American Express Business Platinum Card New Benefits

Quick Summary

Similar to what they did with their personal Platinum Card, American Express announced some new changes to their Business Platinum Card, effective March 30, 2017:

  • 5x Membership Rewards Points for airfare and/or prepaid hotels booked through www.amextravel.com.
  • Improved Priority Pass benefit, now allowing up to two free guests.

Discussion

Unlike with the personal card, there is no increase to the annual fee.

5x points on airfare booked through amextravel.com is good, though it’s worth noting that this differs from the personal card, which also allows you to book your airfare directly with the airline. Like with the personal card, 5x points on hotels booked through amextravel.com isn’t that useful.

Extra guests with your Priority Pass benefit is always a good thing.

All in all, I’m not too excited about these changes, but at least there wasn’t anything negative.

American Express Platinum Card Adds New Benefits (Uber Credits) & Increases Annual Fee to $550

Quick Summary

Earlier today, American Express announced some new changes to their Platinum Card, effective March 30, 2017:

  • Annual fee increases to $550.
  • Uber Credits of up to $200 per year ($15 per month in January through November and $35 in December) + Uber VIP status.
  • Improved Priority Pass benefit, now allowing up to two free guests. (HT: The Points Guy)
  • 5x Membership Rewards Points for prepaid hotels booked through www.amextravel.com.
  • Complimentary Gold Authorized User Cards.

Discussion

The $550 annual fee will be charged at your first annual renewal date on or after September 1, 2017. Thus if you originally opened your card before September, you won’t be charged the higher annual fee until your renewal in 2018.

The Uber credits expire at the end of each month in which they are issued and are only valid within the US, so you need to be a regular Uber rider to be able to take full advantage of this benefit. As for Uber VIP status, I don’t believe it is really worth anything.

Two free guests for Priority Pass lounges is nice, though I already have this benefit from several other cards.

5x points on hotels booked through amextravel.com is not as great as it may seem because booking through a third party website generally means you won’t be eligible for points or stay credits in the hotel’s rewards program. This may not be an issue for smaller, boutique hotels.

Adding free authorized users can be useful for Amex Offers, but that’s about it.

Overall, these changes are good for regular Uber riders and not so much for everyone else.

Increased Sign-Up Bonuses for American Express Starwood Personal / Business Credit Cards

Direct Link to Personal Card

Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months (this is the normal offer) and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (this is the bonus offer). Offer ends 04/05/2017.

Direct Link to Business Card

Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months (this is the normal offer) and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (this is the bonus offer). Offer ends 4/5/2017.

Both offers are a combination of the standard offer + 10,000 bonus points for completing additional spend within the first six months. While these are still good offers, I wouldn’t call them amazing due to the amount of spend required to earn the full 35,000 Starpoints.

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card Signup Bonus Increased to 60,000 Miles

Direct Link

Note that both the bonus and spending requirement are new.

Previous: 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months
Current: 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months

The change is well worth it, as you can now get a Southwest Companion Pass with just $5,000 of spend if you also apply for either of the personal cards that has a 50,000 mile bonus.

HT: Doctor of Credit

Chase Sapphire Reserve Bonus Being Reduced to 50,000 UR Points Online (January 12th) and In-Branch (March 12th)

Title basically says it all.

Chase will be reducing the signup bonus for the Sapphire Reserve Card from 100,000 to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

The change is scheduled to take place on January 12th for the online application and March 12th for in-branch applications. Note that the 12th is the date that the offer will change, so the last day to apply for the 100,000 UR point bonus is January/March 11th for online and in-branch applications, respectively.

50,000 Point Signup Bonus for MERRILL + Visa Signature Credit Card

merrill

Direct Link

Via Doctor of Credit, there is a new link for the Merrill + Visa Card which offers 50,000 points after $3,000 spend in 90 days.

The points can be redeemed for $500 cash but can also be worth up to $1,000 if redeemed for flights, also known as Anytime, Anywhere Air Rewards. The flight rewards cost 25,000 points for flights up to $500, i.e. 2 cents/point. For flights over $500, you must continue redeeming your points at a value of 1 cent/point until all of your points are exhausted. You may then pay the remaining balance with your card.

So in theory, you should be able maximize your value by either finding flights very close to $500 or by purchasing flights >$500 when you have just 25,000 points in your account.

Aside from the bonus, there’s not much else exciting about this card, but it’s definitely worth picking up for the bonus alone.

Chase Ink Plus Card Being Phased Out (Eventually)

In my previous post, I speculated that the Chase Ink Plus Card might be phased out due to the release of the Chase Ink Preferred.

It looks like this is true, according to The Points Guy. So if you don’t have this card already, it may be worth picking it up before it goes away.

The best available offer is in-branch only and is 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. If you don’t have time to visit a Chase branch, the next best offer is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the same spending requirement, which you can find online here.

New Credit Card from Chase: Ink Business Preferred (80,000 UR Bonus w/ $5k Spend)

Link to Bloomberg Article

Chase will be launching a new credit card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred, later this year.

The signup bonus will be 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $5,000 spend in 3 months, and it’s likely that this card will be under the 5/24 rule.

The card will earn 3x points for the first $150,000 spent on travel, telecommunications, shipping, and advertising on social-media and search engines each year. All other spend will earn 1x points.

Annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

There’s a possibility that the Chase Ink Plus or Cash cards could be phased out, but that’s entirely speculation on my part. Anyway, a very interesting new card that should be worth getting if you can get past the 5/24 rule.

Upgrades to American Express Platinum & Business Platinum Cards (5x Points on Airfare + 50% Back in Points)

amex-platinum

One more catch-up post from my vacation.

American Express has announced two new enhancements to their Platinum card lineup, one for their personal card and the other for their business card.

Link to Press Release

American Express Platinum Card (Personal)

Effective October 6, the Platinum Card will now earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.

This is a pretty straightforward benefit, though one key takeaway is that purchases through United’s MileagePlus X app will likely qualify for 5x points. I’ll try out a test purchase and report back later.

American Express Business Platinum Card

Also effective October 6, Business Platinum cardholders will now earn 50% points back when using Membership Rewards Pay with Points through American Express Travel to book a flight with their selected airline. They will also receive the benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline.

This benefit should be very lucrative for many people, as Membership Rewards points are now effectively worth 2 cents per point when redeemed for travel. There are, of course, the following caveats:

  • The flight must be with the same airline you choose for the annual $200 airline fee credit or in business/first class, in which case it can be with any airline.
  • If the flight is with Southwest or Spirit Airlines, you must call (800) 553-9497 to activate this benefit.
  • The flight cannot be part of a travel package or booked with the American Express U.S. Representative Travel Network.

It was also announced that Business Platinum cardholders will now earn 1.5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on any purchase of $5,000 or more, though I don’t find this new perk as exciting as the other two above.