"Enhancements" to MR earn on Platinum Card, Reserve & Centurian

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wafliron

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it sounds like D-Day has arrived for paying tax / utility bills on the Platinum charge card and Platinum Reserve credit card - they're getting similar "enhancements" to what was rolled out on the Platinum Edge credit card (and a few other lower cards) a couple of months ago.

Just got off the phone to my Amex account manager, and from 1 October 2012 the MR points earning on the two cards are changing as follows:

Restaurants in Australia: 1 point + 2 bonus points per $1 spent
Travel (including airlines and accommodation), and foreign currency transactions: 1 point + 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Everything else: 1 point per $1 spent
Utilities & ATO: 0.5 points per $1 spent

For the Platinum charge card the bonus points will be capped at 300,000 points per annum, and for the Platinum Reserve credit card the bonus points will be capped at 150,000 points per annum.

Affected cardholders are currently in the process of being notified - it sounds like account managers are doing the ring-around to their clients at the moment, and everyone will be getting a letter in the near future.

I guess the above changes could actually be positive for some cardholders depending on spend pattern (as opposed to the Edge changes, which could only have been universally negative), but it's definitely a huge negative for those of us paying large ATO bills via one of these cards. As one other small positive, my account manager did confirm that the point-earn for the Qantas and Velocity Ultimate cards is not changing - she made it sound like Amex can't change these even if they wanted to due to contractual requirements with Qantas & Virgin.

I was also advised of a couple of other (genuine) enhancements being introduced - not sure of the date of introduction nor whether they're just for Platinum charge cardholders or whether they apply to the Platinum Reserve credit card too:

1) Some sort of price-match service for Business and First class seats across a decent range of airlines - a bit "who cares" unless you really want to use Platinum Travel, as you mind as well just book via whatever source provided you with a cheaper price.

2) Virgin Australia lounge access - potentially a genuinely useful benefit.

So there you have it - I suspected this day was coming, but I was still holding out hope that Amex would leave their premium cards alone :(
 

kpc

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Does not sound very good...........:shock::evil:
 

simongr

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Hmm - not good - probably will cost me around 30K points per year...
 

moa999

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Price Match - meh... unless they can price match an ex-KRT DONE for me, or ticket ex-TPE etc...
Virgin - meh.... I'm Plat and have just requaled so not much benefit there.

Combined with the Substantial devaluation of the Plat Charge Travel insurance, I suspect this will tip me unless the cost comes down a lot.
Or they say (like their US cards) introduce zero fee FX.
 

greenfrog86

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Perfect for me if this is true - no tax bills for me, although I do pay all my utilities etc on it (but now these will just go to the 1.25pt/$1 CitiBusiness card).

The travel and restaurant bonus points would be a real win for me unless they restrict it to certain merchants in these categories... (and I will NOT be using Platinum travel just to get the points as they have been pretty useless price wise except for FHR bookings)
 

gibspmuh

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Certainly makes me feel better about pulling the pin on the Charge Card when it recently came up for renewal. Looks like the Platinum Reserve will be getting dropped when it comes up for renewal now too.
 

TonyHancock

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Looks like I'll be pulling the pin when renewal comes up in November. I was already borderline after the insurance devaluation.
 

k3nnis

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

I can't believe they got rid of the 1.5 points per $1. Now the EDGE card actually is better for me. 3 for supermarkets, 2 for petrol and 1 for everything else which is the same as the charge card??? and 0.5 for utilities.

By the way is that bonus for all restaurants or only bonus partners?
 

k3nnis

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

I hope not! I may as well go back to my westpac altitude plat/plus :)

....unless it too is about to be "enhanced"! :shock:
 

kpc

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

A major rethink about my cards will need to be made by Oct 1...and the Amex reserve and charge cards are not likely to feature in the shakeup:evil:
 

kamchatsky

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

I got the letter from Amex today in regard to the change to Plat Reserve Card (no letter yet for Plat Charge card).

