Before the pandemic, the $1,450/year American Express Platinum charge card was rather popular with frequent flyers. Despite the high annual fee, it represented excellent value for many cardholders due to all the extra benefits like travel credits, hotel status and airport lounge access.
But with most Australians travelling less during the pandemic, and benefits such as the Amex Reserve travel credit and digital Australian Financial Review subscription being removed, some Amex Platinum card members are now reconsidering whether their card is worth keeping.
Of course, it is not American Express’s fault that some cardholders perceive they are getting less value from the travel-related benefits on their cards due to travelling less during the pandemic. But some of the card’s key benefits have also been removed or changed over the past year, leaving some cardholders unhappy.
Last year, Amex removed the $400 travel credit that came with the Platinum Reserve card. This card is offered as a complimentary companion card to Amex Platinum cardholders. Then, in March 2021, it removed the Shangri-La Jade status benefit which had been a popular shortcut to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer status.
But many Amex Platinum cardholders are particularly unhappy about losing their complimentary premium digital subscriptions to the Australian Financial Review at the end of this month – a benefit valued at $708/year. This will be replaced from next month with a digital subscription to The Australian and the Wall Street Journal instead, prompting mixed reactions from AFF members.
Here’s what a few had to say, and it’s fair to say that most are not thrilled…
The replacement benefit for the AFR is a digital subscription to The Australian…
I see no value in a subscription to The Australian, I explained this to the rep and asked if a prorated refund of the annual fee was possible if I cancelled as I am half way through my membership year.
– sudoer, 8 June 2021
Pffft, a subscription to The Australian is no substitute for the AFR.
– SeaWolf, 8 June 2021
I really think the Amex cardholder community, let alone Charge Card holders, expects, prefers, and deserves something better?!
I have a feeling that I am being thrown something saying hey it’s free and you should be happy. No, I don’t want to be treated like that and I have my minimum requirement of what I subscribe or be a customer/patron!
– Infrequent traveller, 8 June 2021
Yeah, the Australian is a deal breaker for me – and would be on value alone, aside from my distaste for their editorial values. I’ll capture my remaining travel benefits, see what retention if any they offer ahead of renewal, and happily cancel if not.
– BJReplay, 11 June 2021
well I’m actually pretty okay with the Australian as a substitute. I understand that it was AFR that didnt want to proceed with the partnership, not amex. so i feel like amex have given us the next best thing.
– Jousams, 11 June 2021
It’s not all bad news for Amex Platinum card members. American Express has also recently added a new benefit, with travel credits now able to be used for Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings.
But, dissatisfied with the benefits they’re receiving in return for the $1,450 annual fee, some AFF members have recently called American Express to complain. After suggesting they were thinking about cancelling their card, some members were offered bonus points ranging from 30,000 to 150,000 Membership Rewards points in exchange for keeping it.
If you’re considering doing the same, make sure you don’t actually ask the representative to cancel your card (unless, of course, this is the outcome you want). Once you say the word “cancel”, banks in Australia are legally required to proceed with your cancellation request without offering incentives to change your mind!
Meanwhile, some AFF members have been told by the American Express call centre that more exciting changes are coming – although we don’t yet know any of the details. Hopefully they will be worth the wait!
To be clear, the American Express Platinum card still comes with plenty of useful benefits including Virgin Australia Lounge access and complimentary status with several hotel chains. It’s also a good points-earner. But when it costs $1,450 per year, it needs to be.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Aus. Financial Review benefit gone. (Replaced with The Australian)
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