Bad Move Amex: The Business Platinum Card’s Annual Fee Will Go Up To $595


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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%.

The Facts

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

Amex Centurion Lounge Miami

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)

Thoughts

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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 it’s 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.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Amex makes it easy. They want me to pay $145 more for stuff I wouldn’t want even if it were free. Thanks, I’ll pass (and cancel at renewal).

  2. To be perfectly honest, I understand that for the Amex american market it’s tough to get such a violent change; but in France, where it’s basically one of the only options to earn points when consuming, we’ve paid that fee for years and have less benefits.. .and I still consider it a super good deal given all the perks (and despite being plat with a few hotel chains for examples)

    The simple “200 dollars airline fee” is amazing (we don’t have it. Same for uber, etc.)

  3. Great post. While I find it troubling that American Express is jacking up the price for the card while offering pretty much nothing in return, what I really find disturbing is how dumb they think these cardholders (myself included) really are. They could have either explained that they have to charge more to cover the cardholder expenses, or offered some things of actual value. Either would have avoided insulting the intelligence of cardholders. Personally, I will likely keep the card for this coming year, but it’s no longer a sure thing as it was previously.

    • Agreed. Corporations would probably be very surprised at the reaction they’d get if they were actually upfront and honest with customers every now and again. Treating people like imbeciles isn’t the best way to keep them onside.

  4. These business cards are meant to be for people with actual legit small businesses….bloggers and points mongers aren’t the target audience *eye roll*

    • This has absolutely nothing to do with “bloggers and points mongers” and everything to do with a 32% increase in annual fee with little to show in return.

      Whatever someone’s reason for having this card I suspect that there aren’t may small businesses that will get an extra $145/year in value out of the card’s new “benefits”.

      The WeWork “benefit” is for one year only, the $25 extra at the Hotel Collection hardly strikes me as a benefit aimed at the small business owner and, believe it or not, most small businesses don’t stay in the black by renewing their computers on a yearly basis so they’re not going to find much use for a $200 Dell credit year in, year out….especially if they don’t have Dell equipment in the first place.

      If you’re happy with the changes that’s great for you but don’t try to paint them as something that only “bloggers and points mongers” will dislike – these are all around bad changes for most holders of this card.

      • The Dell credits aren’t for Dell products only, or even just for computers. It can be used on a variety of items on Dell’s website. However, I agree the fee increase is a bad move.

  5. I’m grateful for Amex’s changes to their business charge cards. Just the other day I compiled a lengthy list of business cards that I’d consider applying for in the future. That list is two cards shorter now.

  6. I use the card mostly for the lounges; however, they are becoming impossibly overcrowded. The other day they wouldn’t let me in at SFO off an inbound flight (outbound only) because of overcrowding. (I wanted to work before going to see a client.) Also: has anyone published a review of the AmEx Travel site? I would like to use it for the extra points but find it impossibly clunky and difficult, compared with direct booking on airline sites.

    • This is an ongoing issue with the Centurion longes and one I’m not sure Amex knows how to deal with.

      A lot of people seem to be hanging on to their Platinum cards because of the Centurion Lounge access but, as more and more of these guys have similar experiences to yours, the retention rate on the Platinum card will only head one way. Maybe then Amex will finally take drastic action.

    • If there were considering doing that I think they would have done that alongside the fee increase – at least that would have been a true improvement to the offering.

  7. Having been a member of Amex since 1975, carrying two cards, it served my small business well. , They were once the ultimate card to hold. I have only experienced a degradation of their services at an increasing cost. I have downgraded to only a gold card with only the expectation of using approximately 1 million points before I jettison Amex completely.

    • I’ve head similar reports from a number of long term Amex customers.

      The annoying thing is that it wouldn’t really take that much for Amex to make one or two of its cards real “must have” cards in a lot of people’s wallets rather than cards that are occasionally used in niche situations…but Amex doesn’t seem prepared to think big.

  8. I dropped my Delta Reserve card when AmEx decided to increase the spending level to $250k for Diamond status with Delta’s Medallion program and now I am going to dump my Platinum card due to their increased fee. There are plenty of other cards out there and many merchants don’t like to accept AmEx anyway due to their high fees.

    • Out of interest (and this is a question I have been asking myself recently) what set of reasonable benefits would Amex have to provide on a card for you to keep it your wallet all day every day?

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