Last updated on October 14th, 2021
New customers are still flocking to the Platinum Card from American Express despite its hefty annual fee. The $145 increase isn’t deterring cardholders, however, according to Amex’s CFO.
Amex Platinum Card Thriving – Despite $695 Annual Fee
When American Express announced they were increasing the annual fee of the Amex Platinum Card from $550 to $695, many were sure it was a death blow for the popular card. Amex introduced a number of statement credits to justify the cost increase – but these features seemed narrow in focus. The new Equinox statement credits, for example, offer limited value, as does the $200 hotel credit that only applies to select prepaid bookings through the American Express Travel portal.
Despite these misgivings, the Platinum Card business is booming – at least according to American Express’s CFO. “The numbers of new cards that we’re acquiring with that higher fee, but the expanded range of benefits, is actually up from the pace we were running at prior to the refresh,” Amex CFO Jeffrey Campbell stated at a conference sponsored by Barclays last week. “U.S. premium consumer is hyper-competitive and always will be.”
Premium Cards Boosted By Return to Travel Post-COVID
The continued popularity of ultra-premium cards, like the Amex Platinum Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve, highlights the trend of more consumers dining out and traveling after months of coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions. However, as Americans venture out, they also place a greater premium on the quality of their experiences, including personal space and luxury perks.
JP Morgan Chase has added additional benefits to its flagship Sppahire credit cards – but has avoided increasing the annual fees. The new Sapphire Reserve benefits include 10X Ultimate Rewards points on Chase Dining purchases, hotel stays, or car rentals through the Ultimate Rewards portal, plus 5X points on travel booked through the site. Chase is also rolling out Chase Sapphire Lounges at three airports exclusively for Sapphire cardholders.
Wells Fargo is also hoping to get in on the premium travel action, with a slate of new credit cards expected throughout the rest of 2021. The bank recently pulled its popular Propel American Express card and is expected to replace it with a new travel card offering ramped-up perks.
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