It is confirmed in the letter that the point earning will be reduced to 1 point per dollar spent plus those bonus points at restaurants/travel etc. and 0.5 point per dollar for utilities/insurance/telco/ATO.

In fact, you can have a look at the following site for the changes as per letter described:

American Express Australia - Membership Rewards Program - FAQ
 

k3nnis

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Is the bonus point for restaurants for ALL restaurants that accepts amex?
 

kamchatsky

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Is the bonus point for restaurants for ALL restaurants that accepts amex?

It said "Tens of thousands of restaurants in Australia". It tells you to look at the following site to search for restaurant (and major cruise and tour operators) for bonus points:

MerchantGeo
 

k3nnis

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

thanks edison. don't think the charge or reserve is for me then as only reason I want it is for the 1.5 per $1.
I will stick to the EDGE if they don't make any more negative changes!
 

kpc

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

As one other small positive, my account manager did confirm that the point-earn for the Qantas and Velocity Ultimate cards is not changing - she made it sound like Amex can't change these even if they wanted to due to contractual requirements with Qantas & Virgin.
I wonder whether I can change to the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card ? I gather this card has no point capping and will remain at 1.5 pts per $ spent (for now)?
 

anat0l

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

Hmmm...not sure if this is positive, negative or indifferent for me. (I'm on a co-branded Platinum Reserve at the moment).

If it's negative or on that side of indifferent, I might consider downgrading to the Edge just to save on my annual fee. The most immediate thing for me if I do that is that my free Velocity flight will have much smaller range; also, I'm pretty sure it will result in my taking a cut in points income (I don't own a car so don't often fill up; groceries are not necessarily high absolute $ contribution compared to some other types of spend), but it will save me around $100-$200...

Somehow I'm perhaps not too surprised about the ATO being relegated to 0.5 points per dollar spent (the jig is up, players! :p), but in the same basket is all other government, utilities, telecommunications and insurance. I'm sure we all pay a mobile bill and some sort of insurance annually as a minimum, and that can be fair scratch.

Considering my travel has dropped quite a bit, I'm not sure if 2 points per $ is a huge incentive for me. And when they say, "foreign currency transactions", does this mean transactions to buy foreign currency or does this mean transactions which you make in a currency other than AUD (i.e. you would normally pay a 3% fee on top of these)? If it is the latter...then that might be sort of good (if you can tolerate paying an extra 3%). Since there's a good proportion of people here who need/want to travel, this could be good (and travel probably makes up a higher proportion of your spending in $ than it does your groceries).

The Restaurants bonus would be much nicer if more restaurants actually accepted American Express and especially without surcharging you either. (I can't dine at the high end of town all the time, and even then there are some places at the higher than average part of the scale which surcharge Amex or do not accept it).
 
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amaroo

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

As one other small positive, my account manager did confirm that the point-earn for the Qantas and Velocity Ultimate cards is not changing - she made it sound like Amex can't change these even if they wanted to due to contractual requirements with Qantas & Virgin.

This sounds a little like the situation Amex had with David Jones.....as soon as the contract expired they couldn't change the deal quick enough! At last Amex will have something to show for its efforts

As a QF Ultimate card holder that has recently started to pay the ATO with the card, I'm happy to hear the news, If it changes - this 20+ year AMEX member will be gone!
 

greenfrog86

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Re: "Enhancements" to Membership Rewards scheme for Platinum Card / Platinum Reserve

I got the letter from Amex today in regard to the change to Plat Reserve Card (no letter yet for Plat Charge card).

It is confirmed in the letter that the point earning will be reduced to 1 point per dollar spent plus those bonus points at restaurants/travel etc. and 0.5 point per dollar for utilities/insurance/telco/ATO.

In fact, you can have a look at the following site for the changes as per letter described:

American Express Australia - Membership Rewards Program - FAQ

Not happy Jan!

I see that Amex has however invented a new Australian court under the 'government bodies' section... Apparently you get .5 points when spending at the Federal Supreme Court
 
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