Negative Amex Platinum Changes
There are a few negative Amex Platinum changes that were announced today. Over the past few years American Express has eroded the value from the card some, raised the annual fee, and added a ton of annoying “enhancements” (i.e., credits). It looks like that trend is continuing this week, but this time they are expanding their scope of destruction.
Update 8/18/23: Charles Schwab Platinum terms & conditions have changed to match Vanilla Platinum T&C.
New Family Of Platinum Rule
Let's rip this band-aid off real quick–this is the worst of the changes in my opinion. It is one that could cost you hundreds of thousands of points, especially in a two-player household. In the past American Express considered every version of the Platinum card unique. That meant you could get the welcome offer for each of them and there were no exclusions for having one of the other versions. That has changed with a new terms update:
You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors. If you are not eligible for a welcome offer, we will notify you prior to processing your application so you have the option to withdraw your application.(HT DDG)
Update #2 (8/18/23): The T&C for the Charles Schwab Platinum have changed to match the vanilla Platinum card. As it stands now the Morgan Stanley card still has the old terms.
This change means that if you had planned on grabbing the original Platinum or Charles Schwab version in the near future, but have had or currently have any of the Platinum, you are out of luck. Even if you closed your Platinum a few years ago you are still ineligible for the other versions. That is because Amex's application rules depend on when you last held the card, not the welcome offer.
This also opens up the door for American Express to do something similar with other family of cards, like Hilton. To be fair, I am less worried about that since none of their other line-ups have different versions of essentially the same card.
Negative Amex Platinum Changes: Minimum Spend Increased
The next Amex Platinum change you won't love is an increase to the cost of the minimum spend required for the card. The requirement was normally $3,000 years ago and would go to $5,000 for larger, 100,000-point offers. For the last several months it has been stuck at $6,000 in spend for an 80,000 – 150,000-point offer. Well, Amex decided that isn't quite enough and they now require $8,000 in minimum spend.
Authorized User Fee Increase
The next change may be a big negative for families that like lounge access. The cost for adding an authorized user was $175 in the past, but will now cost you $195. The $20 increase doesn't seem like the end of the world, but that isn't the bad part. The big change is the cost is now per authorized user when you used to get up to 3 for the $175. If you used AU cards to get around Amex's newish Centurion Lounge guesting policy (or lack there of) this is a big hit to the pocketbook.
If you don't care about lounge access, then this isn't a big deal since you can always add a Gold version as an authorized user for free. This is a great way to take advantage of those authorized user bonuses without losing the value to the fee. The Gold version of authorized user cards do not get the authorized user access to Centurion Lounges, though. You need the Platinum AU card to do that, and it will now cost you big.
Digital Credit Switcheroo
Audible is out and Wall Street Journal is in. This change will happen starting October 2, 2023. If you think this is good or bad will depend on which option you prefer. I know Audible was a favorite of many because people could bank their credits easily and use them at a later date when it was convenient.
Negative Amex Platinum Changes: ToP Thoughts
While these changes are mostly all bad, outside of potentially the digital credit swap, it's the loss of multiple Platinum card welcome offers that hurt the most. Especially for those that have not held them all yet. The three together could net you several hundred thousand Membership Rewards points. If you are just starting out, then the application order will be important.
The authorized user fee changes could be the worst change for some. If you used the 3 cards for $175 set up to get your immediate family into the Centurion Lounges, that is no longer a possibility. Paying $195 each probably isn't worth it for most.
The minimum spend increase makes the card a little less attractive in the first year and the digital credits will become more useful for some and a lot more difficult to use for others. Overall, these changes are a hit below the belt.
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