The world has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. And credit card companies – and the consumers who use them – aren’t exempt. So banks are making some changes.
Earlier this month, American Express gave new cardholders more time to hit a minimum spending requirement to earn a welcome bonus, from three to six months on most cards. Now they’re doing more.
Amex is adding some new, limited-time benefits to some of their best travel cards as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on their business. As travel is largely not possible right now, consumers are having a hard time justifying the high annual fees that are mostly justified by the travel related benefits they provide.
Have a Delta, Marriott, or Hilton Amex card? These co-branded credit cards are getting some new perks, too.
American Express first hinted at these updates on their first-quarter earnings call last Friday, but now they’re spelling them out. From the Platinum Card to the Green Card, read on for more information.
Platinum Card from American Express Updates
Starting today, May 1, Amex Platinum Cardholders will receive 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.
To see a full list of streaming services that will work for the credit, visit the American Express website.
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 roll over.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
Business Platinum Card from American Express Updates
Starting today, May 1, Business Platinum Cardholders will also receive up to $320 in statement credits for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers like Verizon and AT&T, and U.S. purchases for shipping.
Like the personal Platinum Card, cardholders will get $20 per month to use towards each category ($40 total) through December 2020. And the credits will not roll over. Any of the $40 left unused will be forfeited.
Additionally, Business Platinum Cardholders will receive up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies.
You’ll get $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020 ($200 total), and $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and December 31, 2020 ($200 total). This essentially doubles the card’s current Dell benefit, meaning you’ll now get $400 to spend at Dell, which surprisingly sells a lot of different things you may find useful.
Again, these benefits are in addition to the lucrative travel benefits the card already offers.
Click Here to learn more about the Business Platinum Card from American Express.
American Express Green Card Updates
Starting today, May 1, Green Cardholders will receive up to $80 in statement credits to pay for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers like Verizon and AT&T through December 2020.
Cardholders will get $10 per month to use through December 2020, and if it isn’t used each month, the $10 will be forfeited.
And again, these benefits are in addition to the travel benefits the card already offers.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Green Card.
It remains unclear if these benefits will be retained into 2021 – that will largely depend on the state of American Express’ business. But for now, they are all set to expire on December 31, 2020.
For Amex, it’s a smart pivot on a portfolio of credit cards with benefits that largely provide value for travelers. And with travel not currently possible, consumers are faced with a decision to keep their cards open or cancel to avoid the annual fee. Capital One made a similar announcement earlier this month adding new ways for both Venture and VentureOne Cardholders to use their miles for non-travel purchases.
These new benefits from American Express should provide some relief for those faced with an upcoming decision to cancel their card. In some cases, it could help justify renewing the card for another year.
Take, for example, the Platinum Card. If you are able to eat up the $20 credit for both your cellular phone bill and streaming services each month, that will eat up $320 of your total $550 fee. For some, that may be enough to justify keeping the card open while you can’t use many of the card’s other benefits.
Unfortunately, there’s no sign yet that American Express is willing to discount annual fees. Last month, Chase said it would discount by $100 the annual fee for renewing Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders.
These new benefits are active starting today, May 1. You won’t need to do anything to activate them. Simply start putting your Netflix, Hulu, phone bills, or Dell purchases on your eligible card and the statement credits will be applied automatically.