I shared some changes to the American Express Platinum Card last week. On average they don’t do a lot to increase the value of that card. Some new benefits are being added, although with so many restrictions and a higher annual fee that I consider it a wash.
One benefit — shared by Doctor of Credit on Friday — that I was not aware of is that the Priority Pass membership included with the Platinum Card now includes free entry for two companions (previously $27 each if I recall correctly). We live in Seattle and always the Alaska Lounge before a flight, which is part of the Priority Pass program.
I’m thrilled that the Amex Platinum Card now has this benefit since I was not willing to pay the additional $175 necessary to make my wife an authorized cardholder, which would enable her to get her own Priority Pass card. Until now we’ve either had to go to the Amex Centurion Studio (which is far from the Alaska Airlines gates) or use my wife’s Citi Prestige card, which also offered a Priority Pass membership with free companion access.
But the Citi Prestige card is not one we plan to keep. We found that we were rarely using its perks, if at all. For example, we don’t usually pass through airports with an Admirals Club, and we use points for our hotel stays so often that we have not had a chance to use the fourth night free benefit.
Even if we changed our travel patterns, the Citi Prestige is diluting its benefits just as the Amex Platinum Card is increasing theirs. The Admirals Club access is being eliminated and the fourth free night perk will be adjusted to become less generous. One of the few perks we regularly used — getting 1.6 cents per point in value when redeeming ThankYou Rewards for travel on American Airlines — is being eliminated entirely.
So while I was not originally impressed with the changes to the Amex Platinum Card, adding my favorite feature of the Citi Prestige is an encouraging sign. More than anything other new benefit it makes us inclined to keep the Platinum Card despite the ridiculously high fees of $550 per year.