American Express has been busy over the past few months adding new benefits to their travel credit cards, trying to keep customers around when travel is on hold. But one change to the Platinum Card from American Express sticks out above the rest.
There are new perks like $20 in monthly credits for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, another $20 monthly credit for wireless phone service, and even an Amex offer to get $100 off $100 or more in purchases from Dell. But American Express also added a $200 credit for travel purchases.
The new $200 credit applies for eligible purchases at Amex Travel, Amex’s travel booking service. Cardholders who renew their account between April 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020, will get it added to their card, an American Express spokeswoman confirmed.
And it’s now available to use: You can use this credit for Amex Travel purchases from Aug. 1, 2020 all the way through Dec. 31, 2021 – so there’s no rush to use it. Just head for Amex Travel and make a purchase on your Platinum Card, and the credit should kick in.
But not so fast: Not every single Platinum cardholder will automatically get this credit – including those who renew in the timeframe. It’s unclear why some cardholders make the cut and others don’t, but American Express has made clear that only “select” cardholders will get the credit.
“Select U.S. Consumer Platinum Card Members can earn up to $200 in statement credits when they book through Amex Travel and make eligible travel purchases between August 2020 and December 2021. Eligible Card Members will be notified if they are eligible for this offer upon their renewal,” American Express said in a statement.
You may want to check with Amex by phone or online to chat to ensure the credit has been added to your account, or log into your Amex Travel portal and check this link to see if your travel credit is live.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
In many ways, this is like the $300 annual travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. There are some strings attached to this new credit: Unlike the Chase travel credit, you must make your purchase through the Amex Travel portal. But that’s much easier to use than the convoluted airline fee annual credit, which has only gotten harder to use over time.
This is 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.
To date, nearly all of the benefits American Express has added to their portfolio of travel credit cards have been unrelated to travel. At a time that travel is largely not possible, that makes sense. And many banks have been doing the same.
But this new credit for Amex Travel is different. 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 more than $600 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.
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.
This credit is far more straightforward than many of the new and existing benefits on the Amex Platinum card. It’s now eligible for cardholders to use to make travel purchases through Amex Travel. And it’s good all the way through December of 2021.