American Express has announced a steamer-trunk-full of new cardholder benefits for its luxury travel credit card, the Platinum Card from American Express. Among the new benefits are travel credits for hotel bookings and expedited security screening and lifestyle credits for digital entertainment and gym memberships. However, along with the extra perks comes a big jump in the annual fee, too: a $145 increase from $550 to $695, making the fee the highest among the card’s peers.
The refresh arrives as card issuers compete to keep current customers engaged (while attracting new ones) with pandemic-era perks and benefits that have proved popular, plus new travel perks as customers leave home again. Here are the new credits and perks coming to the card:
- $200 credit on certain hotels: Earn a statement credit on prepaid bookings made through Amextravel.com for The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels + Resorts properties.
- $179 CLEAR credit: Receive a statement credit once a year toward the full membership cost of the CLEAR program, which offers quicker security screening at certain airports and stadiums.
- $240 digital entertainment credit: Get a $20/month statement credit toward certain digital streaming services and other media, such as subscriptions to The New York Times, Peacock, or Audible.
- $300 Equinox gym credit: Get a $25/month statement credit toward an Equinox gym membership, either in-person or through the Equinox+ app.
- More airport lounges: Amex is broadening the list of airport lounges available to cardholders to more than 1,300. This includes the recently expanded The Centurion Network, with over 40 lounge locations worldwide.
- Global Dining Access by Resy: Gain access to VIP dining opportunities at renowned restaurants and special events.
- Discounts on private jets: Access to a 20% discount on Wheels Up Connect and a 40% discount on Wheels Up Core memberships. Plus, get a $500 or $2,000 credit added to your Wheels Up account to use toward your initial flight within your first year, depending on membership.
If you already have The Platinum Card from American Express, you'll still get all the expanded perks, but you won't need to pay the higher annual fee until your next renewal.
Rewards-earnings rates remain unchanged: 5 points per dollar spent on airfare booked with airlines or via Amex travel, 5 points per dollar for hotels booked through Amex travel, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Travel credit card companies like American Express and Chase have been expanding their rewards programs to stay relevant during the travel- and luxury-free pandemic. Now that travel is starting to resume again, American Express is betting that its combination of travel and lifestyle perks are desirable enough to attract a new stream of customers.
In fact, statement credits on streaming services were among the most popular Platinum card offers in 2020, the company said in a news release.
And if those perks fail to persuade, issuers are also dangling lucrative welcome offers or new-cardholder bonuses to do the trick. For example, new Platinum cardholders will earn 75,000 membership rewards points if they spend $5,000 in the first six months of membership. That’s worth $833, according to our calculations. Plus, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets in the first six months (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases).
In addition to the new suite of perks and credits, the Platinum card still provides cardholders with a bevy of familiar extras, including:
- $200 airline fee credit: Good for up to $200 back in statement credits each year on incidental airline fees.
- $200 Uber credit: Cardholders get $15 per month (plus an extra $20 in December) in credits for Uber Rides or Uber Eats.
- $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit: The credit reimburses the application fee for the government’s expedited airport security services.
- $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit: Returns up to $50 on purchases in-store or online twice per year (once on purchases made January through June and again July through December).
- Cellphone protection: Credits cardholder accounts for repair or replacement costs following damage or theft up to $800 per approved claim (less a $50 deductible), twice per year (for a total of $1,600 per year per account).
The Platinum Card from American Express was already one of the most feature-filled consumer credit cards on the market—and one of the most expensive. Thursday’s refreshed perks and benefits, along with the hoisted annual fee, burnish its reputation for both.