Last week, I wrote about upcoming changes to the American Express Platinum Card coming on February 13th. There are two major updates to the American Express Platinum Card, in line with the predictions I made, which are now live.
Metal Platinum Card
The American Express Platinum Card is now metal. As AMEX describes it:
Precision-cut and personally engraved, the metal Platinum Card is as strong and resilient as the member who carries it.
The new look is very sleek. This actually isn’t the first metal credit card in Canada; there are already a few. However, it now becomes the easiest one to get, as existing options have required an invitation or a substantial amount of assets held with a financial institution.
The design is similar to other Platinum Cards internationally. Unfortunately, this card will weigh less than its American counterpart because of contactless payments, which requires a plastic backing. The metal surfaces will be glued to that, as opposed to the version without NFC which is all metal.
Existing cardholders can also get the new metal card by calling customer service or when their existing card expires. Note that this applies to personal Platinum cardholders only; the American Express Business Platinum is still plastic right now.
The American Express Platinum Card now has two bonus categories: Dining and Travel. You will now earn 3x points per dollar spent on restaurants, coffee shops, and drinking establishments. This is dependent on what merchant code the restaurant uses, especially if they are using a third party payment processor such as Square.
Travel purchases, which include airfares, taxis, hotels, and tours, will now earn 2x points per dollar. Unfortunately, food delivery and public transportation will not earn bonus points. My predictions for the most part were accurate!
The downside of these bonus categories is a lower earning rate on other purchases. The American Express Platinum Card now earns 1 point per dollar spend; previously, this was 1.25 points per dollar. This is now in line with most other cards which earn 1 point (or equivalent) per dollar. Overall, this means you will earn more points if you dine out and travel frequently.
This scenario is another example of why I recommend applying for a card before major changes. Those who got the card last week are now grandfathered in to the better earning rates while still taking advantage of the new bonus categories.
Current cardholders immediately receive the increased earning rates on Dining and Travel, while keeping the same 1.25x everyday earning rate until June 25, 2019. Generally, cardholder agreements require a minimum of 60 days for the issuer to make changes.
Additional Reading: The Economics of Credit Cards
There are no changes to any other features of the card, which is good. The signup bonus for the American Express Platinum Card remains 50,000 points publicly, with 60,000 points offered through a referral link. As well, there are no changes to the annual fee.
All other benefits remain the same, which remain very compelling. These include:
- Enhanced elite status with companies including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels and Resorts®, Radisson Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Hertz®, and Avis®
- Access to Fine Hotels and Resorts rates, which include complimentary upgrades, breakfast, 4pm late checkout, and an additional benefit depending on property which can include hotel credit or a complimentary meal
- Lounge benefits including to the American Express Global Lounge Collection which may include Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs, and more
- Complimentary Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits for you and an additional guest
- Insurance coverage including flight cancellations, trip delays, car rentals, travel medical emergencies, and more
If you are the type to maximize rewards (like me), I still plan on keeping the American Express Cobalt Card, which offers 5x MR Select points on Dining and Groceries. As well, I plan to get the American Express Business Platinum Card in June to pick up the 75,000 points welcome bonus and the 1.25x points on everyday purchases. I also plan to get the no annual fee Home Trust Preferred Visa for foreign transactions without exchange fees, and the BMO World Elite Mastercard for better insurance benefits on award tickets.
Overall, these changes are minor. For the first year, the majority of cardholder rewards will come from the welcome bonus. My biggest complaint is the decreased earn on all everyday purchases. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but that means you earn 20% less miles if you do not use this card for Dining and Travel. If you spend $40,000 on purchases not in a bonus category, you now earn 10,000 fewer points.
These improvements work out best for folks who only want one credit card. The 2x points on Travel and 3x points on Dining are acceptable in comparison to the rest of the industry. Regardless, there really is no competition for the American Express Platinum Card as it is loaded with travel benefit no other credit card in Canada can match. It still will be the best high-end card in Canada.
Application Link: American Express Platinum Card