American Express announces changes to platinum cards

American Express (Amex) has increased the annual fee on some of its premium cards and added more travel benefits.
Amex platinum credit card
Source: Amex (Supplied)

Amex today announced changes to its American Express Platinum Card and American Express Platinum Business Card.

Some of the key changes to the American Express Platinum Card are:

  • Annual fee of $1,450 per annum, up from $1,200, effective on a cardholder’s annual membership fee renewal date on or after 1 November 2018.
  • New metal card design. This will be sent out to existing customers when their current card expires.
  • Platinum travel credit benefit has increased from $300 to $450, available from 1 November 2018 on the cardholder’s next membership fee renewal.
  • Domestic and international travel insurance extended from primary cardholder to up to four additional card members, as well as partners and dependents up to the age of 24.
  • Expanded access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which will include unlimited access for primary and additional cardholders, and two guests each, to The Centurion Lounge Network. Amex said this will extend to more international airports in the future.
  • Complimentary Accor Plus Membership and annual digital subscription to The Australian Financial Review (AFR).

Amex said these changes would deliver benefits, experiences and services worth more than $4,000 a year that outweigh the card fee.

Canstar’s Senior Research Analyst Josh Sale said the cost of the American Express Platinum Card means it is mainly suited to high net worth individuals.

“The new annual fee of $1,450 means that this card won’t be the right card for everyone, however, the premium benefits that come with the card are likely to draw the attention of high net worth individuals and those who regularly travel for either business or leisure,” Mr Sale said.

“A digital subscription to The Australian Financial Review (valued at $628) and the $450 of American Express travel credit means those who travel regularly and are thinking about or already subscribe to the AFR could recoup the majority of the annual fee with relative ease.

“Throw in airport lounge access, travel insurance for you and supplementary cardholders and a number of other hotel program benefits and it’s easy to see how certain consumers will appreciate this offering. ”

Mr Sale warned that this is a “charge card”, where unlike credit cards, you can’t rollover debt from month to month and are instead required to pay the balance in full each month.

“But consumers who are more prone to revolving debt on credit cards should be looking at low rate alternatives rather than the more premium offerings such as this one,” he said.

American Express Consumer Products Vice President for Australia and New Zealand, Austin Huntsdale, said the credit provider is raising the bar on the list of services offered to its customers.

“The platinum cards from American Express are testament to our commitment to offering an extraordinary experience to those who value exceptional service and phenomenal travel and lifestyle benefits – whether they’re at home or abroad,” Mr Huntsdale said.

According to Amex, the bulk of the changes will apply to existing customers from today, with the boosted travel credit and annual fee to come into effect from early November on the cardholders next membership renewal.

As for business cardholders, some of the key changes to the American Express Platinum Business Card include:

  • Annual fee of $1,750 per annum, up from $1,500, effective on a cardholder’s annual membership fee renewal date on or after 1 November 2018.
  • New metal card design to be issued to new cardholders from 13 August 2018, with Platinum Business Cards issued between today and 13 August to be reissued a metal card.

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