The AMEX Business Platinum Annual Fee is Increasing to $595, effective for February 2019 billing cycle and later renewals. The card is also adding a 1 year WeWork benefit and $200 annual statement credit for Dell purchases. Will you keep your AMEX Business Platinum in light of these changes? I definitely won't, as I'll explain below. First, here are the new benefits explained in more detail.
1 Year WeWork Benefit
While more details will be released in February 2019 about how to enroll, the benefit is described as one year of complimentary Platinum Global Access at WeWork, the network of shared workspaces. The benefit will grant access to 300+ workspaces in over 75 cities and over 20 countries, valued at $2700.
If you love WeWork and/or don't have a good work space otherwise, this could be great. I personally don't have any use for WeWork, since I already have a great office set up that is quiet, which I value for work calls. As far as I know, the WeWork benefit does not give you access to a private, quiet office space free of distractions and noise. And when traveling, for similar reasons, I prefer the privacy and quiet of my hotel room for working and making work calls.
Again, AMEX says more info on how to enroll for the Dell benefit will come in February 2019. The benefit will be up to $200 in AMEX statement credits annually for U.S. purchases with Dell on the AMEX Business Platinum Card.
I haven't bought anything by Dell in over 15 years and I'm not planning to do so anytime soon. In fact, people I know who have bought Dell laptops have regretted it. Not only have their computers not been nearly as reliable as my Apple MacBook Pro, they've been subject to ongoing scams perpetrated by people posing as Dell service technicians, who have called them pretending to be from Dell. They'll say they need to fix the computer and need to connect with into their computer (presumably to steal data from their computers or install ransomware). Then, when these folks have demurred and said they'll hang up in order to call Dell directly, these scammers try to convince them otherwise. This is not new for Dell–see Dell's own blog post, “The Battle Broadens Against Tech Support Phone Scams,” but it's interesting to me that it's so prevalent for Dell customers. In over 15 years of having various Apple laptops, not once have I been subject to a scam phone call claiming to be someone from Apple. Which begs the question–has Dell's own customer database been hacked by these scammers, in a way that Apple's hasn't? How else to explain all the info the scammers know about Dell owners' computers when they call?
When AMEX adds “benefits” such as this Dell credit, instead of an Apple credit that many more cardholders would find a use for, or keeping the airline incidental credit as opposed to a more usable travel credit similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it serves to confirm my suspicion that they're trying their best to minimize the number of cardholders who are actually able to get statement credits that would defray the card's high annual fee.
$100 Hotel Credit for The Hotel Collection Bookings Through AMEX Travel of 2+ Nights
The existing $75 hotel credit for The Hotel Collection bookings through AMEX Travel will increase to $100 hotel credit for reservations with AMEX Travel made after January 1, 2019.
This is a throwaway benefit. Why would you make a booking such as this, when you could get complete Virtuoso or preferred partner or AMEX FHR benefits (where the hotel credit is typically also $100, plus you also enjoy complimentary daily breakfast for two and sometimes other benefits), including on one night stays? I've never used this benefit and don't expect to. Also keep in mind that for hotels with a loyalty program, people report not always getting their elite benefits or points with stays booked this way. In contrast, when you book as a TravelSort Client with a Virtuoso or hotel preferred partner rate, for example using Hyatt Prive, Starwood Luxury Privileges, Shangri-La Luxury Circle, Virtuoso, etc., you do earn points and enjoy your non-duplicative elite benefits.
The only real benefit I use my AMEX Business Platinum card for are the Centurion Lounges, but these have become very overcrowded for the most part, and even the new Centurion Lounge LAX, Centurion Lounge New York JFK and Centurion Lounge Denver are likely to have overcrowding during peak hours. So perhaps AMEX's latest price increase is designed to weed out members such as me, who have kept the card for the Centurion Lounge benefit, which I use a handful of times a year, yet who rarely put any significant spend on the card absent a compelling AMEX Offer. If so, mission accomplished. The annual fee increase outweighs the overcrowded Centurion Lounge benefit and I'll be cancelling my card when it comes up for renewal next year, while retaining my no fee AMEX card that keeps my Membership Rewards points alive. Meanwhile, I'll continue to put heavy spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink cards, and the credit cards for which I'm meeting minimum spend.
What do you think of the AMEX Business Platinum annual fee increase and new WeWork and Dell benefits?
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits