This benefit will expire on June 30, 2021.
It may feel like a lifetime ago, but for more than a year, banks behind the top travel cards were forced to pivot during the pandemic to keep travelers interested while they were stuck at home. And few went further than American Express with its premium Platinum Card® from American Express.
After offering $20 monthly credits for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and another $20 monthly for wireless cell phone service, American Express kicked off 2021 with a brand new $30 monthly credit for PayPal on the Platinum Card. It's available from January through June 2021, offering up to $180 back through the first half of the year when you charge PayPal expenses to your Platinum Card.
And that means this credit is ending. You've got just a month remaining to use up the last of these Amex PayPal credits. It's also the last chance to use up the first half of the $100 annual credits to Saks Fifth Avenue.
Travel is coming back fast, and the pressure may be off American Express and other banks to continue offering non-travel benefits to tide travelers over. Still, rumors are swirling about big changes in store for the Platinum Card, including new perks and a higher annual fee.
What You Need to Know
PayPal is a completely free service, and there is no additional charge for creating an account and making a purchase through your PayPal account. If you don't already have a PayPal account, you can create one here.
PayPal is accepted at millions of merchants across the U.S. – all of which will be eligible for this new $30 monthly credit. All you need to do to get these credits is add your Platinum Card to your PayPal account and charge a purchase to it.
And while PayPal allows person-to-person payments, these transactions are not eligible for the monthly statement credits per the Amex FAQs page.
This credit is valid as of Jan. 1, 2021, and will run through June 30, 2021. No enrollment is required for this new benefit.
It was nice while it lasted.
While this fell a bit short of the $40 in monthly credits split between streaming and cell phone service that cardholders enjoyed for the past several months, this new PayPal credit was a smart addition – and arguably even easier to use.
For Amex, it’s a smart pivot and a way to provide some additional value for many of their cardholders who are still not yet ready to travel. It's a different play from the same playbook American Express has relied on during the pandemic.
What remains unclear is what happens next. Amex PayPal credits expire June 30, 2021. American Express hasn't yet said what may replace it – if anything.
There are rumors about a handful of new benefits that may push the Platinum Card into more of a lifestyle card than strictly a premium travel credit card. That includes a $20 monthly entertainment credit, sunsetting Amex airline fee credits and replacing them with a prepaid hotel booking credit, a $300 annual credit to Equinox gyms, and more. All that would supposedly push the card's price tag up to $695 a year.
But American Express hasn't said publicly what's in store for July 2021 and beyond. One thing is clear: The bank has been investing heavily in cardmember benefits and retention over the last year. Many cardholders have been able to get 50,000 points or a $500 statement credit just to renew their cards for another year.
Late last year, Amex CEO Steve Squeri shed light on what the bank was up to during the pandemic: New record-busting bonuses on their top travel cards, huge retention offers to convince cardmembers to keep their accounts open, and also hinted that more travel benefits in store for 2021.
If you have an Amex Platinum Card, this is the final month you'll be able to get a $30 monthly statement credit for any purchases through PayPal. This pandemic-driven benefit is set to end on June 30, 2021.
If you don't yet have a PayPal account, you can create one here. Once your account is active, just make sure to add your Platinum Card to your PayPal wallet. And be sure to use up the last of these monthly credits.