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American Express is continuing to slim down the value proposition of their cards. First, we learned of the removal of restaurants, or shall I say “non-lounge airport experiences,” from the Priority Pass on the Amex cards that provide this benefit. This is due to go into effect on August 1.
More Amex Benefits “Devalued”
To add to the benefits reductions, this week we have learned about two new adjustments. First, the airline incidental credit is going to have stricter rules. Going forward Amex will prevent cardholders from using it to purchase airline gift cards. This is on top of the rule that limits cardholders to choosing one qualifying airline for the credit. These limitations make the Amex credit less beneficial compared to a flexible travel credit like the one offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Secondly, it’s also been reported that Amex has started to enforce the rule in their terms and conditions which makes any gift card purchases ineligible for earning points. While gift cards have not counted towards the minimum spend for some time, it was generally not an issue once the spend minimum had been reached.
Is Amex Foreshadowing More Benefits Removals?
I wonder if this is the beginning of a trend of Amex tightening up on benefits and more strictly enforcing their terms and conditions. On the company’s July 19 earnings call the CFO discussed the increase in costs that Amex has incurred from their credit cards programs. Generally, when a CFO highlights expenses increasing faster than revenues, it means cost cutting is on the horizon. To see these stories a few days later makes me concerned that we may see future reductions in benefits. I had thought about adding the Amex Platinum to my wallet, but this stream of devaluations has me reconsidering.
Do you have an Amex card that has been affected by these recent changes? If so, do you feel the benefits that remain make it worth keeping? Let us know in the comments!