When the Citi Prestige launched it was a revolutionary credit card. It offers up to 3x points earning, a flexible $250 airline credit, $100 TSA/Global Entry credit every 5 years, and hotel 4th night free when booking through Citi’s concierge service. Then the Chase Sapphire Reserve came out and stole it’s thunder with it’s $300 annual travel credit, primary rental collision coverage, and 3x travel/dining UltimatRewards earning rates. Both cards carry a $450 annual fee; the same as the American Express Platinum Card. The Amex Platinum, though, can’t compare on (most) benefits. So it doesn’t surprise me that rumors are now beginning to circulate; is a new premium Amex card coming soon?
A new premium Amex card makes sense. The Platinum card currently offers the following benefits:
- Centurion Lounge Access
- $200 annual airline fee credit for a single airline
- Priority Pass Select lounge access (cardholder only)
- Global Entry/TSA Pre Check fee credit every 5 years
- Hilton HHonors Gold Status
- Starwood SPG Gold Status
- Boingo Preferred Plan
- Special benefits at participating Fine Hotels & Resorts
- 2x points when booking travel through Amex Travel
While Amex Platinum cardholder benefits are good, the airline fee credit and Membership Rewards earning potential are awful. In fact, in terms of pure rewards earning power, the Amex EveryDay Preferred is a far better card. Oh, and the EveryDay Preferred’s annual fee is over $350 less. So the Amex Platinum is a card you want to have for benefits, but not a card you want to put spend on. This is something Amex isn’t too happy about, I’m sure, as that means they’re losing out on valuable interchange income.
This is likely the reason Amex is rumored to be developing a new premium card. The challenge, though, will be figuring out a way to compete with Citi and Chase. Both cards have very generous benefits and earning rates, though none offers the hotel elite statuses the Platinum does. The SPG Gold Status, though, is a benefit that could go away. What Amex’s relationship with Marriott be once SPG is folded into Marriott Rewards (if at all) is still unknown. A loss of it’s SPG partnership, though, would be a seriously blow to an Amex already weakened by the loss of Costco.
Therefore, I think the new premium Amex card may be the most rewarding card we’ve seen yet. Amex has the most to lose, after all. So I expect the card to include an improved version of Priority Pass Select, as well as Centurion Lounge access. The card will also have much better rewards earning rates. Global Entry/TSA Pre Check credit and an improved airline credit will likely be benefits as well.
What the card ultimately looks like, though, remains a mystery. If rumors are right, however, we won’t have to wait long to see what this new card has to offer. Supposedly Amex will make the announcement on October 5, which is less than a week away.