...expect to see more enhancements for Platinum Card Members in the year ahead."
The American Express Platinum Card is synonymous with being one of the first charge cards dedicated to travellers. Both in its luxury and business formats, the original card was launched in 1984. But being a pioneer brings with it the copycat effect, and today platinum cards and even black cards are ubiquitous. You simply can't walk away from any credit card that is either black or platinum. American Express continues to maintain this card as one for the elite spender, whose identity is fashioned off a notion of card holder members who are frequent travellers, affluent globalists and life explorers.
Many of you might recognise the benefits of this card, and, depending your location, you can avail of some lounge access including that offered by the Priority Pass network, and a swag of elite status recognition at hotel networks Club Carlson, Starwood or Melia.
In 2015, American Express announced a global deal with Hilton, seemingly in response to the termination of the American Express-Accor partnership. Of course, changes to rewards programs are not new when it make business sense to change their product offering.
"Our tremendous Platinum Card franchise, for example, has long been an industry benchmark for service and benefits. We're working hard to increase the advantages of Platinum membership...', '...expect to see more enhancements for Platinum Card Members in the year ahead.'" - American Express Annual Report, 2016, 2.
Benefits to include a new arrangement with Uber
On 2 March 2017, American Express announced a 'new generation of benefits' for American Express Platinum card holders in the U.S. The biggest of these announcements include up to $200 in annual Uber credits for rides within the U.S. capped at $15 USD per month, a $20 USD bonus when the Platinum Card is added to the Uber app as a payment method, and Uber VIP status where available.
Changes commence on 30 March, and main benefits will remain
The standard benefits for such American Express is known for remain the same with specific deals for Platinum Card members to hotels worldwide, access to Centurion Lounges and international events.
There will be improvements to the American Express app which until now did not have a feature listing the location of available lounges for the traveller. Another change is the removal of the supplementary card fee for Platinum members to add a Gold charge card. This feature isn't available everywhere but in the of adding features and convenience it could be a welcome addition to other programs worldwide. In Australia for example the Gold charge card has been unavailable for new applications for some time.
A metal makeover for the Platinum card
Tired of the plastic Platinum charge card? Well after having its Centurion card made from metal, and now like the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, American Express is changing its Platinum charge card to be made from metal as well. Whether you're having lunch at TWG Tea in Singapore or an evening dinner at the Fairmont hotel in Manila presenting your Platinum card hopefully will leave a greater impression, if not because the card will be a little heavier to hold. The metal edition of the card is available upon request from 30 March 2017.
American Express has been the standard bearer as an elite card but increasingly faces challenges from other banking and financial services titans like JP Morgan's Palladium card, Chase's Sapphire Reserve Card and Citigroup's Citibank Prestige Card. In fact, when the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card was launched in the U.S. demand for the metal cards was so strong that they ran out of the cards.
It is hard to reason that these changes won't be extended to other markets where American Express does business.