The Platinum Card from American Express has got over $920 in new statement credit benefits, becoming even more lavish and appealing to luxury travel-seekers – will that be enough to justify the annual fee increase?
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The credit card market is highly dynamic and offers change frequently to appeal to cardholders and stand out from the competition. Even the most popular credit cards often don’t stay the way they are for a long time.
On July 1, 2021, American Express announced major changes to one of its most well-known cards – The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The card is getting new benefits, including hundreds of dollars in statement credits. Unfortunately, these new exciting perks come at a significant price increase: The Platinum now will cost $695 annually.
Over $920 in new statement credits
With the new benefits, the Amex Platinum’s value is hard to compete with. Here’s an overview of the new annual statement credits and other perks cardholders now have access to.
$179 Clear credit
To offer cardholders a way to move through airport security lines faster, the Amex Platinum has already been offering statement credits (up to $100) to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.
Now, cardholders can also cover the cost of a Clear membership, with up to $179 in statement credits annually if they pay with their Amex Platinum. Clear scans members’ eyes and face to quickly verify their identity and allow them to skip long airport lines.
See related: TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. Clear: Which is best for you?
$200 hotel credit
Previously, the American Express Platinum offered a $100 hotel experience credit at eligible properties booked through the American Express Travel portal.
Now, on top of that, cardholders can enjoy an annual $200 credit on prepaid bookings with American Express Travel at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties.
$300 Equinox credit
The Amex Platinum has great news for some fitness lovers, too: Cardholders can receive up to $300 in annual statement credits (up to $25 per month) when using the card to pay for an eligible Equinox membership.
Here’s the list of memberships that qualify for the credit:
- Equinox All Access
- E by Equinox
- Equinox+ (on-demand fitness app)
$240 digital entertainment credit
Digital subscription credits are coming to the Amex Platinum too. Platinum cardmembers can receive up to $240 in annual statement credits (up to $20 every month) when using their card to pay for Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times subscriptions.
Other new benefits
Besides new statement credit benefits, the American Express Platinum has also added a few new perks.
Cardmembers will have access to the Premium Private Jet Program, which offers discounts, flight credits and other benefits for Wheels Up members. Another luxury perk added to the card is Global Dining Access by Resy, which can provide special access to popular restaurants and dining events. To help cardholders stay on top of all things travel, food and culture, the Platinum membership now also includes a subscription to a lifestyle destination resource Departures.
A new welcome offer
To sweeten the deal, the American Express Platinum comes with an impressive welcome offer – 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months. That’s $1,000 worth of airfare when booked through the American Express Travel portal.
Additionally, cardmembers will earn 10 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and when they Shop Small in the U.S. during their first six months with the card (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases).
Are the new benefits worth the increased fee?
Without a doubt, the updated Amex Platinum is packed to the brim with valuable benefits – annual credits alone are now worth over $1,400.
Yet, these new benefits may be a sign Amex has redesigned the Platinum with a different type of cardholder in mind. The older version of the card was a solid product that could make sense for an average cardholder who travels often and likes to keep their travel comfortable.
The updated Amex Platinum seems to be targeting a higher spending audience, and it’s not only the Premium Private Jet Program that makes it apparent.
Consider the new $200 hotel credit: It only works for Amex’s Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection properties, which are typically not the most budget-friendly options. Moreover, the Fine Hotels + Resorts mainly offers expensive luxury properties.
Further, Equinox is known for its luxurious gyms. With a 12-month contract, a monthly gym membership can cost over $200 in monthly fees – that’s quite a financial commitment even when you factor in $25 in monthly credits.
The $240 digital entertainment credit could potentially justify the $145 annual fee hike for an average spender. Still, the list of eligible services leaves a lot to be desired. The subscriptions that qualify for the credit comprise a limited array of options, which doesn’t include streaming services with the largest subscriber counts like Netflix, Spotify or Disney+. At the moment, it’s unclear if Amex will add more eligible services in the future.
See related: Best credit cards for streaming services
The new benefits on the American Express Platinum can offer excellent value to high earners seeking a premium credit card product that provides luxury perks. For this type of consumer, the $695 annual fee will all but pay itself. An average cardholder, however, may find it harder to maximize the new benefits – and justify the new fee.
The increased annual fee is already in effect for new cardholders and kicks in on Jan. 1, 2022, for existing cardmembers.
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