American Express hints at future Platinum Card enhancements on Q1 earning call

Could we see a refresh on the ultra-premium The Platinum Card® from American Express coming soon?

During its first-quarter earnings call on April 24, American Express’s senior leadership hinted at upcoming changes to its top-tier travel credit card.

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Possible new benefits

With travel perks being a major part of the Platinum card, Amex is looking to diversify its benefits offering. This may not only get cardholders to keep the Platinum Card with its $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) during a time when travel is at a standstill, but also to actively use a card that may be in the sock drawer.

In a press release in advance of the earnings call, Amex teased “new benefits, services and rewards to our premium card products and Membership Rewards program that are relevant to the evolving needs of our customers during this time.”

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

During the call, there were further hints of a Platinum card product refresh. While acknowledging the downturn in travel and entertainment spending, CEO Stephen Squeri stated the Amex Platinum would see “other enhancements from wireless to streaming to other types of travel credits that can be used in the future.” In early May, new product refreshes will “infuse additional value” for cardholders.

Longer-term, Amex says they will stay nimble with benefits as the environment changes and they are confident in their fee-based card portfolio.

It will be interesting to see if these wireless and streaming benefits are simply category bonuses or Platinum credits similar to the current Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue reimbursements.

Related reading: Should you keep, cancel or downgrade your Amex Platinum during coronavirus?

Double points, double redemption coming?

There are also global hints at what else may be coming. In recent days, Amex has launched double Membership Rewards points and redemption value for Platinum charge cardholders in several countries around the world. While this is not indicative of an offer that will come to our shores, it is a sign that Amex realizes the need to encourage spending on the Platinum Card.

Amex did announce a new Amex Offer for eligible cardholders launching in late April, which will allow cardholders to earn double points on Grubhub and Seamless purchases. And it will be interesting to see what other Amex Offers and benefits Amex adds to its overall Membership Rewards program in the coming weeks and months.

Related reading: Amex is offering double points to Platinum cardholders around the world — Is the U.S. next?

What could this mean for our other credit cards?

Amex isn’t the only issuer looking at how they can provide value to cardholders during this new reality we’re living in. For example, Capital One recently added new fixed-rate redemption options to its Venture and Spark cards, including takeout, delivery, streaming services (for Venture cardholders) and phone services (for Spark cardholders). The Chase Freedom also made a late adjustment to add streaming services to its Q2 rotating bonus categories.

Additionally, a number of credit card issuers have extended welcome bonus spending deadlines, including Amex and Chase.

Hopefully, a more intensive refresh of a premium product like the Amex Platinum will lead to more issuers following in Amex’s footsteps. I’d love to see more travel-focused cards from issuers like Citi, Chase and Capital One switch gears to add more short-term benefits focused on groceries, takeout and delivery, online shopping and streaming.

Many of our favorite travel credit cards come with hefty annual fees, and while those fees can be easily justified for someone who takes advantage of travel benefits, that isn’t possible right now.

How card issuers fare during this time of changing consumer priorities will depend on how well they adapt, innovate and add value to customers. Travel benefits have long been a staple of top credit cards (and they will continue to be long-term), but right now, benefits such as Amex’s Uber Eats credit and Chase’s complimentary DashPass membership are more valuable than lounge access at airports no one is visiting.

Premium credit cards will need to show customers that they are dedicated to offering products that meet their changing needs in order to stay relevant and top of mind while travel is a distant goal and not a daily consideration.

Bottom line

While we don’t have the details yet for what these changes from Amex might be, it is exciting to think about one of the top credit cards on the market getting a makeover. The Amex Platinum is unparalleled in the travel benefits it provides, and we are excited to see how Amex innovates to continue to provide cardholders with that value while travel is on the backburner.

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Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here