AmEx Adds Private-Jet Charters, Hotel Credits in Platinum Revamp

American Express Co. is upping the ante to win more premium-card customers.

The credit-card giant is adding a raft of new perks to its Platinum product -- from $200 in annual hotel credits to deals for chartering private jets -- as part of a broad revamp of the popular premium card. The changes come with a price: The lender will increase the annual Platinum fee to $695 from $550.

“We’re going to keep all the benefits that cardmembers love today -- we’re not taking anything away, and we’re going to enhance them,” said Howard Grosfield, AmEx’s executive vice president of U.S. consumer and global premium services. “That really is the litmus test: Are we in a position to deliver far more value -- well, well in excess of the annual fee? And we believe we delivered on that front.”

The new perks come as the U.S. reopens after months of Covid-19 shutdowns, with consumers eager to get back to traveling, shopping and dining out. That’s spurring credit-card companies to add new rewards to lure that spending to their cards.

AmEx Adds Private-Jet Charters, Hotel Credits in Platinum Revamp

The card company spent much of the past year adding temporary benefits to the Platinum card, such as perks tied to spending on streaming and wireless services and credits for purchases made with PayPal Holdings Inc.

Those moves seem to have worked: AmEx has seen Platinum card retention and satisfaction levels soar to a record during the pandemic, Grosfield said.

“The investments we made during Covid, they resonated with our cardmembers,” he said. “We’re refreshing this product arguably during one of the most successful times for the Platinum product in its nearly 40 years.”

Teams at AmEx have spent months working on refreshing the Platinum card, using the internal code name “Project Pentagon.”

With some of the changes, AmEx is shifting from its longtime focus on travel and dining perks. The firm, for instance, will now offer Platinum cardholders $20 a month to use for certain digital entertainment products, such as SiriusXM or Audible subscriptions. Customers also will receive $25 a month toward membership with Equinox, known for its high-end fitness clubs and eucalyptus-scented towels.

“It feels right that we’re partnering with AmEx on this,” Peter Giorgi, chief marketing officer for Equinox, said in an interview. “If you’ve ever been to a Centurion Lounge, it’s very nice in a way you never want to leave. So to find another brand that feels similarly obsessive about the experience you create and how your brand comes to life for your members is really important.”

Despite the shift away from dining, AmEx is introducing a new restaurant feature through its reservation platform Resy. Global Dining Access will send premium cardholders priority notify alerts to grab seats at in-demand places across the country, like Carbone Miami and Via Carota and Pastis in New York.

While existing cardholders will have instant access to the bevy of new perks, they won’t be charged the $695 annual fee until their card renews after Jan. 1, AmEx said in a statement.

The company also is planning to add some of the new perks -- such as a $179-a-year statement credit for using Clear membership to get through airport security more quickly -- to its business Platinum card.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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