:
- 5 points/dollar earnings on prepaid travel booked via amextravel.com
- 1.5 points/dollar earnings on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to a limit of 1 million additional points per year)
- A 35% points rebate when a cardholder uses the Pay with Points feature for all or part of an eligible flight (up to a limit of 500,000 points back per calendar year)
- Access to Amex Centurion lounges worldwide
- Access to Delta Sky Club lounges when flying with Delta
- Priority Pass Select membership
- $200 airline fee Credit
- A fee credit towards Global Entry or the TSA PreCheck program
From February American Express will be adding additional benefits to the Business Platinum card. These include:
- A year’s complimentary access to WeWork (a workspace provider)
- A “Shop Dell with Business Platinum” benefit of up to $200 in statement credits annually for purchases made directly at Dell.
- The $75 credit that’s currently offered on Hotel Collection stays is increasing to $100 (this will come into effect for new reservations made on or after 1 January 2019 via Amex Travel)
This is a very bad move by Amex and I don’t know who it thinks it’s fooling with the fluff it has come out with but it shouldn’t be anyone with a modicum of sense.
This is nothing but a huge fee increase with little or nothing given in return.
- Even if you value the WeWork access the Business Platinum Card will only offer this for a year so, going forward, this doesn’t help offset the $145 extra per year than the card now costs.
- The $200 rebate for spending directly with Dell may be useful every now and again but, unless you’re someone who buys from Dell every year, this can’t be considered to be a long-term benefit that helps offset the annual fee increase.
- The extra $25 now offered for Hotel Collection reservations may be of a small help to some but, considering it requires a reservation through Amex Travel before it can be used and that Amex travel bookings aren’t eligible for status benefits, is this really a “benefit”? Not for a lot of people it isn’t.
Put simply Amex has increased the Business Platinum Card annual fee by $145 (32%) and given almost nothing back….at least nothing long term.
If you like the Amex Business Platinum Card benefits as they are (at $450/year) then you should probably consider applying before the annual fee increase in February and enjoy them at the reduced rate for 12 months….and then cancel.
If you already have a Business Platinum Card from American Express I suggest you take a long hard look at what benefit(s) you derive from the card and work out if they’re now worth $595/year as opposed to $450 – if I held this card I can imagine that I’d be keeping it.
Perhaps some readers will find the new additions to the Business Platinum card useful but, for most, I suspect they’ll be a bust and that’s a shame.
On the whole I quite like Amex and its card portfolio but its hard to see this latest move as anything other than a large money grabbing exercise that’s going annoy a lot of people – I predict cancellations galore from February onwards.