American Express has been busy over the past few days enhancing their portfolio of travel credit cards at a time when travel is not possible. More changes are coming for the Platinum Card from American Express.
Last week, American Express added new benefits to the Amex Platinum card: $20 monthly credits for streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus and another $20 monthly credit for wireless phone service. Now, American Express is adding a $200 credit for future travel purchases.
The new $200 credit applies for eligible purchases at Amex Travel, Amex’s travel booking service. As first reported by Doctor of Credit, it will be available from August 2020 all the way through Dec. 31, 2021 – so there’s no rush to use it. Cardholders who renew their account between April 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020 are eligible to get it.
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It’s just another way to try to convince cardholders to keep their accounts open when many of the perks of the Platinum card – lounge access, airline credits, etc. – aren’t usable. American Express has been doing a lot of that lately.
Last week, Amex added new benefits to the Platinum Card, Green Card, the Business Platinum Card, and most of their co-branded travel credit cards that are good through the end of 2020. Just yesterday, Amex rolled out a new one-time $200 statement credit for Business Platinum cardholder accounts after annual fee renewal. That effectively lowers the annual fee to $395.
To date, all of the benefits American Express has added to their portfolio of travel credit cards have been unrelated to travel. And at a time that travel is largely not possible, that makes sense.
On Friday, Amex added up to $320 in statement credits for select streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers like Verizon and AT&T.
That means cardholders will get up to $20 per month to use towards each category ($40 total) through December 2020. Much like the Uber credit that the card already offers, if you don’t use it each month, you’ll lose it. It won’t rollover.
But this new credit for Amex Travel is a bit of a headscratcher. Amex is essentially saying, “we know you can’t travel right now, so here is a credit to use towards booking future travel.” For cardholders who don’t see travel as a benefit right now, this doesn’t move the needle much.
The silver lining here is that this one-time credit is good all the way through 2021. Together with the credits for streaming and cell phone service, Amex has added $520 in value to the cards. Stacked against the $550 annual fee, it could make sense to keep the card open.
It’s possible to book both hotels and flights through Amex Travel, though it isn’t yet clear if there are restrictions on how the $200 can be used. An Amex spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amex is doing a lot to entice customers to keep their travel rewards credit cards open at a time when travel isn’t possible. And this new credit for Amex Travel is an extension of that.
While the credit isn’t a straight $200 credit like is being offered on the Business Platinum Card, it is another way to justify the card’s $550 annual fee when travel largely isn’t possible right now.